What was your first brass engine/rolling stock?

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bob

Administrator
Staff member
Never got one of the Hillcrest Climaxes from PFM. All of my logging stuff is long gone now. Yes the Hillcrest is expensive as it came toward the end of the PFM era of importing. Beautiful models none the less. Mike
They really were! Except for the overly tall oil filler, which could easily be corrected, everything else on the model was pretty much spot on. They did measure the prototype and worked extensively from photos. The results were really nice, and aside from the occasional glitch, very accurate.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
Brass isnt for everyone, but if you own and enjoy them like I do, what was your first model(s)?
Oh that is hard. I think it might have been a DM&IR 2-10-2 (brand unknown) or a United Santa Fe 4-8-4, but I really don't remember. Too long ago.

I do know my latest brass is the hybrid Great Northern S-2 from Broadway Limited. My most expensive (and most disappointing) brass was the Royal Gorge passenger set from Division Point. These cars have not been able to make a single lap on the layout. Wheel gauges, trucks not squared up, short circuits, etc. And the rear lights on the observation car are not even lighted.
 
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GeeTee

Active Member
Sunset GN O-1 mike picked up from a train show for $140 35 years ago . lost "track" of how many since then. The cheapest was last week $87 , the funny part is I offered the guy a $100 and he turned it down so we went to auction. The most $195 ( almost brand new Sunset PRR J1 factory paint) . What hurts its been asked to pay 15 -$20 for a car made from 25 cents worth of plastic.

Actually the cheapest was probably some A.C.F covered hoppers at $25/ea 30 years ago , I saw some guy trying to sell one for $400 on ebay , with a dent in it .
 
The Division Point Prospector series are very nice but I've heard similar reports from others that they had issues running them. That dome was modified by D&RGW to have a vestibule on the round end so it could operate mid-train, which it did most of the time. I wonder if that is why it doesn't have a light at the round end. Here is a photo typical of it's operations:



Way back in the mid-80's, Palace Car Company announced a run of brass Prospector cars. I put in an order for 3: 1 Deskirted combine (for the Rio Grande Zephyr), 1 P-S dome and 1 Wilson McCarthy Business car. By the time they finally were shipping, I had moved. My mother shipped them back to the vendor and I missed out on all 3, which really sucked. She's been trouble most of my adult life, right up to the present.

I managed to buy a PCC P-S Combine from Caboose Hobbies a couple years later for a higher price, and that's the one show earlier in this topic after it got painted. Originally the version I wanted was the des-kirted version with dorm windows, as it was the most common. The one I ended up with was the de-skirted version with the blanked dorm windows, which was common in the late 1970's, which works as that is my modeling focus. I paid $120 for that one. I later found the skirted version (early as seen on the Prospector) at a LHS and bought it for $170. That's the one being painted.

I see ianacole has the K-M's there with the tanks on top. Very nice. And the spreader as well.
 

Graff

Airbrush artist
My first brass engine was a HO PFM heisler that I bought as a 16 year old.
Then a Nickel Plate Hiawatha and a Ajin FM H-10-44.
 

GeeTee

Active Member
Oh that is hard. I think it might have been a DM&IR 2-10-2 (brand unknown) or a United Santa Fe 4-8-4, but I really don't remember. Too long ago.

I do know my latest brass is the hybrid Great Northern S-2 from Broadway Limited. My most expensive (and most disappointing) brass was the Royal Gorge passenger set from Division Point. These cars have not been able to make a single lap on the layout. Wheel gauges, trucks not squared up, short circuits, etc. And the rear lights on the observation car are not even lighted.
Whats your minimum radius ? brand of turnout ?
 

kbkchooch

"retired" conductor
My 1st and 2nd Brass models were Alco models Baldwin sharks, separated by about a year. The were repowered, repainted and had DCC added and have performed well ever since.
SHarks 0609.JPG


Now I have a dozen or so brass engines, I guess I'm hooked!
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
Whats your minimum radius ? brand of turnout ?
Ha! you presume much. ;) I don't currently have a layout. I have a few modular units but they would not run these. I ran/run them at other layouts, the club(s), and the museum. Generally the club had 36" minimum radius and all different sorts of #6 turnouts - but mostly hand built. The Museum has 44" radius minimum and the mainline turnouts are all #10s hand built. The one I had the trouble with the passenger cars was a friends (Rock Ridge Union Pacific) with 32" (?) minimum radius and umm umm I don't know what turnouts. Looking at some pictures they appear to be #8s. Walthers Shinohara maybe?
IMG_4289.JPG
 
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Blues909

Active Member
I never owned any brass loco's or rolling stock. I bought a brass trolley for my father in the 60's since he had one and this one was part of the set. He bought a PFM 2-6-6-2 it had sprung drivers he got it used along with some trade in's. Nice steamer one of my favorite.
 

GeeTee

Active Member
I never owned any brass loco's or rolling stock. I bought a brass trolley for my father in the 60's since he had one and this one was part of the set. He bought a PFM 2-6-6-2 it had sprung drivers he got it used along with some trade in's. Nice steamer one of my favorite.
I can't believe I am saying this but , I have to buy brass , I can't afford the prices they want for plastic these days . Its like 3X or 4X price increase in 30 years , I dont think they can sustain that. Your looking at rolling stock prices over $100 /car with a few years . Disposable income isnt going to keep up with that.
 
I can't believe I am saying this but , I have to buy brass , I can't afford the prices they want for plastic these days . Its like 3X or 4X price increase in 30 years , I dont think they can sustain that. Your looking at rolling stock prices over $100 /car with a few years . Disposable income isnt going to keep up with that.
Ok, lets look at this can't afford plastic vs. brass thing cause that's not my experience.

For the trains I like, brass still exceeds HQ plastic by about 3:1 or at minimum 2:1. I've seen a number of painted Overland brass D&RGW diesels show up on Ebay in the $450-600 or so price range, which seems to be pretty "reasonable" prices for those engines factory painted. I just bought a few days ago Genesis D&RGW GP40-2's for $170 each and they are more accurate than those Overland brass D&RGW diesels, which were at least triple the price. Same goes for F units, plastic vs. brass.

So bottom line, plastic is still much cheaper (and often more accurate) than brass in my experience. Yes, plastic is going up in price, NEW PLASTIC. And new new brass is even higher.

So if buy brass and it's as cheap or cheaper than plastic, it's probably older brass. I've never bought any brass engines, older or newer, but I've had some friends who bought a lot of brass in the 90's and a good deal of it didn't run well and needed a lot of attention to make it run well.
 

kbkchooch

"retired" conductor
I. Your looking at rolling stock prices over $100 /car with a few years . Disposable income isnt going to keep up with that.
Its already here, have you seen the prices on the new Athearn Cabooses, MSRP of $110.00!
I don't buy brass rolling stock, except for cabooses, and then only when I can get them relatively cheap. ($50.00 or less) Locos are another story. With only 1 exception,, NOTHING built in plastic matches my roads steam fleet, and diesels are better detailed in plastic. So I get both.
That being said, the plastic steam that I do own in a word is throwaway. If it breaks you don't fix it, you toss it. Brass I can rebuild, improve, and refinish to my hearts content.
 




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