HO Brass Trains-Locomotives

HO Scale Brass Trains. Steam locomotives, ABBA diesle sets, early and modern diesel, logging locomotives including the Shay, Climax, Heisler and traction locomotives. What do you think of first when you think of HO scale brass trains? HO Scale brass locomotives is probably what you think of first. I always think back to my father’s Model Railroader magazine adds for brass locomotives. He modeled N scale, most where HO Scale at that time with some O scale as well. N scale became more popular. But it didn’t matter at that time, they were well out of my reach! One of the few luxuries of aging is becoming a little more financially stable. As such, consider some of the HO scale brass trains that really are more like works of art than anything. I always rationalize that they are an investment. I can’t say my wife buys into that theory. Let’s take a quick look at what is available in the after market.

Steam Locomotives

The nature of steam locomotives lends itself very well to being a piece of brass art. While most more modern locomotives are streamlined with less visible working parts, the steam locomotive is all our there for you to see. That’s what makes a HO scale brass steam locomotive that much more impressive to me. If you are a fan of the big articulated locomotives, you have plenty to choose from. Whether you are looking for a Big Boy, Challenger, Yellowstone, Duplex or an Allegheny, you will find it in brass. The standard workhorses are there as well including Pacifics, Mikados, Northerns, Texans, Bershires, you get the point. And we would expect the more popular locomotives to be represented. But HO scale brass also offers some awesome, somewhat obscure very task specific steam locomotives like the Climax, and Shay or one of my favorites the Heisler.

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Diesel Locomotives

Diesel locomotives are also very well represented in HO scale. The early locomotives like the F-3, F-7, E-8 and others are readily available as are many of the road switchers. Many are available in ABBA consists. Brass diesel locomotives tend to be a little less pricey than the steam locomotives for obvious reasons, less detail and moving parts! As for switchers, you will find more road switchers than the smaller yard ones, but they are out there. Brass diesel is a good way to start you brass collection.

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Traction Locomotives

I have to admit, I have never been a huge fan of traction locomotives, but there is a big following. When I think of traction locomotives, I think of the Milwaukee Road Little Joe and the Great Northern EF70. That not only shows you where I am from but that I don’t have a huge knowledge of traction locomotives. But, if you are looking for them, they are here!

Gas Turbine

One of the more obscure models that was only used by the UP was the Veranda Gas Turbine. But sure enough, they are available in HO scale brass. Such an odd concept, but something that really caught the fancy of model railroaders! Learn more about these units here. Very interesting.

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To Paint Or Not To Paint

Here is a question. To paint or not to paint. Well, this is my blog, so I get to offer my opinion. I certainly respect yours. The answer to paint or not to paint is………yes. I really have to say this is a hard one for me. To me an unpainted Heisler is a thing of beauty, but I can’t resist a DMIR gray boiler 2-10-4.

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Great Northern Z Scale Trains

Growing up in MN, seeing a freight Burlington Northern train rolling by was a common site. I was always excited when I would see a Billy Goat mixed in for Great Northern. If you are a fan of Great Northern and a new comer to z scale, you may wonder how well GN is represented in z scale. Well good news, as time goes we are seeing more and more choices.

Great Northern Z Scale Locomotives

While a train usually has one or two locomotives and a bunch of cars, locomotives still they are our favorite. Your z scale Great Northern locomotive selection isn’t huge but again as z scale grows, so does the variety. For steam locomotives, you can find a Glacier Green 2-8-2 Mikado from AZL. Your best bet may be the after market but you may still find a new one on a dealers shelf. They are tender drive and a real work of art. Marklin made a Great Northern Mikado as well. Not as detailed but still a fine representation by the manufacture who started it all. For diesel power, MTL offered a GN Sky Blue F-7 A/B and a GP9. AZL has an SD45 and a F-3 A&B. You will also find a few custom painted options around as well.

Great Northern Z Scale Rolling Stock

For Great Northern freight, most of the current manufactures in z scale feature Great Northern. One of my favorite z scale manufactures is Full Throttle. This small company continues to churn out unique offerings and have z scale GN hoppers, wood chip cars, covered hoppers and small reefers. AZL has a nice choice of Great Northern freight including my favorite some small 2 Bay Hoppers. MTL continues to sprinkle in some z scale freight including a 10 car GN Circus Care Set. So named for their variety of color. More choices pop up every few months.

great northern z scale freight cars

Great Northern Z Scale Passenger Cars

Even passenger cars have become readily available in z scale. MTL released as Sky Blue Set that you will have to shop the aftermarket for as well as a few Empire Builders. AZL has released a stunning collection of the Great Northern Empire Builder in z scale. They really are impressive! I fear they will sell out fast!

Great Northern z  scale passenger cars
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Walthers Cornerstone Kits HO Scale

Railroads were built with a purpose. Some to move lumber, some to move coal, others iron ore. Industry drove the railroads and still does today. So when you are designing or building your layout, what purpose does it serve? Sometimes all you need is a central industry or several to get you off and rolling. That’s where the Walthers Cornerstone kits come in. Check out some of there kits that will give your railroad a purpose.

For instance, consider the New River Mining Company Kit from the Walthers Cornerstone series. This kit could be the focus of your layout if mining is your thing. It’s a good size, the main complex measures out at 12-1/2 x 9 x 9-3/8″ (31.2 x 22.5 x 23.2cm). This is a facility that would have been typical around the 1950’s so the steam to diesel era would fit in very nicely. You will see rave reviews of the kit, typical of the Walthers kits. It is well designed and includes extras like conveyors and a truck loading facility.

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The Walthers Cornerstone kits also have lots to offer for more of a rural setting. For instance, they offer a concrete grain elevator, grain storage bins, a nice little barn, and more of a rural feed elevator as well. A few of these buildings will make a fine little layout running nice long consists of covered hoppers.

City and small town scenes always add realism to your layout. Industry brings people, people need to shop, eat drive etc. Well the Cornerstone series of kits has you covered with drive ins, donut shops, department stores, small homes, apartments, office buildings and more.

As mentioned earlier, industry brings railroads, and railroads need service to operate! So, how about a roundhouse and turntable, or coaling and diesel service facilities? Walthers Cornerstone kits offer a nice three stall roundhouse that you can easily expand. You can model your whole layout around a fully equipped main yard. Detailing and operating opportunities are endless.

When designing or building your layout, spend a little time browsing the Walthers Cornerstone kits for inspiration. They can be a nice little detail or the focus of any great layout.

How Valuable Is That Train?

Start here before you sell off your model trains! If you are curious what the most valuable model trains are, here is a good starting point to help you see just how valuable your trains are!

How valuable is that train? Good question. Whether you are just curious or are looking to sell off a few pieces of your collection, ebay can be a great source for finding value. If you are selling off your collection, I highly recommend scanning through the sold items on ebay and see what things are actually selling for. I use them all the time when I am buying lots of trains to really see what kind of deal I am getting. For fun, you will find some of the recent highest selling items by scale. Click through and snoop around, you may have a small fortune in your attic! Below we have broken down the scale into two groupings per scale.

First the highest price sales in last 90 days on ebay and secondly, the current highest price listings.

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O SCALE

HO SCALE

N Scale

Z Scale

So there you have it. Again the dollar value of an model railroad piece is based on what someone will pay you for it. As you look at the value on some of the pages above you will note there are many sellers really shooting for the moon with their values. That is the value of looking at the sold last 90 days links for trains on ebay. This data is actual sales so you are getting good info.

Besides dollar value of any model train, there is the emotional or sentimental value. That is a completely different topic! I have bought and sold some very expensive pieces, but I will never part with my Atlas N scale Warren tank, car. A few of my other never sell items are an MDC 3 Truck Shay my father built for me before he died, a Roundhouse 0-6-0 he helped me build and a Tyco D&RGW steamer that I bought when I was 13 and promptly repainted. I later bought the original!

Bowser Locomotive Kits

Looking for a Bowser locomotive kit? Keep reading for a little history and some kits currently available. There was a time when everything came in kit form. Why you could even order a house kit from Sears Roebuck! So it was with HO scale as well, there were many kits around. I remember the Bowser locomotive kits as being one of my favorites. While they have been out of production for some time, you will still find them in the aftermarket. I am seeing more and more complete kits coming available.

While as you may have guessed, the most desirable for most are the Bowser Challenger and Big Boy. And of course they are harder to find. Bowser made locomotive kits that included the 4-6-2 Pacific, one of my favorites, the 4-4-4-4 Duplex, 2-8-0 Consolidation, 2-8-2 Mikado, 4-8-4 Northern, 4-6-0 Casey Jones, 4-8-2 Mountain and even a 2-10-2! You will also be able to find some small switchers. That’s just the Bowser steam locomotives, they also had some diesel and traction locomotives as well.

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If you have a Bowser locomotive that is missing parts or if you are looking for one of the super detail kits, don’t despair, they seem to be coming out of the wood work as well. Tender kits both standard and Vanderbilt are there as well. You will also find many built and partial bit kits out there too.

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To be sure, building one of these locomotive kits can be a real challenge, but so rewarding. You can find some building tips including painting tips from Bowser here. The ones my brother and father built usually ended up be the standard dark gray or black, which really made a pretty nice representation of a functioning steam locomotive. Craftsmen are becoming a rarity these days as are these Bowser Locomotives. Find one, complete it and you will have a piece that you will truly be proud of.

Con-Cor Rivarossi N Scale Sets

Over the years, ConCor/Rivarossi packaged some very interesting collector train sets  that included a locomotive and a set of cars.  Many were done in a simulated wood grain cardboard box. Try releasing something like that today you would get laughed at! But as it is, many of these older sets are very collectible.  Con Cor/Rivarossi offered both freight and passenger train sets in these collector boxes.  Both steam and diesel sets were available.  Many railroads were covered in the Con Cor Rivarossi sets including Erie Lackawanna, NYC, PRR, Great Northern, Grand Trunk Western and even the US Army just to name a few.  Price for these sets is varied but generally in the $200 to $400 price range.  One thing that is nice about the Con Cor Rivarossi train sets is most are still in very good shape, The  box seems to get more wear than the trains ever did.   There is no doubt that Con Cor/Rivarossi has offered some true n scale icons over the years.  These boxed train sets are continuing to be a hot product!

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The complete passenger sets were always my favorites. Available in both steam and diesel, these were, and still are a great way to add passenger service to your layout. These sets are becoming more and more collectible as are many of the older sets by Con Cor and Rivarossi.

In addition to complete sets with the locomotive, you will find some nice diesel sets, both in road diesel and switchers. Con-Cor and Rivarossi also offered some nice three to six car passenger sets in many different road names. I have been around n scale since the early 70’s and I just love looking at the old Con Cor Rivarossi stuff on ebay, it’s like opening a time capsule!

Marklin Z Scale U.S.Cabooses

Over the years Marklin has produced a variety of z scale cabooses from American railroads that have become quite collectible. Some were available as individuals and others in sets. You can find Marklin z scale cabooses in CB&Q, Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, Santa Fe (some of which are the most collectible) Chessie, Burlington Northern, Santa Fe, New York Central, Texas & New Orleans, Northern Pacific, Milwaukee Road, Pennsylvania, Southern, Baltimore & Ohio and Central New Jersey. I think that is the majority of them! So where can you get these great little Marklin cabooses? Your best bet is to check out ebay and be patient, they come and go. I have been able to find some great buys on them. They tend to hover around $35 to $60 range for the most part while the blue AT&SF can trend higher. Some of these cabooses came in sets so you may have to buy a kit and break it up if you really want that one.

You will also find some used Marklin cabooses that have LED lighting added which is a really nice feature. I have seen both interior and end lighting on the caboose. Most of them are done with a flicker free system. What a nice little detail to add to your z scale layout. I have a few favorites like the Burlington Northern and the Northern Pacific that I like to keep on display in my office. Whether you collect, hoard or run z scale, the Marklin z scale caboose is a great addition.

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