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 Suggestions for decent small steam in HO?
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Author Previous Topic: MDC/Roundhouse Shay build Topic Next Topic: New engine aquired  

Faire to Midland
New Hire

Posted - 06/10/2020 :  10:46:50 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm an N scaler and I have been since I was a teenager, so I have never paid much attention to what's available in HO. However, last night I operated at an HO club and decided I want to get more involved. I'd like to get my own locomotive and throttle.

Can anyone recommend me a good HO small steam loco? (I'm thinking Prarie or Mogul) A model I could possibly find used with excellent pickup and is DCC friendly if not already DCC equipped? Sound (or lack of) is not a big issue for me.

Country: USA | Posts: 37


Premium Member

Posted - 06/10/2020 :  5:11:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'd suggest a Consolidation for a couple of reasons: (1) most common loco, (2) so you have some good choices, (3) the larger/longer boiler allows more weight which means it will pull more.


Modeling 1890s (because the voices in my head told me to)

Edited by - deemery on 06/10/2020 5:21:09 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 8569 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 06/10/2020 :  5:32:07 PM  Show Profile  Visit adrian_batey's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I agree with Dave,

The BLI models are good if you can get a hold of them. With dcc , sound your on your way

There is the bachman 2-8-0 but be careful as they had a split gear issue on the motor gear. I have had 2 of them with this issue and had to replace the motor in both as it was the only part i could get.

Owen Pass Lumber Company
HO Logging Layout in a Shed.

Country: Australia | Posts: 1308 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 06/10/2020 :  7:38:04 PM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
A friend has one of the Bachmann 2-6-0s with DCC and sound. He's left it at my house for 2 years now so I've played with it a bit. Seems to be OK for RTR, but I haven't tried it on curves sharper than 30" radius.

Country: USA | Posts: 6547 Go to Top of Page

Bill Gill

Posted - 06/10/2020 :  8:41:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
How small? I have a Mantua 0-4-0 "Pony" my son outgrew. Bernd helped make it a good runner and I recently added a little bt of detail. It's great for my tiny layout, along with a Proto 2000 0-6-0
Both are DCC, no sound. I like them a lot.

Country: USA | Posts: 3107 Go to Top of Page

Faire to Midland
New Hire

Posted - 06/11/2020 :  11:24:03 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't think I'll be buying a consolidation. The reason I was considering smaller steam is the number of times I put the Berkshire we were using the other night 'on the ground' in the switching puzzle. Got me to thinking a mogul or something would be better. A 4 axle diesel would likely be a more bulletproof choice, but I'm a steam fan.

I was looking at the Bachmann 2-6-0's on ebay. Bachmann in N is very hit-or-miss on quality. The good ones are amazing and the rest are a headache, so try-before-you-buy is the best policy. Does HO Bachmann hold the same reputation?

That's a good looking locomotive Bill. I had never considered an 0-4-0, but I like it. I had wondered about Mantua. I've seen the name, but I am not familiar with the brand.

I was also looking at some Roundhouse models on Ebay... In N scale, Roundhouse made some amazing runners. Is that accurate assesment in HO as well?

Is there any sort of website for HO locomotives similar to Spookshow's N scale resource?

Country: USA | Posts: 37 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 06/11/2020 :  11:53:12 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I own two Bachmann plastic HO locos, a DCC/Sound RS-3 and a DC USRA Light 4-8-2. Both arrived operational. The 4-8-2 has a little noise from its drive belt. The RS-3 is on the layout for op sessions and has performed well. I haven't tried taking either apart to see what to expect when parts wear out, but that been a kettle of worms since Athearn's Blue Box drives went out of fashion. My friend left a Bachmann DCC/Sound GP-7 at my house along with the 2-6-0; both have gotten quite a few laps at Tour de Chooch, but not like the RS-3. No issues with either.

Country: USA | Posts: 6547 Go to Top of Page
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