Sunday, June 7, 2015

Atlas (1) / Athearn (0)

No need to speak ill of Athearn, which isn't my goal here, but I finally made up my mind. After speaking with Jérôme, doing some searches and getting feedback here on the blog, I came to the conclusion it was much wiser to keep the Atlas locos and upgrade them.

As stated, we do a lot of slow operation. So far, Atlas GP40-2W performed beautifully. I'm not eager to trade that given fact for better details. At some point, you have to draw the line somewhere and I know a poorly performing loco is worth nothing even if it is the most amazing piece of art. It will end up on a shelf and I'm not a train collector. I can live with Atlas so-so details. In fact, this particular model have quite many qualities.

Yesterday, I had the occasion to get a Tsunami AT-1000 sound decoder suited for this particular model. When I get speakers, I'll perform the decoder installation with Louis. If I'm satisfied, the other loco will be upgraded and both will receive their coat of long due weathering...

Thanks again to John and Greg for their precious input.


  1. It sounds like you've made a wise choice. I've had to make similar choices on my own model railway - sacrificing a bit of better detail in favour of better operation. I decided that a model that looks good and runs flawlessly is better than a model that looks great and has performance issues. Those issues are what I, and my guests, will remember - not the details.
    It was for this reason that I decided against switching to Sergent Couplers, returning instead to the oversized, but ultra-reliable, Kadees. (I wrote extensively on my blog about my experiments.)
    I always enjoy your blog, Matthieu. Thanks for sharing your hobby with us!
    - Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64)

    1. Thanks for your good words Trevor. I have put too much efforts in the past focussing on detailing and not bothering about running performance. Most of these locomotives now sit in their box, never to see again regular active service It's probably one of the reasons I lost interest in steam operation. If I ever go back to steam, it will be a larger scale.

      I't's always interesting to see how you fine tune your rolling stock and locomotives. We just have to think about the CN coach and the special trucks required. It's only recently I started to realize how much hard work is needed to get smooth results like yours. Slow speed prototypical operation really put you in a corner where you have no other choice but to track down every little bugs.

    2. Salut, Matthieu:
      Yes, you're right - fine-tuning requires a lot of effort. It helps to start with the best-running models you can find, of course. HO scale is well-served in that regard - better than S (the scale in which I work). That said, it was poor-running locomotives in O scale, narrow gauge (On2), that compelled me to consider other scale/gauge combinations... and it was the excellent-running CNR steam locomotives built by my friend Simon Parent that convinced me to give S scale a try.
      Fine-tuning is also a lot easier when one builds a manageable layout, as I have. I can't imagine trying to find and destroy all the gremlins on a multi-deck monster...
      - Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64)