Atlas Model Railroad Co. - Athearn RTR vs Blue Box
Atlas Model Railroad Co.
Username:
Password:
Save Password


Register
Forgot Password?
  Atlas Model Home   Forums   Events Calendar   Rules   FAQ  
Active Topics | Members | Online Users | Forum Archive | Basic Forum (Mac / Netscape Users) | Search | Statistics
[ Active Members: 0 | Anonymous Members: 0 | Guests: 27 ]  [ Total: 27 ]  [ Newest Member: jjbern ]
 All Forums
 Atlas Model Railroad Forums
 HO Scale Model Railroad Forum
 Athearn RTR vs Blue Box
Next Page
 Forum Locked |   Topic Locked |   Printer Friendly
Author Previous Topic: Tony Koester s Frankfort Yard article? Topic Next Topic: HO Photo Fun 6-8-08
Page: of 2

basementdweller

Posted - 2008 June 08 :  09:16:21 AM  Show Profile
What is the difference between the Athearn Ready To Roll series verses the old Blue Box locos, other than you don't have any parts to install.
Thanks.
It's all scenery.

Country: USA | Posts: 2672

therudycometh

Posted - 2008 June 08 :  09:33:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit therudycometh's Homepage
Lots. Most of the old blue box locos had molded-on grab irons (I say most because some of the Geeps had just the mounting brackets which you had to drill out yourself and add grab irons). They also had those annoying-to-assemble metal handrails, compared to Athearn's new one-piece plastic ones. The detail on the RTR ones are better, and like you said, they don't need to be assembled. The new RTR engines have roadname-specific details, whereas the blue-box models were just generic locos painted in different schemes. Speaking of that, the paint is usually better on the RTR ones.

However, if you're kitbashing/making extreme modifications to a model, I suggest you start with a blue box. They were much easier to work with due to their simplicity, and it provided the modeler with the ability to "only go so far" with superdetailing. If you didn't want to put in individual lift rings, you didn't have to. But you could. It offers options to modelers who don't want to go all-out.

This coming from someone who has numerous times hacked the short hood off of a blue box SD40-2 to put a Cannon high hood on it. I find it's easier to start with a simple and generic model rather than something that's already superdetailed. It's like working backwards.

So it depends on what you're doing with the model.


-Rudy Garbely
http://rudystrains.com

Country: USA | Posts: 607 Go to Top of Page

jrbernier

Posted - 2008 June 08 :  09:41:09 AM  Show Profile
The current 'RTR' are much more that just an assembled 'Blue Box' kit:

o - Hex drive line(like Genesis)
o - Plastic handrails
o - Very good paint jobs
o - Nice DCC plug setup(8 pin & JST in my SD40-2's)
o - Many 'proto specific' details

They are much smoother/less 'growl'. They do not have the Genesis motor(standard 'BB' motor). After a little speed matching, my 'RTR' SD40-2's and Genesis MP15AC will run togther in MU with no problems.

Jim Bernier


Modeling the Milwaukee Road in SW Wisconsin - In the 50's!

Country: USA | Posts: 931 Go to Top of Page

Alcofanbob

Posted - 2008 June 08 :  10:12:36 AM  Show Profile
Guys, let's call a spade a shovel here. Yes, the plastic is much, much better than the BB days for sure. Athearn's plastic is some of the industry's best. However, under that pretty shell lurks the Athearn chasis with the gear noise and sometimes noisy motor. Some models seem to be worse than others. This is the frustration I have with Horizon/Athearn. If they could make the RTR chasis run like our host's models do they'd have the tail waggin' the dog. Until then it's hit and miss with getting a smooth RTR model.

Bob


Alco's 4 strokes - suck, squeeze, bang & blow!!

Country: Canada | Posts: 492 Go to Top of Page

Brakie

Posted - 2008 June 08 :  11:31:41 AM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Alcofanbob

Guys, let's call a spade a shovel here. Yes, the plastic is much, much better than the BB days for sure. Athearn's plastic is some of the industry's best. However, under that pretty shell lurks the Athearn chasis with the gear noise and sometimes noisy motor. Some models seem to be worse than others. This is the frustration I have with Horizon/Athearn. If they could make the RTR chasis run like our host's models do they'd have the tail waggin' the dog. Until then it's hit and miss with getting a smooth RTR model.

Bob



Bob,All Athearn needs to do is replace that old motor with a newer style..The question is why don't they? They already have a nice motor and I know at least 5 guys that use this motor in some of the newer RTR and the engines becomes whisper quiet.

http://www.horizonhobby.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=ATHG63842


To date all of my RTRs has been smooth and fairly quiet without the need to tweak the drive..But,then I don't compare a Escort to a Caddy either like some do.I have learn better over the years.



Larry
Summerset Ry.

Country: USA | Posts: 7537 Go to Top of Page

Alcofanbob

Posted - 2008 June 08 :  2:58:16 PM  Show Profile
Larry, I'm with you on the motor issue. I understand that for the price point, they are a good model. However, if they would only address the motor and sometimes gear noise they'd appeal to a wider audience of modellers - read the "Atlas/Kato" only guys. I have 3 RTR units my self, a GP35 and 2 SD40's. Look great, run good but very noisy. I model CP Rail (1980) and would like to pick up the RTR RS3 but......

Bob


Alco's 4 strokes - suck, squeeze, bang & blow!!

Country: Canada | Posts: 492 Go to Top of Page

bubbytrains

Posted - 2008 June 09 :  12:39:13 AM  Show Profile
I agree with the above-mentioned improvements. Three other improvements I have noticed:

(1) Nickel-silver wheels. This is the biggest improvement in my opinion. They pick up electricity from the tracks better and don't get nearly as dirty as the old BB type.

(2) The metal parts behind the truck sideframes come already blackened. This eliminates the need to paint over the fake silver color.

(3) The models come with knuckle couplers.(I don't know if all RTR's are but mine are also semi-scale.)

One thing Athearn still does that annoys me is put way too much oil in the gearboxes. A huge amount is not needed with the "slippery" plastics they use for the gears. It leaks out onto the bolsters and inhibits electrical contact between the trucks and the motor. It also collects dirt and grime where it leaks out and collects on the bottom of the trucks. Every model I get I have to take apart and soak up some of the oil and clean the bolsters. No biggie, though, since I always take apart my new Athearns to clean the commutator brushes.


-Alan-

Success is having what you want;
Happiness is wanting what you have.

Country: | Posts: 864 Go to Top of Page

Brakie

Posted - 2008 June 09 :  10:33:35 AM  Show Profile
Alan,Time for update.
1.First the newer RTR has Nickel-silver wheels including the RTR GP38-2s.

(2) The metal parts behind the truck sideframes come already blackened. This eliminates the need to paint over the fake silver color.
------------
That is one of there better ideas..It really improves the look.
-------------------
(3) The models come with knuckle couplers.(I don't know if all RTR's are but mine are also semi-scale.)
-----------
Oh another "improvement" change.First the earlier RTR came with those blasted McHenry couplers with the plastic finger spring.

Now those McHenry "scale" coupler knuckles has a tenancy to collapse while doing terminal switching.
Best to replace with KDs.

Yes I am still a big fan of Athearn but,I feel its past time for a improve motor after seeing how quiet those remotored RTR locomotives sound.

Athearn you have the motor.PLEASE use it!

http://www.horizonhobby.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=ATHG63842



Larry
Summerset Ry.

Edited by - Brakie on 2008 June 09 10:35:38 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 7537 Go to Top of Page

Midnight Railroader

Posted - 2008 June 09 :  10:45:59 AM  Show Profile
quote:
The detail on the RTR ones are better, and like you said, they don't need to be assembled. The new RTR engines have roadname-specific details, whereas the blue-box models were just generic locos painted in different schemes.
Last time I checked, and it was a while ago, while the paint schemes were new, they didn't necessarily fit the models.

For example, the RTR F7s I saw still had the same old roof details as the old Globe models.



Country: | Posts: 291 Go to Top of Page

Brakie

Posted - 2008 June 09 :  11:20:38 AM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Midnight Railroader

quote:
The detail on the RTR ones are better, and like you said, they don't need to be assembled. The new RTR engines have roadname-specific details, whereas the blue-box models were just generic locos painted in different schemes.
Last time I checked, and it was a while ago, while the paint schemes were new, they didn't necessarily fit the models.

For example, the RTR F7s I saw still had the same old roof details as the old Globe models.



That's no breaking CNN news story..
After all the RTR F7s are indeed Athearn's standard BB F7s that been around for 11 lustrums.
The NEWER RTR locos such as the GP35,GP40X,SD40-2(the latest upgraded version),SD45 and others has the road specific details including the forth coming SW1000 and SW1500.


Larry
Summerset Ry.

Country: USA | Posts: 7537 Go to Top of Page

riogrande

Posted - 2008 June 09 :  11:26:35 AM  Show Profile
The above messages just go to show, there is a lot of variation between RTR models being offered by Athearn in terms of quality, detail, and accuracy. The globe based F7, for example, represents 1950's mold technology in a current production model. The SD40T-2, OTOH, represents 1980's tooling which was upgraded in some important ways, and given RR specific details (and is approaching Genesis level of detail).

In reality, Athearn would best serve the customer if they would some how lable the RTR lines to distinguish some of the old blue box models which are just assembled and sold RTR, and those with extra details and DCC ready etc. Perhaps they should have a basic RTR line, and then a premium RTR line, and above that, Genesis. Even Genesis is now coming with RR specific details like the new runs of F units, making them premium over std Genesis.


Rio Grande - The Action Road
Atlas forum member since 1994

Country: USA | Posts: 5508 Go to Top of Page

blues90

Posted - 2008 June 09 :  11:33:05 AM  Show Profile
I happen to like the old blue box athearns.

If not for these I would never have been ablr to do the kitbashing I have done.

I have not run across motor and gear noise on any of the blue box loco's.

I wish they would offer more units like the Gp-38-2 and SD-40-2 with the proper hood width. I like the idea of adding details as desired.

I always got the undec models. You can run up quite a cost in detail parts and remotoring so a blue box can end up as costly as the Genesis or atlas models.

It all depends on if you are into detailing and kitbashing or you have a layout and want a fully detailed loco to set into operation.

The metal handrails and stanctions BB athearn had never bothered me , I just use .015" brass wire in place of the hard metal wire athearn supplied. Some I just used what came with the BB athearn and they look fine to me.

I always filed the ends of the stanctions to take the square end off and set them at 90 degrees and made sure the eye's were closed and not bent off to one side and they went on with no trouble, when all was lined up a drop of CA to each eye and at the side rails and they stay there and don't bend or come loose.

No they are not as quiet as an atlas or Kato but they are acceptable to me.



Country: | Posts: 137 Go to Top of Page

Brakie

Posted - 2008 June 09 :  12:11:10 PM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by riogrande

In reality, Athearn would best serve the customer if they would some how lable the RTR lines to distinguish some of the old blue box models which are just assembled and sold RTR, and those with extra details and DCC ready etc. Perhaps they should have a basic RTR line, and then a premium RTR line, and above that, Genesis. Even Genesis is now coming with RR specific details like the new runs of F units, making them premium over std Genesis.



Gee whiz Jim,its confusing enough as it is and it hard making folks understand not all Athearn is RTR BB and as we both know there is tons of misleading information around..I had to show a guy at the club the difference between a BB RTR boxcar (the old BB Railbox car kit) and a 5347..Two different species under the RTR moniker.

I fully agree there is 2 different levels of RTR and some of them has been upgraded from the earlier runs.For instance take the GP38-2..The early runs doesn't have the metal drabs..The later runs did.

Then we have that Trinity Hopper that comes in the Genesis line as well as the RTR line..This car was down graded because some of the names in the RTR line is and I quote Athearn:"Based on our popular Genesis body,but with paint schemes that aren't quite accurate for this specific model".
Great information for those of us in the know but,for others it could be misleading.



Larry
Summerset Ry.

Country: USA | Posts: 7537 Go to Top of Page

riogrande

Posted - 2008 June 09 :  2:09:35 PM  Show Profile
Yes, it is confusing. I was a little disappointed that the GP40-2's I bought will have to be gutted and the motor isolated before installing a DCC board. Yes, I supposed the box doesn't have the big label saying "DCC Ready" or some such thing.

Rio Grande - The Action Road
Atlas forum member since 1994

Country: USA | Posts: 5508 Go to Top of Page

CSXT4447

Posted - 2008 June 09 :  2:36:48 PM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Alcofanbob

Guys, let's call a spade a shovel here. Yes, the plastic is much, much better than the BB days for sure. Athearn's plastic is some of the industry's best. However, under that pretty shell lurks the Athearn chasis with the gear noise and sometimes noisy motor. Some models seem to be worse than others. This is the frustration I have with Horizon/Athearn. If they could make the RTR chasis run like our host's models do they'd have the tail waggin' the dog. Until then it's hit and miss with getting a smooth RTR model.

Bob



Yes - but the Athearn RTR hex drive continues to improve (try the new SD40-2s under load), and most updated Athearn RTR units cost $89.98 to $99.98 retail. Current Atlas models cost 50% more, at $149.98 retail. I think Athearn offers a fanatasic value given the high quality plastic, painting, and wire/metal details, and leaves room in the budget for those that want to re-motor.


Mark Menges
CSX Barr & Garrett Subs
csxt4447@hotmail.com

Country: USA | Posts: 530 Go to Top of Page

Brakie

Posted - 2008 June 09 :  2:40:53 PM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by riogrande

Yes, it is confusing. I was a little disappointed that the GP40-2's I bought will have to be gutted and the motor isolated before installing a DCC board. Yes, I supposed the box doesn't have the big label saying "DCC Ready" or some such thing.



That's not a very big task but,as I found out at the club some don't have the basic mechanical skills to do that simple job even tho' I gave a class with demonstration on installing a DCC decoder in a Athearn non DCC ready locomotive..
Perhaps Athearn needs to add a new motor and DCC plug?


Larry
Summerset Ry.

Country: USA | Posts: 7537 Go to Top of Page
Page: of 2 Previous Topic: Tony Koester s Frankfort Yard article? Topic Next Topic: HO Photo Fun 6-8-08  
 Forum Locked |   Topic Locked |   Printer Friendly
Next Page
Jump To:
Atlas Model Railroad Co. © 1709-2011 Atlas Models Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 0.8 seconds. Powered By: Snitz Forums 2000