Author Topic: Are there RTR alternatives to GRS and Kingscale?  (Read 3756 times)

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Offline Bronzino

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  • Mark Alexander
Are there RTR alternatives to GRS and Kingscale?
« on: March 20, 2015, 06:20:10 PM »
Hello all,
I am considering a start in G3 after a period in G1 and O Gauge.
I joined the G3 society a while ago and have had a couple of the newsletters.
I don't have the machining skills to scratch build and my kit building is limited to the most basic of the Aster kits which are very simple and require no soldering etc.
I have visited GRS this week and I was very impressed with their stock of G3.
Outside of GRS products and Kingscale live steam are there any alternative G3 RTR locomotives of British outline available?
I would like to make sure I have all the facts about manufacturers before I spend my money.
I am considering a Bachmann Prairie with r/c and battery power from GRS.
Many thanks
Mark

Offline John Candy

Re: Are there RTR alternatives to GRS and Kingscale?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2015, 07:22:13 PM »
Mark,

Although I shall probably get a lot of "flak" for saying this, if you have few modelling/model engineering skills then I believe it only correct to say that G3 is not for you (unless you have won the lottery and can pay for everything to be custom-built).

There are no RTR locos. other then those you mention (unless you include ready-assembled kits which can be "commissioned") so your only alternative would be secondhand items which occasionally appear on Ebay and in auctions, as well as being advertised in this forum.

Without the ability to solder and the confidence to attempt assembly of (expensive) kits you will find it very difficult to make much progress in G3.

It is a hard, slow, slog building a decent layout, even with the necessary skills.

As for coaching stock, apart from the GRS "B set"(RTR) and LSWR stock (plastic kits) there is almost nothing available apart from 3 or 4 of etched brass kits of 4/6 wheeled stock (and most of those are only sides/ends for scratch building).

My best advice would be to stick with G1 and I have to say, that if I were not so committed to G3 in terms of outlay, I would be tempted to switch to G1 for the convenience of having a wider choice of kits and ready-made track, etc.

Now I shall take cover!

Regards,
John.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 08:12:29 PM by John Candy »
My fellow Members, ask not what your Society can do for you, ask what you can do for your Society.

Offline MikeWilliams

Re: Are there RTR alternatives to GRS and Kingscale?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2015, 08:12:54 PM »
Mark,

To give a balanced view, I would say there are presently no RTR G3 locomotives other than what you have mentioned.  However, I don't think there are many in G1 either.  Getting a professional to build a G3 kit for you may be a viable option and means you can have the one you want.

The other point is whether you are wanting steam or electric.  Kingscale are all steam of course and there are no kits for live steam either, but electrically powered steam outline kits are starting to come on stream and should be available from various sources before too long, including Walsall, Agenoria and (shortly) Williams Models (i.e. me!).

You might want to look through the G3S membership list and ask somebody like Tim Breeze or Mark Pretious for a price to build the kit of course choice.

And, come along to a GTG and just chat with other people there, before making a decision on which scale to go with.

Mike

Offline John Candy

Re: Are there RTR alternatives to GRS and Kingscale?
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2015, 08:24:19 PM »
Mark,

I was going to add a "P.S." to my earlier message but since Mike has posted a subsequent message, will add this.

I would suggest that you look at www.g3madesimple.org.uk at the articles on construction of kits.
It may be that you will feel more confident about tackling kits with the guidance offered there.
I would say this, the GRS loco kits are not always as simple to assemble as their advertisements might suggest, so would not advise "jumping in" with one of those unless you understand the possible hurdles.

How large a layout would you be looking to build ... a simple circuit with a few sidings or something more elaborate?
Would your track be inside or in the garden?

John.
My fellow Members, ask not what your Society can do for you, ask what you can do for your Society.

Offline MikeWilliams

Re: Are there RTR alternatives to GRS and Kingscale?
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2015, 08:35:35 PM »
And, I note you are near Leicester which happens to host a great G3 railway and enthusiastic owner who would give honest advice.  You are also not far from the Sandy, Ampthill, Wootton area where there are other railways and several other G3 enthusiasts to give advice.  Or, feel give to give me a call (number in the Newsletter) - it would be unbiased because although I'm a trader and manufacturer, I don't yet have any locomotive kits!  But I'm also no expert in live steam - yet!

Mike

Offline Bronzino

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Re: Are there RTR alternatives to GRS and Kingscale?
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2015, 09:07:48 PM »
Hi all,
many thanks for your opinions and advice which are very helpful.
I decided to canvass opinion before I make what could be either an expensive mistake or a great introduction to a long term hobby.

I am planning a very simple, outdoor A to B line (not a circuit) because that is what space is available.
Gauge One Live Steam is best on a continuous loop for obvious reasons but that is not possible in the space that I have. With a need for a rethink I decided that battery r/c would be my preferred option for a A-B line.

I have been lucky to visit Trevor's Thurnby Town garden railway and see the G1/G3 lines and that is where the G3 seed was sown. I like the mass of the G3 rolling stock

As far as budgets are concerned, I do not have enough to commission locos (or buy Kingscale locomotives) and I have some doubts as to whether I would be able to maintain the momentum without regular large investments. I appreciate the advice that this scale could be prohibitively expensive when compared to the alternatives.

I will keep an open mind for now but thank you all who have responded so far.

Regards
Mark

Offline John Candy

Re: Are there RTR alternatives to GRS and Kingscale?
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2015, 10:31:13 PM »
Mark,

If you are looking at a smallish line, then the trackwork should be a manageable expense (and ready-made turnouts are available from Cliff Barker).

Regarding locomotives, there is one avenue that has not yet been mentioned ..... but it depends on what types of locos. you will want and how much of a "rivet counter" you may or may not be.

Several people on this forum have taken the cheap Bachmann G-scale "Thomas" seriesof locos and have converted them (cheaply) to G3. Re-gauging of the wheels can be done quite cheaply and a few modifications to the plastic bodies are all that is required (plus the installation of batteries and r/c).

Similarly, some convincing conversions of Bachmann carriages have been carried out.

As I said, it all depends on what you are looking for.

Soon to arrive will be a RTR Sentinel 100HP shunter but that is not everyone's "cup of tea" but will have a high spec. and low cost.

The GRS kit of the LNER (ex-GE) Y6 tram loco. is a simple kit at low cost.

There are low-cost, entry-level options but it all depends on what you want.

Regards,
John.
My fellow Members, ask not what your Society can do for you, ask what you can do for your Society.

Offline IanT

Re: Are there RTR alternatives to GRS and Kingscale?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2015, 12:24:58 PM »
"I am considering a Bachmann Prairie with r/c and battery power from GRS."

"I appreciate the advice that this scale could be prohibitively expensive when compared to the alternatives."

I assume that you already know a fair bit about what is available in G0/G1 Mark - but that you liked what you saw when you looked at the GRS G3 range (and thought it was 'affordable'). Well, many years ago, I had the same dilemma and chose G3 over other alternatives - very much a 'heart' over 'head' decision and I have never regretted it. I am a 'scratch' builder though (not sure that's quite the right description - but it will do) so my circumstances were different.
 
I'm afraid I've never built a GRS engine myself, so I cannot advise on how difficult (or not) it might be to put together. Any venture like this (whether in G0/1 or G3) will involve quite a lot of work in other areas too (not least the track) so the avaialblilty of a RTR engine is really only one factor. Whatever gauge you choose will involve quite an investment in time and money. However, in my experience, most seemingly 'complex' things can be broken down into fairly simple steps and can be worked through given a little time and some patience.

In my experience, G3S members are also normally only too pleased to help others should the need to do so arise. So there will be help and advice around.

If you really want an 'instant' (RTR) engine - my advice to newcomers would be to look for a "pre-owned" engine. They come up for sale fairly regularly anyway but perhaps a request in the G3 Newsletter will help speed your search up?  If it's not the engine you really (really) want - then you can always pass it on (to some other newcomer) once something nicer or newer or more 'what you'd like' - comes along (which it will do with patience).

By the way - I disagree with the view that G3 needs be any more expensive than (say) G1 - let alone "prohibitively" so. If you compare like-for-like at the 'railway' level - then G3 doesn't need to cost much more (if anything) than a similar G1 line in my view.

Follow your heart on this one - where's there a will and all that. Things have changed greatly in G3 over recent years and will continue to do so.

Regards,

IanT
Nothing's ever Easy - At least the first time around.

Offline MikeWilliams

Re: Are there RTR alternatives to GRS and Kingscale?
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2015, 08:35:07 PM »
Very nicely put Ian and I agree with you 100%.

I am surprised that nobody has commented on your choice of a Bachmann Prairie.  I don't have one, but understand that several members do and although early ones seem to have had teething problems they seem to be reliable and look very good indeed.  Early ones also lacked power, but I believe that too has been improved now - anyone care to comment?  They seem to be incredible value for money.

Mike

Offline MikeWilliams

Re: Are there RTR alternatives to GRS and Kingscale?
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2015, 08:40:00 PM »
Mark,

Just to add to what John said earlier, when you come to wagons the Bachmann "Thomas" open wagons are a very good approximation to a standard 1923 private owners wagon, of which tens of thousands were built and lasted into BR days.  Many members have converted them to Gauge 3 in a variety of ways, so if you fancied some kit-bashing its a cheap way to start and the result can be very good.

Mike

Offline joewatt

Re: Are there RTR alternatives to GRS and Kingscale?
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2015, 08:15:13 PM »
I would press on with G3. I started with the GRS ready to run Prairie and 2 x B Coaches. However, they needed painting - I used Phoenix aerosol cans. Also, soft soldering was required to solder on the steam pipes and unfortunately, bits kept breaking off the locomotive and carriages because the Chinese soldering was inadequate. I also used basic electrical wiring and soldering skills to install radio control with battery power. The skill level required is not great. Albeit, I served an apprenticeship at Westlands.
Finally, I have a Kingscale 14xx on order. I wouldn't need much persuading to sell my GRS live steam J94 Austerity - it doesn't get run very often. ;)

Offline Bronzino

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  • Mark Alexander
Re: Are there RTR alternatives to GRS and Kingscale?
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2015, 09:26:54 PM »
It is great to hear from someone who owns a Prairie. I saw the Prairie run the GRS using the Revolution radio control system and it ran very smoothly and seemed to be a well made model. I also saw the GWR 0-6-0 tank built from the GRS kit which was finished very well and track powered. The 0-6-0 was a smooth runner as well but the Prairie had the edge (although the Radio Control could be the factor there). In many ways the 0-6-0 is a better fit for the line I'm planning.
Price will play a key factor for me as the loco will be the heart of the railway and my single largest expense.
I don't have ambitions to amass a shed full of motive power (at this time). I will be happy to have a smart loco on a display track on a desktop that can be run when a spare hour or two is available.
A tank locomotive with a selection of wagons run on a single track A-B with a siding (or two) and line side bits and pieces to bring it to life is what I'm after. I plan to add a GRS wagon kit each quarter and I would be very happy with that with the free time that I can devote to a hobby.
I will give the matter some thought and let you know how it turns out.
Many thanks
Mark

Offline Traininvain

Re: Are there RTR alternatives to GRS and Kingscale?
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2015, 12:39:28 PM »
Mark

here's a good article detailing the conversion of Bachmann 'Thomas' wagons and carriages

http://www.g3madesimple.org.uk/MEL41.pdf

Ian

Offline AllWight

Re: Are there RTR alternatives to GRS and Kingscale?
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2015, 02:24:58 PM »
If you want to convert the 4 wheelers i did an article in G3S mag a few years ago showing how to turn the 4 annie/clarabels into t stroudley 4 coach close coupled set for a minimum budget. Also i have a converted Thomas and next on the line is a James as well

Mark

Offline Traininvain

Re: Are there RTR alternatives to GRS and Kingscale?
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2015, 05:02:26 PM »
Mark, contact me via my email address in the G3 newsletter and I'll send you a PDF of the issue with the article where Mark P details the conversions into Stroudley coaches.

Ian