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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i have been looking for a big boy and found there are a few available, rivarossi, athearn, bli etc. does anyone know where i can actually get one of any of these and in people opinions which is the nicest model. also does anyone no where i can get a FEF in union paciic two tone grey? i know rivarossi made one but again cant find a shop with one left in stock. thanks for any help andy
 

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Andy Hi,

The below company:

http://factorydirecttrains.com/

used to sell the Blue Line Big Boy however seems they are sold out. I have shopped from them and found them to be very reliable. Worth to send them an e-mail message .

It is said the Rivarrossi Big Boy was the top notch in its time but Blueline products has also come a long way quality wise. Not sure about the Athearn.

Baykal
 

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I noticed a Trix Big Boy in Gaugemaster's shop yesterday. I've no idea how it stacks up as a model but for that sort of money it would want to be very good. There's a photo and price details on their website - try this page

David
 

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*** The Trix is a nice model but the sound decoder is LokSound 2 usually - not very good compared to the V3.5 I'm afraid. Note too that threre were 2 versions - with RP25 wheels and with NEM wheels, so check that too.

The best of the current Big Boys is the BLI by a long way - The Athaern is a nice model of the Big Boy but the sound chip is a pretty poor MRC one - not good at all as it has lousy loco control/synchonisation compared to BLI/LokSound or Tsunami

I'd keep looking at US shops to see if one has a Big Boy from BLI/Blueline.

Richard
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thank you for all the help. i would just like to see the bli blueline one as its a lot of money to spend without a view. but if its not an option i will try n see what i can find in america. wish i had this thought 3 months ago. would have saved me a small amount!
 

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Hi, There are usually Rivarossi Big Boys available on Ebay and there are some new ones often for sale at about the £200 mark.
There are also FEF s in Black and Grey available from Class8H models also on Ebay at £210 ( just checked)
Look under "Union Pacific " in the trains section.
I have a Trix big Boy which is pretty good but the real winner is my PCM version which I think is the same as the BLI Blueline but the Blueline has sound but not DC which has to be added by the purchaser.
The sound on the PCM Big Boy is good and the detail amazing - as good or better that the Trix. Two examples are the smokebox marker lights which are not fitted to the Trix model and the valve gear and motion which on the PCM is dark coloured and metallic while the Trix is shiny bright - I know which I prefer and it is not shiny.
The PCM is no longer available but if the Blueline is the same model then this is the one I would go for.
I have not got an Athearn version bt I do have a Challenger which to my ears sound OK and I have had no problems with control.
Regards, Colin.
 

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Hendford Halt in Yeovil is selling a Rivarossi UP BigBoy for less than £150, everything sold by Pete Farr is in good working order and he is a decent person. (01935) 427983 - 43 West Coker Rd, Yeovil, BA20 2LZ
 

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Depending on how much you have to spend or want to spend is going to determine your choice. The Rivarossi models were okay but pricey models. They are also rather old being first produced in the seventies so they are extremely dated models with poor detailing. The models from Athearn and BLI are much better. The BLI models has a cast metal boiler and it is just the PCM model rebranded with a different decoder. As it also follows on from the TRix model it does have a few inaccuracies, wheeel diameter is wrong. stack height, cab width and the cast metal body isn't a very sharp casting as many of the panel lines are to thick, have rounded edges and the the rivet detail is to heavy but with it's weight it is an excellent puller. The Athearn model has a plastic body but the cast detail is better, panel lines, rivets etc. It also has the ability to negoiate curves down to 22inch radius due to both engine units having the ability to pivot though I would still watch the overhang as these are big models. If I had to make a choice it would be the Athearn model. I'm not that partial to BLI Blueline models with their odd decoder which i think has caused more strife with modellers than it has solved. Athearn also make an FEF in the two tone gray scheme with smoke deflectors. ATHG 9207 is an FEF 2 in the gray scheme and ATHG 9204 is an FEF 3 in the gray scheme. It 's a nice model but overly comprised to travel around 22inch radius curves.

Charles Emerson
Queensland
Australia
 

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*** Thats a strange conclusion Charles - Athearns choice of MRC decoders is a total disaster when compared to the BLI which once the initial confusion as to how to programme the things to gt going is a far better sound and given a good choice of loco control decoder they run like a dream.... My UP modelling friends rate the BLI as far superior to the Trix and most like it better than the Athearn.

I also get on average one Athearn loco a week with the request to rip out the awful MRC sound/drive decoder (which in about 1/2 is actually faulty anyway) and replace it with something better.

I do agree that the Blueline confuses modellers with their DC/DCC issues - only the PowerCab is reliable in programming them first time, and I do a few each week to help desperate modellers. Ialso sell Blueline, but they never leave the shop without a quality decoder pre-installed and programmed, so my Blueline customers never see the issues other have.

Richard
 

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Not really that strange Richard. The MRC decoder isn't that bad sound wise when teamed up to a decent speaker and enclosure and if you add the likes of a TCS T-1 as the motor decoder it solves the motor control problem. It's cheaper to add a decoder to control the motor than it is to replace the MRC decoder. I only have one Athearn steam loco and it's a 1st run Clinchfield Challenger. It was awful both sound and motor control and was an early candidate for the first Tsunami I bought. The newer models have improved and the diesels are better yet though a couple of them like the MP15AC do have a couple of quirks when it comes to programming. And I still add a seperate decoder for motor control.
I gave up on the Blueline decoders even after I bought a Power Cab as they are still prone to not accepting a 4 didgit address, C30-7, SD-40, SD9, SF 4-8-4, AC 6000 all spring to mind. I still buy Bluline locos but only if I can't aquire a BLI QSi equipped loco.

Charles Emerson
Queensland

QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 8 Jan 2009, 12:43) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>*** Thats a strange conclusion Charles - Athearns choice of MRC decoders is a total disaster when compared to the BLI which once the initial confusion as to how to programme the things to gt going is a far better sound and given a good choice of loco control decoder they run like a dream.... My UP modelling friends rate the BLI as far superior to the Trix and most like it better than the Athearn.

I also get on average one Athearn loco a week with the request to rip out the awful MRC sound/drive decoder (which in about 1/2 is actually faulty anyway) and replace it with something better.

I do agree that the Blueline confuses modellers with their DC/DCC issues - only the PowerCab is reliable in programming them first time, and I do a few each week to help desperate modellers. Ialso sell Blueline, but they never leave the shop without a quality decoder pre-installed and programmed, so my Blueline customers never see the issues other have.

Richard
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 8 Jan 2009, 02:43) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>*** Thats a strange conclusion Charles - Athearns choice of MRC decoders is a total disaster when compared to the BLI which once the initial confusion as to how to programme the things to gt going is a far better sound and given a good choice of loco control decoder they run like a dream.... My UP modelling friends rate the BLI as far superior to the Trix and most like it better than the Athearn.

I actually have two Big Boys after santa claus' december visit
(Although ironically no actual layout as I'm in the midst of a house move)

I have a PCM one, which I have had for a while, it has a loksound decoder I beleive, and a smoke unit. very nice model, excellent runner, although despite the inference they will run around 22" curves, you want 30" minimum in my view.

Sound I have always found very good, once the initial factory set volume was toned down a bit.

December saw the arrival of the blueline model, which was, incidentally, half the cost.

Same nice model, I suspect they are from the same moulds, doesnt have a smoke system, but the sound is , I have to say, better than the loksound version.

I wouldnt hesitate in saying, this side of custom brass, you wont find a nicer model than the Blueline Big Boy, if, of course, you can find one. Sadly I beleive the big boy moulds were some of the ones embroiled in the MTH lawsuit, so likely as not you wont see a broadway one manufactured again for a while.

On the subject of the blueline decoder thing, I purchased four seperate blueline locos last month, including the big boy, a couple of F units and a FA/B set.

I use lenz DCC, and despite that being one of the awkward ones for blueline, as you cant change addresses programming on the main, I have had zero isses with getting them going.

Literally 5 minutes each.

Simply put the engine on a programming track and punch in the desired address on the sound decoder. Programme the motor decoder tothe same address in another loco, install the motor decoder. done.

I used lenz silvers in all of them, and I have to say, the F units are better runners than my genesis units, although the sound is a bit limited (only 3 notches) compared to the qsi revolution and tsunami aftermarket examples I have in those models.

They are excellent value for money workhorse layout locomotives.
 

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This is my point with Blueline locos. If you have to use two locos to program one decoder then there's something wrong with the decoder in the Blueline. I generally fit TCS decoders to the Bluelines as they are the most trouble free but on certain models in the Blueline series you have to resort to extraordinary means to program the loco. For a while with the first SD40 and AC6000 I had them running as double headers as the locos refused to program the motor decoder. I found that Lenz decoders especially the Silvfer were easily confused to the point of not working at all, actually had the factory smoke escape on one. Now if I buy a Blueline I just buy either a Tsunami or Quantum Revolution to fit in it.

Charles Emerson
Queensland
Australia

QUOTE (NoggintheNog @ 9 Jan 2009, 03:05) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I actually have two Big Boys after santa claus' december visit
(Although ironically no actual layout as I'm in the midst of a house move)

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I use lenz DCC, and despite that being one of the awkward ones for blueline, as you cant change addresses programming on the main, I have had zero isses with getting them going.

Literally 5 minutes each.

Simply put the engine on a programming track and punch in the desired address on the sound decoder. Programme the motor decoder tothe same address in another loco, install the motor decoder. done.

I used lenz silvers in all of them, and I have to say, the F units are better runners than my genesis units, although the sound is a bit limited (only 3 notches) compared to the qsi revolution and tsunami aftermarket examples I have in those models.<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
 

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I programme both in the loco at the same time, first run through programming using POM for the Blueline, then Programming track mode for the TCS. Never a problem.

Richard
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 9 Jan 2009, 04:14) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I programme both in the loco at the same time, first run through programming using POM for the Blueline, then Programming track mode for the TCS. Never a problem.

Richard

If I were using NCE or (I think) digitrax, thats exactly what I would do as well.

The only reason I programme the 2 decoders seperately is the lenz limitation in that you cannot alter a chips address on the main.

It takes no effort and virtually no time anyway, so whilst I was aprehensive at buying blueline due to the horror stories you read on the web, I have had no issues at all, all engines using 4 digit addresses, and the F units happily consist together, and with other manufacturers locos.
 

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Hi guys, just got a blueline Bigboy after much searching!!

Appear to be having problems with the BLI sound chip. Put on test track and all worked as #3. Bells, Whistles etc worked fine. Then fitted a new TCS T4X. Switched back on and again everything worked fine for a couple of minutes, chuffed up an down. Then it came to halt and the Ecos showed a short circuit. Manually moved the Bigboy along track hit go but still showed a short on the screen. I took the TCS chip out and the short disappeared? I have tried it in another loco and same result, so its gone up in smoke. Any body got any ideas if this is something i have done, i know that TCS have a no quibble policy on returns but i would like to know if there is something that i have done? Have then tried to read the CV's etc using my ECOS on the sound chip only. The Ecos won't read it on the main track, and on the the programming track its not much better. It won't read it in dcc, it then tried selectrix before switching to Motorola. It evenutally read the chip and called it a Motorola 14?? Don't appear to be able read the cv's and now none of the sound effects work. Again advice would be appreciated. I can't even reset to the original manufacturers settings. Again i am sure many of you will have answer to the problem.

Regards Dave
 

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I'd fit the TCS decoder to another loco then do a factory reset and see how it goes. As for reading the the Blueline decoder well best of luck. Richard can probably help as I have given up on the Blueline sound decoders and I now replace them with either a Tsunami steam decoder or a Quantum Revolution diesel decoder.

Charles Emerson
Queensland
Australia

QUOTE (jonnyfivesalive @ 28 Jan 2009, 10:00) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi guys, just got a blueline Bigboy after much searching!!

Appear to be having problems with the BLI sound chip. Put on test track and all worked as #3. Bells, Whistles etc worked fine. Then fitted a new TCS T4X. Switched back on and again everything worked fine for a couple of minutes, chuffed up an down. Then it came to halt and the Ecos showed a short circuit. Manually moved the Bigboy along track hit go but still showed a short on the screen. I took the TCS chip out and the short disappeared? I have tried it in another loco and same result, so its gone up in smoke. Any body got any ideas if this is something i have done, i know that TCS have a no quibble policy on returns but i would like to know if there is something that i have done? Have then tried to read the CV's etc using my ECOS on the sound chip only. The Ecos won't read it on the main track, and on the the programming track its not much better. It won't read it in dcc, it then tried selectrix before switching to Motorola. It evenutally read the chip and called it a Motorola 14?? Don't appear to be able read the cv's and now none of the sound effects work. Again advice would be appreciated. I can't even reset to the original manufacturers settings. Again i am sure many of you will have answer to the problem.

Regards Dave
 

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Thanks Charles for the quick reply, have tried the TCS chip in a Bachmann type 46, it shorts out the Ecos also, hence i fear it is frazzled! Have read your other threads on the blueline sound chips and will certainly consider rechipping if i can't get it working.

Regards Dave
 

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*** Did you move the small plug to the right place on the Blueline PCB before you installed the TCS chip? If not then this may be what has damaged it.

Reading a BLI sound chip isn't something many systems can do as it need reasonable power to do so and most don't have it in programming track mode. the read you got as motorola 14 is a faulty read, nothing more.

forget reading it... try a factory reset on the BLI chip using programming on the main - set CV8 to 8. If this doesn't work restore the blanking plug, return the little PCB to the original position and use the "wand" to do a reset.

It should now work sound wise... I have never seen one fail in the sound chip.

Richard
 

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Thanks Richard for the advice. Are you talking about the plug which the instructions inform can be move optionally to allow the motor decoder to control the lights? As for resetting cv8 to 8 can't get my Ecos to read or write to the Blueline chip. As for the 'wand' you will have to accept my ignorance, what is the wand? Again any advice from you would be much appreciated. Also this is my first HO loco having stuck with UK bachmann and hornby offerings so far. I am likely to have problems using my Ecos with a Paragon 2 ac6000 that i have pre-ordered?

Regards Dave
 

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The " Magic Wand" is exactly that it's a small metal rod or something that looks like a a car remote door locker or it's just a long plactic strip with a metal tip. BLI have used a few variations but it's used to reset the reed switch in BLI locos. I think Richard is referring to the J1 plug which should be put into the J7 socket to control the lights via the decoder. You did remember to remove the jumpers from the decoder socket before fitting the decoder. I only ask because I have seen it happen and the excuse was it doesn't look like jumper board I have in my other locos. You should have no trouble with a Paragon 2 AC 6000 as it's a completely different decoder more akin to the Quantum revolution series of decoders.

Charles Emerson
Queensland
Australia

QUOTE (jonnyfivesalive @ 29 Jan 2009, 06:30) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thanks Richard for the advice. Are you talking about the plug which the instructions inform can be move optionally to allow the motor decoder to control the lights? As for resetting cv8 to 8 can't get my Ecos to read or write to the Blueline chip. As for the 'wand' you will have to accept my ignorance, what is the wand? Again any advice from you would be much appreciated. Also this is my first HO loco having stuck with UK bachmann and hornby offerings so far. I am likely to have problems using my Ecos with a Paragon 2 ac6000 that i have pre-ordered?

Regards Dave
 
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