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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I'm a total newbie to the model train scene. I'm in Germany now and have been riding the ICE-3 trains a lot so I thought I'd take a model home with me. I'm in Cologne and found a store with the n-scale TRIX ICE-3 starter set and the PIKO ICE-3 analog starter set.

I can't open either box so I don't know what they're like inside. I found a youtube video of the PIKO set but I can't find any info on the n-scale TRIX set. Basically, I am wondering if the quality of the n-scale set is any good. The HO scale TRIX looks amazing but I'm not really willing to spend that much for what is essentially a souvenir.

Is the quality of the PIKO set pretty good? If it's pretty good, I might just get that as it is quite a bit bigger than the n scale. But if the detail in an Nscale model from TRIX is really good, I might settle for that as it is slightly cheaper for the set and it's small enough that I can display it on my model shelf when it's not on the track.

Thank you for your help,
tm
 

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Hi,

I´d go with the HO scale Piko set, as it offers good value for money. Maybe you can even get a digital starter set; the digital remote control is made by Uhlenbrock iirc.

Downside is that you´d have to buy two identical supplementary coaches to get a complete set (if that is what you wish), upside is that you can very easily (some paint and maybe new catenary pickups) enhance the ICE set to a top quality model. There have been several reports on how this is done on German forums (not sure if I´m supposed to post linls here), and in one of the MIBA Sezial magazines.

The Trix set is really only for kids. Due to the high flanges, the cutouts for the bogies to turn are way!!! too large. Fitting interior lighting is a problem. Iirc, they don´t even have working headlights.

And while we´re at it - check out the Mehano set. It is true to scale (the Piko coaches are 1/93 rather than 1/87 iirc to make it easier to negotiate tight curves), but the clips where the windows are atttached to the carbody are clearly visible, on many, there is a gap between the floor and the carbody, and the running quality is so-so, I´ve been told. But you get a complete 8-car-set @ around 160 Euro.

However, if I were to make the decision, I´d go for the Piko.
 
G

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you very much for your prompt response! I really appreciate it.

I checked into things a bit more over the course of the day and I am learning more about these train sets. I am a bit confused about the digital aspects. It seems there are AC and DC versions but they vary pretty dramatically in price. Are there limits to the DC version? I'm never going to have more than one train (at this point) But I do find the sound features that are enabled by the digital technology kind of cool. I especially like the effects that seem to be on the HO scale TRIX/Marklin models. However, I see that there is quite a price to be paid for those cool effects.


The Piko analog sets say "digital ready". Is it just a snap in type of thing or is there soldering and rewiring required? I found the Piko analog NL ICE-3 online for US$90. That might be the best way for me to get my feet wet in this stuff...

I found a mehano starter set that contains 4 cars. I think if I was going to get the full 8 car set though, I would probably get the Marklin set as that seems to be the benchmark.

Hmmm... it seems like my choices are just ever expanding instead of contracting.
 

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QUOTE I'm in Germany now
which is why you are getting the message

QUOTE It seems there are AC and DC versions
If you are British, then you will understand what I mean when I say that the Marklin brand is the Hornby of Germany, only more so. (I am talking market share and brand recognition here chaps, so lets not start other comparison hares running). Marklin use AC to power their motors and their dominance of the German market, the largest model railway market in Europe, is such that most other manufacturers make AC versions of their models so as to be compatible.

Once you choose AC or DC power for your motors, your future is set. Trix (in the HO scale) is Marklin's brand for DC versions of their models. Not everything Marklin make comes out in DC as well and as I discovered on holiday in Switzerland last month, support in the more consumer orientated end of the retail trade is patchy.

For continental modelling, I don't think there's a downside in choosing AC. If however you think you might like to buy the occasional British outline train, then you should choose DC as I am not aware of any British outline stuff which is AC powered.

David
Modeller of 50s west Yorkshire steam in OO gauge but whose lines are soon to be visited by a Trix SBB Re460 and Roco SBB double deckers from the present day; my wife likes them and she'd have an ICE3 if offered!
 

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QUOTE (Guest @ 12 Aug 2007, 22:23) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thank you very much for your prompt response! I really appreciate it.



QUOTE (Guest @ 12 Aug 2007, 22:23) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I checked into things a bit more over the course of the day and I am learning more about these train sets. I am a bit confused about the digital aspects. It seems there are AC and DC versions but they vary pretty dramatically in price. Are there limits to the DC version? I'm never going to have more than one train (at this point) But I do find the sound features that are enabled by the digital technology kind of cool. I especially like the effects that seem to be on the HO scale TRIX/Marklin models. However, I see that there is quite a price to be paid for those cool effects.


AC pretty much limits you to Märklin track and the mfx digital system, which I hear is rather costly once you´re back in the UK (I figure you are a tourist rather than a member of the Royal Armed Forces or in another way stuck in Germany for a longer period of time). On the contrary, you can run DC HO models on 00 scale tracks (looks a bit wonky, but they are compatible) and can go digital using an 8-pole-DCC plug, which adheres to international norms. You like sound? Install a ESU Loksound decoder in any Piko, Mehano or whatever ICE3 model. In Germany, these sound decoders are around EUR 100, and I´m sure that you can find a dealer who will install the ICE3 sounds on it for you, in Germany or the UK. The digital chips are plug and play, basically, if you follow the short set of instrucions, you can´t really do anything wrong. There´s no soldering involved as the models are DCC ready. Altogether, I guess that a DC model will limit you far less in your future that an AC model in the UK, since you can use any 00 transformer, track, wiring etc. (not houses and vehicles, since continental HO is 1/87th scale, and British outline 00 is 1/76th scale, however, that also applies to AC models), but that is just my personal opinion.

QUOTE (Guest @ 12 Aug 2007, 22:23) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The Piko analog sets say "digital ready". Is it just a snap in type of thing or is there soldering and rewiring required? I found the Piko analog NL ICE-3 online for US$90. That might be the best way for me to get my feet wet in this stuff...

Like I said, it is an 8-pin-plug that is plugged into an 8-hole-socket - voil´y. You may want to program stuff like name, accelleration, or top speed, but that is no science. The NL version is the Dutch (NS) trainset, and extra cars may be difficult to obtain (plus, USD prices indicate that import duties will have to be paid). I suggested the DCC set by Piko because a DCC control is included at rather low cost. However, that is your decision to make.

QUOTE (Guest @ 12 Aug 2007, 22:23) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I found a mehano starter set that contains 4 cars. I think if I was going to get the full 8 car set though, I would probably get the Marklin set as that seems to be the benchmark.

HANDS OFF THAT SET!!!! It´s a cheapo childrens toy sold mainly in discount supermarkets, and reportedly lacks both detail and some add-on parts. Not a good choice imho. Märklin being the benchmark... hmmm. Märklin sued Piko some time ago for plagiarism, as they felt the Piko set was a copycat version of their own. The Pikos featured the same 1/93rd scale length cars Märklin does, the couplers are compatible, the design shows some similarities according to Märklin - however, Märklin lost in court, and many Modellers feel thet the Piko set is right up there with Märklin if you use some paint and a few Sommerfeldt parts, but is only half the price of Märklin´s offering even including the work that makes it a perfect offer.I´m just going to include a link to the German DSO forum, where there are threads named "Pimp my ICE3" that show what a modeller can do to enhance the Piko´s appearance: Pimp my ICE3 and Pimp my ICE3 reloaded Considering that a Piko ICE3 trainset sells at around EUR 100 - 130 (the one with the T-Mobile commercial on it), that seems a pretty decent value for your money imho.

QUOTE (Guest @ 12 Aug 2007, 22:23) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hmmm... it seems like my choices are just ever expanding instead of contracting.


Let´s limit them - my dealer told me a few weeks ago that most customers return their Mehano ICE3 trains and exchange them for Pikos, as the running characteristics are crap, they derail on tight curves, and they tend to fall apart from just looking at them OK, they snap back together, but still...
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You guys are AWESOME!!!

Thank you so much for the help. I really do appreciate it. I'm not trying to be sarcastic.

I should clarify though. I'm a Japanese American, who spends most of my time in Japan, but some significant time in Germany and the US every year due to work (I work on an F1 team). So technically, I can buy my toys pretty much in any of those areas. As I spend the most time in Japan, I'd likely leave my ICE there. I actually have a spare room that I'm currently using as a hobby room (electric RC helis and piano) so I could feasibly set up a layout in there.

It sounds like the PIKO set is the way to go. The analog NS set is so inexpensive in the US that I can pick it up and bring it back with me the next time I'm in the US. I don't mind tinkering with it so I can do the digital mod myself as I do the conversion to 100volts. And DC sounds like a better option as well. I think I'd like to consider a Shinkansen set as well so I guess I'll do some research on that to see what is available in japan.

I am only in germany til saturday though so I guess I should have thought of this earlier! I'm gonna have to spend the bulk of my free time this week figuring out what I will do.


I may actually take you up on your offer at the start of the season next year when I will probably be in Melbourne Neil! It's actually your review of the HO scale TRIX train that has me salivating for that particular model.

Thanks!
TM
 

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QUOTE I think I'd like to consider a Shinkansen set as well so I guess I'll do some research on that to see what is available in japan.

Take a look at Kato. There's a link from the Forum's links page which you can get to from this link. I'm not sure about HO scale Shinkansen, but they do a wide range of n gauge which probably throws a spanner into your Piko decision
There's a few dealers sell Kato in the UK and I've seen some of the sets. They seem to capture the essence of the trains well enough to my eye.

Good luck with the rest of the season.
David
 

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QUOTE I may actually take you up on your offer at the start of the season next year when I will probably be in Melbourne Neil! It's actually your review of the HO scale TRIX train that has me salivating for that particular model.

Thanks!
TM

It's a great model, however it does cost a lot. I believe it's worth it but it's down to each individual if they want to spend that much.
 

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for value for money I would certainly think seriously about the Piko variant. It appears to be a very passable model for the money.

Regards
 
G

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi!

Sorry I did not reply earlier to the posts yesterday. I was doing some research on what is available in Japan. It looks like most of the trains there are n-scale for the shinkansen series. So, I think what I will do is buy the MINITRIX set for now so that I just have a pure toy, so-to-speak, that I can leave on my desk at work and never actually run for the most part. I'm going to get the starter set with the battery controller so I suppose I could run it around my desk if I wanted to but that would probably be frowned upon at work
I figure I can put the shinkansen set next to it.

Then, I plan to buy the AC digital version of the PIKO HO-scale when I'm in the US ($162USD). I will be riding the ICE to Frankfurt this weekend so I will take a lot of detailed photos (at Frankfurt, I can even get pics from above) so I can detail it all I want later on my own. I also like the fact that the PIKO ones say BordBistro instead of BordRestaurant as all of the ICE trains I've ridden on have the former rather than the latter.

So for about half the price of the Marklin, I can have two sets of ICE's plus a Shinkansen.

Once I make my purchases, I'll officially join the forum as a member as I would like to interact more with you guys. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to get into building layouts but I'd like to get the PIKO as accurate as possible.

Thank you very much for your assistance everyone!

TM
 

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I thought you might end up going for the N scale. I believe Kato N scale track is highly regarded in Japan as it is designed for frequent putting down and taking up again.

Good luck with your purchases and I look forward to hearing from you again when you join up


David
 

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Hi guys!

I'm finally back in Japan. A bit later than I originally anticipated. I bought the MiniTrix ICE set with the 9volt battery controller
I have a few questions but I'll post them in the N gauge section.

Thanks for all of your help! I'm officially registered now with this username.

Max
 
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