Tuesday, October 12, 2010

HOn30 Trucks

On the HOn30 Yahoo group there has been some discussion about HOn30 trucks and I thought a side-by-side photo comparison might help modelers decide which one to choose. The point is that there are many more options than the 5 I show here. Double-click the photo to see a larger version.

From left to right are Grandt HOn30 truck with Northwest Short Line metal wheels, Blackstone HOn3 truck with wheels re-gauged, Model Railroad General Store Gilpin Hon30 truck with NWSL wheels, Microtrains N scale arch bar truck with Intermountain 36" (in N scale) wheels (#IRC60051) and Microtrains N scale arch bar truck with stock wheels.

Here is my personal evaluation and ranking according to my own preferences. You might have other priorities and have every right to disagree with me. I understand that trucks that look good but do not run well are frustrating. Please also understand that difficulties I had with assembly reflect more on my own skill that the quality of the product. Your mileage may vary.

Grandt truck (#1 if successfully tuned) pros
-Prototypically correct details for Maine 2 footers
-Allows cars to sit lower
Grandt truck cons
-Requires tuning (clean up/polishing of axle ends; clean up of flash; sometimes addition of keep on bottom of journal Box to keep wheels from dropping out. See tuning article in Maine 2 Foot Quarterly.)
-Older version with plastic wheels require replacing wheels

Blackstone pros (#2 if smaller wheels could be found)
-Runs flawlessly
-Has brake beams
-Has metal wheels
-Ready to Run.
Blackstone cons
-Wheels are too large, cars would sit too high for Maine 2 foot look
-Details do not match Maine 2 foot prototype

Model RR General Store pros (#4 Chivers not shown here are #3)
-Similar to Maine 2 foot prototype
Model RR General Store cons
-Assembly required, easy to break side frames during assembly
-Wheels not included
-Details not as crisp as Grandt or Blackstone

MT arch bars with Intermountain wheels (#5 good for shorter/smaller free-lanced cars) pros
-Run flawlessly
-Sit higher with IM wheels
- Ready to Run
MT arch bar IM wheels cons
-A bit short and small

Other options
-Athearn MDC N scale arch bar trucks (unsure of current availability)
-David Hoffman brass HOn30 trucks (order by mail at 8682 US Highway 61
North, Woodville, MS 39669-3502
-Precision Scale HOn3 trucks re-gauged (available from Walthers)

Thank you to Dave Miecznikowski for the Blackstone truck idea and to Woodie Greene for the Precision Scale truck idea.