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Discussion Boards => HO => Topic started by: wiley209 on September 28, 2013, 06:20:08 PM



Title: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: wiley209 on September 28, 2013, 06:20:08 PM
Some of you may already know that I am often interested in vintage HO-scale products (and yes, vintage Bachmann is one of them.) Since the 1970s, Bachmann was one of the top HO train companies.
BUT... during the 1970s and up to the mid-1980s, Bachmann's biggest rival was... Tyco Toys!

(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2367/2248830342_3b0ba2af03_b.jpg)
Originally an offshoot of Mantua, Tyco was popular during the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. Tyco and Bachmann were the two big HO train manufacturers of the 1970s (HO was the ONLY scale Tyco manufactured trains in), and they both offered a wide variety of sets, locomotives and rolling stock, buildings and action accessories. (But Tyco never offered scenic/landscaping accessories like Bachmann first did in 1979.)

Tyco even had sets based off the Chattanooga Choo-Choo (years before the Bachmann version), the A-Team, G.I. Joe, Transformers, M.A.S.K. and Rambo.
Unlike Bachmann, Tyco never really offered locomotives based on the most latest models in use during this time (like the F40PH or the GP40.) Their building kits were also typically made by Pola in Europe, then rebranded by Tyco. They even offered building kits based off Pizza Hut, 7-Eleven, Burger King and a 7-UP Plant in the 1980s (some of these were also offered by A.H.M. around this time.)
Tyco even offered some rather unique products, like a large track expander set that featured blocking control and diagrams for a large 4x8 layout:
(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2421/3897322072_1d8c468d87_o.jpg)

...to their TycoScene layout board of the 1980s!
(http://www.ho-scaletrains.net/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/tycosceneexpandedlayout.jpg)
It was sort of similar to the Bachmann Power House train set layout board of the 1980s, but designed more realistically, and could be expanded to support a 4x6 layout with a passing siding, and even had strategic placement of accessories. This layout board was often included with some of their train sets, and at the time was an innovative way for playing with HO trains on the floor, before today's roadbed track.
Tyco also offered some rather cool action accessories that still look pretty good on a layout today:
(http://www.ho-scaletrains.net/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/tyco_freight_unloading_depot_931.jpg)
(http://www.ho-scaletrains.net/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/tyco_unloading_box_car_package.jpg)
Just as Bachmann had some of their own exclusive action accessories in the 1970s and 1980s, Tyco also had their own as well. Some of these could also be used with Bachmann E-Z track with some modification.
During this time, Tyco's other big product was slot cars. Although Bachmann did make slot cars for a while, I don't think they were as popular as Tyco's, and were discontinued in the early 1980s. It was HO trains where Bachmann and Tyco really competed with each other.

As the 1980s went on, Bachmann was growing and Tyco was shrinking, partly due to the general loss of interest in model railroading as a kids' toy, and partly because by the late 1980s and early 1990s, their products could be seen as a joke in the model railroad market, especially compared to the more high-end stuff of the time like Bachmann's then-new Spectrum line. Tyco never had such an equivalent (like Life-Like did with their Proto 2000 line.) Tyco last offered HO-scale trains in 1993, and then finally went out of business in 1998 (their slot and RC cars were acquired by Mattel in 1997.)
Of course, Bachmann lived on, and is still a major player in the HO train market today. Tyco didn't even survive long enough to come out with a roadbed track to compete with Bachmann's E-Z Track!

Just to make a note, I actually like both Bachmann and Tyco's output they offered during that time. In fact, if I were making an HO-scale layout in 1979, even if I started with a Tyco train set, I would probably also be using Bachmann Plasticville kits and some of their action accessories, rolling stock and locomotives in conjunction with Tyco's equivalents (very much like my current layout, where I use a combination of different manufacturers' products.)
Though today Tyco locomotives can vary wildly in terms of operation. I only have two: a small Tyco diesel switcher and an 0-8-0 Chattanooga steam locomotive and tender car. The switcher runs really well, but the Chattanooga sometimes struggles due to its "PowerTorque" pancake motor.

I am also a member of the Tyco Collectors' Forum, since I like both Bachmann and Tyco's stuff.


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: jbrock27 on September 28, 2013, 07:04:16 PM
I think you are leaving out a couple of other manufacturers who were big dogs at that time,  Wile E. Coyte.  :)

And as far as choosing a piece of rolling stock from that time, between TYCO and BACHMANN, I would take the TYCO over the candy colored BACHMANN.


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Doneldon on September 28, 2013, 07:23:58 PM
wiley-

The B'man and Tyco may have held most of the toy HO market, with considerable help from Life Like, but there were many, many other manufacturers. Athearn comes to mind as a giant which sold in both the toy and hobbyist markets. Bachmann successfully made the transition to quality products; Tyco didn't, nor did LL until its reincarnation as Proto. The majority of the other manufacturers are still around today except for lots of changes in the brass market as it moved first from Japan to Korea and then to China.

Your interest in the older product lines is, itself, interesting. I suggest that you see if your local library has old Model Railroader magazines, either in pulp or on fiche, as a way to learn more about the hobby in past years. If your lib is empty, MR has a DVD-ROM with all of its old issues although it's kind of pricey. There were some other mags, too, most notably Railroad Model Craftsman, but I doubt if any libraries have them. Well, perhaps some huge city systems might have them but I'd even question that. Acquainting yourself with the older press offerings should fill in some gaps in your knowledge and prove to be good reading.
                                                                                                                                                       -- D


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: jbrock27 on September 28, 2013, 07:25:50 PM
I hate viewing Fiche!!


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: jward on September 28, 2013, 07:40:21 PM
one major brand of train set quality equipment during this time waS ahm, later ihc.in their heyday, they were as widely sold as tyco, and probably bigger than Bachmann or lifelike. I can remember buying ahm stuff from jc penney back in the early 1970s.

athearn, on the other hand, was geared more towards more advanced modellers. it also ran far better than any of the train set makers locomotives and cars.

one wonders if some of the old tyco molds are still around, and if they could be upgraded to current standards with an 8 wheel frame mounted drive, and filled in pilots with body mounted couplers. they did offer some unique diesels.

and I personally would love to see their 60 foot boxcars with body mounted couplers and no roofwalks.


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: jbrock27 on September 28, 2013, 08:10:15 PM
You have to admit though, AHM stuff was a step above LL, TYCO or Bman of that time period.


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: jward on September 28, 2013, 08:56:32 PM
of the 4, tyco had the nicest handrails. ahm's were plastic and grossly oversized, while tyco's were metal similar to athearn's that would withstand rough handling.


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: jbrock27 on September 28, 2013, 09:05:44 PM
Sorry.  I should have been clearer.  I was talking about rolling stock.  I never thought much of AHM motive power (diesel anyway, I don't know anything about their steam).


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Catt on September 28, 2013, 09:53:02 PM
Back in the day Tyler Company (TYCO) and Mantua were two different companies.


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: RAM on September 28, 2013, 10:24:35 PM
As I recall, Mantua used the tyco name for a few years.   Then it was sold. 


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: jbrock27 on September 29, 2013, 07:46:05 AM
Speaking of MANTUA, it looks to me that MODEL POWER took them over and are putting out MANTUA items under the MODEL POWER label.  Am I correct?


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Catt on September 29, 2013, 08:50:10 AM
Ram, Tyco and Mantua were a combined company.The Mantua GP20 was the unaltered TYCO shell (except for the pilots).

Jbrock,when Mantua quit making model trains Model Power bought most of the dies and have actually inporoved some decent to start with product.(IMHO)


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: jbrock27 on September 29, 2013, 08:53:18 AM
Thanks Catt.
Do they come with body mounted knuckle couplers?


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: jward on September 29, 2013, 10:05:29 AM
the freight cars do, along with the old tyco snap in trucks with the coupler pockets removed.


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: jbrock27 on September 29, 2013, 11:01:09 AM
Thank you Jeff.
What are the wheels and axles like?


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: jward on September 29, 2013, 11:08:13 AM
rp25 contour, plastic wheels. not sure if they are plastic axles or not, as I've replaced them on the few mantua cars I have.


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: jbrock27 on September 29, 2013, 11:09:16 AM
Thanks again.


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Brewman on September 29, 2013, 02:22:07 PM
There was also Lionel HO in the mid 70's although probably not as popular as they were only made for a few years. That was my first HO set in 1977. Five years ago I bought a set just like the one I had back then, still need to set it up. I have read that some of the locos were Athearn. My GP9 supposedly has an Athearn shell but the chassis may be related to Bachmann? I actually bought another GP9 on E-bay this year. Added LED lighting, DCC, and knuckle couplers. I love it for the nostalgia if nothing else :)  


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Desertdweller on September 29, 2013, 03:51:02 PM
Tyco didn't disappear when it stopped manufacturing trains.  They became a high-tech medical supply company featuring disposable devices that in previous years would have been sterilized and reused.  With our third-party payer medical system, why contain costs?

Then followed an investment scandal that resulted in people going to the clink.  Better they stuck with model trains.

Be that as it may, I remember Tyco HO products as being the lowest-cost equipment that still performed well.
The integrated power truck/motor drive was smooth and quiet, if not particularly powerful.  If you needed more power, it was easy to dual-power some Diesels by snapping in another "power assembly" and adding jumper wires to smooth out power feed between them.

On my little HO layouts of the time, a single Tyco Diesel was more than sufficient power.  The biggest problem I had was integrating Tyco freight equipment with Athearn: body-mounted couplers mixed with truck-mounted ones.  It took me awhile to figure out why: either builder's products would work fine until mixed.

Tyco did have some nice, shorty passenger cars (much like Athearn's) and had some really nice paint jobs.
I had a really nice Tyco E7 I had bought for a gift.  It was painted in the "City of San Francisco" scheme of 1946.

Les


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Doneldon on September 29, 2013, 04:14:45 PM
Dd-

I'm pretty sure that Tyco the hobby company and Tyco the
high-tech company are two different entities.
                                                                           -- D


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Desertdweller on September 29, 2013, 08:52:54 PM
Don,

I've been told that before, but I have trouble believing that.  The company logo for all three "Tyco's" looks the same to me.  That is a pretty good indication, as those things are copyrighted.

These big companies tend to grow in all directions and re-invent themselves.

Bachmann and Life-Like have really improved their products and image since those old days.  Back then, there was enough market for low-end trainset stuff to support Bachmann, Life-Like, and Tyco.

AHM belongs in there, too, but I'm not counting them as manufacturers because they were really importers of products of varying quality from European manufacturers.  They did compete in the low-end market, but sold a lot of upscale stuff too.

Athearn competed in the train set market at a higher price level.  They were the "industry standard" for a couple decades.  They had a good range of products, priced about 50% higher than the cheaper lines.

Bachmann and Life-Like competed in N scale.  Tyco did not.  Athearn did not enter N-scale until decades later.

Con-Cor came out strong in N scale.  They were to N scale what Athearn was to HO.

Of all the early manufacturers, I think Life-Like has shown the most improvement.  They had the most room to improve, and the shift to China for their production has brought their products to the state they should be.
Bachmann has gotten better, too, but then, it never really was all that bad to start with.  I think their products have improved with Chinese production.

Les


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Catt on September 29, 2013, 09:34:53 PM
LifeLike no longer makes model railroad items.Walthers bought out that division of the company at least 5 years ago.


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Desertdweller on September 29, 2013, 09:56:23 PM
Catt,

I'm aware of that.  But they are still marketed as "Life-Like", and are greatly improved from what they once were.

I suppose Walther's wanted to keep the LL brand because of name recognition.  If they didn't feel the product line had a good reputation, it would have made sense to dump the name entirely and begin again fresh.  The two-tier "Proto 1000" and "Proto 2000" lines offered two levels of detail at two prices.  Not a bad strategy.

I've found the quality of their paint jobs to be especially attractive.

Les


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: jbrock27 on September 29, 2013, 10:42:38 PM
No mentions for ATLAS or COX?

I agree with what you say Les about the variance in AHM's stuff.  There is some of their rolling stock I really like and some, the Taiwanese stuff, I don't care for. 

Brewmaster, I think I read that too at one time; maybe on Tony Cook's train resource site.  I have a LIONEL 3 dome DOW tanker that I put knuckle couplers and new wheels and trucks on.  It is a neat looking car.
Today, I was putting in some LED lights (directional) in an ATHEARN locomotive of mine.  I would not be able to do this, w/o the help Mr. Ward and Les gave me some time ago.


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Desertdweller on September 30, 2013, 01:24:26 AM
jbrock,

Atlas products competed in the price bracket of Athearn (and still do).  It has been a long time since I was in HO, but I remember Atlas as being quality products.  Atlas products in N scale are still very nice in both performance and appearance.  Most of my depot switching is done by an Atlas passenger GP9.  And I make extensive use of Atlas electrical components.

Cox made some great flying model airplanes and the engines for them, but I don't think they made their own model trains.  I think they were repackaged Athearn items.  Their big introduction into HO, the SP Daylight train set, was 100% Athearn cars and locomotives.

I never could afford any of AHM's brass steam locos, so I can't comment on them.  In their plastic trains, the best stuff they sold was made by Rivarossi.  I think the best HO Rivarossi products were their streamlined passenger cars.  Full scale length, complete interiors, beautiful paint jobs.  They were ahead of their time.
Rivarossi made a nice range of Diesel and steam locos, too, but they suffered from deep wheel flanges and underpowered motors.  The Diesels tended to drive through only one truck, and had plastic frames.  On the other hand, their die work was very good.  The N scale Rivarossi stuff mirrored the HO.

When Atlas began in N scale, they sold Rivarossi equipment, too.  They soon switched to more substantially built stuff.

I'm glad you found my comments on installing directional lighting helpful.

Les


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Brewman on September 30, 2013, 09:48:14 AM
jbrock27,

I will be putting LEDs in an old blue box Athearn this week too along with a DCC decoder. I have found some decoders that have resistors built in for the LEDs. Not that adding a resistor would be hard, I just like the cleaner installation. I kind of enjoy upgrading the older locomotives. I am still debating adding DCC to my old Bachmann N-scale SD40-2.


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Woody Elmore on September 30, 2013, 09:56:28 AM
If my memory serves, Mantua went into the RTR market using the Tyco name - John Tyler being the owner of Mantua. The family sold the train line and then later bought back the Mantua tooling.

I remember 60s and 70s era Tyco to be very cheap and toylike. I also developed a strong dislike for Life Like. Life Like, apparently, took over the Varney tooling as they made a Life-Like GG-1 which had as an ancestor the Penn Line GG-1. There was no comparing the two.

I don't actively model in HO anymore but I see from going to train shows that Walthers has really rejuvenated the Life Like brand.

Today there is plenty of really nice RTR rolling stock. The trains have to be well done because they wouldn't be competitive.


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: raveoned on September 30, 2013, 11:00:24 AM
Our family had a hobby shop from the early 70's into the mid-80's, and the Tyco sets were incredibly popular.  I think the one thing they had going for them at the time was the marketing and the packaging.  The sets always looked cool: Comin' Round The Mountain, Silver Streak, Golden Eagle, Chattanooga Choo-Choo, Clementine, Durango, tons of them! 

We did recommend Bachmann over Tyco if someone was just starting out, because the locomotives were built a lot better and seemed a good amount more durable overall.  We had a lot of returns on the Tyco locos, because the motors were cheaply assembled, and frequently would start hesitating and squeaking while running, no matter if the gears were lubed or not.

But, Tyco had the marketing and packaging.  I even remember getting the Tyco GG-1s in, and we kept selling out of them, despite them having incorrect wheelsets! 

My first train, the one I could call mine, was the Tyco Spirit of '76 diesel freight set.  My parents set it up under the tree the Christmas after it first came out.  Then we had the 1860's style steam set with the same bicentennial colors.  I guess it led me to my current desire to collect some of the bicentennial trains!

Back to point, when we had customers that liked what they bought in the Tyco set, we'd then upgrade them to Bachmann and then to Athearn.  This was before Spectrum and all.  We were still selling to customers for mail order for a short time after the store itself closed, and the Spectrum became our best selling products, especially because of the K-4.


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Desertdweller on September 30, 2013, 11:35:19 AM
Woody,

I remember back in the 60's, Mantua sold easy to assemble steam loco kits, and the same locos ready to run.
I didn't have any, but would have liked them.  They used substantial open-frame Pittman motors, and electrical pick-up from both loco frame and tender.  Gear trains were simple worm and gear, so gear lash adjustment was critical to smooth operation.

Back in those days, there was good availability of cast-brass detail parts.  So a basic loco could be built out of the box and detailed to suit the builder.

I credit Bachmann with raising the quality of the entry-level sets.  If you have an entry-level set on the market, and your competitor (Bachmann) comes out with products in the same price range, but with a lifetime warranty, how can you compete?  The only way is to raise the quality of your product.

You simply can't beat a lifetime warranty.  

I think Bachmann forced Life-Like to improve their quality.  Woody wasn't the only one to have developed a strong dislike for LL.  Back in the 60's and 70's, LL designs seemed to be based on the cheapest possible way to build model trains.  When confronted with Bachmann's lifetime warranty, they were forced to improve or drop out.

To their credit, and the benefit of the hobby, LL chose to compete by building quality products.  In their N scale locos, I have seen them move from pretty basic plastic frames, to more sophisticated plastic frame designs, to all-metal frame designs.

I also think N scale is a more demanding scale to build operating locomotives in than HO.  Questionable designs that are marginal in HO (pick-up from one truck, drive through the other) won't cut it at all in N.


Les


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Johnson Bar Jeff on September 30, 2013, 11:50:21 AM
I never could afford any of AHM's brass steam locos, so I can't comment on them.  In their plastic trains, the best stuff they sold was made by Rivarossi.  I think the best HO Rivarossi products were their streamlined passenger cars.  Full scale length, complete interiors, beautiful paint jobs.  They were ahead of their time.

Rivarossi made a nice range of Diesel and steam locos, too, but they suffered from deep wheel flanges and underpowered motors.  The Diesels tended to drive through only one truck, and had plastic frames.  On the other hand, their die work was very good.  The N scale Rivarossi stuff mirrored the HO.

I agree with you on the Rivarossi passenger equipment sold by AHM, and I would include the "heavyweight" cars, too. Also--and I know they are oversize for scale--I still think the Rivarossi "old-time" Virginia & Truckee 4-4-0s are the nicest engines of their type around. Beautiful locomotives! The matching "old-time" passenger cars with duck-tail roofs and interiors are very nice, too.

I remember back in the 60's, Mantua sold easy to assemble steam loco kits, and the same locos ready to run.

I didn't have any, but would have liked them.  They used substantial open-frame Pittman motors, and electrical pick-up from both loco frame and tender.  Gear trains were simple worm and gear, so gear lash adjustment was critical to smooth operation.

The first locomotive kit I built was a Mantua/Tyco 0-4-0T, the side-tank engine with the entire superstructure one solid piece of metal. It was easy for a kid to build (with a little help), with all that weight on the drivers they will pull anything, they're easy to maintain, and I doubt you could kill 'em with a sledgehammer.  ;D

JBJ


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Doneldon on September 30, 2013, 12:22:26 PM
Dd-

I did a little investigation on the Inet. Tyco (trains) was founded in the 1950s as part of Mantua. Tyco (high tech) was founded in Switzerland as a high-tech and materials management company in1960. So ... they are and always separate companies.

I think you are correct that Cox never manufactured its own products. I think they specialized in producing limited-run train sets, mostly with a particular theme. One example which comes to mind is a John Deere set (made by Athearn) which my grandson dug up at a farm sale a few years ago. I think they also did sets for cereal companies and various other subjects. In any case, Cox contracted the construction of their pieces, many of which were dumbed-down versions of existing products. That is, they were made by other companies but not necessarily to the producers' usual quality standards. Thus, their details were only fair and their operational qualities not very good. Mainly, the sets were promotional items with unique paint schemes (which commonly lacked high standards).

I think Walthers purchased Life Like to start with an established name but they were clearly cautious about it, judging by how quickly they began the Proto 1000/2000 naming with Life Like almost as a subscript. It may even have been that they couldn't just buy some tooling, distribution routes and product licenses without taking the whole company. The Life Like name itself could not have held much value from a purely commercial standpoint.
                                                                                                                                                                                      -- D


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: jbrock27 on September 30, 2013, 01:02:40 PM
Having a lifetime warranty is definitely a big plus.  
However, I can not put the B-mann's lifetime warranty in the same boat as say, the warranty on Craftmans' hand tools, where I can walk into any store with my worn out screw driver or box end wrench and simply be given a new one off the shelf.  

One has to consider the repair/replacement fee cost and cost involved in shipping it back with the hope the item gets repaired or replaced.  There may be plenty of occasions where someone decides bc of a lack of model or paint job availability that it is just not worth putting money toward these 2 costs as opposed to putting the same dollars toward the purchase of a new locomotive.  On those occasions, I feel the value of the lifetime warranty is nullified.  Yet, I would imagine it is factored into the item's initial cost.
It should also be considered, how often one has to engage in sending items for repair, lifetime warranty or not.  Doing that often would give me reason to pause.
Just some thoughts.


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Desertdweller on September 30, 2013, 01:32:21 PM
Don,

Then, it appears that there were at least two Tycos.

There had to have been something going on behind the scenes in the Walther's resurrection of LL.  LL had a strong brand recognition, but it wasn't necessarily a positive one.  It would be a little like starting up a new car company and naming it "Yugo".

jbrock,

A lifetime warranty can be an enormous plus, especially in a market plagued with quality control issues.

Over the past 35 years, I've worn out a good number of Bachmann locos.  But, I've only returned one for repair or replacement.  Why?

If I feel I've gotten my money's worth out of a locomotive, that's good enough for me.  Especially considering what they cost.  Things that are used wear out.  I'm OK with that.  Only things that are obviously defective when new, or are substantially expensive, will be returned.  I am more likely just to order a replacement part and fix it myself.

JBJ,

Those little V&T locos were sweet runners, and looked great.  The motors were more than adequate for small engines like that, and the paint jobs and brass details were very nice.  I knew a guy who built a complete 1870's-era railroad and powered it with these locos.

Les


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: jbrock27 on September 30, 2013, 02:02:48 PM
I think you help prove my point Les.  The longer a loco is possessed, the less a life time warranty is a factor.
I know you work in N scale now.  What quality control issues are you referring to, if you are, in HO scale?  I have a 30+ year old Athearn Blue Box F7 that still runs great.  In all that time, I have only ever had to replace the rear truck bc the plastic split.  It went back together with all the same gears and other original parts except for the replaced half a truck frame and the old metal spring clip that contacted each truck.

Brewmaster, I still run DC and don't yet run DCC, so most of what I buy for motive power is not what I would consider "modern".  I like you, enjoy buying 2nd hand older locos for upgrading.  In most cases, Athearns and I tear 'em apart, clean them up, modify them to a degree and run them.  I do really like the Bachman Plus F7s I have purchased as well.  They run great and are nice and heavy.  


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Desertdweller on September 30, 2013, 02:21:54 PM
jbrock,

The quality issues I was referring to were in HO and N scale low-end trainsets of 30 years ago.  Bachmann's lifetime warranty was a selling point none of their competitors could match.

Athearn and Atlas and Con-Cor were relatively "bullet proof".  Heavy, tough, overbuilt.  But not in the same low price bracket as Bachmann, Life-Like, and Tyco.  The Con-Cor N-scale locos were made by Kato.

Les


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: RAM on September 30, 2013, 03:47:15 PM
Let me clear up thing.  Life like was producing Proto 1000/2000 before Walthers purchased Life Like.  Varney was one of the early train set .    Marx tried to get into the HO market.  They had some good cars.                                       


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: jbrock27 on September 30, 2013, 03:48:31 PM
Thanks for clarifying Les.  I thought you were referring to current QC issues out there.
Did they always have the lifetime guarantee?  I can never remember a hobby shop owner touting this aspect of the product.

Yes, I agree.  The first 3 being sold more toward the modeler market and the later 3 being geared more toward the train set market (in HO anyway) so that makes perfect sense.  I do agree that price wise Bachmann is very competitive for what you get and part of that is the result of Atlas and Athearn currently  pricing themselves much higher than they should be, IMHO.


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: JNXT 7707 on September 30, 2013, 05:14:18 PM
.....Bachmann is very competitive for what you get and part of that is the result of Atlas and Athearn currently  pricing themselves much higher than they should be, IMHO.

How true! I love the Athearn and Atlas products but wow...out of my range. My newest "new" loco purchase was the Bachmann DD40. A lot of value there in my opinion for the money. Its Athearn counterpart is detailed and beautiful beyond my dreams, but honestly...at 3 feet away, while running a train, is it worth it? And requires what, a minimum 30" radius?
Not in my world....


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Desertdweller on September 30, 2013, 05:35:15 PM
RAM,

I didn't follow LL's HO offerings very closely, having switched to N scale.  If the Proto lines were brought out by LL independently of Walther's ownership, it shows they were really trying to improve both their products and reputation.

I do remember a sudden improvement in the quality of their N scale products, along with many new models and paint schemes appearing around 2000.  And the quality of those have shown improvement over the years.
That is why I consider them to be the most improved product line.

jbrock,

When I got interested in HO trains in 1969, I seem to recall Bachmann even then advertising their lifetime warranty.  They offered some unusual trains that hadn't been around long on the prototype: the UAC Turbotrain and the Budd Metroliner.

Even back then, Bachmann trains had features that made them superior to their low-priced competitors.
Cast metal chassis and all-wheel drive.   The N scale models used the same stamped-frame motor they still use.  They used brass gears and were noisy, but they ran about forever.

Varney was a bit before my time.  I don't remember Marx HO, only Marx stamped tinplate.  I do remember seeing some AC Gilbert American Flyer HO cars of that period.  They had cast-on detail, but good paint jobs.  They were pretty heavy compared to Athearn cars.

Les


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Jhanecker2 on September 30, 2013, 08:13:26 PM
you Guys are making me feel old .  I remember wheen Life-Like had a plant on Kostner avenue in Chicago. North of North avenue near the railroad tracks The Schwinn Bicycle plants were nearby . Shame I wasn't into  Model railroading then . that was back in the 1970s .  J2


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: RAM on September 30, 2013, 09:01:35 PM
Ok Jhanecker, I will make you feel young.  Varney in the late 1930s into the 40s had two classes of steam locomotives.  The super had all of the drilling done, sprung drivers.  It came in 4 boxes so could buy one box at a time.  It was like $50.00 prewar.  At that time it was a lot of money.  The economy class you did all of the drilling.  I don't think it had sprung drivers.  These were bras locomotive until late 40s.  The boiler was cast brass.  Mantua started out making brass locomotive.  they had a reading 4-4-2.  It never went back into production after the war.  The car were metal with paper sides.  Walters had wooden cars with metal detail parts.  Athearn had wood and paper cars.  Silver streak had nice wooden car.  Red ball and many other small companies had wood and paper cars.  Lehigh made cars with plastic roof, ends, and bottoms, with paper sides.  I built three of box cars.  I painted the plastic parts, and before long the paint came off.  Now I know you must wash the plastic part.  Aren't you glad you are not that old.


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: jbrock27 on September 30, 2013, 11:16:22 PM
JNX, excellent points!

Les, the Life Like Proto 2000 (P2K) locos are excellent runners and pullers.  One should know (and have no reason not to know by this point in time and age of communication) that if you get one with the original axle gears, you will need to replace each of them with an Athearn axle gear.  This is bc the ones originally stocked on the P2Ks would split, even sitting unused in the box.  They are very easy to replace and are a small investment of time and expense in exchange for a solid running loco.  I never owned any of the older Bachmann model locomotives, only the more recent ones noted above.  After 2 AHMs I was done with those for good.  Once I bought my first Athearn, I was hooked on the flywheel drive.

Ram, I think I would go nuts having to work with paper sided cars!


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Johnson Bar Jeff on October 01, 2013, 01:37:38 PM
Our family had a hobby shop from the early 70's into the mid-80's, and the Tyco sets were incredibly popular.  I think the one thing they had going for them at the time was the marketing and the packaging.  The sets always looked cool: Comin' Round The Mountain, Silver Streak, Golden Eagle, Chattanooga Choo-Choo, Clementine, Durango, tons of them! 

I was reminded of this post by something I noticed on eBay this morning. If I had been a kid back in the 1980s, I would have really wanted the A-Team train set.  ;D


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: raveoned on October 01, 2013, 02:25:35 PM
Our family had a hobby shop from the early 70's into the mid-80's, and the Tyco sets were incredibly popular.  I think the one thing they had going for them at the time was the marketing and the packaging.  The sets always looked cool: Comin' Round The Mountain, Silver Streak, Golden Eagle, Chattanooga Choo-Choo, Clementine, Durango, tons of them! 

I was reminded of this post by something I noticed on eBay this morning. If I had been a kid back in the 1980s, I would have really wanted the A-Team train set.  ;D

I remember our store having the G.I. Joe set, but no one wanted the A-Team one.  We never ordered any of those or the Transformers ones.  The G.I. Joe one sold well because the loco and cars could be bashed into other things pretty easily, but folks couldn't get past the A-Team one enough to buy them and use it for other things.

I think the two we sold most were Chattanooga (both the original steam and the diesel one) and Comin' Round The Mountain, because that one had a diesel not many other makers had for a low price (an SD-45 high hood, I think?)

One I always liked was the Royal Blue freight set.  It was the Chattanooga style 2-8-0 in the blue with the silver stripe down the center of the tender and matching caboose. 


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: JNXT 7707 on October 01, 2013, 03:53:57 PM
There are many Tyco collectors that love those themed fantasy sets (Midnight Special, Chattanooga, Silver Streak, etc.) but I never get get into them. Especially horrendous (to me) are the newer themed sets I have seen out from various sources - M&Ms, NASCAR, sports teams.... I mean, I can't even make up a reason to see a F7 painted in a Elvis Presley scheme pulling full dome cars, each with his greatest hits...
If somebody reading this DOES collect these trains I have no objection, it's just a personal perspective for my own railroad.


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Doneldon on October 01, 2013, 04:28:38 PM
JNXT-

I would guess that the people who buy Elvis trains are Elvis fans first and maybe not train types at all.

                                                                                                                                             -- D


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Desertdweller on October 01, 2013, 07:04:07 PM
This doesn't make sense to me.  I would think those Elvis fans would rather spend money on more traditional items, like black velvet paintings.

Les


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Johnson Bar Jeff on October 02, 2013, 01:33:49 PM
I remember our store having the G.I. Joe set, but no one wanted the A-Team one.

 :(  I'm sorry to hear that. I was a big fan of the A-team.  :(


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: raveoned on October 02, 2013, 04:06:44 PM
I remember our store having the G.I. Joe set, but no one wanted the A-Team one.

 :(  I'm sorry to hear that. I was a big fan of the A-team.  :(

I thought it was a cool set, but the store's customers were mainly purists, and even the G.I. Joe and the other theme ones were pushing the envelope where we were! 

I also remember my Dad telling some of the regular customers who didn't like Tyco's GG-1 to think of it as a Pennsy P5a Modified!


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Jerrys HO on October 02, 2013, 06:32:11 PM
I remember our store having the G.I. Joe set, but no one wanted the A-Team one.

 :(  I'm sorry to hear that. I was a big fan of the A-team.  :(

I pity the fool who doesn't like the A-Team. ;D ;D ;D ;D ::)

Jerry


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Johnson Bar Jeff on October 03, 2013, 12:07:29 PM
I remember our store having the G.I. Joe set, but no one wanted the A-Team one.

 :(  I'm sorry to hear that. I was a big fan of the A-team.  :(

I pity the fool who doesn't like the A-Team. ;D ;D ;D ;D ::)

Jerry

 ;D  I wondered whether anyone would come up with a line like that.  ;D


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: BIG BEAR on October 03, 2013, 02:05:07 PM
I love it when a plan comes together!

Barry


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: GG1onFordsDTandI on October 03, 2013, 04:31:14 PM
I also remember my Dad telling some of the regular customers who didn't like Tyco's GG-1 to think of it as a Pennsy P5a Modified!
That's funny! :D

JNXT-
I would guess that the people who buy Elvis trains are Elvis fans first and maybe not train types at all.
                                                                                                                                             -- D
Yet! ;)

This doesn't make sense to me.  I would think those Elvis fans would rather spend money on more traditional items, like black velvet paintings.
Les
Hopefully soon, they will want a black velvet painting of a locomotive ;D.


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: jward on October 04, 2013, 08:56:38 AM
so what about the turbo trains that climbed walls?


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Doneldon on October 04, 2013, 12:51:52 PM
so what about the turbo trains that climbed walls?

Jeff-

Aha! Magna-Traction comes to HO.

We had a M-T SW-7 when we were kids in the 50s. It pulled like a horse. We had about a ten perent grade between two 4x8s and that loco would pull everything we owned without even slowing down. Our little Prairie could barely get itself up the hill so we either had to use the SW-7 for the mainline or use it in helper service.
                                                                                                                                                                            -- D


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: utdave on October 04, 2013, 11:18:16 PM
so what about the turbo trains that climbed walls?


i have 2 sets of turbos     they also jump .         in the future in my layout  i will set it up in my amusement park for the roller coaster.

my old F-7 tycos and Bachmanns shells  get a up_grade to new Bachmann chassis with dcc.     i only do the ones i like the best .  i still own my first tycos locos and cars  and a Santa Fe 4-8-4  long tender  with a pancake motor , i un geared it and put a dcc bachmann chassie in the tender    but it derails to easy  so it just sits for the plasticville children can play on it.   on my 4x8 sheet i had  2 rails powered separately  and ran 2 trains at once     later on i got the turbo train at a auction for 1 buck  and later on i got another with track problems for nothing.
 to compare the 2  old timers for today's     no match at all     Dave


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: Doneldon on October 05, 2013, 02:12:20 AM
Has anyone seen the tiny (3mm gauge) T-scale trains from Japan? They are so small and light that they require magnetic wheels on steel rails. They can actually run upside down. They also go like crazy -- probably 200 smph. I'm thinking of using a set for a 'round the park ride.

                                                                                                                                                                             -- D


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: ScottyB on October 05, 2013, 09:46:14 AM
Apologies if this has already been posted, but you could spend days on this site:

http://www.hoseeker.net/

Scott


Title: Re: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals
Post by: jward on October 05, 2013, 10:45:19 AM
on a related note, just out of curiosity.....

the tyco diesels had wheelsets which were plastic on one side, and metal on the other. thus, they only pickup from one rail on each truck. has anybody ever made aftermarket replacement wheelsets that would allow them to have all wheel pickup?