So, currently, I have 5 Micro-Trains cars, 2 Fox Valley boxcars, an Intermountain reefer and a BLMA hopper.
Looks wise, the BLMA hopper is an 11 out of 10. When I finally get around to weathering my cars, this might be one that I can’t touch. It looks perfect. When I run it, I would say that it is a 9, the scale wheels look great, it couples well, but if there is a piece of ballast or an issue with a ground throw, it will hit the ties. This does not happen often, but it can.
The IM reefer looks great, I would say a 8.5, runs well, couples well, no complaints. I have not had issues with the axles being warped like other people. My kid did run it off of the layout back in December and broke a stirrup, too bad IM does not make them a separate item like Micro-Trains does. So far, I just turned the car around so it is hidden, but I am leaning towards buying a BLMA stirrup kit…
Micro-Trains, the Cadillac of N Scale…these cars are a 7 to 9.5 in the looks department. Some, like my 40 ft hy-cube just sit too high, while others, like my Golden West bulkhead flatcar have their trucks and couplers painted the same color as the car! I have yet to see a real freight car with blue trucks and couplers. That being said, they couple on the first try and do not derail unless I run them through a closed switch, a total 10 in operation.
That leaves Fox Valley, a 9.5 in the looks dept….etched brass, great graphics, if they had extended coupler boxes, they would be a 10. They track well, they just have one odd issue. they don’t like to couple or uncouple from anything. to couple them, I have to make sure that the couplers are centered, and I have to put a finger on the roof to hold them still. These come factory equipt with Micro-Trains body mounted couplers, the same ones as the BLMA hopper that I love to use. But for some reason, neither one likes to couple to anything, and on both ends….a 5