Kato Vs Bachmann Amtubes: FIGHT!

Discussion in 'N Scale' started by daniel_leavitt2000, May 17, 2011.

  1. daniel_leavitt2000

    daniel_leavitt2000 TrainBoard Member

    Today I photographed my Bachmann and Kato Amtubes. Both are great models and essentuial for modern modelers. Anyone holding on to those old Bachmann Amtubes of the 1970's, take a look and see what you are missing.

    Bachmann cars in PIII paint, Kato in PIV.

    Both models look good. Kato's paint is clearly superior, but Bachmann's isn't bad. The bachmann cars feature detailed end vents and the food service duct is a seperate part.

    I like the ends of the bachmann car better for two reasons. The ends are fully detailed thanks to the body mount couplers, and the diaphrams work. Both models feature class lights.

    Kato has better underbody detail, but lacks body mounted couplers. The Kato cars weigh only 2/3 of the Bachmann cars. I modified my Bachmann truck to roll as well as the Kato trucks, but look how much grease Kato used to get them to roll!

    Kato's Amfleet II cars have larger windows than Bachmann's Amfleet I as per prototype. Both cars have full interior detail in a light tan color. Both cars feature very nice window glass.
  2. cfquinlan

    cfquinlan TrainBoard Member

    I feel like the paint on the Bachman's is awful... no matter which phase. It is very crisp, but the letters/stripes are disproportional. For example (on the phase III pictured above), "Cafe" should be well with-in the white stripe, not spilling over into the red/blue. Also, it really frustrates me that they have rapido couplers and they are hard to convert. Other than that, the Bachman's are nice... I redecaled all mine and tinted the windows though! I still need to do the couplers.
  3. Jerry M. LaBoda

    Jerry M. LaBoda TrainBoard Supporter

    Thank you!!! Been looking for some comparison shots... I do appreciate it!!!
  4. jp2005

    jp2005 TrainBoard Member

    Here's mine. Both Amfleets are Phase IVb/VI in order to compare paint schemes. Kato in back, Bachmann up front. Bachmann has lettering that is too large as already noted. The blue on the Bachmann looks purple in person. Bachmann also uses the Phase IV Amtrak logo instead of the phase IVb/VI "flag" logo. Red lines on the Bachmann are noticeably thick.

    Attached Files:

  5. jp2005

    jp2005 TrainBoard Member

    I also went ahead and snapped a few shots of the Viewliners. Kato on the left, Con-Cor on the right.

    And yes, the Con-Cor is the factory paint and printing.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2011
  6. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

    Wow thanks. Though I think it's kind of inaccurate to say the Bachmann cars have "body-mounted" couplers -- their swing is directly correlated to the truck's swing and are not static like real body-mounted couplers are.

    But yeah. Kato's is clearly better. After seeing the Phase IV striping comparison, I'm suddenly embarrassed to have Bachmann Amfleets.

    The Con-Cor/Kato Viewliner difference is even bigger. I literally laughed when I saw the Con-Cor picture.
  7. daniel_leavitt2000

    daniel_leavitt2000 TrainBoard Member

    The Bachmann cars ARE body mounted. The couplers do not swing with the trucks. They just share the same pivot point (the truck screw). You can turn the trucks without moving the coupler. The reason for the pivot point so far back is to allow closer coupling and negoshiate tight curves.

    In this image you can clearly see the truck off center while the coupler lines up straght under the end.

    On the note of "clearly better" keep in mind the Bachmann cars retail for about half what the Kato cars go for ($16 on many websites compaired to about $30 for the Kato). Since no two manufactuers have ever managed to agree on Amtraks stripes, I was expecting some differences. I think I will keep my Katos with PIV paint and the Bachmanns with PIII, that way no one can make a direct comparison of the paint.
  8. KaiserWilhelm

    KaiserWilhelm TrainBoard Member

    I actually think the Bachmanns look pretty decent. Working diaphrams are also a huge plus.
  9. sundowner

    sundowner TrainBoard Member

    Actually the Bachman MSRP is $40.00, Kato MAP price of $25. So you can find them for about the same prices.

    The Bachman loss the fight as soon as Kato annouced they were doing the Amfleets. Is like the bachman brought a razor blade and the Kato brought a Haturi Hanzu sword.
  10. mcjaco

    mcjaco TrainBoard Member

    MY only question is the window on the vesitbule door. Did Bachmann just use the Metroliner as a basis of the mold? It's the only really glaring difference I see in terms of the molds for the two. Paint being the other one.

    I think the Bachmann models are very passable, and with some work would be fine models. If they'd only roll better....
  11. daniel_leavitt2000

    daniel_leavitt2000 TrainBoard Member

    Amfleet I windows (including on the doors) are smaller than on the Amfleet II cars.
  12. mcjaco

    mcjaco TrainBoard Member

    ^ I was more interested in the placement of the windows:


    One is mid door, while the other is toward the top.
  13. nlombardi

    nlombardi TrainBoard Member

    My biggest complaint about the Bachmann's is the bad roll - any fix?
  14. Jerry M. LaBoda

    Jerry M. LaBoda TrainBoard Supporter

  15. cfquinlan

    cfquinlan TrainBoard Member


    The differences between the windows is accurate. The Amfleet IIs (Kato) have bigger door windows than the Amfleet I's (Bachman).


  16. cfquinlan

    cfquinlan TrainBoard Member

    I took out the electrical pick-ups and they roll great! I don't like my cars lighted though and I tint my windows.


  17. daniel_leavitt2000

    daniel_leavitt2000 TrainBoard Member

    Chris, what do you tint them with? I would like to have a smoke finish but still see the interior when the car is powered at night.
  18. mcjaco

    mcjaco TrainBoard Member

    Thanks guys. I never took a real look at the differences, as the Hiawatha is mostly Horizon cars (hello, someone please make these), with a Amtube here and there.

    Jerry, did you pick the Looney Tunes car for a reason? :p
  19. cfquinlan

    cfquinlan TrainBoard Member

    I black out the backs of the windows (but I don't care about the insides)... but you can also lightly spray them with a spray can or airbrush.

  20. Logtrain

    Logtrain TrainBoard Member

    You could try an old trick we use in the auto industry to tint tail lights. If you take some clear coat and add a small amount of black paint, it should give you a smoked glass look. I would strongly suggest to try this on a scrap piece of clear styrene first though.

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