THE TOP 5 MODEL TRAINS HO SCALERS WANT FOR CHRISTMAS!
Christmas is just around the corner, and if you have an HO scale model railroader in your life it's time to get them a new train so they can place it on their layout and enjoy it in 2024 and beyond. We compiled a list of HO scale models that we know the model railroader in your life is going to want! As always we encourage everyone to patronize their local hobby shops whenever possible. For those without a BLI reseller nearby, we recommend the following online dealers who regularly and reliably ship BLI products worldwide. You can find the list of dealers near you, here.
5. CRYOGENIC TANK CAR (2 PACK OR SINGLE CAR)
Enhance your layout with the impressive HO Scale Cryogenic Tank Cars. Not only do they introduce a distinctive rolling stock element, but they also captivate observers as your train glides past. Originally designed for transporting super-cold fluids like liquid oxygen, nitrogen, and argon, these cars ingeniously addressed the challenge of maintaining ultra-low temperatures during extended journeys with large quantities of materials.
Curious as to how cold these cars could keep liquid oxygen? How about -297 degrees F. Liquid nitrogen kept at -320 F. And liquid argon at -302 degrees F. These high capacity tank cars could transport more than 15,000 gallons of liquid oxygen--which is about double what any of its predecessors could do.
If you've got cold liquid gas hauling to do on your railroad, these are the cars for you!
- Model accurately scaled from prototype blueprints
- Prototypically accurate paint and colors
- Fine printing accurately reproduces builders' stencils, test data, and other minor lettering
- Two roof walkway options
- Two truck options - friction bearing and roller bearing
- Many separately applied details such as handrails, grab irons, ladders, brake housing, brake wheel, and many more!
- Metal wheelsets feature prototypical wheel face contours and are manufactured to NMRA RP-25 standards
- Factory equipped with metal Kadee-compatible knuckle couplers
- Will operate on Code 70, Code 83, and Code 100 rail
- Minimum operating radius: 18 inches
- 2-packs contain two uniquely numbered cars
(PHOTO: A few of the paint schemes of our HO Scale Cryogenic Tank Cars. You can find the full list of them, here.)
4. Paragon4 New Haven I-5 Streamlined Hudson
Next up on the list is a classic steam locomotive. In 1937, the New Haven Railroad received ten 4-6-4 locomotives built by Baldwin. These were the last steam power the road would purchase, and they were certainly the most beautiful. They featured streamlined boilers that were gloss black with stainless steel stripes and trim (aluminum paint on the tenders). They were powered by large 80" Boxpok drivers that were ideal for the speedy Shoreline passenger trains that serviced New Haven and Boston. Many of these routes originated in, or continued to, New York via the New Haven's electrified western end. These locomotives hauled some of the most recognizable extra fare trains in railroading including the Merchants Limited, Senator and Yankee Clipper.
The I-5 Hudsons were originally delivered with al block lettering scheme. Later, a small script scheme was introduced, which was eventually replaced by a large script with a square lettering scheme. We are offering models decorated in all three paint schemes. We will also build two models in New Haven-themed fantasy paint schemes, and one model as a 100% painted brass model.
All of the models have hand-crafted brass boilers, cabs, and tender bodies, and die cast locomotive and tender chassis. Each model comes with our Paragon4 Sound/DC/DCC sound system with synchronized puffing smoke and integral GoPack capacitors.
Industry-leading Model Features:
- ALL-NEW Paragon4 Sound & Control System
- Synchronized Puffing Smoke with Chuff Sound
- Variable Puffing Smoke Intensity and timing
- Integral DCC Decoder with Back EMF for Industry Best Slow Speed Operation in DC and DCC
- Precision Drive Mechanism engineered for continuous heavy load towing and smooth slow speed operation
- 5-Pole Can Motor with Skew Wound Armature
- Handcrafted Brass Boiler, Cab, and Tender Body, and Heavy Die Cast Chassis for Increased Tractive Effort
- Premium Caliber Painting with Authentic Paint Scheme
- Prototypical Light Operation with Separately Controllable Headlight, Rear Light, and Cab Light
- Factory-installed Engineer and Fireman Figures
- Many Separately Applied Details such as Handrails, Grab Irons, Ladders, Piping, Cab Glass, Whistle, Brass Bell, and Many Others
- Equipped with Rubber Traction Tires for Increased Pulling Power
- Recommended Minimum Radius: 18 inches
- Accurate Prototypical Sounds for the NH I-5 Locomotives
3. Paragon4 EMD F3/F7
Our HO Scale F3 and F7 diesels fit well into any any railroad between the mid 1940's to the 1970's. The EMD F3 and F7 are iconic diesel-electric locomotives manufactured by the Electro-Motive Division (EMD) of General Motors. They were both part of the EMD's F-unit series, which played a significant role in the transition from steam to diesel locomotives in North America during the mid-20th century.
The F3's and F7's featured a streamlined, cab-unit design, with a distinctive "bulldog nose" that housed the diesel engine and various components.The locomotives typically had A-B-A or A-B-B configurations, where 'A' units contained the prime mover, while 'B' units were cabless and powered by the same diesel engine as the 'A' units.
In this production, we are modeling A and B-units (where appropriate) from multiple railroads with prototypically accurate road numbers and paint schemes. We are offering A-B sets with Powered A-units (w/ Paragon4 Sound) and unpowered B-units, and also separate single A and B-units with our full Paragon4 DC/DCC/Sound system. All of our models have road-specific details and lighting.
2. Paragon4 Baldwin Sharknose
Built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works between 1950 and 1953, the RF-16 Sharknose diesels were cab unit locomotives crafted to Pennsylvania Railroad specifications. Their distinctive design, reminiscent of Raymond Loewy's work on the T1 steam locomotive, included 109 A-units and 51 cabless booster B-units, totaling 160 locomotives. The "Sharks" operated not only on the Pennsylvania Railroad but also on B&O and NYC railroads.
Renowned for their excellent pulling capacity, the Sharknose locomotives excelled at hauling heavy ore and coal drags. With 100 additional horsepower compared to the F7 and tying the FA2 at 1600 horsepower, they outperformed their counterparts. Despite their capabilities, the Sharknose locomotives had a shorter operational life than the F7's, with most retired by 1967, except for a few exceptions.
In this production, we are offering A-B sets in four prototypically accurate paint schemes, along with a second A-unit available as a separate item. We are also offering the two D&H Sharks as single A-units. In addition to the prototypically accurate models, we are building models in several fantasy paint schemes that never quite made it to the rails, but would have been beautiful if they had. The CNJ and the MP owned Baldwin babyface locomotives, but didn't order the Sharks. The DMIR owned the EJ&E Sharks for a few months, but never repainted them. We have painted the models in a prototypical DMIR paint scheme. The ATSF and SP both tested the Baldwin demo set, but declined to order production models. We are offering models decorated in the appropriate ATSF and SP liveries if those railroads had decided to operate the "Sharks".
The railroads typically operated these in ABA configurations. Our A-B sets come with a Powered A-unit with Paragon4 Sound/DC/DCC and an unpowered B-unit with a lightweight frame. We also offer an additional single powered A-unit for each paint scheme where appropriate. This single unit has our full Paragon4 Sound/DC/DCC system. All of our models have road-specific details and lighting.
1. Paragon4 Diecast metal EMD SD70ACe
Finally on our list is a locomotive we are extremely proud to introduce. It's our very first die-cast metal HO scale diesel locomotive - an EMD SD70ACe. These beautiful models will have die cast metal bodies for maximum weight and tractive effort. They will have metal handrails and stanchions, and see-through steps for a more prototypical appearance. Paragon4 series models will have variable-intensity smoke pouring from the exhaust stack. Each of the models has prototypically accurate details specific to each paint scheme.
The EMD's SD70ACe is the successor to the SD70MAC, with design changes implemented to comply with updated emission standards. The SD70ACe is equipped with EMD's 4,300 horsepower, 16-710-G32-T2 prime mover, and is typically equipped with a Nathan K5LLA horn. These stunning locomotives can be found in service all over the world, as EMD has sold well over 2,000 of the ACe's and their variants.
Over the years, several Class 1 railroads have applied unique and eye-catching paint schemes to their SD70ACe's, including the Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern, Kansas City Southern, and the MRL. In 2005 the UP applied "heritage" paint schemes to six of their SD70ACe's - their road number representing the year each railroad became part of the UP. In 2012, the NS put 20 new locomotives into service with heritage paint schemes to celebrate its 30th anniversary - 10 of these were SD70ACe's numbered 1065 - 1074. In addition to the heritage units, the UP, KCS, and MRL operate several locomotives honoring veterans, essential workers, and other heroes.
In our first production, we are offering models in fifteen prototypical paint schemes and two unpainted models - one with high headlight and one with low headlight. Each model is accurately detailed per the prototypical paint scheme. The Paragon4 Series models come our Paragon4 Sound/DC/DCC sound system, user-adjustable smoke, and integral GoPack capacitors.
In addition to the Paragon4 Series models, each model is available in our Stealth Series. These are No-Sound / DCC-Ready models that operate on DC out-of-the-box, or a modeler can easily install their DCC decoder of choice. Out-of-the-box, front and rear lights are directional, and other lights are always illuminated with track power. Note that some lighting may be absent depending on selected aftermarket decoder.
List of individually controllable lights in our EMD SD70ACe models:
- Rear Light
- Numberboard Lights
- Ditch Lights
- Cab Light
Road-specific detail options that are prototypically accurate for each road name and paint scheme:
- Headlight Location
- Rear Light Location
- Rear Door Type
- Dynamic Brake Door Arrangement
- Right-side Electrical Cabinet Arrangement
- Two Sand Fill Hatch Options
- Long Hood End Detail Arrangement
- Hood End Horn Bracket Where Appropriate
- Iso Cab Where Appropriate
- Rear Pilot - Two Options
- Accurate Cab Details like Wind Deflectors, Sunshades, and Mirror
- Bell Type
- Brake Wheel Type
- Jack Pads - Two Options
- Rear Ditch Lights where Appropriate
- Cab Roof Details
- Inverter Blower Arrangement - Four Different Types