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Product Reviews

A note about the amazing 99321190 Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey P.T. Barnum Circus Train Set introduction from Micro Trains:

During the era of the American Civil War, railroads, and travel by rail, were still in their relative infancy. The 4-4-0 steam locomotives and diminutive 8-wheel rolling stock of this period were mere shadows of the 2-10-4 and 4-8-2 smoke belching behemoths and elaborate 8 and 12 wheel 50-80' coaches yet to come. With their 99321190 Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey P.T. Barnum Circus Train Set, Micro Trains has perfectly captured the look, feel and scale of post Civil War rail travel. Though modeled in true N Scale, the actual size of the set pieces may come as a surprise. At only 3 3/4" long, the 4-4-0 steam locomotive included in this set is a full 1" shorter, 15’ in N Scale, than Micro Trains later era 98500701 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive and would fit nicely on the back of a later era 60' Flat Car. At a stubby 2" long, or 30' in N Scale, the three Flat Cars and two Box Cars included in the set are about 2/3 the size of the Flat Cars and Billboard Cars modeled in Micro Trains classic later era RBB&B series cars. Fortunately, in this case, big isn't necessarily better. This early steam era set from Micro Trains is simply one of the most beautiful, and coolest, N Scale train sets ever produced. As we have come to expect from Micro Trains, the detail, quality and craftsmanship are all impeccable. The three new Circus Wagon loads included are spectacular and the look and presence of this landmark introduction has never been seen before. With Micro Trains notorious limited two year product cycle, this model number 99321190 will, like the era it represents, also fade into history. Made in U.S.A. Get yours now.

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Model Tech Studios A026 Mini-Himalaya

Model Tech Studios A026 "Mini-Himalaya"

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New Hampshire, USA based Model Tech Studios offers an array of US-style carnival concession and ride models hand crafted from laser-cut wood, wood and cast resin. The A026 Mini-Himalaya is their only motorize-optional model. (The motor is not included.) If you are familiar with the precision injection molded carnival, circus and amusement park models from the various German manufacturers like Faller, Vollmer, Busch etc., the products from Model Tech offer, almost literally, an other worldly model building experience. No multi-colored parts racks here. No sir. Completing a Model Tech kit, like the A026 Mini-Himalaya reviewed here, is about as close to scratch building as you can get and turned out to be a whole lot of fun.

Once we decided that we were going to build the Model Tech A026 Mini Himalaya as a mini-diorama, the next step, as it is when building ANY model kit, was to inventory and inspect the parts. There is no parts list provided and the various wood stock, laser-cut and cast resin parts all arrived bagged so we went through the instructions and matched up the parts. The most involved and time consuming element of this build is the, mostly, scratch building of the, mostly, wood trailer and you pretty much have to take it on faith that you'll have the wood stock that you need. We did and, as it turned out later, we did. Next, we inpected the cast resin parts and, as is common, found a certain amount of flashing that needed to be cleaned up before painting and assembly. Our ubiquitous Blue Cushion Board proved up to this task. Following Model Tech's recommendations, we either sprayed or hand painted the cast resin and laser-cut parts with acrylic colors prior to assembly.

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Miniature Amusements - "Tycoon" Roller Coaster

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Miniature Amusements “RollerCoaster Tycoon Roller Coaster Construction Set”

The motorized “O” Scale (1/48) RollerCoaster Tycoon Roller Coaster Construction Set, or RCCS, from Colorado USA based Miniature Amusements®, is a remarkably flexible and entertaining representation of real world steel roller coasters. Custom roller coaster layouts with the RCCS are simple and intuitive to build, virtually anywhere. Small tabletop designs, like the one pictured above, large rip-roaring floor standing designs (check out our Design Shop) and layouts running over, under, and around your living room furniture are all possible. Layouts typically take only an hour or two to construct and can be disassembled and back in the box in fifteen or twenty minutes.

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Faller - "Music Express"

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Faller “Music Express” Thrill Ride
If you are into model railroading, or have spent some time on our site, you certainly know about Faller® of Germany. If you are not, and haven’t, you may not. If you are, at the same time, someone who really likes to build really cool stuff, being unfamiliar with Faller® would indeed be unfortunate and is a situation MRCHQ would like to prevent. Why? Simply put, because there are no other working model kits in the world even remotely similar to Faller® kits in concept, detail, complexity, and sheer joy of model building. This is why we sell them, this is why we build them, and this is why if, you are anything like us, we want to introduce them to you. This brings us to the Music Express. This beautiful, HO scale (1/87) motorized thrill ride has all the right features to recommend it as your gateway to a wonderful miniature world. The difficulty is only moderate, detail is way up there, and it is a joy to build. The mechanism, with brass wheels, brass axles, and rubber tires is a marvel to construct and to watch in action.

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Faller - Pirate Island Wildwater Log Ride




Faller "Pirate Island Wildwater Log Ride" Thrill Ride

Pirates, pumps, palms, cannons, conveyors, swords and sails! This fully functional motorized and liquified HO Scale model from Faller® has got it all. Two motors power the wonderfully engineered conveyor systems that carry the twelve log boats to the top of two continuous track circuits while two circulating pumps provide the water. Over 950 precise and colorful parts are included, assembly is straight forward and only mildly challenging, and the level of detail is extreme all of which place Pirate Island arguably at the pinacle of model building entertainment. This is quite simply one of the most fun models to build and to watch as the log boats plunge around the eleven foot long racing course.


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Coaster Dynamix-"Phoenix" Roller Coaster Modeling System

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Coaster Dynamix® "Phoenix" Roller Coaster Modeling System

No stranger to innovation, Elkton, Virginia based Coaster Dynamix® has done it again with the 2010 introduction of their NEW "Phoenix" Roller Coaster Modeling System. With never before seen features, technology, precision and ease of assembly, "Phoenix" raises the bar in model coaster building design and entertainment.

Unlike it's 100% Flex-track equipped older siblings "Dragon" and "Scorpion", "Phoenix" includes only three Flex-track segments. These segments arrive pre-cut to size with redesigned end connectors already installed. In what are certainly the biggest and most ground breaking departures from previous models, the remaining track segments, representing the bulk of the track system, are injection molded and connected together using 120 screws and nuts. Sure, installing the many screws and nuts is somewhat time consuming but the payoff is definitely worth it. The result is extremely precise and the assembly process nearly infallible. Molded track sections and cross ties also make installing the familiar track rails a much simpler process.  

Indeed, the "Phoenix" goes together flawlessly and, if one follows the instructions carefully, will function exactly as it should each and every time it is assembled. This assurance of positive results is in itself a major step forward in model roller coaster design and construction and makes "Phoenix" highly accessible to novice and experienced builders alike.    

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Faller® "Top Spin" Carnival Thrill Ride

faller-product-140431-topspin-04If you have ever been to a state fair or local carnival you will recognize this marvelous tummy tumbler. Faithfully recreated in incredible detail by Faller®, their Top Spin has all the gut wrenching spins and rolls of the original ride. With a drive motor and eight gears in each of the two support towers, the computer controlled gondola and support arms spin independently through a dazzling array of gyrations that are a marvel to behold. Authentically mounted on a semi-truck trailer with rubber tires, the Top Spin appears ready to be torn down and moved on to it's next destination.

Assembly is, at times, somewhat technical and demanding and some previous model building experience is recommended before diving into this fascinating project. Once you have taken the plunge you will be amply rewarded. Top Spin is absolutely a blast to build and features some of the most varied and intriguing action of any model thrill ride. Time required for assembly should be between eight and twelve hours.

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Buy the Faller Top Spin now!

Miniature Amusements- "Loopy Monster" Roller Coaster Construction Set

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Miniature Amusements® "Loopy Monster" Roller Coaster Construction Set

The NEW Loopy Monster Roller Coaster Construction Set from Colorado, USA based Miniature Amusements is a real character. "Loopy" is the next evolution of the much missed classic "Roller Coaster Tycoon" Roller Coaster Construction Set. Many improvements to have been made: First, and probably foremost in this day and age, is value for the dollar and Loopy is all over it. Consider this: To purchase separately just the Power Supply, 4 Car High Speed Train, and Motorized Station, you would have to lay out a cool $75.00. All of these components, along with a couple of hundred additional parts, are included with the Loopy Monster for a mere $59.99! Featuring ease of assembly and the flexibility to build a bunch of different fun layouts with inversions, bumps and a loop, Loopy is not only the least expensive true roller coaster construction set out there but would seem to be the best value as well. You be the judge. 

Be sure to click the read more below to see more images and the Loopy video...


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Coaster Dynamics - "Comet" Roller Coaster

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The motorized HO Scale (1/87) Comet, from Elkton Virginia USA based Coaster Dynamix®, is the only replica of a classic wooden roller coaster currently available to modeling and model train enthusiasts. Touted by Coaster Dynamix® as “The world’s most incredible, operating HO Scale roller coaster model”, the Comet is highly detailed, a joy to build, and would be right at home with the Faller® Wilde Maus and Big Dipper in any model collection, scale model amusement park, or model train layout.

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Faller - "Wilde Maus"

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Queen of the Midway, the 20th Anniversary Version Wilde Maus from the folks at Faller® Gmbh in Germany is a beautiful, marvelously detailed, illuminated, motorized, challenging and complex HO (1/87) Scale model kit. Not for the faint of heart, even experienced model builders will need patience, a steady hand and between thirty and forty hours to complete this worthy project. This being said, the result is something any modeler will be proud to display whether on a shelf, as a focal point in a model amusement park or as an accent to a model train layout. Fit and finish is exceptional and the instructions are, with a few notable exceptions, quite good and must be read carefully and followed in the correct sequence. The notable exceptions or omissions we found are as follows:

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