Menards - Thumbs up or thumbs down?

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Menards - Thumbs up or thumbs down?
Posted by phrankenstign on Saturday, November 04, 2017 12:40 PM

I don't have a Menards nearby, so I don't have the luxury of looking at them in-person.  I've been hesitant to buy any of their trains so far, but the decorations on them seem very colorful, and I may just break down and order a few.  Looking at the back cover of CTT's December issue, I've got my eyes on the Morton Hopper, the Santa Fe caboose,the Union Pacific and CSX tank cars.

Is it worth taking the plunge and ordering them?

For those who have bought Menards' trains, please tell me your experience(s) running them.

Are there any mechanical problems with the wheels or couplers?

  • Do they have a tendency to de-rail on switches or crossings?
  • Do the couplers uncouple when they should?
  • Do the couplers stay coupled when they should?
  • Do the couplers uncouple consistently with uncoupling tracks
  • Lionel FasTrack/"O"/O27
  • MTH RealTrax/RiteTrax

How sharp are the paint jobs?

  • Can you see any overspray?
  • Are the graphics sharp?
  • Is the smallest test legible?
  • Is the paint evenly spread througout?

Do hatches, doors, and latches work reliably?

Are stickers clear and placed properly on items?

Is rubber stamping sharp and properly aligned?

Comparing the quality of Menards items overall with Lionel and MTH, do they fall short?  If so, in what ways?

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, November 04, 2017 2:05 PM

I have to tread carefully here.  Bob Keller gives Menard's high marks, and in my opinion (with a bit of a play on words) there's the ticket, think "Marx."

Vintage Marx versus vintage Lionel.  It's been said Joshua Lionel Cowan made toy trains wildly popular, but it was Louis Marx who made them affordable to all.  Menards strikes me as the "Marx for the 21st Century."  As such, they do fill a gap, not everyone wants to spend 50, 60, or 70+ dollars on a freight car or can afford to.

I've got some Menards rolling stock.  Paint, graphics, construction are all pretty darn good.  They do seem to be more lightly constructed than Lionel or MTH cars.  I have had some problems with couplers opening on Menards cars if they were on the head end of a long, heavy consist of Lionel or MTH cars but no biggie, I just moved them to the rear.

I run trains on closed loops, so can't speak to how they perform on switches.

I also have the advantage of a local hobby shop that carries the Menards line.  I like to see what I'm buying before I take the plunge and I liked what I saw.

In all, I'm satisfied with the quality of the Menards cars I've purchased, and actually I'm looking forward to them coming out with some locomotives.  I know it's not in the works officially, but considering how heavily they've gotten into this I'd be amazed if it doesn't happen.  I think there's still a demand for plain, simple, easy-to-use conventional locomotives (which was filled so well by the now out-of-business RMT)  that are much more affordable than what's out there now.

Hope that answers your questions.  For what they provide and at the prices they provide the same I'd give Menards a "thumbs-up."

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Posted by rtraincollector on Saturday, November 04, 2017 3:41 PM

To me there a great item. Now with that said there not a Lionel $90 car. They had problems with some off there couplers at first but believe they have fixed that. Also if you order from them ( www.Menards.com ) If you have a problem there quick to address it. I have had to take a picture of the problem/broke piece and they replaced it and told me to keep the broken item. They stand behind there product. I have about 4 of there buildings, now I have never set them up as don't have layout at present but from what I can see they are great. Now I like the 50's - 70's time frame so I removed the truck off the seed and feed building. I'll put a older Pickup there as that one was definitely 2000 or newer. I have both power type buildings and the Gas staion ( not being offered at this time) thats from like the 40's. 

Now if you happen to hit when they are having a Mystery box ( normally located in the O gauge building area ) for $99.99 its a good deal. You get a Building ( that can be the cost of the box alone) 3 train cars, and 1 or 2 automobiles, and usually a hat or a shirt. Now this is items you may have to fix something on them. But still worth the cost. I have gotten 3 of them so far. One gave me a duplicate in the power building which I sold cheaply to a freind. 

But all in all I have no problems buying from them. I like there quality for the price you pay. Now if your a scale person and some one that everything has to be this or that way Don't bother, Go pay your $ 80 - $110 per car. I pay my $20 to $30 a car and be happy I can get 3 - 4 for every one you get. 

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Posted by rtraincollector on Saturday, November 04, 2017 3:44 PM

Firelock76

In all, I'm satisfied with the quality of the Menards cars I've purchased, and actually I'm looking forward to them coming out with some locomotives.  I know it's not in the works officially, but considering how heavily they've gotten into this I'd be amazed if it doesn't happen.  I think there's still a demand for plain, simple, easy-to-use conventional locomotives (which was filled so well by the now out-of-business RMT)  that are much more affordable than what's out there now.

Hope that answers your questions.  For what they provide and at the prices they provide the same I'd give Menards a "thumbs-up."

RMT is back in busines but to me there prices aren't what they use to be. 

Life's hard, even harder if your stupid  John Wayne

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Posted by phrankenstign on Saturday, November 04, 2017 3:54 PM

Are they higher or lower.....and by how much?

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, November 04, 2017 4:00 PM

RMT's back in business?  Really.  I hadn't heard or seen anything about it.  Well. I'll just have to check.  Thanks for the "heads-up!"

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Posted by Frank54 on Saturday, November 04, 2017 4:12 PM

Google "John Menard"

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, November 04, 2017 4:45 PM

I just checked up on RMT.  Well, waddaya know?  They're back in business!  Cool!

Certainly, not as cheap as they used to be but still a heckuva lot less expensive than others.

I've got six of their "Beeps,"  don't ask, it just happened, and let me tell you, put two or more of them together and they'll pull anything.  Quite a little locomotive for the money.

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Posted by KRM on Saturday, November 04, 2017 5:09 PM

Yes    Everything I have from Menards is top notch. They run well on all tracks and as RT said had some eary couppler issues but now seem fine. 1/2 or less the price of the others out there and make for nice consist.

This train is all menards but three cars and the caboose two cars that are Lionel and one RMT

 JMHO

 

 

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Posted by rtraincollector on Saturday, November 04, 2017 5:16 PM

RMT use to be two packs of cars there now single. There hoppers are $29.95 Menards are $19.95 , There Boxcars are $29.95 Menards start at $19.95 and go up to $25.95 for specialty ones. ( ie military and weathered ) and discount for buying the dealer packs which is like 4 - 8 of the same. And not like the big names they have indivual numbering ( both I believe Menards for sure) 

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Posted by fifedog on Sunday, November 05, 2017 5:48 AM

KRM - Thanks for posting the vids.  Can you take one from above a switch or two, so we can see how well they track?

I like the military themed cars Menard's has offered.  What boy wouldn't like a tank with lights and sounds...?

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Posted by KRM on Sunday, November 05, 2017 8:08 AM

Sure Fife. Do you want the shot looking straight down on the cars as they go over the switch? If so I will do it ASAP.

Here you go. Lionel 027 42R switches.  One open and one closed. One slow and one at speed. The third car in the train is a Lionel Railsounds car and the last three cars are a lionel, RMT, and Lionel. The rest are menards.

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, November 05, 2017 9:37 AM

I like that second video the best.  Why?  Because I saw "The Shadow!"

"Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?  The Shadow knows...."

Oh what the heck, why settle for cheap imitation me when you can have the real thing?  Here we go...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBnO9dw3n6A

When my mom and dad were kids they just LOVED that show, along with the "Lone Ranger," of course!

 

 

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Posted by KRM on Sunday, November 05, 2017 10:43 AM

Guys,

I posted the videos to help out prankenstign, Fife and other see some Menards cars in action. Per the name of the tread.
 Please don’t turn this into another highjacked thread. And BTW I don’t want to know Santa Claus’s e-mail address.

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Posted by fifedog on Monday, November 06, 2017 7:19 AM

KRM - That did the trick, thank you.  I only saw the one tank car wobble slightly over the switch.  Layout is looking good, sir.

I would still like to see a small string of Menard's auto-racks being run through a switch, forward and reverse (if anyone out there has a few).

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Posted by sir james I on Monday, November 06, 2017 8:39 AM

Thumbs up. They offer nice product at an affordable price. They have also had a few hic-cups but have been quick to address any issues. We have lost Williams as WBB upgraded everything so Menards is a good choice for the tradional size user.

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Posted by phrankenstign on Monday, November 06, 2017 3:36 PM

KRM
Guys,

I posted the videos to help out prankenstign,........

 
Although I think that's a clever "pun" nickname, my username is actually "phrankenstign".  It is pronounced exactly like "Frankenstein".  That's why the picture I use depicts Colin Clive who played the role of Dr. Frankenstein in my favorite monster movie of all time, "Frankenstein" (1931).
 
I rarely pull pranks on people.  However if I decide to do so again, I just may use that "prankenstign" name as an alias.
KRM
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Posted by KRM on Monday, November 06, 2017 3:54 PM

phrankenstign

 

 
KRM
Guys,

I posted the videos to help out prankenstign,........

 

 
Although I think that's a clever "pun" nickname, my username is actually "phrankenstign".  It is pronounced exactly like "Frankenstein".  That's why the picture I use depicts Colin Clive who played the role of Dr. Frankenstein in my favorite monster movie of all time, "Frankenstein" (1931).
 
I rarely pull pranks on people.  However if I decide to do so again, I just may use that "prankenstign" name as an alias.
 

No pun intended.

The truth is I mis-spelled it.  Bang Head

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Posted by robmcc on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 8:44 AM

I'm thankful that Menards has put a fresh breath back into the hobby. I tend to think of the rolling stock more as a throwback to the MPC days. I have a couple dozen cars and a few buildings so far. The graphics have been decent. The numbering system is unique so you could have a dozen of the same car all with different numbers. The numbers aren't prototypical, but I don't think most people are too concerned. The only issue I've come across was a wobbly truck that shorted out on a GarGraves switch on my Dad's layout. A quick trip to the bench it was good to go. Bang for the buck, you can't beat them. Folks just need to make sure they're comparing apples to apples when looking at Menards.

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Posted by rtraincollector on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 9:00 AM

sir james I

 We have lost Williams as WBB upgraded

Even thou they claimed the price would stay the same they increased them almost immediately . and not small increase. 

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Posted by KRM on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 11:28 AM

rtraincollector

 

Even thou they claimed the price would stay the same they increased them almost immediately . and not small increase. 

 

RT, I don’t see that. The cars seem to be the same price as they were when they came out. What I see is the new and more complexed cars coming out, "new now" are costing more. They are still a heck of a value in comparison to the competition..
Take the auto cars Fife was asking about, Menards wants $49.99 for their 14 & 3/4” car with cars installed. Lionel wants $49.99 for their 13” car without cars installed.
 
 
 

 

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Posted by rtraincollector on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 2:46 PM

Kev I corrected the post how I meant to put it. Williams was what I was talking about not menards. here is there boxcars 

http://shop.bachmanntrains.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=491_538_539_540

here is the Menards cars 

https://www.menards.com/main/home-decor/menards-collectibles/train-stuff-from-menards/train-stuff/c-13318.htm?Spec_ShopByType_facet=Boxcars

Williams was about $35 - $40 when Jerry had it. William almost imediately raised the prices. 

Oh by the way if anyone is interested, Menards mystery box is listed again for $99 plus handling and shipping 

https://www.menards.com/main/home-decor/toys-recreation/train-stuff/o-gauge-mystery-box/p-1444422108156-c-13318.htm?tid=-3498726838885105683&ipos=26

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 5:39 PM

Keep in mind those Williams by Bachman prices are suggested retail.  I've seen them cheaper at train shows by WBB specialty dealers.

Why full retail when you order on-line from Bachman?  Probably so they don't infuriate those dealers.  More than likely Bachman doesn't care if you order direct from them or not.

I still can't figure out the Bachman gutting of the Williams product line, it's only a shadow of what it used to be.  I know business is business and you have to cut the slow movers, but it strikes me Bachman cut the lean along with the fat.  Either that or they bought the Williams line and then didn't know what to do with it.

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Posted by rtraincollector on Thursday, November 09, 2017 12:34 PM

I know those are Williams so called suggested retail on the items. But even what other dealers offer them for is more than Menards. 

Take a look at the williams by Bachmann scale GG1, back a few of years ago Bachmann pulled it from the offering. For about 2 years they didn't produce it. Back then there price was about $400 maybe a little less. again retail. You could pick them up for about $200 - $225 then Train world was blowing them out for like $125 as they where probably told to get rid of any exsisting inventory of them. Then they bring it back with the new sounds system for a retail price of almost $700. Now I can't believe the sound system is worth $300 each engine. The price a lot of places are selling it for is around $425 - $450. Even now train world is blowing them out at $299 so something must be in the wind. All I'm saying here, is some of the fat as you call it, probably come back but at a lot higher price. 

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Posted by robmcc on Saturday, November 11, 2017 8:18 AM

I agree 100%, RT. When I was getting back into hobby 20+ years ago, it was the Williams and older MPC that allowed me to build up a decent collection without breaking the bank. This is where Menards had found a similar groove currently in the hobby. WBB pricing has jumped big time, regardless of MSRP.

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Posted by rtraincollector on Saturday, November 11, 2017 11:17 AM

Rob I think one of the best value out there is when Meners offer the mystery boxes. The best one I got so far was the one last spring. It was from a display at a Menards store I'm sure. As it was the Lionchief John Deere set. None in boxes but what a deal. I still got a building in that set a I believe a automobile or two. I know at least one. No track or transformer either. 

But I have so far gotten 1 each of the power buildings and the seed and feed. the seed and feed is the only one I have so far figured out what was wrong. Now I have not tried to add power to any of them as 1 don't have a place to set them up ( ie no layout at present) but on the feed and seed some of the pipeing was missing. I removed the truck and gace it away as It was too modern for what I want to model 

Now the trick is to catch them when they're doing the Mystery boxes. In my opinion It is well worth the cost. They state 1 building, 3 cars, a automobile, and a merchandise item ( ie a hat or T-Shirt with menards on it) Normally listed in the O gauge buildings section. 

The train cars may have a coupler that won't stay shut ( super glue and a tooth pick to apply it works for me) I have it so simple as a wheel set came out of the truck. 

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Posted by anjdevil2 on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 10:15 AM

So far, I LIKE the Menards stuff.

 

Like RT I bought a Mystery box for $106 shipped - got a flat with truck and bombs, a southern boxcar and the American Power and Light building plus a hat and 3 vehicles.  The building alone is $100.  The box and flat need to have the trucks attached - a simple E clip will fix that.

AND I have ordered another Mystery box.  Comes in tomorrow.

I have a bunch of RMT stuff and its pretty good, but I'm a runner and the Meanrds equipment suit me fine.

I WILL be adding stick on wheel weights to the insides of the box car(s) and that will make them track better.

Just-a my 2-a cents!!

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Posted by phrankenstign on Thursday, November 16, 2017 1:33 PM

Let me understand this.......

The mystery boxes come with defective items?

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Posted by KRM on Thursday, November 16, 2017 3:24 PM

Correct, Customer returns, store display items, or package problem items. But always worth way more than the cost they charge for the mystery box. So if your handy it is a real deal. You just don't know what you will be getting, = mystery.

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