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Atlas new curved turnout

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 6:10 PM

One more thought, since I don't have a vast fleet of recent passenger cars from Walthers, BLI, MTH, Rapido, etc, I would be really interested in a picture or two of the coupler/truck workings of the offending cars.

And again - how much do they weigh?

Sheldon

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 6:35 PM

I keep spreadsheets on all of my MR purchases, including locomotives, passenger cars and freight cars.

Regarding locomotives, I have purchased 80 of them over time from 8 different manufacturers. I have only returned 2, both were steam engines from Bachmann.

Regarding passenger cars, I have purchased 128 of them over time from 6 different manufacturers including Walthers and Rapido. I have never returned a single passenger car. 

Regarding freight cars, I have purchased 173 of them over time from 11 different manufacturers. I have never returned a single freight car. 

I have never smashed a locomotive, passenger car, or freight car to bits. And, I cannot even imagine returning 50% to 75% of such purchases.

Rich

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 6:53 PM

richhotrain

I keep spreadsheets on all of my MR purchases, including locomotives, passenger cars and freight cars.

Regarding locomotives, I have purchased 80 of them over time from 8 different manufacturers. I have only returned 2, both were steam engines from Bachmann.

Regarding passenger cars, I have purchased 128 of them over time from 6 different manufacturers including Walthers and Rapido. I have never returned a single passenger car. 

Regarding freight cars, I have purchased 173 of them over time from 11 different manufacturers. I have never returned a single freight car. 

I have never smashed a locomotive, passenger car, or freight car to bits. And, I cannot even imagine returning 50% to 75% of such purchases.

Rich

 

Rich,

There is clearly something wrong with us, we simply must not be picky enough.

Interestingly Bachmann is the only company I have returned a locomotive to as well - but my replacements were perfect......

I have about 200 passenger cars, nearly 1000 freight cars, 145 "powered units" (steam locos, diesels, B units, RDC's, Doodlebugs, etc.). I too have never returned a piece of rolling stock.

Several other product problems were resolved by manufacturers who simply sent the needed parts - no charge.

Now admittedly, a measureable percentage (like 65-70%) of my rolling stock have been (or will be) built from kits - guess I am the quality control department?

And a great number of my diesel locos came with bodies that are "kits" (undecorated with details not installed).

So it pretty hard for me to complain about a paint color or a loose detail part.......

But I do have my share of RTR - I must just be lucky......

Or maybe it is easier to get 1950's color schemes correct?

And my junky Atlas track works just fine?

And I've never had a bad decoder? At least none of the guys I sold them too after I took them out asked for a refund?

Sheldon 

 

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 7:07 PM

On the two steam engines that I returned to Bachmann Spectrum, one was the infamous "Thumper" where the driver wheels thumped up and down. Bachmann didn't have repair parts so they replaced it with a steam engine of my choice.

The other return was also a steam engine where a thin brass sheet had "fingers" extending from the sheet to each driver wheel. The fingers would constantly catch on the driver wheels and get twisted and mangled. Once again, Bachmann didn't have repair parts so they replaced it with a steam engine of my choice.

I also have tons of Atlas flextrack and Atlas Custome Line turnouts. Never had a problem with any of it. No filing of points, no filing of frogs, nothing.

Rich

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 8:24 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 

 
John-NYBW

I guess I just have this goofy idea that a consumer product should work properly when it is brand new without the customer being required to tinker with it. It's called quality control and reputable companies practice it. 

 

 

 

Again, John, how are the manufacturers supposed to accomplish this with all the possible variables?

Well for starters, if you are going to claim your cars can run on 24" radius track, you could test if on an oval with 24" radius curves. It isn't enough to see if car can negotiate a 24" radius on its own. You need to test it in long trains with consists in different configurations and with different types of locos. I don't have 24" radius track. The turnout that is the primary (not the only) source of problems is the inner curve of a Shinora curved turnout, which was supposed to be a 32" radius curve but is closer to 28". That turnout was also sold under the Walthers name. When a supposedly ready-to-run Walthers passenger car can't negotiate a #8 Walthers curved turnout, one or both items are junk and that doesn't speak well for the Walthers name.

 

Have you ever designed and manufactured a model train? Or any product for that matter?

Since I'm not in the business of selling model railroading products, it is not my job to design them. That is the responsibility of those who put their name on the product. 

I was in the business of designing and maintainng computer systems. Most of my working life was for an elected official and I was responsible for the check writing that was done by the office. Since checks were the most visible thing we did from the public's perspective, there was zero tolerance for bad checks being written due to a computer glitch. It was understood that if bad checks went out the door because of my error, it would probably cost me my job and maybe my boss's job too. It was always a nervous time when we made changes to the system and you can bet we tested it throroughly before any changes went into production.  

Aside from clear "defects" it seems to me some of your expectations are unreasonable - BUT, you are not alone based on a lot of what I have read on this forum in the last few years.

Did it ever occur to you that maybe hundreds or thousands of other people have bought that same product and had no problems?

Given the failure rate of the cars I have, I would find that hard to believe.

And maybe some number of people have had the same problems - it gets back to all those varibles.

For decades some people have spent a lot of time calling everything Bachmann makes junk. But I have 40 steam locomotives and 6-7 diesels of theirs that work great for me. And yes they did replace 3 locos for me that were not working correctly. 

I have said on numerous occasions that I was very impressed by the Spectrum line of locos. That doesn't change the fact that a good portion of their standard line were junk. 

I have only bought 7 BLI locos, two had major problems they did not have parts for, two others had minor problems I fixed - not a good percentage compared to Bachmann.

I have had similar problems with BLI locos which is why I have crossed them off my list. Premium pricing and poor quality is not a good combination. 

But look at all the people on this forum who would say just the opposite? How do we explain that?

Some people just get lucky or in the case of BLI locos, the flaws are not always apparent. It is a quite common defect on BLI steamers to have the drivers on one side or the other to not pick up power due to a wiring flaw. I thought for a long time that it was limited to my K-4 Pacific. Then I discovered that over half my steamers had the same flaw but because the tender picked up power from both front and rear trucks, the flaw was not noticed. With the K-4, only the front truck picks up power and when that passed over an insulated frog, the engine would stall. 

You never seem to give a lot of details, but a lot of these problems sound like pretty simple coupler, truck and weight issues.

I have tinkered with all three and the derailment problems persist. The real issue is that if these were quality products, I wouldn't have to tinker with them at all, and I have wasted enough time tinkering to try to save junk merchandise. I'm not going to do it any more and not going to buy that product line again. The ones I have are one derailment away from the trash can. 

I've been doing this since age 10. I figured out by age 14 that different brands of passenger cars often did not play well with each other because of different truck/coupler designs combined with modeler attempts to run on too sharp a curve.

I am running on broader curves than what the manufacturer said was the minimum. 

It was true back in the day with Athearn, AHM, Herkimer, American Beauty, Walthers, and it still true today with all these highly detailed models made in China.

I don't care if they are made on Mars. It is the responsibility of the company that puts their name on the product to ensure they are a quality product. If they don't their name suffers as it should. 

In fact, I look at what passes for diaphragms on most of these $100 passenger cars and that ends the conversation right there.

I don't buy them because I know in advance they will not meet my standards.

But just because they don't meet my standards does not mean they are bad products.

As models become more detailed and more accurate, their features start to interfere with their opperation on our "selectively compressed" curves and turnouts.

Yet, this is possible:

With no derailments or problems...

But it will never be available "out of the box".

Sheldon

 

 

 

It's one thing if there is a compatibility issue with another manufacturer's cars but when the entire consist is made up of cars from one company, the problems are all on that company. 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 8:56 PM

Well John, again I have never bought, run, seen up close, or handled the cars in question.

As stated several times I rejected them in advance for other reasons, not to mention I likely have no interest in the roadnames car types in question.

These cars may well be junky, but your blanket statements in general about your expectations seem unreasonable for a hobby of this nature - maybe it is not really the best hobby for you?

Personally, I am in this hobby because I was introduced to it at a young age, and quickly learned it was a fit for me. I like building things - not just structures and scenery for my RTR trains - I like building trains. I built my first loco kit at age 13. I like the history, so I like recreating images of the past, even if somewhat fictionalized, in the creation of the layout.

I'm a mechanical person, I design buildings for a living, I restore, renovate and build buildings for a living. I have mastered most of the construction trades, I am a skilled draftsman, electrician/designer, plumber, carpenter, HVAC mechanic/designer, and I also do automotive mechanical work, restored cars, pretty much an expert on old GRAVELY riding tractors, rebuilt engines and transmissions, and programed some of the earliest PLC's to control manufacturing machinery. Designed and built HiFi speaker systems and complex relay logic controls (before PLC's and now for model trains).

I was doing the repairs at the local hobby shop at age 15 - send me your wayword passenger cars, I wil fix them for you.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 9:24 PM

I don't know what I'm doing differently but my experience with Walthers Proto passenger cars has been entirely different. I had one car in particular that gave me a little trouble coming into and out of superelevated curves and that is the Milwaukee Super Dome (I have two GN Big Domes, too)

 Super-Dome by Edmund, on Flickr

You can see the brake cylinders and equalizer links are very close to the side sill. I don't exactly recall what I had to do to correct it but it wasn't much, a little filing and scraping.

My curves run pretty close to 32" but I'm sure some are a little tighter in places. I also have a curved approach to Union Station and the most inside tracks (tightest radius) only sees the more "flexible" cars. Still, this isn't much problem, the real RRs had equipment restrictions, too.

This is an older photo but it shows a bit of the curved approach on the left:

 IMG_3270 by Edmund, on Flickr

I was just running an eighteen car Capitol Limited just last night, a mix of Budd and P-S with a few heavyweight rebuilds (also Walthers Proto) with six-wheel trucks.

All my brass cars play nice, too, even when mixed in with the Walthers. I did have a tiny problem with some of my Challenger PRR Congressional cars with shorting but that turned out to be the driveshaft on the "Spicer" drive contacting the inboard axle. Just a little trim and everything was fine.

Some of my Broadway Limited P70s didn't like the superelevation as their trucks were too snug and would not roll (as in yaw, pitch, roll) but a little shortening on the bronze contact strips corrected that.

Rapido cars ran well out of the box. The earlier Continental Line required a bit of work but by installing their newer trucks cured any running problems.

I must be doing something differently but whatever it is seems to work OK — for me at least.

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 9:29 PM

Thanks for the info Ed, my dis-interest in some of these cars aside, I know there are many happy users of all the current products.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by maxman on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 10:02 PM

John-NYBW
Most of my working life was for an elected official

 

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Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 10:36 PM

maxman

 

 
Doughless
I have heard that the new Walther mainline 3281 2 bay covered hoppers have 33 inch wheels.  A problem that seems to stem from a manufacturing process that treats that covered hopper differently than other covered hoppers that all get the correct 36 inch wheels installed.

 

You heard this?  Do you know this for a fact, or are you just spreading erroneous information?  Out of curiosity I looked up that model on the Walthers website.  States that the model comes with "correct 36 inch rp-25 metal wheelsets".

 

What the box says is supposed to be installed may not be the same as what's installed. 

Uh Oh...Walthers messed up! (Aug 2020 release, 3281 hoppers) - YouTube

Walthers sent him new wheels, but who knows if the fix made it into production.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUjmPVL6kXQ

I hope everybody who bought one happened to watch this guys video, or else they are still spending time trying to figure out why the coupler height is off. 

It seems like the wheelsets have also been packaged wrong.

Nice to see Walthers stepping up and addressing the issue (only if the modeler notices it?), but it still amounts to spending time fixing something rather than upgrading or detailing.

 

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Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 10:40 PM

richhotrain

 

 
Doughless
 
John-NYBW
If I have to fiddle with something for more than 15 minutes to get it to work the way it should have right out of the box, it's going in the trash, in tiny little pieces. 

Sidebar rant:

I sell it.  I've probably returned/resold 75% of the model railroading stuff I have ever bought.  

 

 

I guess that returning/reselling beats smashing it up into tiny little pieces.

 

But, 75% ???

Both of you guys need MR therapy. Laugh

 

 
Doughless

When I buy new, I know that there is a greater than 50% chance it will be sent right back.  

 

 

Geez, I wouldn't want to be your seller.  Confused Confused

 

Rich

 

No worries.  I very rarely have to return something bought used off of ebay.  Ebay sellers describe their products better than the producers do, IMO. They describe the actual unit being sold after it was inspected or played with.  New producers don't do that.

Neither the producer or the retailer inspects the individual product.  The buyer seems to be the first person who does.  I have received plenty of brand new items with undisclosed flaws.  And back they go.

I'm one of those guys who are stubborn enough to make them eat their flawed product even if it costs me $15 in return shipping.  If they bet on me not wanting the hassle, they lose.

I've listed many products with returnable flaws in this thread.  Most of them purchased in the past three years. There are some that I have not pulled the trigger on yet, like all 4 of my Walthers NW2s....that's 100%, not 50 or 75, ..stalling randomly on the layout.  I'll probably waste more time today figuring out why only those 4 and none of the other 50 locos stall/short virtually anywhere at any time.

- Douglas

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, June 23, 2022 8:55 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 

 
richhotrain

I keep spreadsheets on all of my MR purchases, including locomotives, passenger cars and freight cars.

Regarding locomotives, I have purchased 80 of them over time from 8 different manufacturers. I have only returned 2, both were steam engines from Bachmann.

Regarding passenger cars, I have purchased 128 of them over time from 6 different manufacturers including Walthers and Rapido. I have never returned a single passenger car. 

Regarding freight cars, I have purchased 173 of them over time from 11 different manufacturers. I have never returned a single freight car. 

I have never smashed a locomotive, passenger car, or freight car to bits. And, I cannot even imagine returning 50% to 75% of such purchases.

Rich

 

 

 

Rich,

There is clearly something wrong with us, we simply must not be picky enough.

 

So it pretty hard for me to complain about a paint color or a loose detail part.......

But I do have my share of RTR - I must just be lucky......

Or maybe it is easier to get 1950's color schemes correct?

And my junky Atlas track works just fine?

And I've never had a bad decoder? At least none of the guys I sold them too after I took them out asked for a refund?

Sheldon 

 

 

Sheldon, the complaints in this thread are not of the kind that complain about correct paint colors for a prototype, some doo dad detail not being accurate, curvature of a nose, wrong horn, etc.... Stuff that frustrates elite modelers. 

Its about cars not rolling, chromed roofwalks, sparkly metal flake gray paint, lights that point sideways, lights that can't be seen due to long pipes.  Wrong wheels being installed.  Motors screetching on new batches (not 10 year old New Stock).  These flaws are pretty basic. 

- Douglas

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, June 23, 2022 9:10 AM

I did a Google search for "national average return rate on goods".

It is around 10% for brick and mortar stores and just under 20% for ecommerce stores, although some data suggests returns as high as 30% for ecommerce stores.

That data confirms my feeling that 50% to 75% is extraordinarily high.

Rich

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, June 23, 2022 9:43 AM

richhotrain

I did a Google search for "national average return rate on goods".

It is around 10% for brick and mortar stores and just under 20% for ecommerce stores, although some data suggests returns as high as 30% for ecommerce stores.

That data confirms my feeling that 50% to 75% is extraordinarily high.

Rich

 

That's a pretty bad percentage, IMO.

Those are the actual returns.  Not the same thing as items that have returnable flaws.  It doesn't include returnable items that buyers just decide to keep because of a hassle factor or the joy to have a specific model they've been wanting for 15 years, so they overlook the flaws.

Accounting for buyers that will go throught the hassle of actually returning the items and not loving any specific model (like me), I could see the return stats supporting the idea that near 50% of ecommerce goods of a more complex nature, like operating models, have returnable flaws.  

Again, both, 100% of my new U23Bs vibrate, and all 4, 100% of my NW2s short/stall randomly.  Returnable flaws, IMO.

And years ago, OEM installed Loksound select decoders buzzed loudly in 100% of U18Bs and GP10s.  And a high percentage in other locos.   ESU remedied this returnable flaw with the V5.

Apparently, 100% of the frogs on the new PECO #6 unifrogs were narrow enough for PECO to redesign the frog.  Its hard to tell how many were returned and how many just had nail polish put over them.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, June 23, 2022 10:12 AM

I think one reason the quality control is so bad in this hobby is because most modelers are willing to accept flaws and put it on themselves to fix flaws rather than return the faulty item. Not all companies are guilty of poor quality control but there are far too many that are and the worst part of it is that many of these are companies selling high end items at premium prices.

If I pay $75 or more for a single passenger car, I think it is a reasonable expectation that it will operate flawlessly right out of the box on whatever radius track is the stated minimum for it. Apparently some think that is unreasonable.  

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Posted by selector on Thursday, June 23, 2022 10:41 AM

John-NYBW

I think one reason the quality control is so bad in this hobby is because most modelers are willing to accept flaws and put it on themselves to fix flaws rather than return the faulty item. Not all companies are guilty of poor quality control but there are far too many that are and the worst part of it is that many of these are companies selling high end items at premium prices.

If I pay $75 or more for a single passenger car, I think it is a reasonable expectation that it will operate flawlessly right out of the box on whatever radius track is the stated minimum for it. Apparently some think that is unreasonable.  

 

That was my earlier argument to you.  Nobody benefits from items that get smashed rather than returned.

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, June 23, 2022 10:52 AM

Doughless
Those are the actual returns.  Not the same thing as items that have returnable flaws.  It doesn't include returnable items that buyers just decide to keep because of a hassle factor or the joy to have a specific model they've been wanting for 15 years, so they overlook the flaws.

You got it right in that first sentence. Those are actual returns. How else are you going to measure returns, if not actual returns?

What the data doesn't indicate is how many people making returns are returning 50% to 75% of their overall purchases. Common sense would seem to indicate that there is a low percentage of people who are making returns are returning 50% to 75% of their overall purchases. If the percentage of those people were high, the percentage of actual returns would be much higher than what sellers are actually experiencing.

In terms of "returnable flaws", a nationally know consulting firm reports that a large percentage of ecommerce is apparel. The firm reports that the reasons for returns are wrong item, wrong size, wrong color, damage in transit. Take out apparel from the data and the percentage of returns would be quite low.

I will not attempt to explain why your percentage of returns is so high, but it does seem that your percentage of returns is way in excess of what others experience.

Rich

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, June 23, 2022 11:05 AM

John-NYBW

I think one reason the quality control is so bad in this hobby is because most modelers are willing to accept flaws and put it on themselves to fix flaws rather than return the faulty item. Not all companies are guilty of poor quality control but there are far too many that are and the worst part of it is that many of these are companies selling high end items at premium prices.

Is that feeling of yours supportable by actual data or evidence? If I bought a flawed item such as a locomotive or passenger car or a freight car, or "returnable flaw" as Douglas puts it, I would return it, not attempt to fix it. My feeling is that most modelers would do the same.

John-NYBW
If I pay $75 or more for a single passenger car, I think it is a reasonable expectation that it will operate flawlessly right out of the box on whatever radius track is the stated minimum for it. Apparently some think that is unreasonable.   

This makes me recall an event many years ago before I got into HO scale modeling when I bought a Bachmann N scale train set for my young son. We could not keep the track together, could not keep the locomotive or cars on the track, could not keep the locomotive from stalling, etc., etc., etc. We finally gave up in despair. So quality control, or lack thereof, is nothing new.

When I got into HO scale 14 years ago, I began to experience the same problems. Over time, I began to realize that this is the nature of the beast. Model railroading is not for the faint of heart. It is not so much an individual piece of equipment at fault but, rather, the art and science of combining so many moveable parts into a single operating whole.

For that reason, I am not so sure that it is a reasonable expectation that everything should operate flawlessly right out of the box.

Rich

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, June 23, 2022 11:56 AM

John-NYBW

I think one reason the quality control is so bad in this hobby is because most modelers are willing to accept flaws and put it on themselves to fix flaws rather than return the faulty item. Not all companies are guilty of poor quality control but there are far too many that are and the worst part of it is that many of these are companies selling high end items at premium prices.

If I pay $75 or more for a single passenger car, I think it is a reasonable expectation that it will operate flawlessly right out of the box on whatever radius track is the stated minimum for it. Apparently some think that is unreasonable.  

 

I expanded on your comment earlier by not wanting to bash companies. They are all guilty.  Rapido even sent out a lot of RS-11s with a motor that burned up.  Its like they have to find a new vendor each time they produce a new batch of product.  

Rather, think about a picky market that discusses stuff like proper roof curvature for a specific road name of car and you can tell where a manufacturer would put a lot of their research dollars.  

And then think about a market that was dominated by Athearn BB kits, and what percentage of returnable flaws would be found in new products then....about 00001% ( where someone forgot to throw in the manilla paper bag of parts).

What is he returnable flaw rate of current Accurail kits...the stuff that has been produced over and over again (albeit in batches) over the years?

- Douglas

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, June 23, 2022 12:24 PM

richhotrain

 

 
Doughless
Those are the actual returns.  Not the same thing as items that have returnable flaws.  It doesn't include returnable items that buyers just decide to keep because of a hassle factor or the joy to have a specific model they've been wanting for 15 years, so they overlook the flaws.

 

 

You got it right in that first sentence. Those are actual returns. How else are you going to measure returns, if not actual returns?

 

What the data doesn't indicate is how many people making returns are returning 50% to 75% of their overall purchases. Common sense would seem to indicate that there is a low percentage of people who are making returns are returning 50% to 75% of their overall purchases. If the percentage of those people were high, the percentage of actual returns would be much higher than what sellers are actually experiencing.

In terms of "returnable flaws", a nationally know consulting firm reports that a large percentage of ecommerce is apparel. The firm reports that the reasons for returns are wrong item, wrong size, wrong color, damage in transit. Take out apparel from the data and the percentage of returns would be quite low.

I will not attempt to explain why your percentage of returns is so high, but it does seem that your percentage of returns is way in excess of what others experience.

Rich

 

My personal return rate is higher than average, because like John, I no longer am willing to spend my hobby time fixing stuff that I just bought.  There is difference in the meaning of fixing, assembling, detailing, upgrading.  3 out of the 4 is what I spend my model building time on, not fixing. 

My tolerances are pretty low because I do not need a specific model of anything.  Its very easy to just move on without.  If I needed a specific model, I would probably spend time fixing any flaw with a brand new Rapido MONON coach that I just bought, being worth a lot of time to fix.  Using that as an example.  

 

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, June 23, 2022 2:11 PM

Doughless

My tolerances are pretty low because I do not need a specific model of anything.  Its very easy to just move on without.  If I needed a specific model, I would probably spend time fixing any flaw with a brand new Rapido MONON coach that I just bought, being worth a lot of time to fix.  Using that as an example.   

Nooooo! You found a Rapido Monon coach? Was it in good shape? Any returnable flaws? I would kill to secure a set of 5 of the Rapido Monon coaches. If you need to return that coach for any reason, send it on to me and I will take it from there.

Rich

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, June 23, 2022 2:25 PM

richhotrain

 

 
Doughless

My tolerances are pretty low because I do not need a specific model of anything.  Its very easy to just move on without.  If I needed a specific model, I would probably spend time fixing any flaw with a brand new Rapido MONON coach that I just bought, being worth a lot of time to fix.  Using that as an example.   

 

 

Nooooo! You found a Rapido Monon coach? Was it in good shape? Any returnable flaws? I would kill to secure a set of 5 of the Rapido Monon coaches. If you need to return that coach for any reason, send it on to me and I will take it from there.

 

Rich

 

I wish.  I would make a fortune off of you....No.  I know you coveted them and will likley fix anything wrong with them.

I change my off the cuff percentages based on actual data:

Edit:  These are the items I've bought over the past year.  

MP15  Broken handrails

MP15 Inoperable speaker

MP15 Inoperable speaker

MP15  Kept

4 GP15s  Kept

4 NW2s  All Stall randomly (not at turnouts)

GP38-2  2 crooked ditchlghts 

GP38-2 kept

GP50 2 crooked ditchlights

GP50 kept

4 5660 Hoppers Large GATX lettering missing from side (unlike artist's rendering) 

4 Pressureaide hoppers  kept

U23B Vibrates

U23B Vibrates

2 boxcars did not roll

3 boxcars kept

6 3281 covered hoppers (American Limited)  kept.

By my math, 17 items had returnable flaws and 18 did not.  48% of the merchandise.

And I was lucky enough to buy only PECO #8 turnouts and avoided the #6 Unifrog's. LOL.

- Douglas

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Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, June 23, 2022 2:31 PM

Doughless

 

 
John-NYBW

I think one reason the quality control is so bad in this hobby is because most modelers are willing to accept flaws and put it on themselves to fix flaws rather than return the faulty item. Not all companies are guilty of poor quality control but there are far too many that are and the worst part of it is that many of these are companies selling high end items at premium prices.

If I pay $75 or more for a single passenger car, I think it is a reasonable expectation that it will operate flawlessly right out of the box on whatever radius track is the stated minimum for it. Apparently some think that is unreasonable.  

 

 

 

I expanded on your comment earlier by not wanting to bash companies. They are all guilty.  Rapido even sent out a lot of RS-11s with a motor that burned up.  Its like they have to find a new vendor each time they produce a new batch of product.  

Rather, think about a picky market that discusses stuff like proper roof curvature for a specific road name of car and you can tell where a manufacturer would put a lot of their research dollars.  

And then think about a market that was dominated by Athearn BB kits, and what percentage of returnable flaws would be found in new products then....about 00001% ( where someone forgot to throw in the manilla paper bag of parts).

What is he returnable flaw rate of current Accurail kits...the stuff that has been produced over and over again (albeit in batches) over the years?

 

There was one common flaw with Athearn BB kits that I didn't learn the quick fix for until many year later. The problem was coupler sag and sometimes I would have to put so many washers under the trucks to get them to the right height that the car would become unstable. I learned many years later that the proble was the metal weight that went under the floor of the car would often have a curve in it and it would in turn cause the floor and chassis to curve with it. The coupler box was part of the chassis and if the metal weight curved downward it would cause the coupler box to sag too low, sometimes much too low. The simple fix I learned was to put the weight on my concrete basement floor and step on it which would flatten it out and fix the problem. That is the kind of fix I can handle. if only I had learned about it 30 years earlier.  

Accurail has replaced Athearn as the source for the relatively inexpensive, shake-the-box freight car kits. I'm fine with the lack of fine detail. In fact I prefer it. That fine detail is prone to breaking off. I've never had the molded on ladder break off of an Athearn or Accurail car. They are almost bullet proof. I do fine tune them by replacing the couplers with KDs, installing wheels and extra weight. I'll free up the trucks with my truck tuner and do a little weathering and I'll have a reliably operating freight car. I know going in I'm going to have to do those things and have no problem. It takes me all of about 15 minutes to do all those things. I can't remember the last time I had a flawed Accurail car. Maybe I've never had one. 

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Posted by maxman on Thursday, June 23, 2022 2:37 PM

John-NYBW
There was one common flaw with Athearn BB kits that I didn't learn the quick fix for

Along with the fact that all the brake appliances on the bottom of the car are in the incorrect position.

But of course, you don't care about that.

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Posted by AEP528 on Thursday, June 23, 2022 2:53 PM

And yet another thread degenerates into unproductive whining.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, June 23, 2022 2:56 PM

maxman

 

 
John-NYBW
There was one common flaw with Athearn BB kits that I didn't learn the quick fix for

 

Along with the fact that all the brake appliances on the bottom of the car are in the incorrect position.

But of course, you don't care about that.

 

Of course I don't. Why would I? You can't see those details unless the car is upside down and I don't run my cars that way.

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, June 23, 2022 3:19 PM

John-NYBW

 

 

There was one common flaw with Athearn BB kits that I didn't learn the quick fix for until many year later. The problem was coupler sag and sometimes I would have to put so many washers under the trucks to get them to the right height that the car would become unstable. I learned many years later that the proble was the metal weight that went under the floor of the car would often have a curve in it and it would in turn cause the floor and chassis to curve with it. The coupler box was part of the chassis and if the metal weight curved downward it would cause the coupler box to sag too low, sometimes much too low. The simple fix I learned was to put the weight on my concrete basement floor and step on it which would flatten it out and fix the problem. That is the kind of fix I can handle. if only I had learned about it 30 years earlier.  

Accurail has replaced Athearn as the source for the relatively inexpensive, shake-the-box freight car kits. I'm fine with the lack of fine detail. In fact I prefer it. That fine detail is prone to breaking off. I've never had the molded on ladder break off of an Athearn or Accurail car. They are almost bullet proof. I do fine tune them by replacing the couplers with KDs, installing wheels and extra weight. I'll free up the trucks with my truck tuner and do a little weathering and I'll have a reliably operating freight car. I know going in I'm going to have to do those things and have no problem. It takes me all of about 15 minutes to do all those things. I can't remember the last time I had a flawed Accurail car. Maybe I've never had one. 

 

Yes John.  What we are really talking about is product delivering less than expectations.  Some of it pretty basic expectations like traversing a minimum radius advertised or even just rolling down the track.  Or lights that you can actually see.  I don't always expect roof curvature to be specific to prototype.

I wasn't going to mention the curved BB floors because they were generally expected.  I knew they might be curved going into the purchase, so finding one that was curved is not something less than expected. 

And yes, I don't recall ever having an Accurail kit not fitting together beautifully.  The wheelsets and couplers are not what many want...they are actually great for switching layouts because the wheels do not roll well, and a lot of free rolling modelers and long train backeruppers don't like the two part couplers.  But once you buy one kit you know what to expect before you buy others.

- Douglas

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  • 8,093 posts
Posted by maxman on Thursday, June 23, 2022 3:59 PM

John-NYBW

 

 
maxman

 

 
John-NYBW
There was one common flaw with Athearn BB kits that I didn't learn the quick fix for

 

Along with the fact that all the brake appliances on the bottom of the car are in the incorrect position.

But of course, you don't care about that.

 

 

 

Of course I don't. Why would I? You can't see those details unless the car is upside down and I don't run my cars that way.

 

I can see that discussion on this topic can become futile.  Just as you don't care about underbody detail because it is not normally seen, there are those who object to added grabs, ladders, roofwalks and prefer molded on details because the added parts are "fragile", add nothing to operation, and add unnecessarily to cost.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, June 23, 2022 5:06 PM

Doughless

 

 
John-NYBW

 

 

There was one common flaw with Athearn BB kits that I didn't learn the quick fix for until many year later. The problem was coupler sag and sometimes I would have to put so many washers under the trucks to get them to the right height that the car would become unstable. I learned many years later that the proble was the metal weight that went under the floor of the car would often have a curve in it and it would in turn cause the floor and chassis to curve with it. The coupler box was part of the chassis and if the metal weight curved downward it would cause the coupler box to sag too low, sometimes much too low. The simple fix I learned was to put the weight on my concrete basement floor and step on it which would flatten it out and fix the problem. That is the kind of fix I can handle. if only I had learned about it 30 years earlier.  

Accurail has replaced Athearn as the source for the relatively inexpensive, shake-the-box freight car kits. I'm fine with the lack of fine detail. In fact I prefer it. That fine detail is prone to breaking off. I've never had the molded on ladder break off of an Athearn or Accurail car. They are almost bullet proof. I do fine tune them by replacing the couplers with KDs, installing wheels and extra weight. I'll free up the trucks with my truck tuner and do a little weathering and I'll have a reliably operating freight car. I know going in I'm going to have to do those things and have no problem. It takes me all of about 15 minutes to do all those things. I can't remember the last time I had a flawed Accurail car. Maybe I've never had one. 

 

 

 

Yes John.  What we are really talking about is product delivering less than expectations.  Some of it pretty basic expectations like traversing a minimum radius advertised or even just rolling down the track.  Or lights that you can actually see.  I don't always expect roof curvature to be specific to prototype.

I wasn't going to mention the curved BB floors because they were generally expected.  I knew they might be curved going into the purchase, so finding one that was curved is not something less than expected. 

And yes, I don't recall ever having an Accurail kit not fitting together beautifully.  The wheelsets and couplers are not what many want...they are actually great for switching layouts because the wheels do not roll well, and a lot of free rolling modelers and long train backeruppers don't like the two part couplers.  But once you buy one kit you know what to expect before you buy others.

 

What it comes down to is that when you pay a premium price, you have a right to expect optimum quality. Likewise, when you buy lower cost items, you should realize you are getting what you paid for. I know when I buy an Accurail car (or Athearn in past years) what I am going to get an what I'm not going to get. I know I'm going to have to upgrade them to get the car I want and I price that in when I buy it. As you said, those upgrades which I want are not going to be important to others. It's all about getting reasonable value for your money and I think every consumer is entitled to that no matter what product we are talking about. 

Most of the freight cars I have bought in the last 20 years have been Accurail kits and I don't remember being disappointed in one. I wish I could say the same with much of the higher end purchases I have made. In some cases I have gotten my money's worth but too often I have not. If a company consistently gives me less than what I feel I am entitled to, I quit buying that company's products. I won't scratch a company because of one flawed item but when the flaws become common place, they won't get any more business from me.

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, June 23, 2022 5:25 PM

John-NYBW
What it comes down to is that when you pay a premium price, you have a right to expect optimum quality. Likewise, when you buy lower cost items, you should realize you are getting what you paid for. I know when I buy an Accurail car (or Athearn in past years) what I am going to get an what I'm not going to get. I know I'm going to have to upgrade them to get the car I want and I price that in when I buy it. As you said, those upgrades which I want are not going to be important to others. It's all about getting reasonable value for your money and I think every consumer is entitled to that no matter what product we are talking about.  Most of the freight cars I have bought in the last 20 years have been Accurail kits and I don't remember being disappointed in one. I wish I could say the same with much of the higher end purchases I have made. In some cases I have gotten my money's worth but too often I have not. If a company consistently gives me less than what I feel I am entitled to, I quit buying that company's products. I won't scratch a company because of one flawed item but when the flaws become common place, they won't get any more business from me.

This topic can drift into the RTR vs kit, premium line vs basic line, and that's not where I want my contribution to go.  IMO, price reflects the level of details and features.  The more complex the item, the greater the chance of all of those complexities being harder to engineer and assemble.  I get it.

While some might complain about inaccurate brake detail, or a grab iron coming off in shipping,  I complain about the boxcar not rolling.  Or not taking the advertised curve.  Any speaker should work.  Locos should not randomly stall...not just one lemon out of the lot...but all of them.  While others might complain about an incorrect shade of prototype paint color, I'm going to complain about a metal flake paint job suitable for a resto-mod Hemi Cuda.  My returnable flaws are in areas of the more basic expectations.  And its been a failure rate of 48% over about the last 12 months of those basic things.

Its okay.  My shortline doesn't require much.  I can churn through twice as much product as I have to, to get what I want.  I'm not crossing anybody off the list and not calling anybody out.

I've probably repeated myself too much already.

- Douglas

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