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Atlas new curved turnout

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  • Member since
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  • From: Heart of Georgia
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Posted by Doughless on Friday, June 24, 2022 11:23 AM

John-NYBW

I find Doughless's failure rate to be typical of the stuff I buy new if you count both major and minor flaws. Sometimes the flaw is as simple as a small detail part fell off and it can easily be reinstalled in it's proper place. On the other hand, if the part broke off and requires repair in order to reinstall it, that item should go back to the manufacturer to fix on their dime. If I have to glue something back together it's not going to happen. If I do, I run the risk of damaging whatever it is I am trying to glue the broken part back onto which might make in unreturnable. If there is a flaw in an item I buy, I have to decide if it's more trouble to return it than it is to repair it. Lately I find myself more prone to returning faulty items. 

 

That reminds me.  I mentioned that I returned 4 5660 covered hoppers lettered for GATX because the lettering was not actually on the models.  I kept two other hoppers that were lettered for a different roadname that I also ordered.  One of those hoppers had a loose part rattling around in the box.  Because these hoppers have so many details, I could never find where this part went.  Its not a small part like a grab iron, so I would think it would be noticeable to somebody who had a better eye than me.  If its not simply an extra part that made its way into the box, and something that could easily be reattached,  then the total tally would have been 5 out of 6 preordered hoppers had returnable flaws.  I've kept it because I can't figure out where the part goes, so it doesn't bother me enough to return or even spend the time needed to investigate the issue.

- Douglas

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Posted by John-NYBW on Friday, June 24, 2022 9:56 AM

I find Doughless's failure rate to be typical of the stuff I buy new if you count both major and minor flaws. Sometimes the flaw is as simple as a small detail part fell off and it can easily be reinstalled in it's proper place. On the other hand, if the part broke off and requires repair in order to reinstall it, that item should go back to the manufacturer to fix on their dime. If I have to glue something back together it's not going to happen. If I do, I run the risk of damaging whatever it is I am trying to glue the broken part back onto which might make in unreturnable. If there is a flaw in an item I buy, I have to decide if it's more trouble to return it than it is to repair it. Lately I find myself more prone to returning faulty items. 

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Posted by Doughless on Friday, June 24, 2022 9:11 AM

richhotrain

 

 
Doughless

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. 

 

 

Where are you buying this stuff?  The Dollar Store?  Laugh

 

How could one guy have such bad luck to acquire so many faulty items over the period of just one year?

Douglas, I don't doubt you for one moment. But, something is terribly wrong here.

Rich

 

Trainworld, Hiawatha Hobbies, Lombard Hobbies, High Country Hobbies, MBKlein, etc.  They have liberal return policies and I take advantage of them.  Afterall, if they were a LHS, I would have taken the model out of the box and operated it, and then the flaws would be apparent.... I wouldn't have bought it.  Shipping the item to me for me to then inspect it and test run it, then shipping it back and getting my money back becomes basically a "test drive" that happens 500 miles away from the retailer.  I'm not shy.  I'll return it quickly and undo the sale that wouldn't have happened in the first place if the dealer wasn't 500 miles away.

Since the prices on Ebay have greatly outpaced inflation, I don't buy from ebay dealers or used items anymore.  Most of the above items were new releases.  Some were preorder, although the MP15s were NOS.

The speakers on the MP15 were assembled with wires a bit too short, all of them.  They stretched across the length of the decoder tightly and ripped the tabs away from the speaker.  The speaker did not have metal attachment points but more of a cheaper plastic product that could not be reattached.   Ruined at installation.  The speakers are hard to find.  An odd size with a very thin profile.  Mounting current sugar cube replacement speakers into the MP15 housing is difficult, and, is a modification I should not have to do.

Broken handrails aren't typically that big of a deal.  Except there are no replacement MP15 handrails on the market, or at the producer.  The government took away real MEK, so the repair is more time consuming and less competent.

Ditchlight leds have to be positioned precisely in the housing for them to shine straight ahead.  The pilot mounted kind are very hard to rewire.  The deck mounted kind....the housing sticks straight up..... are easier to fix, but the glue has to be removed or else simply pulling out the wire could separate the wire from the LED.  I have restrung new LED ditchlights in the past on the locos that ranked as being more favorites than others. Time consuming.  Other locos I just send back.  

The particular FMC boxcars that did not roll have an underbody assembly that is different from the same producers models of other FMC boxcars.  Weird.  An easy fix, but why?

Irv Athearn just used the same underbody frame on all of his different FMC boxcars for years...curve and all. You can add different details to the same frame.

The 4 NW2s problem is a strange bird.  Operate fine for a few minutes then will just stop.  A faint crackle like a bug being zapped happens, movement and sound stops.  Sometimes the loco will start to move again on its own, other times it requires a slight jiggle.  Always restarts moving without sound, unitl I hit F8 again.  Its got to be a pickup problem, and I never liked the Walthers trucks after they switched designs away from the flawless Athearn cloned type that Life Like had.  I've has other stalls with Walthers locos in the past.  I love these NW2s, and I've spent time troubleshooting the stall/short and cleaning out the truck pickups (and broke a horn in the process)

I preordered the 5660 hoppers.  The description says GATX roadname.  The artists rendering shows the modern large GATX lettering painted in the upper right side of the hopper.  None of the models have the lettering.  Its something I would have noticed if even a picture of the real model was offered before I bought it.

BTW, not mentioned, I returned two other locos because the paint color was way off from what the preordering artist rendering showed.  I called Lombard Hobbies to tell them the reason they were being returned.  He said "yes, this has become more of a problem for us with the customer only having the drawings to go by".  He accepted them back without hesitation. 

No dealer bashing from me.

However, check out this retailer. TrainLife.com, they seem to take pictures of the models that all other retailers seem content to just use the Producers announcement drawings..  https://trainlife.com/collections/ho-scale-products/products/o-scale-emd-gp39-2-dcc-sound-csx-ex-rdg-patch

 

This isn't a dealer issue.   I stop short of bashing.  I'm just relaying my experiences.

BTW, my return rate of used items bought on ebay is about 0.01%, because each individual item is photographed and flaws are described.  I know what I'm getting, unless its "not as described", which is very rare.  That's good policy.

Maybe I'll just go back to buying that way when the prices come back down to earth. 

But frankly, the experinences with returns and high ebay prices has pretty much soured me on even thinking about buying stuff.  Its not needed anyway.

- Douglas

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, June 24, 2022 6:33 AM

Doughless

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. 

Where are you buying this stuff?  The Dollar Store?  Laugh

How could one guy have such bad luck to acquire so many faulty items over the period of just one year?

Douglas, I don't doubt you for one moment. But, something is terribly wrong here.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by wrench567 on Thursday, June 23, 2022 7:03 PM

  I've been in this hobby a lot longer than I care to mention. About 80 percent of my rolling stock is kit built where I was the quality control person. So the only person I can blame for running characteristics falls on me. When RTR started replacing the space on hobby shop shelves that was primarily kits, the majority consensus from modelers was RTR meant Ready to Repair. It became standard operating procedure to check wheels, trucks, and replace the couplers with the tried and true #5. Complaints were abundant on this and other forums. The higher the price the louder the voices.

    As for manufacturers claims of operability. I don't go by it. Just because they claim an 85 foot passenger car can negotiate an 18 inch radius, should it really? The first time I saw the BLI centipede, I thought it was the coolest thing. Until I saw it go around a 32 inch radius curve and saw how far the chassis swung out from under the body. Rediculous looking indeed. And yes it hit every line side obstacle you could think of.

   And last but not least. This one's for Sheldon. I never had a problem with the Athearn covers until one cost me a caboose, two hopper cars, and a weeks worth of repairs when one failed at the worst time possible. Even though it was on the car for at least 15 years. Now all my coupler covers are mechanically held on with a screw. Cheap insurance if you ask me. Cost of the cover leaving after fifteen years of service. Caboose $30, H21 hopper $15, and GLA hopper in a paint scheme that's very hard to find. $???? Cost of a bag of screws $3.

    That's all I have.

         Pete.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, June 23, 2022 5:39 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.

 

Not all of them. I really hate broad generalizations. Like "Bachmann makes junk", or "Athearn coupler covers don't work", or "Athearn cars are foobies".

And on this I'm with John. I like cars with nice detail, but not enough to replace hundreds of freight cars that I already have. Freight cars that will roll past you at 45 smph in trains 40 cars long. 

I buy high end detailed cars, and I still buy brand new Athearn/Roundhouse series cars with molded on ladders and grab irons - but on both I often throw away the trucks in favor of my prefered truck - metal, sprung, equalized with floating brake shoes.

Now to call John out just a bit more. It took you 30 years to notice that? How do you put the floor in an Athearn car and not notice that it is not flat?

Just like those who say the metal coupler covers don't work? Have enough mechanical common sense to look closely at the little cover and realize the side tabs just need to be bent a little more so they are truely 90 degress to the cover - without curving the cover. Then snap it on all the way. I have about 400 Athearn cars - I have lost 2-3 covers in 55 years.....

The more I read, on here and on facebook, the more amazed I am....

Sheldon  

    

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

And yet another thread degenerates into unproductive whining.

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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.

  • Member since
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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 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 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

Alton Junction

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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.  

 

- Douglas

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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 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 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 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 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 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.

- 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 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 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.

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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 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 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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