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Oh Hornby - what are you doing mates? (short rant:(

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On 30/07/2020 at 12:05, Pete the Elaner said:

86214 was indeed a good machine

Not sure that an electric loco that was series only would be much good, but would be a bit of a 86235. 
 

Andi

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I agree that the solder connections are rather delicate.  One came adrift on my model but it was due to my handling: I had tested it on DC and ran it in for half an hour or so both ways, then fitted a Zimo 617N chip in the water barrel.  Consternation! Nothing happened when tested but I quickly found the loose wire underneath.  I managed to re-solder it with some difficulty: it is a small connection and awkward to get at.  A trick i used, which may be helpful, was to locate the wire to be soldered with selotape and to cover the adjacent terminals also with selotape (better still, Kapton tape if you have it).  The wires on mine were coated with a soft glue near the soldering points, something like Copydex, which may been intended to provide a bit of strain relief on the wires or perhaps to hold them in place whilst soldering.
Although the wire diameter is small they are still stiff enough to lift the front end of the tender off the rails if not carefully tweaked and shaped.  I am intending to glue a small piece of lead under the tender floor or perhaps work how to release the imitation pile of coal and put some in there.
Hornby have done very well with such a small model. Twenty-twenty hindsight is wonderful, but perhaps they could have arranged a combined connector with the DCC socket in the base of the water barrel.

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On 30/07/2020 at 12:00, TheQ said:

Hornby's Subcontractors are Sanda Kan, who are owned by San Kader, who own.....Bachmann

Er no.  Hornby use a wide variety of contractors/factories in China to produce their models.  They did that following the loss of Sanda Kan as their sole manufacturer a good few years back.  The maker of any individual Hornby model can be readily established from the code show on the box in which the model is packed when you receive it.  I don't have, or want' a Hornby Rocket so I don't know which code it carries.  But it still needs to be understood that it is not at all unusual for any particular factory to sub-contract work to another factory - as various people who have visited Chinese model railway factories will tell you from what they have seen with their own eyes.

 

As far as Chinese model railway factory QC is concerned the buyers of Chinese production get what they pay for and specify, so the level of QC is can be variable.  Hence many of the model railway 'big names', including some perhaps quite surprising ones, delivering models into the UK marketplace will have a percentage of 'duds' among the products they sell unless they exercise a level of QC at their UK distribution centre.  Some (e.g Bachmann) do that while some don't. 

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Problem with these they have managed to come up with an arrangement that all too readily fails. I would not be surprised if future runs have a redesigned arrangement. I suspect they went against using a plug and socket arrangement due to the possible damage to the model whilst being connected together. The solution would be as per Bachmanns Wickham Trolley with a permanent drawbar between the loco and tender. I suspect over time current purchases will end up at some point having the model disassembled and rewired particularly once someone has YouTube's how to do it.

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2 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

a percentage of 'duds' among the products they sell unless they exercise a level of QC at their UK distribution centre.  Some (e.g Bachmann) do that while some don't. 

This tallies with my general impression; if you take a brand new loco out of a blue box it works and all the bits remain attached to it, but out of a red box you are more likely to have to tweak pickups etc. to get it running and bits will make a break for the border if you don't pull them gently to see if they come off, and glue them back on if they do!  

 

Collectors never take anything out of the boxes anyway so will not be affected or even aware of this issue, and 'train set' modellers (don't like the term, sounds derogatory, but can't think of a better way to express what I mean, sorry if it comes across as elitist, that's not the intention) are less bothered by losing small details; again, some may not even be aware of it, but contributors here are likely to be more aware and upset by these QC issues, which given the price we are paying for what are overall very good quality items we rightly expect to be sorted out at source.  

 

A loco that has to go back to the RTR company under warranty should, if it is making inroads into profitability frequently enough, flag up an issue, but seems often not to until the model is retooled, if then.  The customer is without the use of his model for the time it takes a replacement to arrive, and the replacement may will suffer from the same issues so it turns into pot luck whether or not you get a good'un.  If it happened to me at £175 and the wait for a replacement as H are out of stock of Rockets at the moment, I would not be a happy puppy!  The damage that can be done to reputation and customer perception of a company is considerable and it seems daft to me that often nothing is done about it.  Let's just say that, despite the wait, I'm glad my 94xx is not going to be in a red box...

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Over the last year or so I've bought about twenty Hornby locomotives including Rocket. Four more ordered this weekend.

 

Problems so far = zero

 

Never had a problem with a Hornby product in forty odd years apart from maybe a bent lampiron or lose handrail on a coach. Does that mean I'm lucky or does that mean I'm typical?

 

Besides if Hornby did make their 94XX then it would have been here about five years ago.  :D

 

 

I just think I'd better put some perspective on it....

 

 

 

Jason

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Posted (edited)

Faulty models that stand out as there were others, in fact there was a period where it seemed every model got returned;

The 1971 Triang Hornby 9F, turned out the entire stock in that shop was faulty.

Airfix 14xx;took the best part of a year to get a replacement.

Airfix Castle.

Bachmann Collectors Boxed LMS Black Silver Jubliee.

 

Then there was a mid 70s Hornby A3 that stripped its gear literally a day outside of warranty and a Fowler 2-6-4T which transpired had been fitted with insulated wheels on both sides of one set of driving wheels. The most spectacular was an Ixion Manor whose drawbar exploded when it sat across a rail joint with the loco forming a short circuit, that did get replaced under warranty but resulted in the layout being scrapped as the likelihood of it happening again was too high.

Edited by Butler Henderson

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7 hours ago, Butler Henderson said:

Problem with these they have managed to come up with an arrangement that all too readily fails. I would not be surprised if future runs have a redesigned arrangement. I suspect they went against using a plug and socket arrangement due to the possible damage to the model whilst being connected together. The solution would be as per Bachmanns Wickham Trolley with a permanent drawbar between the loco and tender. I suspect over time current purchases will end up at some point having the model disassembled and rewired particularly once someone has YouTube's how to do it.

I’ve already had one of my Rocket’s apart to repair and rewire it. Not the most difficult model to work on but one must be very mindful of the small plastic detail parts. 

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7 hours ago, The Johnster said:

This tallies with my general impression; if you take a brand new loco out of a blue box it works and all the bits remain attached to it, but out of a red box you are more likely to have to tweak pickups etc. to get it running and bits will make a break for the border if you don't pull them gently to see if they come off, and glue them back on if they do!  

 

Collectors never take anything out of the boxes anyway so will not be affected or even aware of this issue, and 'train set' modellers (don't like the term, sounds derogatory, but can't think of a better way to express what I mean, sorry if it comes across as elitist, that's not the intention) are less bothered by losing small details; again, some may not even be aware of it, but contributors here are likely to be more aware and upset by these QC issues, which given the price we are paying for what are overall very good quality items we rightly expect to be sorted out at source.  

 

A loco that has to go back to the RTR company under warranty should, if it is making inroads into profitability frequently enough, flag up an issue, but seems often not to until the model is retooled, if then.  The customer is without the use of his model for the time it takes a replacement to arrive, and the replacement may will suffer from the same issues so it turns into pot luck whether or not you get a good'un.  If it happened to me at £175 and the wait for a replacement as H are out of stock of Rockets at the moment, I would not be a happy puppy!  The damage that can be done to reputation and customer perception of a company is considerable and it seems daft to me that often nothing is done about it.  Let's just say that, despite the wait, I'm glad my 94xx is not going to be in a red box...

These experiences are as always subjective. I have been relatively lucky with recent purchases, but like many I have much more stock than layout on which to run them so nothing I own clocks up significant mileages today. However, my interests go back through RTR products in time back to the 1950s, and it is very noticeable that the Blue Box models of 20 years ago are much less hardy than the red box models - split gears, mishapen driving wheel inserts etc mean that even lightly used items just havent lasted, whereas Hornby and Triang stuff back to the 1950s can in general be almost infinitely repaired and kept running.

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13 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

Er no.  Hornby use a wide variety of contractors/factories in China to produce their models.  They did that following the loss of Sanda Kan as their sole manufacturer a good few years back.  The maker of any individual Hornby model can be readily established from the code show on the box in which the model is packed when you receive it.  I don't have, or want' a Hornby Rocket so I don't know which code it carries.  But it still needs to be understood that it is not at all unusual for any particular factory to sub-contract work to another factory - as various people who have visited Chinese model railway factories will tell you from what they have seen with their own eyes.

 

As far as Chinese model railway factory QC is concerned the buyers of Chinese production get what they pay for and specify, so the level of QC is can be variable.  Hence many of the model railway 'big names', including some perhaps quite surprising ones, delivering models into the UK marketplace will have a percentage of 'duds' among the products they sell unless they exercise a level of QC at their UK distribution centre.  Some (e.g Bachmann) do that while some don't. 

I’ve had Bachmann duds as well, major class 66 motor issues. A 3f tank with a shorting chassis. A whole heap of trouble with an original 158 chassis that was twisted, Bachmann denied the first two were a thing and washed their hands of the last. Hornby have never done that to me you can always send stuff in.

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Well, volume production will always turn up a number of duds however good QC is, and I'm sure even Rolls Royces are returned under warranty sometimes.  But it does seem to me to happen more with Hornby than with Bachmann.  Bachmann inherited a number of Mainline products that had deeply rooted problems with the materials used in their split chassis construction, which naturally took some time to retool, but the company got on with retooling the chassis fairly quickly to make them more reliable.

 

A more basic model has few parts to fall off or get damaged, of course.  There is a trade off between robustness and hi fi detail, and making finely detailed models that are strong enough to be used normally is a challenge.  We complain, for example, about moulded smokebox darts, and then complain when these are separate items which fall off and get lost...

 

 

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1 hour ago, The Johnster said:

Well, volume production will always turn up a number of duds however good QC is, and I'm sure even Rolls Royces are returned under warranty sometimes

I was told by someone in the motor industry that for quality go for a car built on a robot production line. Hand made cars can be 3/4 inch different in lengths between the sides.

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1 hour ago, The Johnster said:

But it does seem to me to happen more with Hornby than with Bachmann.  

But you are a blue box fan critically commenting in a topic about a red box loco you have said you don't want to own. Unless you have evidence, then that may be just your perception. No manufacturer is problem free. 

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Wheres_Wally said:

I was told by someone in the motor industry that for quality go for a car built on a robot production line. Hand made cars can be 3/4 inch different in lengths between the sides.

 

Actually, at risk of being a bit pedantic (and going a bit further off topic), robot built cars can be quite different in dimensions from one side to the other, too.  In most cases it doesn't matter that much - so long as every bodyshell made for a particular car model is consistently 3/4 inch longer on one side than the other, you can account for the deviation from drawing and everything will consistently fit together the same way on each body made. 

 

However, the problems rack up very quickly when dimensions vary from one assembly to the next - i.e. the consistency goes out of the window - for example, one car body is significantly longer or shorter in a particular dimension than the next car body coming down the line.  That's far less common (but certainly not unknown) with robot built cars, which I think might be the point you meant to make.

 

As an example of an assembly that's dimensionally way out, I could show you a robot-assembled car from a premium German marque where one front wing sticks out 20mm (your '3/4 inch') wider than the front wing on the other side of the car, because of a simple miscalculation in the assembly design - and it is visually very obvious when you're looking exactly square-on at the front of the car.  However, because it was consistently 20mm wrong on every car made of that particular model, it didn't make any difference to the build quality or reliability of the product, so the decision was taken to 'let sleeping dogs lie'.

 

Pete T.

 

Edited by PJT
Trying to make my gobbledegook more understandable.
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Posted (edited)

Having one side of a car longer than the other is probably an advantage if you always drive round the M25 with the long side outermost.

 

Actually, that would apply to toy trains on roundy-roundy layouts, too !

Edited by Wickham Green too
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11 hours ago, Wheres_Wally said:

But you are a blue box fan critically commenting in a topic about a red box loco you have said you don't want to own. Unless you have evidence, then that may be just your perception. No manufacturer is problem free. 

Not really a fan of anyone in particular in terms of brand loyalty, Wally.  I use RTR because it's cheaper and better quality in every respect than anything I could scratch or kit build, bar that kit building gives me some control over final drive gear ratios which, while improved over those of 20 or 30 years ago, are still too low for my tastes.  I have 13 locos (far too many of course) in service at the moment on my BLT, and these breakdown as 10 blue box and 3 red, for no better reason than that Bachmann make more of the small GW types I need.  If Hornby made 57xx, 8750s (I do not regard the Triang Hornby 8750 as a viable model, it's just too crude), 45xx, 4575s, and 56xx while Bachmann made 2721s and 42xx the situation would be reversed. 

 

I will source suitable models for my layout wherever I can, but again Bachmann make more of the rolling stock I want.  9' wheelbase minerals, the bread and butter of a South Wales layout at my period, are not produced by Hornby; their minerals are on incorrect 10' generic chassis, so I source them from Bachmann, Oxford, and Parkside; I do have a smattering of 21 tonners from Dapol and Hornby.  General merchandise vans and opens (again, i have far more than I need) are weighted to Bachmann as well, though there are a few Parksides, mostly 5 plank opens.  

 

Passenger and NPCCS is a lot more Hornby biased, with Hornby providing 57' Collett non ganwayed coaches, auto trailers, BGs, Southern BY, and bogie B types, and Siphons.  Bachmann are the source for Southern PMVs and there are Parkside kit Fruit D and Damo; a Fruit C is on the kitbashing pending list using an old Wrenn Fruit D body and an old Mainline toad underframe.  I have kit auto trailers and an E116 B set from K's via the Bay of Es, which are a bit crude but have been worked up with interiors.  Hornby provided the shorty clerestories for my workman's train, again needing some working up, and there are Ratio 4 wheelers for this service as well.

 

I have considerabl experiential evidence for my opinion, and it is of course only my opinion as I've made clear, in that my more than half of my current tooling Hornby stock has all shed bits.  The 42xx dropped a rear coupling and a front buffer on it's first run, and has since done a spectacular somersault after losing the big end crankpin, resulting in the snapping of the chimney, which was a clean snap and could be glued back on fortunately, and one of the cylinder drain cocks has disappeared.  A Collett 57' non gangwayed brake had to go back to the shop because a handrail at the van end was missing, and a Hawkworth BG has lost one of it's gangway hangers.  A 'design clever' LNER long CCT is currently out of service as the chassis has been a constant source of derailments on Peco medium radius turnouts and will not run freely (a broadly similar chassis on a Southern BY gives no trouble at all, proving that this is a QC issue not a design clever failing).  

 

I have no such issues with my Bachmann or Oxford stock though some Dapol stuff has suffered similar running problems, mostly solved by replacing with Bachmann wheels.  Parkside suffer from having too much sideplay in the axles, and I have on more recent builds cheated by not fully inserting the brass bearings in the axlebox holes to lessen it.  

 

An issue I have had with Bachmann locos is that it is easy to pull the feed wires away from their solder connections on the keeper plate, but this is my own hamfistedness rather than Bachmanns' fault, and I am more careful these days.  But another point, endorsed by experience, is that Hornby pickups need more frequent adjusting and cleaning than Bachmann's (though not as bad as my old Airfix large prairie).  As the discussion was about Hornby QC and design philosophy as much as a critical appraisal of 'Rocket' IMHO, I felt it appropriate to comment despite not being particularly in the market for Rocket (especially not at that price!).  

 

Hornby have had their very public and reported on troubles, but I started with a Roved Black Princess many years ago and owe a debt of thanks to the company, so do not want to see them failing and going under; I think this would be a very bad thing for the hobby in general.  Recent toolings have been excellent, as good as anyone's in the world, so it is a great shame that QC lets the company down, and there is no doubt in my mind that it is letting the company down at a time when they are still very much in recovery mode and not yet out of the woods.  Stationmaster has commented that they are getting the QC they pay for, so it is my view that they would benefit form better QC, which would push the retail prices up more in line with Bachmanns'.

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4 hours ago, Wickham Green too said:

Having one side of a car longer than the other is probably an advantage if you always drive round the M25 with the long side outermost.

 

Actually, that would apply to toy trains on roundy-roundy layouts, too !

Is this the sort of thing you have in mind?

 

https://wallofclocks.com/product/flying-scotsman-cuckoo-clock/

 

My apologies in advance for giving all decent folk apoplexy.

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I CAN'T FIND THE APOPLEXY BUTTON ....... AAAAGH !

 

 

 

............. but, presumably there ARE people on this planet prepared to purchase such cr4p ! ( Maybe not for themselves tho ? )

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12 hours ago, Wickham Green too said:

I CAN'T FIND THE APOPLEXY BUTTON ....... AAAAGH !

 

 

 

............. but, presumably there ARE people on this planet prepared to purchase such cr4p ! ( Maybe not for themselves tho ? )

“…not for themselves…” Now there’s an idea! What about a whipround? Let me see. So much choice. DJ? :jester:

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On 03/08/2020 at 02:57, Wheres_Wally said:

I was told by someone in the motor industry that for quality go for a car built on a robot production line. Hand made cars can be 3/4 inch different in lengths between the sides.

is the three quarters or three to four inches.  My late neighbour had a Bugatti pre WW2 ex Lemans racer and when it was almost written off they found by checking photos that one wing was 2" longer than the other originally leading to head scratching, put it back as built or put it back symmetrical .

Meanwhile my Hornby Pannier jammed under a bridge with  56 mm clearance or 14ft in OO scale.  Turns out it's chimney is 57mm high against 54mm / 13ft 6" max height allowed by the GWR.   Why?  What's the point. From pictures the highest point on these 27XX was the dome.

It was the little 2021 which had the enormous chimney because they were such small locos.

I shouldn't really have to saw the top off the chimney so I can use it. 

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On 30/07/2020 at 20:40, The Johnster said:

 

The EM2 unit could have served as a correct bogie for the Ivatt twins or a D600 Warship, but the opportunity was not taken up.  

I

I saw this possibility when I spotted a wrecked EM2 on sale for a fiver at Cheltenham Model Centre around 1975, the year after I'd viewed D601 at Barry (I had all five underlined in my ABC but it was still like visiting an old mate whose face I couldn't remember!) 18 years later the need finally arose so I installed them under an MTK kit, finished as D601 with scratchbuilt headcode boxes and a replacement plastic roof to lighten the load on the single motor bogie which was fitted with Milholme brass wheels (remember those?) It's still in my loft.

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, Wickham Green too said:

I CAN'T FIND THE APOPLEXY BUTTON ....... AAAAGH !

 

 

 

............. but, presumably there ARE people on this planet prepared to purchase such cr4p ! ( Maybe not for themselves tho ? )

 

Now, now.  Remember, the late HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was apparently delighted one Christmas to be given a "Billy Bass" singing wall plaque by a certain member of her close family.  So if you do get given a Flying Scotsman wall clock you will be in the very best company 

Edited by Willie Whizz
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3 hours ago, DavidCBroad said:

is the three quarters or three to four inches.  My late neighbour had a Bugatti pre WW2 ex Lemans racer and when it was almost written off they found by checking photos that one wing was 2" longer than the other originally leading to head scratching, put it back as built or put it back symmetrical .

Meanwhile my Hornby Pannier jammed under a bridge with  56 mm clearance or 14ft in OO scale.  Turns out it's chimney is 57mm high against 54mm / 13ft 6" max height allowed by the GWR.   Why?  What's the point. From pictures the highest point on these 27XX was the dome.

It was the little 2021 which had the enormous chimney because they were such small locos.

I shouldn't really have to saw the top off the chimney so I can use it. 

There's a good bit you can do to improve the Triang Hornby 2721, and I've done most of it to mine.  On older models, in common with all Triang/Triang Hornby stock, the model sits 2mm, a scale 6 inches, too high on it's chassis, and this can be clearly seen when the model is coupled to a vehicle from another manufacturer by the disparity in buffer height.  This dates from Rovex days and the point was to allow the front bogie of the Black Princess to swing on 13" radius track at the foot of an incline using the Triang ascending piers.  It was not until the generic and incorrect Jinty (it's incorrect for the Jinty, too) was retooled to drive the front axle that this matter was addressed, and fitting such a chassis should solve your bridge clearance issue.

 

But you need to get rid of the chimney anyway.  It should be parallel but tapers upwards in order to facilitate release from the mould, which is why the cap is a separate fitting.  No real GW loco ever had a chimney tapered that way.  Saw it off, file down the stump, and replace it with a cast whitemetal or turned brass one for 48xx/54xx/64xx/74xx.  I had a chimney available from a withdrawn whitemetal kit 64xx, which also furnished the dome and safety valve cover for my 2721; the safety valve cover is much better than the original item, which looks a bit like an upturned brass flowerpot.  I also spent a good bit of time faffing with ballast to hold the rear of the loco down while allowing some springing, but eventually got it right to the very considerable improvement of smooth and slow running.  

 

Other improvements to mine, 2761 in her final condition, are new buffers, spectacle plate window glazing, a crew, scribed plasticard wooden cab floor, real coal, and lamp irons.  The cab roof is wrong as well; the rib across it is not there in reality.   There is a limit to how much this lily can be gilded (or t*rd polished, depending on your outlook), and I have decided to put up with the incorrect generic chassis because 2761 had fluted coupling rods at withdrawal.  The correct wheel spacing can be provided by using the Bachmann pannier chassis, but this has fishbelly coupling rods and will not line up to the splashers, which are very difficult to remove without serious damage to the body moulding.

 

The Triang 8750 is also terminally compromised by it's chassis, too high and with incorrect wheel spacing, not to mention a generic fluted coupling rod and flangeless centre drivers.  The main problem with this loco was the awful finish, though, and merely painting it black and weathering it in BR livery improves the look considerably; again, you need a more recent Hornby generic chassis to drop the body to the right level.

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31 minutes ago, The Johnster said:

...... the safety valve cover is much better than the original item, which looks a bit like an upturned brass flowerpot.  ........

Should an upturned brass flowerpot not look like an upturned brass flowerpot then ?

 

I'll get my hat steel helmet .......

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