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Model Rail 282 Jan 2021


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My copy arrived this morning, and now I'm going through it with a nice cuppa.

 

There is an article of mine (about N/2mm chemical wagons) included. However, the pages seem to be a little out of order. Page 73 should go (or be read) after page 75 as it refers to the building of project '4' - TDB vinyl chloride monomer bogie tankers - which starts on page 75. Otherwise I'm impressed that the entire article, concerning four projects, extends to six pages.

 

Now to crack on with the rest of the content, and drink that tea.

 

 

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17 hours ago, Butler Henderson said:

Subscription copy fell through the letterbox this pm and a quick browse shows a change to the reviews with the % ratings dropped for a final verdict. Outstanding for the Bachmann  OO 94xx, Excellent for the Revolution N IPA and Impressive for the Hornby OO Ivatt Duchess.

One thing struck me about these reviews. In the case of the 94xx, the review states that fitting lights isn't an easy option for steam locomotives. In the Ivatt pacific review, one of the "cons" is a lack if lighting. Seems a bit biased to me.

Edited by Les Bird
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Adding lighting to a steam engine seems to me to be a very odd thing to do and the lights for early, pre marker light, diesels were always very dim (usually a 25W filament bulb, quite often a broken 25W filament bulb), so they aren't worth modelling either. I would have thought that scaling down the effect of a 25W is next to impossible which might be why all attempts to do so seem to me to be a failure. They're much too bright, I have taken mine out, null is better.

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2 hours ago, PenrithBeacon said:

Adding lighting to a steam engine seems to me to be a very odd thing to do and the lights for early, pre marker light, diesels were always very dim (usually a 25W filament bulb, quite often a broken 25W filament bulb), so they aren't worth modelling either. I would have thought that scaling down the effect of a 25W is next to impossible which might be why all attempts to do so seem to me to be a failure. They're much too bright, I have taken mine out, null is better.

 

On the other hand, if the manufacturer does aim for a realistic dim glow, they get criticised.  Heljan made a good attempt at a realistic light level for the Metrovic Type 2 CO-BO (Class  28) and got slated for it.

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3 hours ago, PenrithBeacon said:

Adding lighting to a steam engine seems to me to be a very odd thing to do and the lights for early, pre marker light, diesels were always very dim (usually a 25W filament bulb, quite often a broken 25W filament bulb), so they aren't worth modelling either. I would have thought that scaling down the effect of a 25W is next to impossible which might be why all attempts to do so seem to me to be a failure. They're much too bright, I have taken mine out, null is better.

 

4 hours ago, Les Bird said:

One thing struck me about these reviews. In the case of the 94xx, the review states that fitting lights isn't an easy option for steam locomotives. In the Ivatt pacific review, one of the "cons" is a lack if lighting. Seems a bit biased to me.

I wasn't suggesting lighting as in loco oil lamps for head codes as that would be nigh impossible, even with DCC. The 94XX has firebox illumination - even a flicker effect in DCC. The Dapol 63XX has firebox illumination, so does the Model Rail 16XX. The Hornby Ivatt, being a couple of years older, doesn't have anything similar and in that respect is not quite what I'd call state of the art. (Chris Leigh)

Edited by dibber25
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25 minutes ago, PenrithBeacon said:

I have yet to see a firebox flicker that realistic.  Best left out.

I've never understood this recent development. Weren't firebox doors kept closed most of the time?  I'll accept on a big hard working loco it may be opened regularly but a little shunting loco would have a few shovel fulls put around the box and then do quite a lot of work with the fireman more concerned with helping the driver see what the shunter wanted them to do than opening the firebox again. 

 

Paul

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I've got a handful of them with firebox glow now and from my limited experience of it, it's quite subtle. Don't expect a cab full of constant red or orange light. It is quite well done and probably much better if you are using DCC.

 

It's a bit like being DCC ready and fitted with speakers, whilst I personally wouldn't use them at present, I would rather it being fitted than not as that means it's future proofed.

 

 

Jason

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Reviewing models is not about telling manufacturers that they shouldn't have put in a feature because I don't like it. It's about informing the reader and acknowledging the lengths to which the manufacturer has gone to provide extra features and extra value. There's always going to be someone who doesn't like it but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. Firebox glow makes for some cracking night photos. I recall putting a grain of wheat bulb in a Tri-ang Winston Churchill to enhance the wintry night effect on a cover of Model Railway Constructor over 50 years ago. I did it again an a Model Rail cover a couple of years ago with the cab of a Mainline 2-6-0. At the time that I reviewed the Bachmann 94XX I also had a Model Rail 16XX and a Dapol 2-6-0. Both those also have firebox illumination. (CJL)

Edited by dibber25
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17 hours ago, Steamport Southport said:

I've got a handful of them with firebox glow now and from my limited experience of it, it's quite subtle. Don't expect a cab full of constant red or orange light. It is quite well done and probably much better if you are using DCC.

 

It's a bit like being DCC ready and fitted with speakers, whilst I personally wouldn't use them at present, I would rather it being fitted than not as that means it's future proofed.

 

 

Jason

And adding extra cost for those that don't want it.

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On 22/12/2020 at 10:20, grahame said:

My copy arrived this morning, and now I'm going through it with a nice cuppa.

 

There is an article of mine (about N/2mm chemical wagons) included. However, the pages seem to be a little out of order. Page 73 should go (or be read) after page 75 as it refers to the building of project '4' - TDB vinyl chloride monomer bogie tankers - which starts on page 75. Otherwise I'm impressed that the entire article, concerning four projects, extends to six pages.

 

Now to crack on with the rest of the content, and drink that tea.

 

 

My copy arrived yesterday. 

And I'm really looking forward to having a read of your chemical wagons Grahame. 

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2 hours ago, stewartingram said:

And adding extra cost for those that don't want it.

But we've already been down the road of basic models with Railroad and Design-Clever and there were those who didn't want that, either. Manufacturers are never going to please all the people all the time. There are plenty of older  models without firebox illumination for those who don't want it. (CJL)

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4 hours ago, stewartingram said:

And adding extra cost for those that don't want it.

 

2 hours ago, dibber25 said:

But we've already been down the road of basic models with Railroad and Design-Clever and there were those who didn't want that, either. Manufacturers are never going to please all the people all the time.

 

I'm not sure if I'd go quite as far as to say that, for any number of modellers or collectors, there might be an even larger number of wishlists. However, I have sometimes wondered if this might be the case.

 

Over the years, I know that what I've wanted has changed - occasionally because I've acquired something I wanted - more often because my tastes have evolved.

 

A number of points strike me about "Design Clever" and "Railroad":

  • When manufacturers produce "stripped out" models, there's an issue of how much cheaper they are than "full fat" equivalents. If the basic models are a fraction of the price of the showcase versions, I'd imagine that a number of people would be more likely to want to buy them - whether this is people buying something generic "for the kids" to enjoy on an oval of track, or kitbashers looking for donor models to modify.
    However, if there's very little difference, I'd expect the position to be rather different. Even if there is no high spec version available, I'd expect there to be a limit to how much people would be prepared to pay for something they know to be flawed / generic.
    I could also imagine the price of any model being affected by how many examples are able to be sold at prices that allow manufacturers to recoup their tooling (etc) costs. Of course, I don't claim to have any insider knowledge - and I'm not looking for anyone to divulge it.
     
  • If the stripped out models are sold at an affordable price, there might also be an issue of how many people actually buy them. Some people might think this sounds crazy - I'm not so sure.
    Out of most mainstream RTR production runs, a certain number of models are likely to be split for spare parts - often by specialist retailers.
    Even amongst RTR models sold to retail customers, some might get similar treatment. Others might get modified - perhaps used for "cut & shut" conversions. It's possible that a number of these conversion projects might involve the purchase and us of more than 1 donor model - a classic example being the former Lima (more recently Hornby Railroad) GWR AEC railcar. Articles about converting this model into a 2 car DMU were published as far back as the 1980s - but some people are still doing these conversions. More to the point, I could imagine some of these people not being content with just 1 such conversion - partly because the prototypes appeared in more than 1 colour scheme - partly because a "standard" railcar was also rebuilt to replace a vehicle that had been written off. This rebuild was significantly different to the vehicle it replaced - once some people have finished doing one 2 car conversion, I could imagine at least some of them wanting the other version as well. To be able to do this, they would need to have acquired a significant number of the basic RTR models (whether new or secondhand).
    Of course, if a significant number of people are doing RTR conversions of this nature, the actual number of people buying the models will be rather less than the number of models sold. How many of these people might be interested in buying more at a later date is anyone's guess.

 

You might remember in the 1990s, a number of people were moaning because a lot of RTR models sold then seemed very crude when compared with US and mainland European outline models. Chassis - especially wheels and drivetrains - came in for some very harsh criticism.

 

Over time, new entrants appeared on the RTR market - often with "pancake" motor bogies replaced by can motors, cardan shafts and gear towers. More attention started to be paid to stuff like getting bodyshell dimensions correct - and detailing also improved with a number of RTR models.

 

Of course, all these improvements come at a price - which some people are prepared to pay and some are not. In recent years, some very high spec models have appeared - a number of them have been very well received - but there has also been some backlash from people unable or unwilling to pay the sort of prices that need to be charged to allow manufacturers to recoup their initial investment and (hopefully) make a sensible profit.

 

I'm not sure what the future will bring - but I could imagine even more polarisation of the market.

 

Ultimately, these days, I don't see any way in which manufacturers could expect to please everyone with any individual models. In fact, I doubt if any would even attempt to - instead, I'd expect them to try to pleae enough people to make and sell their products at a profit.

 

If they also try to please both the "high end" and the "cheap and cheerful" markets with models of essentially the same prototype, I could imagine them going for as many common parts as possible - with definite distinctions between the versions. In other words, they might design a basic bodyshell - with acceptable dimensional accuracy - that's reasonably robust and cheap to make. The basic version might be sold with an unpainted, generic interior and without fitted details - whilst the posh one might have various "bells and whistles" added during manufacturing.

 

Otherwise, the cheap one is likely to be based on a superceded model (eg a former Lima bodyshell etc) for which the design and tooling costs have already been amortized.

 

Stuff like this has been going on for a number of years now - as long as manufacturers get their decisions right, they'll probably be able to keep enough people happy to stay in business. Hopefully.

 

 

Huw.

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An example from the USA model railroad scene maybe useful to illustrate the two approaches to the pared down concept.

 

When Atlas introduced their 'Trainman' range, they used drive train designs etc. from their full-fat models, but fitted bodies that were correctly scaled, but had less detail / separate parts at a reasonable saving.  A purchaser therefore had a model that would run well and was accurate in key dimensions where they could add extra detail themselves if they wished. A few of the wagons were older less detailed products from the full fat range and some were new tooling. 

 

Athearn however used the 'Roundhouse' name when they acquired the company to market a range of older less well detailed models, some of which had 'compromises', at lower prices with a limited amount of new tooling. It appears that with 'Clever Design' and the 'Railroad' brand Hornby primarily followed the Athearn route, although it should be added that the running of 1990's Athearn locos with central motors and all axles powered was streets ahead of the pancake motor design used in most 1990s UK models.

Edited by vaughan45
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On 22/12/2020 at 17:29, hmrspaul said:

I've never understood this recent development. Weren't firebox doors kept closed most of the time?  I'll accept on a big hard working loco it may be opened regularly but a little shunting loco would have a few shovel fulls put around the box and then do quite a lot of work with the fireman more concerned with helping the driver see what the shunter wanted them to do than opening the firebox again. 

 

Paul

The firehole doors, as well as being open for coal to be put on the fire are used to admit secondary air. Secondary air helps to promote efficient combustion including alleviating excessive black smoke. The firehole doors are partially open a lot of the time. When a round of coal is put on the fire black smoke is produced and allowing air through the firehole door cuts down the smoke, as the coal is burned less smoke is produced and the secondary air can be reduced by slightly closing the doors. When there is no smoke it's time to put another round on the fire.

Edited by Mike Oliver
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On 22/12/2020 at 13:35, PenrithBeacon said:

Adding lighting to a steam engine seems to me to be a very odd thing to do and the lights for early, pre marker light, diesels were always very dim (usually a 25W filament bulb, quite often a broken 25W filament bulb), so they aren't worth modelling either. I would have thought that scaling down the effect of a 25W is next to impossible which might be why all attempts to do so seem to me to be a failure. They're much too bright, I have taken mine out, null is better.

 

Agreed. A more useful review comment would be whether the lights can be turned off on DC or how easy it is to get at the wires to snip them. The Heljan Hunslet 05 is bang on as supplied, but the same manufacturer's Park Royal railbus looks like it has Wipacs fitted. But then consistency of anything is not a Heljan strongpoint.  

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5 hours ago, Wheatley said:

 

Agreed. A more useful review comment would be whether the lights can be turned off on DC or how easy it is to get at the wires to snip them. The Heljan Hunslet 05 is bang on as supplied, but the same manufacturer's Park Royal railbus looks like it has Wipacs fitted. But then consistency of anything is not a Heljan strongpoint.  

If the lights can be turned on or off on DC then the review would say so. I wouldn't comment on how easy or otherwise it is to snip wires as it's not something I would expect people to do with a ready-to-run model as it has all sorts of implications. I certainly wouldn't want to suggest it in a review. In any event, most of these lights are not wired as such, they are mounted to a pcb. (CJL)

Edited by dibber25
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On 23/12/2020 at 13:25, porkie said:

My copy arrived yesterday. 

And I'm really looking forward to having a read of your chemical wagons Grahame. 

 

Oops! At first, I misread "wagons" as "weapons". Alarming (for a moment).   :rtfm:

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