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I ask this question because yesterday the post brought me a Hornby Black 5 that is to replace a much older one whose tender drive has just about died. I immediately started to dismantle it to put in a decoder. Within seconds I had broken a very thin piece of plastic that runs along the left hand side of the body. I realise that it was the way I handled it and it is only my fault. Actually since that piece is held in several places, I found that just pressing the ends together made a pretty good repair without glue or anything else.

There are some other very delicate parts on the new engine that could just as easily be broken (and may be one day with my clumsy handling). This got me thinking about whether the latest R.T.R offerings are unnecessarily detailed. I wish that I had the facilities to do an experiment in which, during an exhibition, an engine was changed for the same type but with less detail to see how many people noticed.

As it happens, a couple of hours earlier I was reading a magazine, in which there was an explanation of how to put very fine detail on the underside of a passenger coach (admittedly O gauge) and my first thought was, "you won't even see that in normal operation."

I'll stick my neck out and suggest that in normal model railway use (as opposed to static display in a showcase) you don't really see VERY FINE detail and it is just the general look of the engine that you perceive. Obviously I'm not suggesting that I would prefer to buy the sort of engines that I had as a boy 50 odd years ago. My first engine at the age of about 10 was a Princess (I think) that had no outside motion and you would notice that! But have we now gone too far the other way?

I'll now sit back and wait for people to shoot me down. Cheers, Robert.
 

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QUOTE (Robert Stokes @ 19 Jun 2008, 22:13) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I ask this question because yesterday the post brought me a Hornby Black 5 that is to replace a much older one whose tender drive has just about died. I immediately started to dismantle it to put in a decoder. Within seconds I had broken a very thin piece of plastic that runs along the left hand side of the body. I realise that it was the way I handled it and it is only my fault. Actually since that piece is held in several places, I found that just pressing the ends together made a pretty good repair without glue or anything else.

There are some other very delicate parts on the new engine that could just as easily be broken (and may be one day with my clumsy handling). This got me thinking about whether the latest R.T.R offerings are unnecessarily detailed. I wish that I had the facilities to do an experiment in which, during an exhibition, an engine was changed for the same type but with less detail to see how many people noticed.

As it happens, a couple of hours earlier I was reading a magazine, in which there was an explanation of how to put very fine detail on the underside of a passenger coach (admittedly O gauge) and my first thought was, "you won't even see that in normal operation."

I'll stick my neck out and suggest that in normal model railway use (as opposed to static display in a showcase) you don't really see VERY FINE detail and it is just the general look of the engine that you perceive. Obviously I'm not suggesting that I would prefer to buy the sort of engines that I had as a boy 50 odd years ago. My first engine at the age of about 10 was a Princess (I think) that had no outside motion and you would notice that! But have we now gone too far the other way?

I'll now sit back and wait for people to shoot me down. Cheers, Robert.

*** I agree in one way Robert, in that the material choice for some of the super fine detail isn't that great - brittle plastic can be hard to handle well... however if its not that important to you - why not just remove it?????

I actually think that RTR has a long way to go to match the quality I need for my own modelling - the whole rear end of chassis for example on the hornby Duchess and Princess are wrong, and in general the hornby interpretation/version of Walschaerts valve gear is wrong at the front end as the union link and valve area is very knock-kneed, the piston rod offset at the crank is always wrong and the general large wheel cutouts front and rear and compromises for tight transet radii just ruin most loco's for me... meaning thatI have to do something - usually extensive - to them before I can use them with a smile

Its certainly not a criticism of those who don't see that - its just that I DO notice its "wrongness".

if I had a choice I'd legislate 36" as first radius!!


As to the fine detail, it'd be lovely to see the bodies in finely cast metal, the detail mostly metal piping and handrails and the fine easily damaged stuff in a semi flexible plastic or similar as I too dislike the tendency of fine detail to break. However I'd rather have it brittle than missing - not that it is necessarily a huge part of the "impression" of the loco - its again just that it looks wrong to me without it!

Each to his own.
 

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QUOTE (Robert Stokes @ 19 Jun 2008, 14:13) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I wish that I had the facilities to do an experiment in which, during an exhibition, an engine was changed for the same type but with less detail to see how many people noticed.

As it happens, a couple of hours earlier I was reading a magazine, in which there was an explanation of how to put very fine detail on the underside of a passenger coach (admittedly O gauge) and my first thought was, "you won't even see that in normal operation."

Very good question Robert, and its universal. Believe me, you will be surprised as to the number of people out there who would understand the difference. They are called : Rivet Counters.

I have a set of Brawa goods wagons and you should see the underside detail they have, marvelous. Do I see those details when running them? Hell no, but the idea of them being there comforts me a lot. Am I becoming a rivet counter!??


Baykal
 

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QUOTE (ebaykal @ 19 Jun 2008, 23:10) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Very good question Robert, and its universal. Believe me, you will be surprised as to the number of people out there who would understand the difference. They are called : Rivet Counters.

I have a set of Brawa goods wagons and you should see the underside detail they have, marvelous. Do I see those details when running them? Hell no, but the idea of them being there comforts me a lot. Am I becoming a rivet counter!??


Baykal

*** Do you really have to ask Baykal... just look at your last couple of threads!!

Perhaps like many who try to follow a theme or prototpe, you've just become a modeller of railways, rather than a railway modeller.


... I prefer to think like that, rather than use the term rivet counter, as I can honestly say I never count rivets, but things that are simply missing or not right stand out clearly.

Richard
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 19 Jun 2008, 16:28) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>*** Do you really have to ask Baykal... just look at your last couple of threads!!

Perhaps like many who try to follow a theme or prototpe, you've just become a modeller of railways, rather than a railway modeller.


... I prefer to think like that, rather than use the term rivet counter, as I can honestly say I never count rivets, but things that are simply missing or not right stand out clearly.

Richard



Richard your last sentence sums it all up.

Its something I can't explain. Details on any model just attracts me like a magnet. When looking at any object , even if I try to look at it as a whole, I can't help noticing the bits and pieces of detail and anything not in place just irritates me.

When painting the krieg I also painted the underside of both the Loco and tender. No one actually would see it and for some it was waste of paint, but I wouldn't have been comfortable with it.

My new long awaited Trix SNCF 150X has finally arrived. What a huge DISAPPOINTMENT it is. I am planning to do a review on it comparing it with the ROCO 44 which is fathoms ahead in detail .

Baykal
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 19 Jun 2008, 16:28) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>*** Do you really have to ask Baykal... just look at your last couple of threads!!

Perhaps like many who try to follow a theme or prototpe, you've just become a modeller of railways, rather than a railway modeller.


... I prefer to think like that, rather than use the term rivet counter, as I can honestly say I never count rivets, but things that are simply missing or not right stand out clearly.

Richard

Not wishing to stand out from the crowd as it were but I think that we are indeed lucky to have the level of standard that we have now with fine detail and directional lighting etc. I do think that we as a whole are missing the point at its basic level. Most of us make model railways for the home so only the individual can say what is right or wrong for them. The others build them in clubs for exhibition which for me is to entertain the public. You are going to get the "rivet counters" and they are really never going to happy with whatever is done. Most part its for the children who come and see the trains whizzing by in front of them at the exhibitions and they as a rule really dont care whether the train is super detailed or not.

You will always have the purists that must have everything exactly like the prototype and fair play to them if thats the level they want but for the most of us myself included Im happy with what we have now and look forward to what comes in the future. Needless to say it will come to a point where the manufacturers cannot go any further and then what?

So I say well done to the manufacturers and keep up the good work.

Mark
 

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QUOTE (Robert Stokes @ 19 Jun 2008, 14:13) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I immediately started to dismantle it to put in a decoder. Within seconds I had broken a very thin piece of plastic that runs along the left hand side of the body.
Personally I feel that you should not have to dismantle locomotives to this extent to fit a decoder to UK outline tender locomotives. With the motor in the locomotive itself the decoder should be located in the tender - it should be as easy as 1, 2, 3 !

Remove coal or unclip tender body.
Remove DCC blanking plug.
Plug in & fix decoder.
Replace coal or tender body.

OK - 4 steps - there really is no excuse whatever for what is in effect poor design.

&, as Richard says fine detail should not be moulded in brittle plastic. With all the materials available out there surely it would only cost pennies if that to use a decent material.
 

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QUOTE Most part its [exhibitions] for the children who come and see the trains whizzing by in front of them at the exhibitions and they as a rule really dont care whether the train is super detailed or not.

I don't believe children are the main visitors to exhibitions - from what I can see a substantial majority of exhibition goers are adult enthusiasts, predominantly over 40 . There has been some correspondence in the current and recent Railway Modellers on this subject , disputing the myth that children are a major element of the exhibition gate and that exhibitions should therefore be aimed at them .

After all it certainly isn't children who are buying from the traders

The typical visitor to exhibitions is us
 

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The UK manufacturers having at last got the message that RTR models with accurate body form; constructed, detailed and decorated with some finesse, and with a decent drive inside are the way forward, this is no time to call 'good enough'. Still more, some of this in respect of detail as earlier contributions:
QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 19 Jun 2008, 15:37) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>..I actually think that RTR has a long way to go to match the quality I need for my own modelling - the whole rear end of chassis for example on the hornby Duchess and Princess are wrong, and in general the hornby interpretation/version of Walschaerts valve gear is wrong at the front end as the union link and valve area is very knock-kneed, the piston rod offset at the crank is always wrong and the general large wheel cutouts front and rear and compromises for tight transet radii just ruin most loco's for me... meaning thatI have to do something - usually extensive - to them before I can use them with a smile
..
As to the fine detail, it'd be lovely to see the bodies in finely cast metal, the detail mostly metal piping and handrails and the fine easily damaged stuff in a semi flexible plastic or similar as I too dislike the tendency of fine detail to break. However I'd rather have it brittle than missing - not that it is necessarily a huge part of the "impression" of the loco - its again just that it looks wrong to me without it!..
QUOTE (Brian Considine @ 19 Jun 2008, 17:07) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Personally I feel that you should not have to dismantle locomotives to this extent to fit a decoder to UK outline tender locomotives. With the motor in the locomotive itself the decoder should be located in the tender - it should be as easy as 1, 2, 3 !

Remove coal or unclip tender body.
Remove DCC blanking plug.
Plug in & fix decoder.
Replace coal or tender body...
I would echo these as good suggestions for a wish list of baseline standards for models. Let's also have: no unflanged wheels which had flanges on the prototype, drive train fully concealed, daylight under boiler where present on prototype, representation of all the visible between frames space and inside frames components. Personally I cannot get too excited by detail that is never visible while the loco is on the track, so hidden details like a water scoop behind solid frames strike me as a weak choice: after all the boiler isn't full of flue tubes and superheater elements, it has a socking great electric motor in it ,but since I never see it while the loco is running, so what?
 

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Aren't the Hornby steam locos due this year going to have DCC gubbins in the tender. I think the Bachmann 2MT already has. So it does sound like the manufacturers are listening to us.

Russell
 

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I agree with Robert...

a point I do notice concerns the disparity of detail levels which are emerging...even from the RTR folk.......?

By this, I mean the ever-widening gulf twixt locos and scenic items....even track.

Compare, for example, the Hornby Black Five, with , for example, items from the Skaledale range?

For items of infraststructure to match the detail levels, and fineness, of the latest locos, one needs to be looking for precision scale structures, for example, etched items?.........somehow the homely lack of straightness found on many Skaledale items.....[in no way a critiscm] doesn't sit well with the rolling stock.

Then there's the level of ACCURATE detail on our commonly-used trackwork?

Is there a case for a commonality of standards regarding detail levels?
 

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QUOTE As to the fine detail, it'd be lovely to see the bodies in finely cast metal, the detail mostly metal piping and handrails and the fine easily damaged stuff in a semi flexible plastic or similar as I too dislike the tendency of fine detail to break. However I'd rather have it brittle than missing - not that it is necessarily a huge part of the "impression" of the loco - its again just that it looks wrong to me without it!

Agreed.

UK outline models have come a long way in the last five years and current releases are not bad. However with the fineness of the detail becoming better plastic is no longer an adequate medium for ultra fine pipes etc. Metal would be far better.

Another issue Brian mentioned is design. Some current locos (but not all) are a real hassle to put a decoder in. Many Continental and US locos have been designed so that all you have to do is take the coal out the tender and then you find the decoder plug to instal the decoder. This takes seconds to do. I would appreciate seeing this incorporated into new designs. To be honest I think we will probably see this soon. New improvements seem to be coming all the time. So I am fairly optomistic.

The other improvement needed is a sound option in every loco. I think that too will come. Sound seems to have been a bit of a hit since it's introduction into the diesel market. It should also be a hit in the steam market too.
 

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QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 19 Jun 2008, 23:41) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The other improvement needed is a sound option in every loco. I think that too will come. Sound seems to have been a bit of a hit since it's introduction into the diesel market. It should also be a hit in the steam market too.
Inevitably I'm also sure that it will. When we started attending shows about five years ago we had a demo track on the stand running a FLM 218 with sound. Fairly new at the time & although many people were interested the general opinion then was that it would not catch on !
 

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Well, lots of interesting thoughts and comments!

Richard is so correct that for some of us, it is the detail that is missing that stands out. Yes some of it is very fine and needs to be handled carefully, but ultimately, some of the models you buy today are not children's toys (by children I mean actually aged under 12 -14, after all I am a big kid at heart!).

I also think that peoples expectations have changed as well within the hobby. The standard of RTR models for any prototype ranges from very average to outstanding (we will exclude wheel flanges from this discussion). Unfortunately, the outstanding stuff is generally always the most expensive. You pay your money and get what you pay for. But when you have paid a lot of money for something, it is a great thrill when it arrives, and it either equals or exceeds your expectation.

I realise that this is a very British orientated forum. DCC has finally started to get mainstream acceptance, sound will follow. To my mind the question is whether the British modeller is prepared to spend GBP200 for a locomotive with sound. Look at the resistance to GBP100 DC locomotives.

Scenary is a personal thing and loaded with even more compromises that locomotives and rolling stock. But you can do a lot with Plastic models, even if it is only painting them. The best thing about scenery, is that the techniques are not prototype based. Laying static grass is done all over the world, the same as building houses, painting people, ballasting etc. There is lots to learn out there. At Easter I went to a model train convention, and there was a clinic on tree making. The guy holding it talked about using crushed leaves (grind them up in SWMBO's blender when she is not home ) as ground cover. My one thought was, excellent, someone else is doing that as well!

John
 

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QUOTE (Ravenser @ 19 Jun 2008, 18:00) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I don't believe children are the main visitors to exhibitions - from what I can see a substantial majority of exhibition goers are adult enthusiasts, predominantly over 40 . There has been some correspondence in the current and recent Railway Modellers on this subject , disputing the myth that children are a major element of the exhibition gate and that exhibitions should therefore be aimed at them .

After all it certainly isn't children who are buying from the traders

The typical visitor to exhibitions is us

I'll second that Ravenser, kids yes, but BIG kids.
Dortmund fair was like a geriatric ward.


Baykal
 

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QUOTE (Ravenser @ 19 Jun 2008, 17:00) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I don't believe children are the main visitors to exhibitions - from what I can see a substantial majority of exhibition goers are adult enthusiasts, predominantly over 40 . There has been some correspondence in the current and recent Railway Modellers on this subject , disputing the myth that children are a major element of the exhibition gate and that exhibitions should therefore be aimed at them .

After all it certainly isn't children who are buying from the traders

The typical visitor to exhibitions is us
Again i think the point has been missed. To a degree i agree with you. BUT it is the parents that come along to the exhibitions and do bring the children with them. Agreed its not the children buying from the traders, its the parents. The children do influence the adults to a certain extent when it comes to purchases being made. I myself had very little money as a child and unless you come from a well off family the child is not going to have the money to purchase themselves.

We as modellers have our own level of standards of which we find acceptable or not. You cannot please all the people all the time But you can please some people some of the time.

As I said before, most people build the layouts for home use so again it is up to the individual what level of detail and exactness to the prototype that they will accept. This asside, this hobby is supposed to be FUN.

But sadly I find more and more people taking this to the extreme making the divide even wider between what is fun and what is exact to the prototype.

 

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QUOTE (Rayden500 @ 22 Jun 2008, 00:47) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Again i think the point has been missed. To a degree i agree with you. BUT it is the parents that come along to the exhibitions and do bring the children with them. Agreed its not the children buying from the traders, its the parents. The children do influence the adults to a certain extent when it comes to purchases being made. I myself had very little money as a child and unless you come from a well off family the child is not going to have the money to purchase themselves.

We as modellers have our own level of standards of which we find acceptable or not. You cannot please all the people all the time But you can please some people some of the time.

As I said before, most people build the layouts for home use so again it is up to the individual what level of detail and exactness to the prototype that they will accept. This asside, this hobby is supposed to be FUN.

But sadly I find more and more people taking this to the extreme making the divide even wider between what is fun and what is exact to the prototype.



I don't think any of the posts have missed the point at all: Read your last two paragraphs... You are simply saying once again that "I do not like such fine detail and its a shame that some do as its reducing the play value of the products".

None of this has anything to do with Perents and children - most exhibition traders would die if they relied on the toy train buyers.

Nobody, certainly not ONE of the more fine scale modellers who have posted to this thread (and are all nice people who happily share knwoeldge when asked), has decried anyone who wants less detail - they have simply stated that to them lack of detail is not acceptable.

You really should re-read your last sentence.. Whats "Sad" about any of it - nothing at all in fact, other than the fact that you are clearly miffed that others want their models accurate and that you feel threatended by their preferences.

Who is taking what to the extreme. I like my models accurate - making the that way is FUN to me. Some like to run detailed models and will only buy them that way. There is NO divide at all: We have fun doing it our way, you have fun doing it yours.

It might surprise you to know that most really don't care how others want to enjoy their hobby, but we DO dislike being somehow blamed or criticised because we simply choose to model to a higher standard.

Richard
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well, I certainly started somthing with this question and thank you for your views.

I completely agree with the suggestion that decoder installation should be made a lot easier. On tender engines it could be underneath the tender (or on the underside of a diesel) with no need to remove anything to get at the socket. Then all decoders could be provided in "plug and play" form. Tank steam engines would be harder but something similar might be possible.

I was originally suggesting that perhaps today's R.T.R. engines were getting too delicate; certainly too delicate for young children (or clumsy people like me), but maybe you are right that the toy market is too small to matter.

Isn't there a sensible compromise? Engines are already supplied with separate front steps which can attached if you don't have small radius curves. Couldn't this be taken a stage further? All exterior fittings which could reasonably be added by the owner could be supplied separately. Surely this would have the benefit of cutting down the cost.

If the fittings were not supplied with the engine, but available as an extra to be bought separately, this would cut down the basic cost even further. What is more the quality of the fittings could be improved as the serious modeller would probably be willing to pay more for them. I have already seen advertised, detailing kits which cost a fair proportion of the price of the engine.

Final thought; isn't Hornby's Railroad range going the way that I'm suggesting?
 

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Hi Robert,

In the ideal world anything is possible, but the world we live in is a practical one.

Manufactures are not going to produce a model, and then sell a superdetailing kit for it. One of Roco's great failings (IMHO) was producing a wagon and including a bag of plastic extra's to add on. I would rather buy the thing complete, or rebuild using metal add ons.

If your preference is for highly detailed models, then the choice that you have is reasonably limited. The classic example of this revolves around the ICE trains in Europe. There are some cheap ones and one scale length expensive one. The ICE trains have been around for 10-15 years now, but it is only this year that a really good accurate model of one has been announced (by Trix).

I have been fortunate to see some stunning home layouts in my time. The top 3 would be a scratch built english 2 foot line, a P4 layout and a 9mm to the foot (1:33.xxxxx). Non of which are my prototype of choice.

John
 

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QUOTE (john woodall @ 22 Jun 2008, 08:17) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>One of Roco's great failings (IMHO) was producing a wagon and including a bag of plastic extra's to add on.
John
Sometimes, it can be difficult to work out what goes where with the Roco "add-ons" but we tend to leave them off for wagons (& coaches) that we run on SL. Those wagons that we have with the detail already on suffer with the rigours of packing/unpacking for shows. We have almost 250 items of rolling stock, just two of us & sometimes only a couple of hours to setup/takedown.

So for us, we prefer Roco with the "bits in the bag", but I do appreciate what you are saying.
 
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