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There are several UK RTR products which despite many very good qualities, and their suitability to my modelling interest, I am either reluctant to purchase, or simply will not purchase. In every case the reason is a body shape error. Where there is reason to believe the error may be corrected, the purchase will go ahead, and the rectification required is attempted. If it succeeds then well and good, and there may be further purchases, if not then no more are purchased. Models which defy correction, whether due to the disproportionate effort required, or straight up inability (of Mr Ninethumbs here) to do the job to the standard required; are simply left on the retailer's shelf.

The prime example of this is Heljan's 47. A very good product in so many ways, but I never bought one due to the bodyshape error, particularly when seen in head on view. The prospect of a near complete rebuild of the body shell, and cutting down the chassis block sides did not appeal. Very simply it was going to take near as much effort as building a kit, with some doubt as to whether I could maintain the good finish of the model. Happily in that case a much superior alternative is now available. However, since then there have been several more such flawed body shapes, and the prospect of a better alternative emerging seems slim. Duplication of the commonest BR diesel was a pretty sure bet, but when the prototype is a less common type, a (hopefully better) duplicate will be a long time in coming.

That's unfortunate, and is something that is at greater risk of happening nowadays, with the tool development being carried out by people who near inevitably have not seen the prototype. In an ideal world this aspect of every model would be 'right'. How can that be achieved? The answer may well have been provided by Dapol's experiment of showing their CAD development on-line. However, I can see some sensitivity there, if a manufacturer feels that commercial advantage may best be secured by discretion. Any other thoughts?
 

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QUOTE (34C @ 13 Nov 2007, 19:00) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>There are several UK RTR products which despite many very good qualities, and their suitability to my modelling interest, I am either reluctant to purchase, or simply will not purchase. In every case the reason is a body shape error. Where there is reason to believe the error may be corrected, the purchase will go ahead, and the rectification required is attempted. If it succeeds then well and good, and there may be further purchases, if not then no more are purchased. Models which defy correction, whether due to the disproportionate effort required, or straight up inability (of Mr Ninethumbs here) to do the job to the standard required; are simply left on the retailer's shelf.

The prime example of this is Heljan's 47. A very good product in so many ways, but I never bought one due to the bodyshape error, particularly when seen in head on view. The prospect of a near complete rebuild of the body shell, and cutting down the chassis block sides did not appeal. Very simply it was going to take near as much effort as building a kit, with some doubt as to whether I could maintain the good finish of the model. Happily in that case a much superior alternative is now available. However, since then there have been several more such flawed body shapes, and the prospect of a better alternative emerging seems slim. Duplication of the commonest BR diesel was a pretty sure bet, but when the prototype is a less common type, a (hopefully better) duplicate will be a long time in coming.

That's unfortunate, and is something that is at greater risk of happening nowadays, with the tool development being carried out by people who near inevitably have not seen the prototype. In an ideal world this aspect of every model would be 'right'. How can that be achieved? The answer may well have been provided by Dapol's experiment of showing their CAD development on-line. However, I can see some sensitivity there, if a manufacturer feels that commercial advantage may best be secured by discretion. Any other thoughts?

*** Its an interesting question. Here's an example of "filling the communication gap"

I am developing a range of realistic trees to market. I made wireframe samples, provided photographs and horticultural sketches and sent them to the mfrs. Things were getting there slowly but to me, they still missed the boat a little.

I added paintings by some of the great painters of the same trees, and suddenly they "got it". I think it is the fact that technical drawings and portrait images simply don't convey the "feeling" and impression of the real thing. In my case, I was able to show them the important aspects of the tree as an artist captures the "character" rather than constructs up from a skeleton, and when the character has been captured, everything else follows naturally....

Re loco's: The classic to me is the current Scot - its really very good, but the chimney is simply not right. I couldn't tell you which dimension is wrong, but it simply looks wrong.... The details are what makes the "big picture" look right.... and in this case, the designers have failed to identify the several things that make a scot instinctively a scot, so have missed the essence that will make it a great model.

this is common with many loco's - the original bachmann Jubilee - oh so nearly right but something lost in the creation... the Hornby Stanier Tender, dimensionally very good but far too 2-dimensional with nowhere near enough detail depth in the axleboxes and springing that are so much part of the tender...the list goes on!

Regards

Richard
 

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I totally agree about the Heljan 47. i didnt buy one either for the same reason. even thought they did exaclty the right livery and number i was after. to mee it just looks bloated.

Both Hornby and bachmann do show the CAD work to experts on the subject matter. i think part of the problem is that often they are very excited about being involved with a project or dont have the exxperience to be able to interprite what they are seeing on screen or on printouts.

I am sitting on the wrong computer at the moment but i will post some etching CAD work to give an idea of what we work with. hopefully that will give you an idea of how difficult it is to compare the real thing with what you are seeing on screen.

Peter
 

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I was working on standard LMS stock etched sides for myself and i did the drawings for them. I was satisfied with them and the guards end looked like this.

I showed it to 2 people who do this regularly and one geek who is always pointing out things that are wrong (they do come in usefull sometimes!!) and all ok'd it.
So it went off to the etchers and a week later i had a nice piece of brass.
Infortunatly it was only when i came to test fit a ducket that i realised that on lms P1 stock there is no upper panel above the ducket.
So despite the best efforts it was wrong and had to be redone. costing me money.


All is now well and i have my coach. but even as a small cottage industry it was difficult to swallow the cost of this error. its amazing how easy it is to get these things wrong. so i do sympathize with the manyfacturers when they spend huge ammounts on a tool and it gets blasted in rail express.

I have also been working on the southern railway 4DD and the owners of the real thing have been particularly unhelpfull in allowing us to gain access. (infact they have never even spoken to us despite our best attempts using evry form of communication we can think of except carrier pigeon!) as a result of this, a kit that should have taken a few months to develop is running into its second year.

It is a huge risk showing people who understand those drawings to people. there are parts of the above drawings that i have now shown because they have never been seen on a kit before and i want to get mine out first.

Peter
 

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Great example Peter. Despite care, an error slipped through; but you have persisted and corrected it. I never tire of telling people who have not experienced it that development projects to deliver a manufactured product can be an exhausting process. Everything has to be got right at the 'hard tooling' stage.

I liked Richard's description of supplying paintings to convey the 'treeness' required of the finished product. Maybe that suggests a way forward. Commission anonymously a high grade model and display it on the internet and at shows for as many people as possible to critique - get it 'right' - then send it to the development team as the production model benchmark.
 

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QUOTE (pedromorgan @ 13 Nov 2007, 19:37) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I was working on standard LMS stock etched sides for myself and i did the drawings for them. I was satisfied with them and the guards end looked like this.

I showed it to 2 people who do this regularly and one geek who is always pointing out things that are wrong (they do come in usefull sometimes!!) and all ok'd it.
So it went off to the etchers and a week later i had a nice piece of brass.
Infortunatly it was only when i came to test fit a ducket that i realised that on lms P1 stock there is no upper panel above the ducket.
So despite the best efforts it was wrong and had to be redone. costing me money.

***Hi Peter

I often have the same sort of problem - experts miss things, and proofing is one thing thats fraught with problems in everything from text to artwork.

In corporate life I found one solution that worked quite well. You have to exploit human natures little foibles.

I'd make several copies. Find several people in the office that really did not get on with each other. Make each person sign his proof copy and the correction notes when done and then I'd circulate them/pass them to the next.

Each would go out of their way to not miss anything their "enemy" might find to show them up, and each would then try hard to find things the others had missed, and make a point of highlighting the added discoveries.

At the end of the process, I had multiple copies all scrutinised so hard they'd almost read the detail off the paper.... Very little ever got past their delight in showing each other up :) :). Sad, but very helpful when you are printing a huge quantity of 60 page colour glossy colour catalogs and don't want errors!

Richard
 

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QUOTE I often have the same sort of problem - experts miss things, and proofing is one thing thats fraught with problems in everything from text to artwork.

In corporate life I found one solution that worked quite well. You have to exploit human natures little foibles.

I'd make several copies. Find several people in the office that really did not get on with each other. Make each person sign his proof copy and the correction notes when done and then I'd circulate them/pass them to the next.

Each would go out of their way to not miss anything their "enemy" might find to show them up, and each would then try hard to find things the others had missed, and make a point of highlighting the added discoveries.

At the end of the process, I had multiple copies all scrutinised so hard they'd almost read the detail off the paper.... Very little ever got past their delight in showing each other up :) :). Sad, but very helpful when you are printing a huge quantity of 60 page colour glossy colour catalogs and don't want errors!

Richard

There has to be an idea there somewhere for manufacturers of model railways...

...could they not exploit journalists in a similar fashion?


What journalist is going to suggest something is not quite right if he/she has vetted the proof!


For example:-

Hornby invite 10 journalists to Margate Towers. Lock them in a room one at a time with a document and a model and ask then to find fault. As one comes out the next one goes in and examines the same document and model. And so on. At the end of the session the journalists are all shown what they have found and are all asked to sign the document. There are brownie points for the journalist who has the most notes to his/her name. A few weeks later they are all invited back to take another look at the model with the revised notes and the same process takes place. This time round they make further ammendements and so on until such time as there is absolutely no issue that any journalist can pick up!

Then the model gets made and the journalists review the model. What can they say?


Are there any flaws with this process?


I have made a basic assumption that journalists are the most knowledgable of model railway folk and will do a good job of representing the hobbyist!

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Gary, you asked...

QUOTE "Are there any flaws with this process?


I have made a basic assumption that journalists are the most knowledgable of model railway folk and will do a good job of representing the hobbyist!

*** You already found the greatest fault - Journalists are not necessarily the most knowledgeable.

A panel with some Journos to be sure as it'd be politically correct, but at least half of them REAL experts - ex GWR or LMS or similar societies and the like......

It'd be interesting to see ten journo's all claiming credit for them getting it right though :)

Richard
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
QUOTE (Gary @ 13 Nov 2007, 12:54) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I have made a basic assumption that journalists are the most knowledgable of model railway folk!
That assumption is demonstrably flawed. Better by far to follow Dapol's lead and go out on the net, or find some other way to draw upon the potential customer base. When setting up focus groups for the consumer product areas I have worked in, strenuous efforts are made to avoid and eliminate 'industry insider' information from the collected input.
 
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QUOTE (Gary @ 13 Nov 2007, 12:54) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>There has to be an idea there somewhere for manufacturers of model railways...

...could they not exploit journalists in a similar fashion?


What journalist is going to suggest something is not quite right if he/she has vetted the proof!


Hi Gary

Its been done already. Heljan products were approved by an editor of a magazine. The results? The over width 47 was glossed over and it wasn't until the class 33/0 roof disaster (the model appearing about the same time heljan and said magazine parted ways) that the model was ripped to bits in the mag. Remember of course the editor had approved the 33 up until that point. Even providing the artwork for the headcode blinds - which was slated in the mag for being the wrong font.

Cheers

Jim
 

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QUOTE (Gary @ 13 Nov 2007, 22:54) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...could they not exploit journalists in a similar fashion?


You're half way there Gary except instead of journalists find the ten most strident forum contributors.......maniacal laughing.....
 

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QUOTE I couldn't tell you which dimension is wrong, but it simply looks wrong....
I compared the major dimensions on the Airfix and Hornby incarnations of the Scot chimney. There is very little in it. I think the difference is that the Airfix chimney has vertical sides whereas on the Hornby the base of the chimney is slightly wider so the sides are not quite vertical. There's a head to head photo in the review.

David
 

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QUOTE (dwb @ 14 Nov 2007, 05:44) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I compared the major dimensions on the Airfix and Hornby incarnations of the Scot chimney. There is very little in it. I think the difference is that the Airfix chimney has vertical sides whereas on the Hornby the base of the chimney is slightly wider so the sides are not quite vertical. There's a head to head photo in the review.

David

***and the Airfix is right?? I'll take the safest route, replacing it with the Brassmasters part - at the same time I rip the tender to bits and replace the shallow axleboxes and other detail. I have great confidence in their accuracy!

Richard
 

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QUOTE and the Airfix is right??
As I said in the review, I don't have drawings so I can't tell. There was another thread on the Forum where some members expressed the opinion that the Airfix gave a better impression. Personally, I find it hard to tell from the photos I have looked at.

Given the acknowledgements that Brassmaster receive in books on LMS locomotives, I would trust their replacement too. Whether or not I actually go ahead with a "chimney job" remains to be seen. I don't feel that brave at present.

David
 

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Brassmasters have a website and will be doing a detailing kit for the Hornby Royal Scot to allow some of the plastic parts to be replaced with metal.

There are some images below for comparison. The first one is the head to head shot of the Airfix and Hornby models taken from the excellent review HERE at Model Rail Forum by dwb. The second one is the Brassmasters image on their website at http://www.brassmasters.co.uk





Having looked extremely closely at images of prototype Rebuilt Scots on various websites I am not convinced that anybody has modelled the chimney as it looks to the eye, even Brassmasters as their chimney appears too curvy!


In saying that doesn't the Brassmasters example with all the metal detail look superb!


Happy modelling
Gary
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 13 Nov 2007, 21:49) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I'd make several copies. Find several people in the office that really did not get on with each other. Make each person sign his proof copy and the correction notes when done and then I'd circulate them/pass them to the next.

You are an evil man Richard!


I have a Heljan 33/0, two Hornby 50's and a Bachmann 37/4 (original).
I actually like them all. They run well, look good to my eyes and no one at the club has said anything but how great they are. It all comes down to this recurring theme of us being different and having differing needs from our hobby.
In the first two cases it's them or the old Lima models (or nowt) and with the latter there's been three (or was that 333?) attempts at fixing problems.
On another forum a chappie (a former rivet counter) mentioned he's discovered the "three foot rule" where if it looks good from a distance it's now good enough for him. He described it as an epiphany! LOL.
Anyway I hope whatever stance we take we enjoy what we are doing and are encouraging to others even if they take differing views.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
QUOTE (ozwarrior @ 14 Nov 2007, 21:20) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>On another forum a chappie (a former rivet counter) mentioned he's discovered the "three foot rule" where if it looks good from a distance it's now good enough for him. He described it as an epiphany! LOL.
I am very much a 'four foot rule' man. that's why I am far more hung up over significant body shape errors than a few rivets (present or absent) or a tiny piping run, or any other small detail. (Not that I don't want fine detail, just that I feel it is secondary to a fundamentally correct body form.) The big no-no models for me are the ones which because of a body shape problem just don't capture the prototype's character, seen at three, four or fourteen feet. It seems to be a particular affliction of Brush diesel models: the Heljan 47 mentioned earlier, and the Hornby 30/31. On the latter, the frustration is that a generally very good model is flawed in a way that I cannot see a good method for rectification, with any confidence of retaining the excellent finish. Likely solution on this one is to use the Airfix body which has the correct form and thus the character of the prototype, on the Hornby chassis.
 
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