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Back in the days of old (2010-2012) I ran on here a scoring system of model locomotives which back then I recall the Bachmann 9F came out top, now Sams Trains is doing this but I think I can do better with perhaps these categories
1. General appearance and factory finish
2. DCC setting up (Sam does not use DCC)
3. Track Manners, this is a vital item as the most beautifully turned out model may keep falling off the track.
4. Gradient effort. it'll have to be my 1 in 33
5. Toughness - how long the motor lasts? the valve gear that sort of issue even can it put up with small hands.
Anyway let me know what you think, I do have a lot of the current model production so am reasonably well placed to get this information out but back along my efforts were not met with universal approval from 'the powers that be' so I had to cease.
The champion of former times - is it still king of the bunch?
Chris

<a href="https://imgur.com/hfBUIAC">
 

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...The champion of former times - is it still king of the bunch?...
It's recently introduced direct competitor will need some time in operation to check whether it offers similar longevity. My Bach 9F's have done 16 years trouble free, on freights weighing on average 2.3kg

Quite a spread of releases over the past decade, and of those I have purchased no duds at all, ranging from good up to excellent. Among these, what I feel is the best RTR OO loco I have purchased, Hornby's B12/3. Measures and looks right, all the practical detail is present, smooth and quiet drive with ample weight for 4P traction thanks to a largely metal loco body.
 

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Yes I too like the B12/3 but also the B1, O1, K1, W1 and some or even many others as you say the improvements have been considerable - are we getting picky? perhaps I need to do nothing as you say things have been improving
 

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Despairing of Hornby upgrading their long in the tooth B12/3 I purchased a fine example built professionally from an etched kit that was expertly painted. A couple of years later Hornby introduced their upgraded model and, stood side by side I fail to tell them apart.

Best regards .............. Greyvoices (alias John)
 

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... the improvements have been considerable - are we getting picky? ...
We need to remain 'picky'. There's plenty of bad ideas potentially available for messing up models! Poor ideas like the return of flangeless wheelsets, traction tyres, visibly underscale wheel diameters and poorly implemented camming loco to tender linkages, and the loss of sprung driven axles; are backward steps mixed in with the overall progress.
 

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...just the tender tow bar of the new V2 irritates me, for instance...
Irritates is the right word: sufficiently that I have altered to a superior arrangement, in essence the way Bachmann did it in the past which was completely effective. But there on that same model is the neatest arrangement I have yet seen for fitting the supplied alternative flanged wheelset inside a fixed frame rear truck, and a very good drive which somehow delivers more traction than the weight on the coupled wheels would suggest, still need to look into that.

Progress on all fronts is what I want to see, no estupido backward steps...

Despairing of Hornby upgrading their long in the tooth B12/3 I purchased a fine example built professionally from an etched kit that was expertly painted. A couple of years later Hornby introduced their upgraded model and, stood side by side I fail to tell them apart...
That's a neat benchmark, matches what an expert kit builder and painter can achieve, which is pretty much my opinion of it. The one minor deficiency the bogie wheelsets, happily I was able to replace them with an MGW set bought back in the dark ages.

Almost exactly 23 years ago, I felt the same way about the then newly released WD 2-8-0 from Bachmann. Here at last a RTR OO (heavy freight!) model to a standard requiring much work to self build, right dimensions and shape, near all the practical detail present, ran sweetly, and with a good motor and 40:1 gear ratio perfect for slowly slogging along with a freight.

Remains a fine looking model today, its only significant defects insufficient weight for traction (the B12/3 will comfortably beat it!, but DIY replacement of the mazak ballast with lead can bring the weight up to a useful 450g) no fall plate (simple fix), and Bachmann didn't provide the characteristic tender top tool rack. (If you use the etched fitting from 247 Developments, you discover why Bachmann probably didn't: a careless approach demonstrates its finger piercing capability.) And the mechanism has two sprung driving axles, either side of the geared axle, and thereby totally robust pick up, which demonstrates why tender pick up frequently isn't required, if superior proven technique is used on the loco.

I could likely kvetch for hours on this theme of 'proven better is available'...
 
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