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DT
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Ixion Models Press Release - Wednesday November 12, 2008
From the Ixion directors to all our customers, and news sections of the model railway press

Re-Tooling of the Ixion N Gauge Manor Locomotive, and subsequent delivery delay

Dear friends,

As you know, our Anglo-Australian company Ixion Model Railways released its first N gauge locomotive, the GWR/BR 4-6-0 78XX Manor class, at the International N Gauge Exhibition at Leamington Spa on 13th September this year. In our advertising, we promised the best N gauge locomotive to date, and initially believed we had achieved this goal, but the reality has been somewhat different. To our horror, after most pre-orders of Torquay Manor and Cookham Manor had been distributed, we discovered a scale error of roughly 8% in virtually all dimensions of the production Manor. Our investigations have concluded that whilst the first iteration of the CAD drawings we used in the preliminary design process were correct to 1:148 scale, in a subsequent version the scale changed, resulting in an incorrect production model. We accept overall responsibility for the situation, and will work with our subcontractors to refine all our quality control systems.

However, our desire has always been to operate to the highest standards of ethics and propriety, and we cannot in good conscience continue to sell a model that we know is not made to the promised British N scale. Thus, the outcome of the discovery of this error is that, effective immediately, we have ceased production and sale of the incorrectly scaled Manor and have authorised a complete re-tooling and re-manufacturing of the advertised Torquay Manor, Cookham Manor, Frilsham Manor and Hook Norton Manor, to the correct 1:148 scale. This redesign will also allow us to correct some of the minor errors which were still present in the production models, and which customers had pointed out to us.

All existing customers will have their models replaced free of charge with the new improved versions. We simply ask them to keep enjoying their locos until we contact them in 2009, when the new locos are ready. The replacement engines will be sent out to our customers accompanied by a postal voucher for the return of the old ones to either Ixion (for Australia and NZ), or Dapol (for the UK, USA and Europe).

We are desperately disappointed that this has occurred. Existing pre-order customers who have not yet received their models: we can only ask for your patience. There is nothing we can do in the immediate future as the new tooling will take time. We do understand your frustration and disappointment but would ask that you bear with us in what is a most regrettable and totally unexpected situation. Refunds of deposits are available for those who feel they cannot support us in this endeavour; in that instance, please contact Dapol Model Railways. For regular updates on the redesign and retooling process, please visit www.ixionmodels.com.

Yours sincerely, Phil Badger, Chris Klein and Lindsay O'Reilly,

Directors, Ixion Model Railways Ltd.
 

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DT
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Seems very strange that the production moulds were made from inaccurate CAD drawings. How can the scale have been changed? How can the loco be 8% out-of-scale and work properly? Say the chassis stays the same, will an out-of-scale body fit?

So there are 300 out-of-scale models out there. That must have cost a bit. I hope that if it was the factory that made the error, they cover the cost of the mistake.

Anyway, I'm sure that the people at Ixion will be asking these questions and sorting out the problem. Best of luck to them.
 

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At least Ixion have owned up to the mistake and are doing the 'right thing' by replacing all models delivered to date.
I have just received my pre-ordered Cookham Manor but thankfully have not had it chipped yet. I must admit it does look a bit oversize when put alongside a King or Castle but it had not occured to me that it might actually be wrong.


Hey ho ! I wonder how long I will have to wait for the replacement Cookham Manor and the yet to be received Frilsham Manor, bearing in mind that they have been on order since last May.


I also wonder if they will want the old one back ??
 

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They have my sympathy. I had what may be a related problem some time ago when transmitting a CAD drawing of a small part to a colleague whose CAD system should have been compatible, and we saw a similar slight scale change. Fortunately for us, the shift was discovered while a hand-made prototype of the part was being made and no harm (apart from the air turning blue for a while) was done. It hasn't happened again, and we still haven't managed to explain it. If anyone else has had similar experiences or knows the reason, I'd be interested to hear from them. My guess is human error, but which human and which error are still not clear. On the other hand, you always have to check the proof parts before telling the subcontractor to roll the production line. Good for Ixion for not blaming anyone else.
 

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QUOTE (andrew @ 12 Nov 2008, 22:32) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>.. I had what may be a related problem some time ago when transmitting a CAD drawing of a small part to a colleague whose CAD system should have been compatible, and we saw a similar slight scale change. ..
Long time since I had anything to do with CAD, but the basic principle intrinsic to the digitalisation is that the scaling is defined as cells/bits/grid sections per unit length, and this scaling may be varied to cope with differing resolutions. If the CAD packages don't have some kind of protocol that recognises and matches the scaling correctly, then if something coming in at 720 to the millimetre gets rendered at 700 or 780 it grows or shrinks respectively.

Related: my aged Dad and his colleagues still recall with hilarity the leg pull that occurred in a major UK Flying Machines concern in the early sixties. The DO standards book in force was Imperial, all dimensions in inches. But the change to metric was underway within some projects; and a metric drawing was carefully executed in a prototyping shop using the apprentoids, all in great secrecy, in Imperial. Came the day of a prototype concept review before the men from the ministry, and the hittile and it's major sub-systems were unveiled. And of course the key subsystem was shockingly revealed to be much larger than the entire device it was supposed to be installed inside. Well, you had to make your own entertainment in those days...
 

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Could that company have been related to the same purveyor of death dealing weaponry where I worked in a certain Scottish city back in another century? I recall the day when a draughtsman drew up a small gearbox component twice full size, and then left for a long and relaxing lunch, as was often the custom in those far off days. On his return he dimensioned it... twice full size. The zealous young engineer responsible for it looked upon it and was happy; he signed it off. A couple of weeks later the part was delivered from the shop for first article inspection... twice full size. And yes, I was that zealous young engineer. I've improved a bit since then - the 0 scale work is entirely intentional.
 

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While not wishing to comment on how the error occurred - it has, so in that respect end of story.

I would, however, congratulate the directors for their full and franf admission and their proposals for correcting same. A breath of fresh air which perhaps other manufacturers could learn from.

Regards
 

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This must be an absolute disaster for them .They will have to wipe out an entire project and virtually start again .Lets hope they stay in business long enough to make it good ,replace the "defective" product and finance the next one.Bad time for such things to happen .Its good of them to tell everyone but how many actually noticed .8% is not really a huge amount visually and many N gauge products are a bit iffy anyway .Is an out of scale product defective? What percentage marks the start of a defective product ? Answers to someone else please.Good luck to Ixion anyway .
Boring anecdote warning !!!!!!!!
I made a Car master once for a customer in 1/43 scale,an Arnolt Bristol .The customer said it was far too big .I said it was spot on ..I had measured the real one and checked it out and got someone else to check it as well to verify it .I also checked magazine measurements etc .My pattern was spot on ,but he was right ,it did look too large .Because it was a two seater sports car ,it was assumed that it was small and sporty,and thats how it looked in photos, but besides many other sports cars it was huge with a tall engine that made the bonnet line very high.He paid me for my work done so far but never produced the model .If I had made the bloody thing 10% smaller he would have been happy probably
 

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In the worst case they will have to fund the production of the new models plus the costs associated with sending them out and recalling the older ones. This is a big hit but it's not the total cost of the product, as the research and design will not have been wasted. Also they may be able to reclaim some or all of this from their subcontractors depending who made the blunder.

Usually with these things there would also be the cost of damage to reputation. However in this case they've probably improved their reputation by their rapid taking of the blame and announcing of corrective action.

As to (British) N being "a bit iffy", that was probably the case five years ago (and still is for some of the older items in the current ranges) but most of the models produced since then have been to an extremely high standard of accuracy and detail, and for Ixion leaving this product on the market would certainly have been inconsistent with their aim of being the best in British N.
 

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QUOTE (andrew @ 13 Nov 2008, 03:29) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Could that company have been related to the same purveyor of death dealing weaponry where I worked in a certain Scottish city back in another century? I recall the day when a draughtsman drew up a small gearbox component twice full size, and then left for a long and relaxing lunch, as was often the custom in those far off days. On his return he dimensioned it... twice full size. The zealous young engineer responsible for it looked upon it and was happy; he signed it off. A couple of weeks later the part was delivered from the shop for first article inspection... twice full size. And yes, I was that zealous young engineer. I've improved a bit since then - the 0 scale work is entirely intentional.

Hmmm. I think I too worked for that death dealing outfit as a Chief Engineer. In my department no junior draughtsman would have signed off his own drawing and not had it checked by his section leader long before it ever got out into production. I have to doubt the veracity of this tale. We did have nice lunches but they were only 30 minutes long.

I can, however, recount the time a young colleague (we were both graduate apprentices) was working on the out door engine test beds at Hucknall ( this was Rolls-Royce BTW) taking readings of various gauges. He found his paperwork tended to blow around, so he designed for himself a very ingenious paper clip to hold his test sheets onto his clipboard. This clip he drew out five times full size and sent a copy of his drawing to the test bed technicians with an order for ten of these items (he intended them as presents for his friends I think). He received a very heavy package a few days later - I don't think I need to tell you what had happened, but I will anyway - he forgot to put a scale on his drawing.
One of these things hung above his desk for many a moon thereafter. He did go on to become RR Technical Director some time later so I guess he didn't make many more mistakes.
 

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QUOTE (Stanier6256 @ 13 Nov 2008, 19:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I have to doubt the veracity of this tale. We did have nice lunches but they were only 30 minutes long.

It's all true, I promise you, including the lunch. That little piece of stainless steel sat on my desk as an awful warning for a long time afterwards.

More seriously, 34C's comment may be close to the answer. In our recent case the scale of the drawing had been changed for some reason, and it seems that that could have led to corruption of the CAD data. Some laser shops want only the bare drawing data, so the dimensions are removed from the laser cutting drawing, making the final drawing check even more critical than usual.
 

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It's not just CAD where things can go agley. A certain well known kit producer (now retired) had a number of kits where the boiler and firebox were pewter castings. The patterns for these were made by someone who did not know that this material shrinks by 6% in the mould. The result was castings which were 6% undersize. I have built two kits containg these defective boilers and had to cure the problem by slitting the offending boiler on BDC and expanding it to the correct diameter and then grafting on a short brass ring to correct the length. AFAIK these kits are still in production under the new owner of the outfit.

My own kits contain lost wax brass castings and the patterns for these were made 5% oversize to ensure correct parts. The only way to ensure this was to issue drawings to the pattern maker with the oversize dimensions on.

Alistair Wright
'5522' Models
 

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The centre cylinder casting for 60163 "grew" a fraction of an inch in length - to hear the outcry that followed you'd have thought the problem insoluble. In the works (Doncaster / Darlington) they would have adjusted the length of the other components to compensate but with the type approval paperwork needed we opted for a slightly more scientific approach.


60134
 

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QUOTE "British N scale" ?

I seem to remember a discussion on this before. British N scale is 1:148 whereas European (and US?) is 1:160. Have I remembered that correctly?

David
 

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Yes. Interestingly the difference between the two is 8%, the same figure quoted for the error in the scaling of the Manor. However if the Manor had mistakenly been made at 1:160 it would have been too small - from the above I gather it is too big.
 

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QUOTE the difference between the two is 8%, the same figure quoted for the error in the scaling of the Manor. However if the Manor had mistakenly been made at 1:160 it would have been too small - from the above I gather it is too big.

Maybe someone who was used to doing 1:160, was told it was British N, assumed the plan was a 1:160 and then upscaled by 8% to give what they thought was the correct 1:148 without realising that the upscaling had already been done? Just idle speculation, it doesn't change anything.

David
 

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QUOTE (dwb @ 15 Nov 2008, 22:41) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I seem to remember a discussion on this before. British N scale is 1:148 whereas European (and US?) is 1:160. Have I remembered that correctly?

David

Yes, and Japanese N scale is 1:150.
And, in a twist on the problems we have here with track being too narrow, Japanese N scale track is too wide for everything except the shinkansen. Japanese trains (mostly) run on 3'6" gauge track.
 

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Hi all,

Not brand-spanking-new news but since I haven't seen it posted here the good news for those of us who have been patiently waiting is:

http://www.ixionmodels.com/welcome_page.htm

The bad news for my wallet is that the 63xx Mogul will "closely follow the Manor into production"


Regards.
 
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