Model Railway Forum banner

Review contributions

2966 Views 16 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  neil_s_wood
Lifted from the 108 DMU thread, to avoid derailing it further.

QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 21 Jun 2007, 00:03) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Have you guys considered writing your own reviews?
Very much a newcomer here, but have taken part in what might be called the 'reviewing process' on rmweb, and before that similar activity on the BRM site. Now here is the strange thing, and it was what attracted me to reply to Maas' post: there is relatively little interest from most UK forum participants in the mechanism, unless some aspect makes it an immediately problematic runner. The 'screaming' Hornby 08 perhaps the foremost example recently, and before that the difficulties in persuading the Bachmann A1 to pull well. My pet gripes about Hornby steam loco mechs: mechanically inept motor mount; the use of flat surface contacts and the chassis block in the current path, (instead of wire soldered to the pick-up wipers keeping the chassis block dead); the outdated loco to tender coupler; none seem of much interest. Similarly Bachmann's often poorly aligned pick-ups, and use of 3 pole motors. Strange in my eyes, but there it is.

The other problem is that I rarely buy anything newly introduced immediately after release, (although the Bach 9F/BR1F was an exception) and even then there was a delay: by the time my local retailer had the item it wasn't convenient to visit for a week, and then I had no time to really get to grips with it for another week or so. And by that time Doug had his fine review out as I recall - it was a link to it that was my intro to this site - and he had got it pretty much right, and in any case this is a most satisfactory model. Lets wait for the Super D, the only announced model that really has me excited at the prospect; maybe I will have some input to throw into the pot.

So, is there any interest here in a 'mechanisms' focus?
See less See more
1 - 5 of 17 Posts
QUOTE (pedromorgan @ 21 Jun 2007, 09:06) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I think the lack of focus on mechanisms is due mainly to the very high standard of mechanisms in the uk. yes there are the odd problem with pickups but they are things that we can generally fix on our own.

These days the standard for a diesel is a central motor driving through cardan shafts and for a steamer its a loco mounted motor. all should have flywheels and be smooth and quiet.

When things do catch our atention is when things dont live up to that default level. for example the pendo has a mechanism which is frankly shocking (i dont care if it can pull a full rake, its still a poor quality mech).

Also you have to bear in find that the motors are far better than they were 10 years ago. we have moved on a generation and its far less of an issue.

he only real complaint i have had was with the bachmann A1 which even after remotoring was still pretty weak and i was still unhappy with it so it went back to the shop.
I have also had voyagers with the wipers bent around the axles and other wipers that were catching on the wheels causing a ticking sound. but apart from the A1 they were all easily solved.

The loco/tender coupling hornby use is a million times better than it was. yes its more fragile but i think its a very good comprimise and as good as it can be without either being perminantly coupled or using little plugs and sockets like spectrum models which dare i say it the ham fisted brits are bound to break in 2 seconds flat and will probably blame hornby for.
They will have to adress this issue however if they want to go along the sound route. i think the tender is a much better place for a decoder but it will mean 4 current paths rather than the durrent 2.

A live chassis is a complete non issue. it is not a problem unless you go doing silly things with DCC and start frying your decoders. the axles are a good pick up and if anything are better than the wipers. i have had pickup problems with dirty wipers but never dirty axles!

'Very high standard mechanisms' followed by a list of problems relating to mechanisms? If by this you mean 'a recent improvement in the quality of UK model mechanisms', that would accord with my experience, but I don't think we are all the way home yet!

How much I agree that models with bogies should be central motor with flywheel drive and pick up on both bogies, as the baseline standard. Sadly that message has still to be fully accepted.

My Bachmann A1's roar along with 15 mk1's behind, one of the best performing UK models, if you know how to tweak it. On the subject of Bach's steamers, again and again people suspect the quartering of the driving wheels as the cause of jerky running. Never in 40 steam model purchases of a wide range of types have I had an out of quarter example: but the vast majority have had pick-ups not in contact with the wheel back. Same applies to friend's purchases. So do I believe that the wheel press tools in the factory are unreliable, or that the hand assembly process does not focus enough on pick-up wiper alignment?

Regarding Hornby's habit of using the chassis block as part of the conducting path. The real pain is the flat surface contacts, which will eventually fail at some point, causing unreliability. It is just so unnecessary, two wires soldered to the wiper strips either side, job done. Hornby clearly know how to do a better job on this, and on the loco to tender connection, as evidenced on the Britannia. But if 'we' don't ask for this better standard to be maintained, we will not get it, is my feeling.
See less See more
QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 21 Jun 2007, 09:44) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>It seem to me that quite a lot of people are now prepared, willing (& able) to accept that they will complete the manufacturers quality control & adjust things like pickups & back to backs. IMHO this is quite wrong & the manufacturers should not be allowed to get away with it, otherwise this will eventually become the "norm". After all, if your new car needed things like the wheels reballancing or the headlights adjusted you would not do that yourself - or would you ? I think not.

I may add that in over 30 years of dealing with German & Austrian built models I have only had one locomotive with a defective pickup & solder joint (both faults on the same locomotive)
My feeling is that there is enough feedback via returns from the inexperienced, to tell the manufacturers that assembly QA needs attention. It may just be coincidence, but my six most recent purchases, (Brit, 9F, Fairburn;and several more specimens of these types bought by friends) have all been very much better than the past running average. Cautious by nature 'the jury is still out' on this one. My experience of the quality continental manufacturers matches yours for such assembly defects.
See less See more
Regarding the Hornby Singles: this is a 'revival' of an old product, which in its' original form depend on magnetic attraction to the old type plated steel track to give it some pulling power. Single driver locos are difficult to obtain good traction from in model form as it is, and Hornby do not appear to have done anything to this item beyond put a current type of motor in it. Regarding the type 7 motor, it is actually not a bad unit, provided it is used with a high enough reduction gear ratio. I only have one of the type in the J94: the gear ratio and small wheels deliver satisfactory performance.

To make one of these Hornby singles a working proposition for a larger train, what Leen has done with extra Lead ballast is probably the way forward, provided that reasonable balance can be achieved around the driven axle. It is often advantageous to remove any manufacturers ballast and replace in Lead, as this typically has 70% greater density. Also bear in mind what these types pulled in express service: loads of 150 tons were typical for a single, a typical train might be four bogie carriages and a couple of six wheelers. The move away from the Single in the UK was to handle trainloads that these types could not deal with reliably in all weather conditions.

As for Hornby's reintroductions of ex-Lima diesel types using a power bogie, my hope is that the ViTrains operation acts as a wake up call. If Vi can provide what should now be the baseline 'central motor with flywheel drive and pick up on both bogies' from a European design and manufacturing facility, then the same must be possible from China based manufacturing. Hornby had to redesign to incorporate their mechanism; a rework job comes to much the same thing whatever type of drive you elect to put in. And the central motor style drive is simpler in production in some respects, the bogies are identical units for example, instead of requiring two different types, motor mounting is position tolerant because the drive is flexible.

As others have observed Hornby really need to get on with the branding, to differentiate the models in their range from the toys, so that expectations are properly set. I wonder whether they have realised that they need three divisions: Railroad for the out and out toys, 'Standard' for much of their range, 'Premium' for the modeller oriented products (all-new tooling introductions since 2000 - it is now a respectable number of items).
See less See more
QUOTE (Ravenser @ 22 Jun 2007, 13:12) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The trouble is that the Hornby range now has more strata in it than your average archaeological site
That's why I feel they need three divisions; Railroad, Standard and Premium to help customers understand what they are getting.

QUOTE And the next few years could be very expensive if you have apple green tendencies
Certainly hope so. I just wonder who will grasp the B1/B17 opportunity. Two dated models (the B1 still with a respectable exterior admittedly) with prototypes that have a lot in common. A careful loco drive chassis design with the brake detail on the keeper plate would mean that the same chassis block, fitted with the appropriate wheels and other detail, will go under both types. Design the chassis really carefully, and it can also be used in a J50, J6, N2, K2, V1/3, as it has the standard 7'3"+9' Doncaster spacing.
See less See more
1 - 5 of 17 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.