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I've meant to do this review for some time. However each time I decided to write something It turned out to be; one step forward and two step backwards. I do not know if any of you have experience this kind of feeling; that you wait so long for a product that you want so badly that when it arrives it turns out to be well below your expectations and consequently frustration prevails there on. You are simply put off with that product. Well...thats what happened to me and this is its story.

French manufacturers built almost 700 BR44ük for the Germans during WW2. The BR44ük is the transitional war time design of the BR44: the design was simplified but provisions were made to allow the engines to be restored to their original type after the war. In the BR44ük, the smoke screens, the cab window, the running plate front end, the smoke box door central lock are removed. The German specifications were scrupulously followed but owing to war restrictions, some parts had been replaced by their French equivalent (buffer stock, compressor, injectors, …). Consequently, one engine may be slightly different from the next.

226 engines BR44ük still under construction in 1944 were taken over by the French railway (SNCF) when delivered and incorporated as 150X in SNCF rosters. They were very successfully used for the heavy haul of coal and iron in northern France. Most of the 150X were coupled to a 2'2'T34 tender (SNCF 34X).

In 1954, SNCF sold 48 engines made redundant by 25 KV electrification to TCDD. These 150X were barely 10 years old and in perfect condition. The 48 engines were picked for their original Knorr compressor and Knorr feed water heating already familiar to shop crews in Turkey. All the engines were fully overhauled by SNCF prior to delivery. Overland shipment occurred between 30 April and 25 July 1955. TCDD fitted them with a snowplow and a third light on the smoke box door. Later on, TCDD made other modification to the engines such as the restoration of the smoke box door central lock and the fitting of safety valves on the cylinders.

TCDD kept the 56700's in service until the late 70's (1977?). They were used on all kind of duties from long haul passenger to local freight.


So when it was announced by Trix that a new version of these remarkable beasts was going to hit the market, April 2008, you could easily imagine my joy. Although I have two Roco 44's this was the prototypically more accurate TCDD version with a shorter smoke stack and all..

So I pre-ordered one. It sells at a retail price of 419,95 Euro's on Trix's online shop, I got mine for 325 Euros.excl VAT. Still a hell of a lot of money but who cares I wanted it.

Just a footnote before continuing; this was going to be my first encounter with the MaTrix group. All my other stock are from either Fleischmann-Roco-Gützold-Liliput or Piko. This was going to be an experience so I kept my fingers crossed.

A bit of a research showed that Trix produced the first SNCF 150X with art no:22318 in green/black livery in 2004. The new one would be all black which suited me.

To cut things short it arrived in August.

As far as I know there are no other manufacturers of the Br44 other than Roco so the comparison naturally would be among both.

I do not plan to go into the Roco 44 details, enough has been said on it in various MRF threads.

Anyone interested can check the below threads:

http://www.modelrailforum.com/forums/index...?showtopic=5400

http://www.modelrailforum.com/forums/index...?showtopic=5332

Specially;

http://www.modelrailforum.com/forums/index...?showtopic=5302

Trix SNCF 150X, art no 22147, came with a factory preinstalled sound decoder and a crew car. The crew car, or the so called "camp car" was specially set up for the purpose for the second loco crew so that relatively long routes could be traversed as quickly as possible without long intermediate stops.

The first impression you get is from the box it came in:



Very robust in appearance, infact to be honest, the best I have come across so far,



The loco is packed in strong hard plastic cover ,supported by side covers which inturn supports the flip up cover, which in turn goes into another plastic hard cover and finally the styrofoam . Its like Russian matruskas. Throw it out of the window and I guarantee you, nothing will happen to it. I have to give credit to them.



The Roco box? Well...they have improved from styrofoam to sponge.
Hopeless they are.



Anyway, after wrestling with the matruskas I finally had it on my bench.



Looks fine does it? Err...not exactly. Upon close inspection found that you can not see inside the cab, something was blocking the cab window!



Guess what? There is no cab interior. Will you please look at where the firebox area is!!??



Funny isn't it. Well it's not over check this out:



You can actually see the GEARS !!!! ( I will come back to the gears later on) and other bits and pieces !!! Toy like!!!



I am not going to mention the horrendeous wheel flanges....



only positve side is, and that is if you are using R1 on your layout, this 2-10-0 'er will gallop its way around. Its articulated:



Details? The Roco 44 is the undisputed winner.





You think its all over? What about running characteristics?

MaTrix is the company who brought us the magnificant " Soft Sinus Drive " motor. On a 2008 release model you have all the right to expect not , a sinus motor, but a reasonable up to date motor, NOT A PANCAKE dinosaur motor with gears sticking out from everywhere and at this PRICE!!

The motor is in the loco and the loudspeaker in the tender as in all MaTrix steamers . When first tested on the programming track, ECOS named the decoder on it as "Generic NMRA", what ever that means? Has about 12 functions. It sure isn't a loksound but a Trix invention decoder which you cannot alter the CV values because they are all factory preset. At least I couldn't with the ECOS.

Now comes the funny bit. The sound.

When running, the sound of the motor supresses the sound from the loudspeakers !!!! Its that noisey. The chuff rate is stupendous.

Slow running? you gotta be kidding me.It loves galloping.

Being a 2008 release model and paying this kind of money one does not expect the things that I have put forward. This is simply regarding customers as suckers.

From now on I will not have anything to do with MaTrix related products.

Baykal
 

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I have a BR44 from the same stable & have to agree that the motor arrangements are lacking in finesse - however the one I have will pull 42 coaches & will crawl if required. A loco I just had to have but AFAIR only cost me around £75 brand new off fleabay.

It's a great shame that MarTrix did'nt fit the superb c-sine motor, especially at the price of the beast.
 

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Baykal,
thanks for this review, there's one of this species in my local model shop retailing at 399 Euros; I was tempted but after reading your review I will probably go for a second hand Roco 150X or 150Y. I might even be tempted to track down the limited edition 150Y produced by Gutzold. From your problems a secondhand Jouef 150X would be a better buy. A shame about the Trix version, I have four Trix locos (SNCF 230F, two x SNCF BB26000, SNCF 61000) and all are very good, can't really complain; but I won't be going for their 150X.

Regards

Clive
 

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Thanks for taking the time to do the review and photos. I think Trix reguritate old models in a new livery and describe them as new. For a long while I had fancied one of their mallet locos Br 96 and some were "new" releases this year. My local shop got one in, its about £350 or so with fitted sound decoder. Like your loco it was very noisy on the test track, the motor drowned out half of the sound from the loudspeaker. Obviously I didn't buy it as it was pretty disappointing. Have you considered taking it back to the shop?
 

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I've got a fair amount of Trix product and it can be quite variable in quality. It depends mainly on whether it's a new product entirely or a rehash of an older item. The item you have seems to be an old rehash.

I have a couple of the Trix sound decoders in my BR01 and BR05 003. They are actually very good. There must have been some input by Loksound as MaTrix have worked fairly closely with ESU before.

I get the impression that MaTrix operate on the basis that no-one will look in the cab although I haven't seen one as bad as that before.

Many of the issues noted relate back to the fact Maerklin primarily aim their product at the train set market. Hence the need to get everything round tiny curves. Trix is now to make it's own product independently of Maerklin and aim to have a higher standard of detail etc. The forthcoming K.Bay S3/6 is supposed to be one of the first examples of this. Allegedly a completely new tooling. I do have an order in for it but when I read stuff like this I do wonder if I should just change it for that Fleischmann BR95 I've been dreaming of. I really need a BR44 too now I think of it but I know which one to buy now!
 

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QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 30 Oct 2008, 21:01) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I've got a fair amount of Trix product and it can be quite variable in quality. It depends mainly on whether it's a new product entirely or a rehash of an older item. The item you have seems to be an old rehash.

The crocodiles are are classic example of this, the Ce6/8 has guardrails the diameter of tree trunks and dodgy trailing wheels that don't like to spin, whereas the newer De 6/6 runs better and has fine metal guardrails. However the Ce6/8 is nowhere near as bad as the loco in this review.
 

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QUOTE (simonj @ 31 Oct 2008, 07:15) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The crocodiles are are classic example of this, the Ce6/8 has guardrails the diameter of tree trunks and dodgy trailing wheels that don't like to spin, whereas the newer De 6/6 runs better and has fine metal guardrails. However the Ce6/8 is nowhere near as bad as the loco in this review.

***I'm really Sorry Ebaykal - Please tell me you returned it... I would have! If not, get your revenge, send it to Ebay and buy a Wienart to replace it :).

Hmmm

Really bad detail overall
massive unnecessary flanges
visible gears
backhead a mile out of position
visible coloured wires
stripped down sound decoder (yes, its an ESU crippled by Matrix request)
Noisy Mech
Silly Price for a toy loco

If Hornby, Bachmann, any AUS or any US brand produiced a loco with any ONE of those problems they would be crucified on this and every other E forum - a certain "other UK forum" would probably catch fire!

What do I see here... acceptance? No other brand cripples ESU decoders but its accepted, the fact that its a clunker is OK because it pulls 40 wagons? How does MaTrix get away with this rubbish?

I pull apart many EU loco's each month.

I'd have to say that Matrix does little in the way of loco's I've seen recently that are better than "good" (the new motor doesn't forgive clumsy and generally heavy detail and large flanges) and sorry to FL lovers, but very often FL is not much better in the mechanism or realism stakes either.

If visual realism and general value / performance is/are important then Roco, Recent Piko, Brawa, Recent Lilliput, recent Rivarossi and others all put them in the shade... especially Brawa.

Same applies to US prototype - even the much praised Trix big boy is knocked into a cocked hat by BLI and their new big boy at half the price - and it does it in EVERY category - sound, pulling power, weight, accuracy, quality of finish, silence of drive, accuracy of running gear, running qualities...

Perhaps it'll improve once the shadow of the financial problems and ownership change settles. I hope so.

Richard
 

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I don't think financial problems are the issue Richard. The issue is that Maerklin are focussed mainly on the train set market. They do come up with some good inovations however the priorities are getting indestructable trains round tight curves and preventing them derailing on poorly laid track. The dissocation of Trix from Maerklin is the best hope for an improvement in the detail aspect of the product. They have stated this to be the aim of separating the two, so lets wait and see if that happens.

You're right about the Big Boy but it is five years older than the BLI and has the handicap of having to get round tight curves. The Trix is a smooth runner but the sound decoder really shows its age now. Some BLI stuff is over cheap because they produced too much of it and had to drop the prices to move it. They have since learned their lesson and now want orders in advance before they will make a product. Having said that the BLI Big Boy is an absolute bargain. Their BR01 is pretty good too and it was going for an excellent price too.
 

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QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 31 Oct 2008, 11:21) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I don't think financial problems are the issue Richard. The issue is that maTrix are focussed mainly on the train set market. They do come up with some good inovations however the priorities are getting indestructable trains round tight curves and preventing them derailing on poorly laid track. The dissocation of Trix from Maerklin is the best hope for an improvement in the detail aspect of the product. They have stated this to be the aim of separating the two, so lets wait and see if that happens.

You're right about the Big Boy but it is five years older than the BLI and has the handicap of having to get round tight curves. The Trix is a smooth runner but the sound decoder really shows its age now. Some BLI stuff is over cheap because they produced too much of it and had to drop the prices to move it. They have since learned their lesson and now want orders in advance before they will make a product. Having said that the BLI Big Boy is an absolute bargain. Their BR01 is pretty good too and it was going for an excellent price too.

***BLI have always preadvertised loco's for advance orders - thats the only way a dealer can ever get it! (I sometimes stock them)

The BLI bigboy was totally sold out as usual - my own stock lasted no time at all in the shop.

Its actually very rare for a BLI to be remaindered - the biggest recent exception was the BR01 which was NOT a BLI - it was PCM and even at the original price very very good value - at the closeout price it was a total giveaway as it was an exceptionally nice loco!

The Maerklin version is still available for very low price. 100% Not suitable for tight curves though!

Richard
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 31 Oct 2008, 14:34) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>***BLI have always preadvertised loco's for advance orders - thats the only way a dealer can ever get it! (I sometimes stock them)

The BLI bigboy was totally sold out as usual - my own stock lasted no time at all in the shop.

Its actually very rare for a BLI to be remaindered - the biggest recent exception was the BR01 which was NOT a BLI - it was PCM and even at the original price very very good value - at the closeout price it was a total giveaway as it was an exceptionally nice loco!

The Maerklin version is still available for very low price. 100% Not suitable for tight curves though!

Richard

Maybe they have Richard, however now it seems they will not produce a loc until they reach a specifc amount of orders as per the thread last year on their scale of probability of building.

Apologies it was the PCM Big Boy I was talking about which was discounted heavily in their discount warehouse website as was their PCMY6b. The BLI one must have sold out quickly as I never even noticed them selling one under the Bli brand.
I was under the impression that BLI and PCM were one and the same company.
 

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QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 31 Oct 2008, 11:45) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Maybe they have Richard, however now it seems they will not produce a loc until they reach a specifc amount of orders as per the thread last year on their scale of probability of building.

Apologies it was the PCM Big Boy I was talking about which was discounted heavily in their discount warehouse website as was their PCMY6b. The BLI one must have sold out quickly as I never even noticed them selling one under the Bli brand.
I was under the impression that BLI and PCM were one and the same company.

*** There's actually been no policy change - just an increase in awareness of what was always the case everywhere. demand actually sets the priority among several simultaneously planned releases, with the highest early takeup always produced first so it funds the others... just good business planning really.

Why do you think many other brands inc UK ones actually have long delays in production.... its usually them delaying it until pre-orders are at the right level, NOT the naff reasons they usually give publicly!

PCM to BLI... same company, different spec level usually... it get gray at times though.

Richard
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 31 Oct 2008, 15:00) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>*** There's actually been no policy change - just an increase in awareness of what was always the case everywhere. demand actually sets the priority among several simultaneously planned releases, with the highest early takeup always produced first so it funds the others... just good business planning really.

Why do you think many other brands inc UK ones actually have long delays in production.... its usually them delaying it until pre-orders are at the right level, NOT the naff reasons they usually give publicly!

PCM to BLI... same company, different spec level usually... it get gray at times though.

Richard
A ha, so all this boll#@ks about production runs is just waffle until enough orders come in?

What did you think of the PCM Brass Big Boy?
 

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QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 31 Oct 2008, 12:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>A ha, so all this boll#@ks about production runs is just waffle until enough orders come in?

What did you think of the PCM Brass Big Boy?

***Basically:

Re Brass in general, its a little like kitbuilt vs top quality rtr.... except in the case of US RTR, the runng gear is generally more accurate than for UK / OO. The best of brass is very good, but whether there is any pragmatic difference is up to the modeller.

I'd certainly never buy older brass - its full of little problems.

The PCM brass is generally very good, but look at the price! As to value... I'd probably buy the BLI as it is the best of the RTR big boys and excellent at way way less cost.

Richard
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 31 Oct 2008, 15:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>***Basically:

Re Brass in general, its a little like kitbuilt vs top quality rtr.... except in the case of US RTR, the runng gear is generally more accurate than for UK / OO. The best of brass is very good, but whether there is any pragmatic difference is up to the modeller.

I'd certainly never buy older brass - its full of little problems.

The PCM brass is generally very good, but look at the price! As to value... I'd probably buy the BLI as it is the best of the RTR big boys and excellent at way way less cost.

Richard
Yes, from memory it was around $2,000 US although they do chuck in a rolling road too. If I had that sort of money to spend I'd hit the Micro Metakit catalogue first I think.
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 31 Oct 2008, 02:17) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>the fact that its a clunker is OK because it pulls 40 wagons?
Not really - the example I have is very lacking in the many respects already discussed & fortunatly I only paid about what I could probably get back for it in fleabay, so it will probably go soon. It served it's purpose at the time.

All the MarTrix locos that I have with the older type mechanisms have benefitted from a little Trix grease on the gears during running in. They do get a little less noisey in time - maybe the financial problems have been instrumental in the fact that the models have not been retools to use the superb later mechanisms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
QUOTE (simonj @ 30 Oct 2008, 21:59) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thanks for taking the time to do the review and photos. I think Trix reguritate old models in a new livery and describe them as new......

Exactly,

Here is how it probably went, my 2 cents worth....

Production Manager (PM) Otto : Hey Hans, remember we had the SNCF 150X out on the market in 2004.
Sales Manager (SM) Hans : Yes I do, it sold well.

PM : I was just thinking we still have the moulds somewhere in the shop. We should put them back on the bench.
SM : Not a bad idea, we will paint it black this time, tuck the old motor in it, honestly it is the only way to get rid of it.

PM : How about adding a "Crew car" to it we have lots of left overs.
SM : Great idea, and if we tuck in a decoder and produce it with sound we will have a winner. We will put a price tag of 419,95 euro on it. Lets take this subject up to the GM. Guess its bonus time for me and you Otto.

PM: ...But Hans, we had complaints about the motor being too noisey the last time.
SM: Come on Otto, these are loyal MaTrix fans, they will buy anything we put infront of them.Don't be naive.

Yeah and this sucker got one.......

Baykal
 

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Hi,

The Model class 44 (similer to class 50) have been in production since 1974 with Marklin, it is now 34 years of production.


The newly models from the year 2000 such as Class BR45, BR01, BR64, BR18.3, etc have excellent cab detail with Softdrive sinus motor.


I guess Marklin is planning new model to replace the old model BR44 and BR50 in 2009 or 2010.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
QUOTE (steventrain @ 1 Nov 2008, 09:14) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi,

The Model class 44 (similer to class 50) have been in production since 1974 with Marklin, it is now 34 years of production.


The newly models from the year 2000 such as Class BR45, BR01, BR64, BR18.3, etc have excellent cab detail with Softdrive sinus motor.


I guess Marklin is planning new model to replace the old model BR44 and BR50 in 2009 or 2010.

So what?

What are you trying to prove? That this 2008 release product selling at 420 euros justifies it????????
You gotta be kidding me. Right?

Baykal
 
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