Author Topic: Just a Thought On "Are our models getting too hard to assemble/fragile"  (Read 1177 times)

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ljudice

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I have several Exactrail Trenton Bulkhead flats - and EVERY ONE of them - although spectacularly lovely - have assembly issues with the short ladder on at least one side.  Due to the use of glue to assemble them, it is hard to fix and frankly I've decided not to bother.

But it makes me wonder if an Atlas Trainman bulkhead flat would not have been a much more appreciated model???

Thoughts???

mplsjct

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Re: Just a Thought On "Are our models getting too hard to assemble/fragile"
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2014, 08:15:03 PM »
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The extra detail is great, but there's something to be said for parts that are engineered to snap together, like a Kato locomotive shell.

I’m not here to argue

randgust

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Re: Just a Thought On "Are our models getting too hard to assemble/fragile"
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2014, 08:39:37 PM »
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I absolutely love my Intermountain ATSF cabooses, but they shed end ladders, cupola window visors, and other pieces with little or no provocation.

The other one that's been just a beast to work on without breaking something is the Atlas 4-4-0.

OldEastRR

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Re: Just a Thought On "Are our models getting too hard to assemble/fragile"
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2014, 10:27:15 PM »
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However, I think that each model equalizes itself to the task it is used for. If you run your equipment and handle it for switching ops, then the details you don't "need" for lots of handling will just come off while the parts that can stand rough service will remain. It's just like evolution -- the unfit get removed.
OTOH, if you love beautiful things and keep them in displays or in well-detailed vignettes, the lack of handling will preserve the intricate and delicate detail for your enjoyment.
Let's be glad our cars don't come with scale thickness along with scale details -- we'd cave in boxcars, reefers and tank cars just putting them on the layout.

robert3985

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Re: Just a Thought On "Are our models getting too hard to assemble/fragile"
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2014, 10:45:01 PM »
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Sometimes the materials are wrong, such as the hand rails on the sides of IM tank cars, which always break because of (1) the material they're made of (injection molded non-engineering plastic) and (2) where they're located (along the sides where big, fat fingers have to grip the tank to lift them off the track).  That detail could have been just as well executed with a bent wire, which would have been more properly sized and much more robust.

Other parts that break easily on models are generally just made from the wrong materials.  For instance, ME's fine caboose end rails and ladders are quite robust because they're injected from engineering plastic.  If they were made from Styrene, they'd be extremely fragile.

As the hobby progresses and mo' details becomes the norm, manufacturers will get it right as far as the materials they use for the fine stuff.  No need or desire to go back to gross, non- 3D parts.  I much prefer the separate parts on today's exquisite models which continue to both please me and amaze me.

sirenwerks

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Re: Just a Thought On "Are our models getting too hard to assemble/fragile"
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2014, 10:47:10 PM »
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Museum quality requires museum handling practices too. 
Now seeking Pacific NW N scalers to create a Modutrak-style modular club featuring NP's shared mainline between Seattle and Portland. PM me if interested.

up1950s

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Re: Just a Thought On "Are our models getting too hard to assemble/fragile"
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2014, 11:37:36 PM »
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Well here is my take .

They have moved forward with exquisite detail and given the size it will be fragile .

Then there are the bones , nerve center , and motive ability if it has one .
           Those bits have not advanced as much , and as such , we choose to do a full open body surgery .
            We want better couplers , ride height , traction , power , speed adjustment , and the list goes on .
             The result is hands on to get the parts off . Some is glued , some has snap tabs in unknown locations , some are designed to snap on and not designed to be able to undo ,             
                and the list goes on .
                  Sometimes we have to apply great pressure , which comes with great risk .

I desire the fragile beasts , and attempt the fixes  :scared: , than go back to a chunkier model .
                 
             

wcfn100

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Re: Just a Thought On "Are our models getting too hard to assemble/fragile"
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2014, 11:47:01 PM »
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Glue isn't a substitute for good engineering.

Companies that know this, don't have these problems.


Jason

nkalanaga

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Re: Just a Thought On "Are our models getting too hard to assemble/fragile"
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2014, 01:56:54 AM »
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"Glue isn't a substitute for good engineering."

I agree, and not just on models.  We actually have parts on the assembly lines at work that are glued, or more often bolted, in places where they shouldn't be.  Move them a little, or change their shape/size/orientation, and they'd be easier to use, less likely to be damaged, and the fastener, whatever it is, wouldn't have to be tightened or replaced as often.
N Kalanaga
Be well

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Just a Thought On "Are our models getting too hard to assemble/fragile"
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2014, 05:11:22 AM »
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I pre-ordered 4 of the ER bulkhead flats because they were on my top 5 wish list for new freight cars.  They are beautifully detailed and painted models, but I was very disappointed when they arrived last month to find the following problems (in order of importance to me):

1. They are too light, and they string-line anywhere in the first half of my trains. :x  Somewhat incredibly, the underfloor weight does not span the full width of the floor.  It would have been trivial for them to make the cars 50% heavier by designing it to use a full-width weight, and the minor loss of floor detail would have been almost invisible. It will be much more tedious for the modeler to retro-fit additional weight because of the existing floor detail; it will have to be installed in many small pieces.
2. The bulkheads appear to be butt-glued to the floor piece, and 3 of my 4 cars had one side of the joint peeling open.   :facepalm:
3. The same 3 cars had very crooked ladders, like Lou notes.
To ExactRail's credit, they are replacing these 3 cars free of charge.  Hopefully this fixes items 2 and 3 above. I think all of these problems could have been fairly easily avoided with more clever engineering.

To get myself back on topic, I do agree that many current models rely too much on the skill of the assembler to turn out well (the recent run of Athearn ethanol tankers being another example).  In many cases, better use of alignment pins, snap tabs, etc. could have reduced this reliance without sacrificing fidelity.

I do not necessarily agree that a well-detailed model is also a fragile model.  Examples of beautifully detailed models that I don't think are especially fragile are:
* The ER bulkhead flat (assuming that my peeling bulkheads are the exception),
* The Athearn ethanol tanker,
* The IM trinity hopper,
* The BLMA spine cars (except for the hitches, which I'm replacing with MLE hitches).
They may be hard to assemble well, but they're not especially fragile, IMHO.

ljudice

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Re: Just a Thought On "Are our models getting too hard to assemble/fragile"
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2014, 10:00:51 AM »
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The other thing about the ER bulkhead, which gets so much right is that it would have made sense to provide a laser cut floor as well as the end walls.  Just harder to weather the deck and it could have been easy.

But I do like them enough to get more - it just seems that end ladder piece could have been a little different, maybe a little less accurate - but a lot less wonky...  :)


Nato

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Re: Just a Thought On "Are our models getting too hard to assemble/fragile"
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2014, 01:34:42 AM »
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 :|           Sometimes it is the glue that is used, at least on Intermountain Cabooses. While my two Santa Fe cars have so far not come un glued three out of four Union Pacific car developed issues. The tool box came unglued on two cars, end ladders have loosened up, truck side frames which are suppose to be a tight either glued or press fit have fallen off causing wheels to drop out, on the last car this happened on I used Arlene's Tacky glue to re attach. I remember when many modelers complained about too much glue and hard to correct crooked parts on the old IM SD40T 2 locomotives. Yes I agree you can have either very nice looking highly detailed models which you can look at, or more rugged less detailed models that you can actually handle all the time in use on a layout. Nate Goodman (Nato). Salt Lake, Utah.

robert3985

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Re: Just a Thought On "Are our models getting too hard to assemble/fragile"
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2014, 02:40:57 PM »
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It's the materials.  Here's a superdetailed brass caboose with soldered joints.  Frankly, after the parts are made, it doesn't take any longer to solder the parts on than to glue injection molded parts on a plastic model.  Yeah...brass materials costs a whole lot more and the process to build them is slightly more labor intensive, so in order to make a model "affordable" much more complicated production methods are used, making parts that are flimsy (plastic is more flimsy than brass) and cheap...in volume.  BUT, solder is just a different kind of "glue" and isn't difficult to learn how to do it, especially with the right tools.

Before Paint:


After Paint:



Maybe if a major manufacturer saw that they could save a whole lot of money by casting parts using investment casting technology (thousands of years old) vs making injection molds and with a little instruction, the models could be soldered up instead of glued up...they'd be more likely to use that material and production protocol......Nahhh....probably NOT

On the other hand, here's photo of a super detailed caboose which uses a Styrene body, injection molded Delrin ladders and end-platform railings, brass platform stirrups, 3D printed FUD trucks, and brass wire for grabs.  Since the extra small parts are metal, they don't break, and this caboose is handled a lot...and is still in one piece:


Lastly, here's a plain old brass import painted up that's durable, looks pretty good and is made using production techniques and materials that are thousands of years old (hell, the model itself is probably nearing 30 years old!):


Like I said...Materials first, attachment protocol second.  AND, superdetailed models aren't anything new, it's just that manufacturers are finally getting around to realizing they sell very well and a lot of modelers prefer to buy theirs already done (paying a little more for them) rather than doing it themselves.

« Last Edit: February 09, 2014, 02:46:44 PM by robert3985 »