Author Topic: Another disappointing shipment!  (Read 3603 times)

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gpr45

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Another disappointing shipment!
« on: September 05, 2014, 09:20:43 PM »
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Just received 3 freight cars today, $55.00 worth! Two run fine, one runs like a plate of jello. So I am going to have to fix another car again. I have been in the N scale hobby for about 18 months. So far 3 engine failures and almost 50% of rolling stock had to be fixed to run ok. Purchased eleven 100 ton Greenville hoppers for my quarry layout. Over 50% had axle pins driven into the body so hard, that I had to drill out old pins and replace, countless couplers that don't play well with others , or totally fly apart.  Then I see suppliers asking us to pre order cars for $30 to 50.00 plus!  Is this normal? Maybe I should rethink this hobby! What happened to quality control? And pride in manufacturing?  Even reading other reviews, there really has to be some minimal standards in compliance. Please don't say "send them back". With post and restock fees, I may as well use them for scenery!
GPR45

Scottl

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Re: Another disappointing shipment!
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2014, 09:34:24 PM »
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Who are you buying from?   What kind of shipping is involved?

My experience has been the opposite, almost everything is fine out of the box.  Occasionally a wheel set has popped out.  Those little jewel cases are pretty good at protecting the goods.


Dave V

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Re: Another disappointing shipment!
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2014, 09:42:04 PM »
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davefoxx

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Re: Another disappointing shipment!
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2014, 09:52:29 PM »
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If I had your experiences, I would probably walk away, too.  Thankfully, damage or disappointing quality has been a minimal problem for me.  That being said, I do recognize that often I need to tweak things to make them run or look better, e.g., replacement metal wheelsets and body-mounted couplers.

I will admit that I did buy an Atlas locomotive recently that ran poorly.  I really like how simple the mechanisms are, though.  Enough experience and you will not hesitate to tear one down to find the problems.  It's not difficult to make improvements, e.g., Beardenizing or just basic cleaning and adjustments, to make a locomotive run better.  In my case, a U23B was seriously over lubricated and had dirty wheels.  I'm not sure why it had oxidation, since it was new (not old stock), unless the excess lube caused that problem.  I don't imagine that Atlas put a brand new shell on an old mechanism, but stranger things have occurred, I suppose.  Anyway, after about twenty or thirty minutes, it was good as new, and I have put hours of run time on it since.  Oh, and there's another adjustment that needs to be made on many N scale locomotives before they go on the layout: the wheels are spaced too narrow and not in gauge.

Hang in there.  This hobby is a lot of fun, so don't let a few problems steer you away.

DFF

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delamaize

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Re: Another disappointing shipment!
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2014, 09:53:23 PM »
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It's MODEL Railroading, Not Open the box and drop on the rails railroading. fix small problems, and drive on. Also tell your postman to stop using meat tenderizers to deliver, and be a little more careful with your packages....
Mike

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wcfn100

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Re: Another disappointing shipment!
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2014, 10:01:28 PM »
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RTR = China = Suck. 

Nothing changes until the first one changes.

Jason

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Another disappointing shipment!
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2014, 10:10:23 PM »
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I sympathize with the OP.  I have my share of rolling stock that a) rolls like crap because of cheap wheels, b) won't stay coupled because of cheap couplers, and/or c) is too light and stringlines in a train, etc.  Usually the body of the car is excellent, it's just the trucks/wheels/couplers that are hit or miss.  Basically I expect to tune up each piece if rolling stock (including replacing couplers and often times wheels/trucks) before it goes on the layout.  Then you get a Greenville hopper where you can't replace the trucks without breaking off the bolster pin.   :facepalm:

If I were new to the hobby I would be discouraged by this, but I'm not.

gpr45

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Re: Another disappointing shipment!
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2014, 10:18:08 PM »
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I'm buying from all of the first class suppliers. All of the packaging has been excellent. Even my hobby shop guy has run cars & replaced trucks that I ordered through him. We actually run them down a demo track, before I leave his shop. My point, again, is about quality, not the integrity of my postman!
GPR45

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: Another disappointing shipment!
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2014, 12:25:33 AM »
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Quality has been all over the place. I would be a little suspicious of anywhere selling the Walthers Greenville cars for more than $15 though... they have been on deep discounts for years.

Loose wheelsets and parts are just a fact of reality when purchasing anything so small. It happens with Kato engines from time to time too, so its not just a China problem.

A very big part of the hobby is tinkering. Really, its part of any hobby. RC cars need tuning and painting, RC boats and planes often need building and knowledge of radio frequencies. Model trains do require care, and sometimes some fixing is in order.

This forum borders on the obsessive, and we are all seasoned modelers. We won't look twice about tearing apart a $300 engine just to see how it works. broken couplers and kingpins? We have all been there. It is frustrating a first but it does get easier.

If you are interested in model trains without the hassle, you might want to look at Kato and Tomix Japanese offerings. They have a variety of pre-fab tracks, trains, roads and accessories that are well built and usually come damage free. They go together a bit like Legos; street sections and track lock together.
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nkalanaga

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Re: Another disappointing shipment!
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2014, 12:53:21 AM »
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GPR45:  Every Walthers car I ever bought had bad trucks, and the pins wouldn't come out.  I don't think it's that they're driven in so hard as that they're glued in at the factory.  In your case, I think it's mostly bad luck that your layout NEEDS Walthers freight cars, so you don't have much chance of getting a good one.

I actually planned on using the trucks on the GSC flatcars, but had to install MT couplers.  The first one the pins broke.  The second the truck frames broke, leaving the pins intact.  The rest I cut the pins off, tossed the trucks, and installed MT trucks and 1025 couplers.

Their log cars were easier.  I planned on stripping and rebuilding them anyway, so I just drilled the pins out, as the hole goes all the way through.  Most of the log bunks had already come loose, before I bought them, but that worked fine, as I had to remove them for painting anyway.

They're PS covered hoppers were no better, and drilling a plastic pin from a plastic car is trickier, because one has to keep the drill centered.  But again, the trucks had to be replaced, as they wouldn't roll AND the wheels were out of gauge. 

If Walthers ever releases more N scale freight cars I'll just assume the trucks are junk and prepare to drill the pins out.
N Kalanaga
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flight2000

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Re: Another disappointing shipment!
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2014, 02:34:12 AM »
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Yes, pre-orders are the norm now.  In my opinion Walthers are on the very bottom of my want list and my roster shows that (0 cars out of almost 400 are from Walthers).  Like others mentioned, you'll need to tonker with almost anything from them. 

I don't hesitate pre-ordering if I know the manufacturer has a good reputation, I.E the new Kato FEF sets that are coming out later this year.  What are you ordering that is $35-50 outside of engines, autoracks, and pasenger cars?

I've been in N Scale since 1985 (some on the board have been doing it longer... :D :scared:), and while it's still not perfect, it's light years ahead of where we were back then.

Cheers,
Brian
« Last Edit: September 06, 2014, 02:36:00 AM by flight2000 »
I've never met a covered hopper I didn't like.... :)

nkalanaga

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Re: Another disappointing shipment!
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2014, 02:42:31 AM »
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"it's light years ahead of where we were back then" 

I'll second that.  Rebuilding a Walthers car is still easier than kitbashing, or scratchbuilding, a similar car.  I've been in N scale since about 1970, and even Walthers cars are far ahead of most of what we had then.
N Kalanaga
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peteski

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Re: Another disappointing shipment!
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2014, 03:39:15 AM »
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I'm buying from all of the first class suppliers. All of the packaging has been excellent. Even my hobby shop guy has run cars & replaced trucks that I ordered through him. We actually run them down a demo track, before I leave his shop. My point, again, is about quality, not the integrity of my postman!
GPR45

I recommend that you take a deep breath and try to relax. Hobbies are supposed to be relaxing.    :) In real world nothing is 100% perfect. Sounds like you just had a disproportional share of bad luck.

Micro Trains rolling stock is pretty consistent as far as quality goes (but not 100% either).   N scale models made by German manufacturers (and assembled in Germany) used to be top quality and quite expensive.  Nowadays even those German company have outsourced their production to other countries. The quality has suffered since. I just resigned myself that nothing is perfect.  I still enjoy model railroading, even in this not-so perfect world.
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havingfuntoo

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Re: Another disappointing shipment!
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2014, 10:51:48 AM »
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You got three cars for $55.00, $17.33 a car, not what I would call a substantial investment. I know it is annoying to get them out and find problems but there is not much you can buy today and have it 100% right at the bottom end.
The probability of getting perfect out of the box I find does get better as you approach the $30 mark, and as you progress upwards from there so does the quality and workmanship ...... well that is my observation.

Often I read the new (and sometimes not so new) modellers getting very frustrated with the quality of what they are buying. If you are buying new and paying the price of a couple basic drinks for the model, then expect to be getting a basic model that is often just slapped together. If you are buying second hand then be alert to the issues that second hand equipment often comes with ..... after all it is something that some one else does not want for what what ever reason, which might not be the same as what you were told when you acquired it.

It might surprise a few readers here ...... you get what you pay for, and guess what ...... it is not just Model Trains where this occurs. Look on the bright side, your modelling skills are developing and the more experience you get the less you will be caught out.       

ljudice

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Re: Another disappointing shipment!
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2014, 11:09:23 AM »
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I think the O.P. is right - quality has taken a dive - and the dealer I do some work for has said the exact same thing - with some very unkind words for two of the biggest manufacturers.

I've seen a number of those Walthers Greenville hoppers with broken posts in EXACTLY the same place - on a shipment of 48 cars over half were broken.

There's the Kato SD70ACE truck issue which is surely a design flaw.

There were the Exactrail bulkhead flats - every  car I received had to have it's delicate end details removed and re-glued on.

There are the Atlas 89' flats that unbelievably do not roll properly because the wheels touch the underframe.

Intermountain loco handrails, etc. etc. etc.

At $20, 30, 40 a pop - this is ridiculous and it's killing the hobby.

I've been in the hobby for 30+ years - and - I am capable and willing to fix this crap (not the Walthers cars which are unfixable). But please don't tell me this is to be expected.  It's because the top manufacturers got greedy, shipped production to China and now we're all stuck with a broken supply chain.

Kudos to the small manufacturers who manage to produce and deliver high quality stuff despite this mess - and to MTL who may produce foobies but at least they (usually) arrive in one piece.

- Lou
« Last Edit: September 06, 2014, 11:14:41 AM by ljudice »