Author Topic: Champion Express Ballast  (Read 832 times)

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C855B

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Champion Express Ballast
« on: April 30, 2020, 11:14:07 AM »
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If you're a Arizona Rock and Mineral fanboy, you probably got the e-mail this morning about Champion Express Ballast. Once I got over the spam-ish "WTF is this?", scrolling down to the bottom of the message was AR&M's tagline.

OK, I'll bite. The link resolved to the new URL, offering two selections of fairly generic-looking ballast in four "scales". Kicker seems to be the available quantities in several increments up to $80 for 10 pounds. That's a lot of ballast! 213 feet is the estimate.

So... I have to wonder what Phil is up to with this. For modelers wanting a less-expensive but real-rock alternative to Woodland Scenics ground walnut shells? More ballast out the door with less work on his part? I can imagine the prototype-based blends take a lot of field work and long-distance schlepping of tons of rock.

EDIT: He needs to fix his pricing. 8 oz. for $2, a pound for $8. "I'll take two 8 ounce bags, please."  :facepalm:
« Last Edit: April 30, 2020, 11:16:19 AM by C855B »
...mike

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thomasjmdavis

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Re: Champion Express Ballast
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2020, 11:36:11 AM »
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He also needs to refigure his coverage- since one pound of G scale is not going to ballast as many feet of G scale track as one pound of N scale will ballast of N scale track.
 
And you are definitely right- 2 oz and 8 oz packaging are the way to go (and I defy you to ballast 3 feet of G scale track with 2 oz of anything remotely rock-like).
Tom D.

Mark5

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Re: Champion Express Ballast
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2020, 12:01:43 PM »
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Might it be some kind of scam?

https://armballast.com

Mark

C855B

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Re: Champion Express Ballast
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2020, 12:17:23 PM »
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Might it be some kind of scam?

https://armballast.com

Mark

Well that's certainly interesting - the main site was working fine not but an hour ago. I don't think "scam", maybe he's reorganizing his business.

armballast.com is back up.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2020, 02:34:50 PM by C855B »
...mike

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nkalanaga

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Re: Champion Express Ballast
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2020, 03:11:58 PM »
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"EDIT: He needs to fix his pricing. 8 oz. for $2, a pound for $8."

And, 2 lbs. is $24, while 5 lbs. is $32.  So, per pound, 2 lbs is 2.5 times as much as 1 lb, while 5 lbs is only 0.8 times as much.  Doesn't make much sense.  If you need 10 lbs, it's still cheaper in 8 oz bags, only $40, compared with $80 for the 10 lb package.
N Kalanaga
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Rich_S

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Re: Champion Express Ballast
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2020, 04:06:09 PM »
+1
I asked the question on the Arizona Rock and Mineral web page, we'll have to wait for a response. 

C855B

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Re: Champion Express Ballast
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2020, 10:55:06 AM »
+1
I just received two e-mails from armballast.com asking me to complete an unfinished purchase. Bottom line:

I believe they have been hacked, and these are phishing attempts. I have more detective work to do (breakfast is on the table), so will report back with findings later this morning.

UPDATE: All IP addresses in the e-mail headers trace back to Scottsdale, Arizona, and the headers resemble confirmations of legit purchases made last year. However, that doesn't rule out that AR&M doesn't have a zombie machine situation going on. What makes me suspect something awry is I have no unfinished purchases, and to get two e-mails asking to "complete my purchase" sends up red flags, warning beacons, air raid sirens, distress flares - you name it, something is wrong here. The e-mails were from "george@armballast.com"... I've never heard from a "George" before. Another indicator of something wrong is the sig on the e-mails is "Arizona Rock Model Railroad Ballast".

So... "Champion Express Ballast" with the nonsense pricing is probably also indicating a problem stemming from the theft or other commandeering of AR&M's customer database, and it is possible that A&RM's main site and client info is similarly compromised, up to and including domain theft.

I know none of this for certain beyond what is in the e-mails (and header), but like I said all of this is hinky as hell. I will try to find something I already have on file for a contact phone number, the phone numbers on the website and any of the recent correspondence now cannot be trusted.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2020, 11:35:25 AM by C855B »
...mike

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Mark5

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Re: Champion Express Ballast
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2020, 01:50:13 PM »
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Thanks for following up on this Mike!

nkalanaga

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Re: Champion Express Ballast
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2020, 02:05:03 PM »
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I have an old phone number - and it IS old, from 2002.

(928) 636-9275 phone
(928) 636-9134 fax
N Kalanaga
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peteski

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Re: Champion Express Ballast
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2020, 02:06:47 PM »
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Is there maybe some forum member who lives close to their physical location, and can visit them in-person?
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C855B

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Re: Champion Express Ballast
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2020, 06:06:08 PM »
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I have an old phone number - and it IS old, from 2002.

(928) 636-9275 phone
(928) 636-9134 fax

Gawd... where did I put that fax machine?  :D

And thanks! I was coming-up empty on my past invoices - everything but a phone number - and already sent an e-mail to Phil's "backdoor" addy.
...mike

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Never trust anyone lacking a sense of humor.

johnb

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Re: Champion Express Ballast
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2020, 11:16:04 PM »
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Is there maybe some forum member who lives close to their physical location, and can visit them in-person?
if you look at his P.O. Box address, no one lives near him. I thought about going to Northern Arizona for a weekend trip, and driving to his location (trying to save on shipping) would have added 50 miles to the trip

spookshow

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Re: Champion Express Ballast
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2020, 05:45:07 AM »
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I've been receiving regular spam emails from Arizona Rock and Mineral (subject "Arm Ballast") since around April 11th. Kind of surprised me since it's the first time in 20 years I've ever received any email from them at all. Nothing about "Champion Express Ballast" though.

-Mark
« Last Edit: May 04, 2020, 05:49:28 AM by spookshow »

nkalanaga

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Re: Champion Express Ballast
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2020, 12:31:24 AM »
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I've bought from AR&M, but it was years ago.  I think that 2002 order was my last one.  I haven't received any emails from them recently, and don't remember ever receiving one at all, probably because I ordered, and paid, by snail-mail.
N Kalanaga
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