Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

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6C
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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby 6C » Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:38 am

On the older Bachmann locos of the split chassis design, there are a number of problems, in addition to the poor running and DCC fitting issues.

Indeed I have had almost as much trouble with their split axles as on my older Mainline models, plus a bewildering (at the time), ballooning-up of driving wheels on an early 4MT 4-6-0 - which I have never experienced on the earlier Mainlines.
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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby End2end » Tue Oct 14, 2014 1:38 am

Bufferstop wrote:Hi end2end I do make everything sound simple, deliberately, because it causes others to think. Hopefully it leads to questions like "how would you make some wipers?" If it sounds like something that might be useful to you, then perhaps you would seek out a method, even ask me how I did it, because the description of how you do something, in minute detail, can be boring and indigestible unless you need the answer. One thing that has definitely got harder over the years is removing and replacing loco bodies. Until the 1980s most steam outline bodies were held in place by no more than one screw (often down the chimney) and a couple of lugs under the cab. More recent releases based on the same tooling often have the same fixing points in the moulding even if unused, so swapping bodies can be as simple as undoing one screw. It amazes me that modern models are far more complicated to get into, often needing you to get in to fit a decoder but then not coming with the useful little sheet that shows which screws to undo. Such is progress. If I say I've done something (other than generating lots of money) I'll always be happy to pass on my knowledge. Then you'll probably see that if I do it it can't be that hard.


Thanks for the reply Bufferstop.
Yes it is excellent when simple examples are given or described.
The blame definatly lies at my door not knowing certain correct terminology for things as a re-starter to the hobby. And all that electronics I've had to learn/am learning.
(So is it pointwork or turnouts?? :lol: )
I even still have to look up pointwork part names when the parts are mentioned on the forum :roll:
Hopefully one day it will sink in.

As you say Bufferstop - "It amazes me that modern models are far more complicated to get into."
I think it would be a massive improvement being able to take loco's or rolling stock apart easily.
Those plastic lugs that come on some, I'm always nervous that I will break them off, when, in practice it should be a lot easier by using a couple of screws.
If manufacturers do not care about you breaking the plastic lugs off and having to buy another coach or body/bogie, I don't think they would be too concerned that you might overtighen a screw and thus disfigure your rolling stock item. Either way they win if you have to re-purchase something or buy spare parts.
This is the main reason I have decided, as much as I can, to populate my layout with OXFORD OO vehicles as by undoing 2 screws I can get inside them to add figures.
I do have around 20 cararama cars but they are HO and to get inside them you basically have to damage them as they are joined together by rivets.

As for generating lots of money....I'll be one of the first in the queue for the hardback version of BUFFERSTOPS DEFINATIVE GUIDE TO MODEL RAILWAYS :mrgreen:
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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby alex3410 » Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:26 am

i guess its a case of not wanting you in the loco so that they dont have to put up with returns with people causing problems when they open the locos up

with DCC now requiring you to open up the loco to fit the decoder its something they really need to work on :evil:

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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby Bigmet » Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:50 am

Unfortunately the model railway press in the UK have long been disinclined to tackle the technical side to any extent. Look at US and European equivalents, and in many the reviews go into design and constructional quality as it affects robustness, on track performance and service access. In the UK the only folks really interested in this sort of detail and discussing it are the DIY fine scale brigade, and they don't really look much at RTR. (Although now many of them have started taking the better OO bodies, and mounting them on handbuilt chassis for P4 or EM operation.)

It's a great shame because good features don't get the acknowledgement they deserve, nor do poor aspects get properly criticised. Take one of my fave OO locos, Bachmann's WD 2-8-0. Now fifteen years from introduction, but still first class for appearance and running. Among many good features there are two sprung driven axles, which makes pick up ultra reliable. Look for that in the reviews, nada! (Bachmann have now dropped sprung driven axles on their new steam introductions; a great shame, and I feel it is because they consistently got no credit at all for it.)

Also on this same loco, the body is retained by three screws, all different sizes and cryptically located, then you have to unplug the cab handrails from one of their locating holes, release the tender drawbar, and ease the tops of the reverser lifting links down through the footplate casting to free the chassis from the body. That - just possibly - warrants a little criticism of the 'seriously, please make it much simpler' variety. Again, near silence... (And the WD isn't the most difficult of Bachmann's steam models in this department!)

(In fairness I should add that on steam loco body removal simplicity, Bachmann have improved - a lot. When the very desireable 9F was introduced I really wondered what it would be like, and it turned out to be as simple as one could wish, two screws fore and aft, and the chassis drops out no trouble. Same with the Fairburn 4MTT 2-6-4T, really simple as compared to their earlier BR Std 4MTT which was easy to get wrong on reassembly. One of the mag reviewers got the reassembly wrong, had it photographed for the mag review visibly incorrect, and never noticed!)

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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Oct 14, 2014 11:06 am

Difficult isn't it Bigmet, it's very hard to say but I'm sure that like me you know that a major manufacturer (in hobby not toy trade terms) owning a major publication is a barrier to objective reporting. I'm amazed that another publishing company with all the evidence of the problem should seek (and I suspect pay heavily) to use the name of the archetypal toy manufacturer.
Now that's b******* my chances of getting another letter published in that mag. (sorry Mr Flint)
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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby Bigmet » Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:07 am

I still grin on recalling the anger of some of the model railway magazine staff, expressed in editorial, that amateurs should dare tread on their turf when the internet forums got going. Among other terms 'Taliban' was bandied about. All because folks on line were pointing out defects in models and suggesting improvements which magazine reviewers had not spotted.

It quickly became apparent to me that there was more and better writing about model railways on line than in any mag, other than MRJ which doesn't even notice RTR at all!. Haven't bought a mag in the past decade, everything I need to know is on line. Hear of new stuff sooner, reviews by the purchasers are far more thorough, faults are surfaced (and solutions often proposed) on new introductions before any mag review is available. Every mag not purchased is more cash for models!

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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby End2end » Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:20 am

Bigmet wrote:I still grin on recalling the anger of some of the model railway magazine staff, expressed in editorial, that amateurs should dare tread on their turf when the internet forums got going. Among other terms 'Taliban' was bandied about. All because folks on line were pointing out defects in models and suggesting improvements which magazine reviewers had not spotted.

It quickly became apparent to me that there was more and better writing about model railways on line than in any mag, other than MRJ which doesn't even notice RTR at all!. Haven't bought a mag in the past decade, everything I need to know is on line. Hear of new stuff sooner, reviews by the purchasers are far more thorough, faults are surfaced (and solutions often proposed) on new introductions before any mag review is available. Every mag not purchased is more cash for models!


:lol: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA hilarious!

But yes have to agree with you 100% Bigmet.
There is NOTHING better than an end user review.
No manufacturers nonsense or "selling points", like a light switch salesman telling you that "this switch is fully off and on-able" - Well it should be shouldn't it???? :roll: Hardly a selling point, just a way for them to make it "SOUND" good.
Or trying to sell a door with the selling point "fully openable" lol
I have seen and researched MANY items over the years and seen all the nonsense manufacturers or "sponsered" reviewers talk about and have even become a victim of thier nonsense once or twice.
As an exanple - Sound Blaster Live sound card - 10 stereo output pairs..GREAT! .....but... nowhere to be found in thier information about the sound card - CANNOT USE MORE THAN 1 STEREO OUTPUT AT A TIME - for me personally.....RUBBISH!
I bought it to use all the stereo output pairs at the same time.

So... when researching these days, I always opt to read end user reviews.
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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby Bufferstop » Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:51 am

the body is retained by three screws, all different sizes and cryptically located


So few! I was once asked to comment on the "serviceability" of a large photocopier. So being a diligent guy I accompanied a technician on his daily round. The first job we went to required the removal of the covers around a small control panel. It was three sides of a cube plus a removable top fitted snugly into the right angled junction of two major panels. By the time the guy had got the thing unscrewed and split open he'd used 14, yes fourteen different tools or changeable tips. The best bit being that with all of the screws removed he had to prise the top away from the other sides, so no chance of it falling off.
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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby 6C » Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:51 pm

Bigmet wrote:I still grin on recalling the anger of some of the model railway magazine staff, ...... Among other terms 'Taliban' was bandied about. All because folks on line were pointing out defects in models and suggesting improvements which magazine reviewers had not spotted.


Some forums 'associated' with Mags are still like that !!!! :evil:

As laughable too :lol: :D
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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby pete12345 » Thu Nov 27, 2014 9:39 pm

I have a mainline class 56 which runs well enough, as well as a Lima 31 which is actually pretty good. Both of them have been converted very simply to DCC. The Lima motor isn't brilliant on DC but a DCC decoder with back EMF helps things a lot.
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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby ParkeNd » Fri Nov 28, 2014 9:02 am

The thread seems to have settled for a while on product reviews and manufacturability changes as they effect the end user of locos. So a few comments of my own.

Good to see the term "end user" appearing. We aren't the customers as far as the manufacturers are concerned - the shops that sell the locos to us are the customers. So what the manufacturer is more likely to hear about in terms of feedback is about on time delivery, parts missing, damage to point of sale packaging, and maybe overall end user return volumes but not necessarily sub divided into reasons for returns. Us end users are dependant on the locos customers reporting back to the manufacturers our gripes and pleasures about a particular product and they probably don't do it. This seems to be borne out by the manufacturers in N gauge (for example) being most happy with a pannier tank recently that forums suggest has given end users the greatest amount of running problems straight out of the box of any loco commented on.

As for serviceability. Most products until recently have been designed by sub-system teams who used whatever screws and other small components they favoured. It has only been since Logistics people started to insist they would not source and stock 270 (say) different screws for doing the same job on the company's range of models that rationalisation of such items has occurred. So it is understandable that old product designs that logically form the backbone of "value" ranges are not built from rationalised parts.

So taking both issues together it's not surprising that end users who are prepared to take their new "value" products apart when they don't work straight out of the box are having to do it more times than is reasonable, and then find it difficult to do so.

As far as product reviews go I tend to prefer magazine reviews but only to tell me something has finally hit the shops, and to provide good quality large product photos from various angles - you just know that they are going to point out that the glazing is too flush/too deep/too thick/too thin, but then heap praise into the summary in case they never get any more review samples. . Forum reviews tend to comment only on negatives which others then leap in to support, and on-line YouTube reviews are mostly some guy wagging the product about in the box for ages and laboriously removing it from the packaging eventually whilst we all fast forward to get to the bit we want to see - it running.

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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby Bigmet » Fri Nov 28, 2014 10:43 am

The on line review 'process' is very different from what you find neatly packaged in a magazine, (which is unfortunately nearly all packaging and little useful content).

What you get on line are the end users and his or her problems, plus some praise where due. If, after a couple of weeks the negatives amount to a few detail parts falling off in transit, a burred over screw head, a debate over whether some particular detail element is typical of all members of the class or whatever, and one guy who couldn't open the box without degrading it from 'Mint' and feels this is a problem, then you know that as received it's a good un. The positives speak for themselves.

The 'problem models' are much different. Yes, there is some 'dog-piling', but if it is backed with evidence by the steadier characters known long term on the site, it is obvious there is trouble. Often a good discussion about the way to handle it too.

And it gets better. Long after the mags have totally lost interest in 'yesterday's release', the forums identlfy 'mazak rot on this one', 'high wear out on that one', and any other failures that crop up in use: usually with suggestions for user fixes too.

I'll say right away I don't understand the Youtube 'review concept', focussing on 'my ability to get an item out of a box', badly filmed on a mobile phone!

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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby ParkeNd » Fri Nov 28, 2014 11:15 am

Bigmet wrote:The on line review 'process' is very different from what you find neatly packaged in a magazine, (which is unfortunately nearly all packaging and little useful content).

What you get on line are the end users and his or her problems, plus some praise where due. If, after a couple of weeks the negatives amount to a few detail parts falling off in transit, a burred over screw head, a debate over whether some particular detail element is typical of all members of the class or whatever, and one guy who couldn't open the box without degrading it from 'Mint' and feels this is a problem, then you know that as received it's a good un. The positives speak for themselves.

The 'problem models' are much different. Yes, there is some 'dog-piling', but if it is backed with evidence by the steadier characters known long term on the site, it is obvious there is trouble. Often a good discussion about the way to handle it too.

And it gets better. Long after the mags have totally lost interest in 'yesterday's release', the forums identlfy 'mazak rot on this one', 'high wear out on that one', and any other failures that crop up in use: usually with suggestions for user fixes too.

I'll say right away I don't understand the Youtube 'review concept', focussing on 'my ability to get an item out of a box', badly filmed on a mobile phone!


I agree with 99% of what you say.

But (there has to be a But) we lack a conduit for getting epidemic problems back to the manufacturers. A large N gauge manufacturer recently dismissed, in a magazine interview with two of their Directors, end users comments about a new pannier tank because the comments appeared on forums and they have a view that forums tend to support negative comments "Oh that happened to me too" and thus they don't act on them. I had a large retailer refuse (initially) to refund my return postage on this pannier because they couldn't replicate the stop/start and rapidly speeding up then slowing down characteristic on their 18 inches of test rail. So they would be more likely to resell the loco than return it to the manufacturers distributor citing a technical problem.

Manufacturers don't take notice of forums - only DIY buyers who are happy to take a loco apart, clean it out, and rebuild it properly take notice of forums. And that only provides a band-aid rather than fixing the problem at source. But I agree it may discourage potential buyers from falling into the same hole.

PS. Glad you don't understand the YouTube review concept either. The croneys who reply "Another thorough and worthwhile review Joe" don't help - they just encourage Joe to do it again. :)

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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby Bigmet » Fri Nov 28, 2014 3:10 pm

Fully agree the support is imperfect, but I doubt the market will pay for anything better. That said, all of Bach, Heljan and Hornby have done the right thing on major problems, supplying the spares - up to whole replacement chassis or recall for motor refit - to make good. Does take a while for the 'dinosaur' to realise and react though, lots of fretting before that happens.

As for UK N gauge; well, I have to look at it once in a while on behalf of a couple of good friends. Frankly, in general it isn't good enough that I would recommend it to anyone not prepared for a lot of DIY and expense to make it right. Some of the latest Bachfar product is adequate; that WD 2-8-0 a good example. But that's a pretty small choice, if you only buy the cream of one manufacturer's range.

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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby JasonKing » Fri Oct 12, 2018 12:43 pm

Mainline OO Gauge locomotives date from the 70’s and 80’s don’t have the attention to detail of modern Bachmann or Hornby models nor are the motors as well refined and they were not designed for DCC. In fact the modern locomotives are far better in every respect with the exception of a couple of points, the old locomotives are easier to service and repair if they break as they are basic and due to having less detail they are a little more robust if handled by children.

If you are going to buy an old model then in my experience you are better off choosing Mainline as they have stood the test of time better that either AirFix or Hornby from the same era. They will require a little TLC though as the original grease and oil would have turned into a black soot that will cover everything in the motor and cause damage to the motor, cogs and running gear if used for any amount of time. With a full service (demonstrations on how to do this can be found on YouTube), you will have a good running loco that will run for years and there is a certain nostalgia about running a loco that dates back to just 20 or so years from when the real thing would have been in use.


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