Dapol A4 BR 6004 Garter Blue Review

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Stewart_D
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Location: Adelaide South Australia

Dapol A4 BR 6004 Garter Blue Review

Postby Stewart_D » Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:44 am

Hi all.

I know when I want to buy a loco one of the first things I do is look for reviews.
So here is my 2 bits worth. It is only my opinion through my experience but I
thought it might interest some people,.

I won't go into packaging and pics of how it came because any decent model
producer always carefully packages their models. Lets just say it came to the
opposite side of the world in mint condition.

At first glance I would have to say the model is beautiful and its looks
don't diminish with closer inspection. The cab has interior details and
the general paintwork and level of detail is well done. I think the rods and linkages
are awesome and certainly up to my expectations for a N gauge model.
Far more detail than other products I have seen.

The photos,

I only have a few photos as I've no tripod and its difficult to get close ups.
Out of a dozen shots only 3 were half decent , so here they are.


Image
ImageImage

Motor Performance,

At first it ran like an absolute wreck , sounding like a cement mixer BUT 90% of this was caused
by not having the decoder tuned. I was supplied a viessmann 5241 with the model by my retailer.
I would not recommend this decoder for the beginner "like me" as I had great trouble getting
the motor load settings right.
Finally, with decoder sorted the rattle had almost gone. The rattle comes from the tender
wheels. I believe is common to this model and is the only draw back. I do have to say I've
been running the model for about three days and it seems to improve every run.
Bar the rattle I am 90% happy with the motor performance. I will try a different decoder
as soon as the postie arrives. I've purchased a Zen decoder to try.

Track Performance.

Derailing,

As you may notice from a close look at the last pic above I have made a very small lead
weight "painted black" that slots into the front NEM socket. I had some problems with the front
bogie derailing. I put this down to track as my layout is exposed to fairly bad temperature changes.
It varies from 2deg C to 45C although I have heat and aircon the layout is at its mercy during
working hours when I'm absent.
The extra weight has totally cured the problem and as I only wish to run this loco on Mainline and
passing tracks with trailing rakes the loss of the front coupler is no problem. When I get time I will
add the detailing parts chain couplers.

Curves,

The tightest curve on my layout is 10 3/4 inch or 280mm.
I must say its difficult to estimate my radius exactly as it is not set track and sweeps into a tighter
curve, but the measurement of the diameter is 21 1/2 inch from center rait to apposing center.
I dont think I would suggest going any smaller than this as once or twice I believe I have seen the
drive wheels slip but only with a fair load of rolling stock. Fortunately there is only one curve this tight on my
layout. I would recomend 12 inch min to be safe.

Drawbacks
The noisy tender and the Drive shaft easily pops out from the cab if you are not very careful picking up the model.
No instructions regarding the additional parts. No instructions with exploded diagram of mechanism.
Dont let the drive shaft fall into the loco it a *%#@ to get out. Always insert drive shaft with loco on an "uphill slant".

Bottom Line,
Overall I would definatly recomend this model on the grounds that you have well laid track with minimum radius
of 12 inch.

I would love to hear what others think of this model and please feel free to comment on my review.
It's my first review.

Stew

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Stewart_D
Posts: 59
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Location: Adelaide South Australia

Re: Dapol A4 BR 6004 Garter Blue Review

Postby Stewart_D » Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:03 am

Sorry forgot this bit,

The loco will run through small radius peco settrack points at slow speed
but my mainline has all long or medium points that are no trouble.

Thats about it,
Enjoy

Stew

ParkeNd
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Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:48 pm

Re: Dapol A4 BR 6004 Garter Blue Review

Postby ParkeNd » Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:20 pm

Hi Stewart. It seems like a very accurate and useful review from someone more tolerant than I proved to be with my new Dapol Mallard. My wife bought me two locos at the same time so A4 Mallard came with A3 Flying Scotsman which made comparisons inevitable. Flying Scotsman was an earlier model and it ran impeccably with no faults whatsoever - and continues to - quiet, no derailments, smooth etc etc. Mallard went on the rails next and is now back at Hattons and the money credited back to us. I don't have any defects I know of on my track and yet it couldn't even reach the end of the first straight without the front bogie turning a full 90 degrees relative to the rails. The noise on DC was appalling, sounding as though it was ripping itself apart. I wasn't prepared to rebuild it properly or put lead weights on it so back it went.

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Stewart_D
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Location: Adelaide South Australia

Re: Dapol A4 BR 6004 Garter Blue Review

Postby Stewart_D » Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:56 pm

ParkeNd wrote:Hi Stewart. It seems like a very accurate and useful review from someone more tolerant than I proved to be with my new Dapol Mallard. My wife bought me two locos at the same time so A4 Mallard came with A3 Flying Scotsman which made comparisons inevitable. Flying Scotsman was an earlier model and it ran impeccably with no faults whatsoever - and continues to - quiet, no derailments, smooth etc etc. Mallard went on the rails next and is now back at Hattons and the money credited back to us. I don't have any defects I know of on my track and yet it couldn't even reach the end of the first straight without the front bogie turning a full 90 degrees relative to the rails. The noise on DC was appalling, sounding as though it was ripping itself apart. I wasn't prepared to rebuild it properly or put lead weights on it so back it went.


Thats a pretty fair statement , when I first ran it up I was very worried about the sound but
with perseverance It's worked out ok in the end.
I just gave it a run a minute ago and the rattle really does seem to be reducing each day.
At low to med it's gone but past half way it comes back a bit.
I use DCC with max voltage set to 150 out of 255. In my rough reckoning it works out
on the 128 speed step each step roughly equates to 1 mile / hour.
Calculated using NRMA calculator
http://www.mcr5.org/NMRA/articals/speed.htm
I try to set all my locos this way so I know my scale speed.

Thanks for your nice comments, I spent a fair time creating that review.

Stew

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Phipps
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Location: Hellesdon, Norwich, Norfolk

Re: Dapol A4 BR 6004 Garter Blue Review

Postby Phipps » Fri Jul 18, 2014 11:16 pm

Thanks for the information Stewart. I should run my 4498 SNG & see if there are any similar "quirks" waiting to be discovered.

Bickers
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Re: Dapol A4 BR 6004 Garter Blue Review

Postby Bickers » Fri Aug 22, 2014 5:02 pm

I bought Mallard from the first batch...looked beautiful but it was awful from the get-go...first the rodding fell off the wheels then the traction tyre worked loose. It was as noisy as Hell and would barely move with a chip in it... ran much better on analog....sent it back and then had to wait for the second batch for my replacement...it came and looked fabulous ... I ran it in as per the instructions on my Unitrack layout which is faultless with 19" curves and it would have none of it... more rodding problems as they buckled this time....
Everytime I buy Farish models they are perfect runners but Dapol, I've about had it with them....In the past year I've sent back 1x A3 Lemburg, 2x Mallards, 2x 45xx, 1x Hall 1X Britannia and 1x B1

Why do we put up with such shoddy engineering? These models are not cheap...come on Dapol you MUST DO BETTER!

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Peterm
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Location: Bribie Island. Australia

Re: Dapol A4 BR 6004 Garter Blue Review

Postby Peterm » Sat Aug 23, 2014 1:53 am

Bickers wrote:I bought Mallard from the first batch...looked beautiful but it was awful from the get-go...first the rodding fell off the wheels then the traction tyre worked loose. It was as noisy as Hell and would barely move with a chip in it... ran much better on analog....sent it back and then had to wait for the second batch for my replacement...it came and looked fabulous ... I ran it in as per the instructions on my Unitrack layout which is faultless with 19" curves and it would have none of it... more rodding problems as they buckled this time....
Everytime I buy Farish models they are perfect runners but Dapol, I've about had it with them....In the past year I've sent back 1x A3 Lemburg, 2x Mallards, 2x 45xx, 1x Hall 1X Britannia and 1x B1

Why do we put up with such shoddy engineering? These models are not cheap...come on Dapol you MUST DO BETTER!

Aah but you're doing the right thing and not putting up with it. I have to say that there'll be no more Dapol stuff for me either !
Dave Jones, formerly of Dapol has struck out on his own with DJ Models. Not the cheapest, but certainly worth a look at his website. He's doing n,00 and o gauge, so something for everyone... nearly.
Pete.

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Stewart_D
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Location: Adelaide South Australia

Re: Dapol A4 BR 6004 Garter Blue Review

Postby Stewart_D » Sat Aug 23, 2014 3:44 am

Just like to update on my A4,

I will admit I had to spent a fair bit of time getting my model right.
I accept that a brand new model should run perfectly out of the box
but to be realistic every model cannot be checked and fine tuned by the
manufacturer. If we want the range and availability sometimes you have to
accept there might be issues. If there are serious defects then return is
warranted but seriously can anyone claim to have bought any model
locomotive that did not require some sort of fettling to get it running
just right.
After adding some weight to the A4 tender the rattle has gone barring
extreme out of scale high speed.
In contrast I recently received a Dapol Britannia. This model was extremely
good and ran very well out of the box. I noticed two interesting things about
the britannia.
1- It has a weight under the coal inside the tender.
2- the front bogie seems identical to the A4's bogie other than 2 springs installed
on the axles that hold the wheels down towards the track.
The A4 bogie has the spring mounts but no springs installed.
Its a shame these differences were not carried over to the A4 because they are
basically the same modifications I made to get my A4 running great.
I am fairly new to N Gauge but in my experience so far I have found in comparison
between my Dapol Locos and Farish the Dapols required more fiddling to get right
initially but the Farish locos seem to require more regular maintenance to keep in top
running condition.

Stew

ParkeNd
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Re: Dapol A4 BR 6004 Garter Blue Review

Postby ParkeNd » Sat Aug 23, 2014 9:38 am

Thanks for the update Stewart. The comments about the Dapol Britannia are especially interesting since unless I have missed something this is still pre-order only here in UK. If the A4 has the spring mounts on the front bogie which push Britannias wheels down towards the rails but no springs I wonder if the springs just weren't received yet so Dapol just went ahead and sold with a missing part.

I haven't seen any new forum threads in praise of new batch A4s. Maybe there are going to be some rave reviews on Britannia.

Bickers
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Re: Dapol A4 BR 6004 Garter Blue Review

Postby Bickers » Sat Aug 23, 2014 2:11 pm

Will check on DJ Models and see what he has...I also agree with Stewart when he says the manufacturers cannot check everything but Farish don't produce nearly as much problems as Dapol ...I don't mind maintenance after they have been used for a goodish while but straight out of the box is just not on!

ParkeNd
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Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:48 pm

Re: Dapol A4 BR 6004 Garter Blue Review

Postby ParkeNd » Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:43 pm

Bickers wrote:Will check on DJ Models and see what he has...I also agree with Stewart when he says the manufacturers cannot check everything but Farish don't produce nearly as much problems as Dapol ...I don't mind maintenance after they have been used for a goodish while but straight out of the box is just not on!


I must say I agree with your sentiment about customer returns. But whilst Dapol UK should not have to inbox every loco and check it, which would be very 1970 ish, the operators making the locos should by now in 2014 not be putting dodgy products in boxes. This is where the issues lay.

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Stewart_D
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Re: Dapol A4 BR 6004 Garter Blue Review

Postby Stewart_D » Mon Aug 25, 2014 5:15 am

ParkeNd wrote:Thanks for the update Stewart. The comments about the Dapol Britannia are especially interesting since unless I have missed something this is still pre-order only here in UK. If the A4 has the spring mounts on the front bogie which push Britannias wheels down towards the rails but no springs I wonder if the springs just weren't received yet so Dapol just went ahead and sold with a missing part.

I haven't seen any new forum threads in praise of new batch A4s. Maybe there are going to be some rave reviews on Britannia.


The Britannia is currently my favourite model. It looks great and runs very well. The only Drawback is it will not take
curves with a lesser radius than about 280mm and it can often derail through the peco set track points, the tight radius ones.
Fortunately I only have one set of these on my layout in a non critical position. Medium , Large and Curved Peco switch's present
no problem at all. Also there are no problems with the front bogie. Derailments are no issue on my layout with this model and
the running of the motor is superb at very slow and all speeds.
I will say there was a manufacturing fault with the model out of the box. There was a dry solder joint between the Tenders wheel
pickup bar and the connection to the locos pickups so only one side of the loco was picking up power. As both sides of the tender
were fine it took me a while to realise there was a problem. I only discovered it by noticing the loco would sometimes stall if stopped
on a switch point. I then checked the pickup of every wheel with a multimeter which revealed the issue.
I corrected the matter with some careful soldering, luckily I have great experience with soldering tiny parts. This could have easily
gone unnoticed and having a few older points with large insulated frogs caused the problem to be noticed. I suppose there is a lesson
there and in future I will check all power wheels pickups with a meter to ensure they are connected and function correctly.
I think you might be a bit behind with the current stock availability as I am in Australia and bought the Britannia from
The Model Center in the UK. They did a great job on the weathering. I thought it was an older model as it came in the Purple
Dapol Package not the Blue as the A4. Anyway here is a pic for you.
I only purchased this model about a month ago and I believe there is one left in stock
at The Model Center.
I would definitely recommend it as having far superior operation to the A4 Pacific,
no rattles and possibly more detail.

http://www.themodelcentre.com/ND095FTMC/

DAPOL ND095F Britannia 70030 William Wordsworth

Image

Stew


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