Dapol Quality

Discuss Dapol Model Railway products and related model railway topics here.
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Lancastrian
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Dapol Quality

Postby Lancastrian » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:50 pm

This may seem like a daft question, but please don't give me a daft answer. I have been collecting locos for many years now, and Dapol along with Bachmann in the early days didn't have a very good reputation. I know that Bachmann have improved greatly.

The last Dapol item I bought was a 'OO' J94 WD Austerity loco and set of three coal wagons and believe or not 2 of the wagons had missing couplers and the loco is very noisy, so as you can imagine this did nothing to change my mind about the quality of their products. However an e-mail to Dapol did get me the missing couplers with an apology.

I have noticed that Dapol are to release a Flying Scotsman and some new Terriers and I am considering one of each, so my question is: Has the quality of their products improved please?
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JohnN
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Re: Dapol Quality

Postby JohnN » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:14 pm

I've not had any problems with the ones I've bought recently (last 1-2 years). Off the top of my head they include the 45xx, Lanelay Hall, Class 22, M7, Q1. I have bought a Terrier and had it chipped but not run it yet. I therefore have no preference between Dapol and Farish other than which models they release that I'm after.

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Re: Dapol Quality

Postby alex3410 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:09 am

in 00 the J94 is very noisy - it was one of the first locos i got second hand and assumed something was wrong with it so replaced 1/2 of the guts before giving up. It was only when i got a second one new that it clicked that it was simply a noisy loco

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Re: Dapol Quality

Postby ParkeNd » Fri Mar 06, 2015 10:33 am

I have purchased 32 locos in the last 18 months. Early on when trying to buy a second Dapol 57xx ( 3 times unsuccessfully) I did form the opinion myself that Dapol locos were not the equal of Bachmann Farish. The latest Dapol A4 let its front bogie turn through 90 degrees on the straight, and a Dapol Manor runs smoothly but chatters its tender wheels shatteringly against the rails. But equally the Dapol Class 22, the Dapol Class 52, a Dapol 45xx, and the Dapol Hall are amongst the very best locos I have in terms of detail, running, and consistency.

Bachmann Farish early in the 18 months were consistently reliable to buy but lately have managed some models with unacceptably irritating motor noises - two successive new Class 25/1s made a horrible vitt-vitt-vitt rubbing sound and all Hattons stock was found to be the same. Apparently this is the sound of the new motor of that type.

So I would say that that as a brand there is no difference in quality between Dapol and Bachmann Farish in 2015. But I do think there can be design/component selection problems in individual models of either brand. There seem to me to be too many factors to weigh up to gauge whether or not we get the quality we deserve at the price - but if a £110 component in my car was this inconsistent I suspect the manufacturers would issue a recall.

So Dapol equal now on quality - but is the bar set high enough?

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Re: Dapol Quality

Postby Lancastrian » Fri Mar 06, 2015 10:43 am

Interesting comments so far, I should have mentioned that both models a N scale.
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Re: Dapol Quality

Postby jivebunny » Sun Mar 08, 2015 6:40 pm

Missing couplers seems to be a recurring theme with brand new Dapol products, which indicates to me that QC is not something Dapol have heard of. You only need to look at their recent release of the Mk3 DVT in Intercity livery to understand that getting things right is not one of their priorities. In that particular case the original batch were produced, just like the matching Mk3 coaches at the time, in what can only be described as Intercity Swallow livery in Intercity Executive colours, an error which should never have been allowed to get past the sample stage, especially on multiple products. Six years later, despite the Intercity Swallow Mk3 coaches having all been re-released in the corrected livery, despite confirmation from Dapol that the livery on the DVT would be updated to match, and despite the release date being pushed back numerous times, they have just last month released their new Intercity DVT in the same incorrect colours that were on the first batch, colours which obviously don't match the corrected Mk3 coaches.

One can only assume that Dapol either don't have the time or resources for such unimportant things as Quality Control, or they simply don't care if their products look rubbish.

JB

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Re: Dapol Quality

Postby ParkeNd » Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:11 pm

It's difficult to imagine loco quality improving at the moment so we may just have to put up with it or stop buying. There won't have been people in white coats inspecting products for years now and quality will rest with the suppliers of the components and the assembly operators. We on this forum who buy locos are not regarded as customers so our whinging is irrelevant - the shops who buy from the manufacturers/UK owners of the brands are the customers (we are just end users). So unless we return every bad loco to the shops us end users are hiding quality issues.

In the short term our main hopes for better quality seem to be :-

1. More brands like Oxford and DJM increasing the competition.

2. Better design eliminating bad pickup methods, noisy motors etc.

3. More automated assembly and stable source of production.

In the short term a major magazine getting us to stop repairing/properly re-assembling our own rejects might be the best hope.

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Re: Dapol Quality

Postby Bufferstop » Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:10 pm

Dapol were never that well resourced that they could afford stringent QC checks, their failings used to be easier to fix than Hornby's design shortcomings so there wasn't too much pressure on them to improve. The 00 J94 seems to have turned out to be noisey. Nothing about it says that it will be and Hornby seem to have made no difference to it since they took it on. Their N gauge products do seem to have improved over the GF made in Poole versions, we just seem to become more critical after seeing the best of what can be produced.
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Re: Dapol Quality

Postby jivebunny » Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:37 pm

I wasn't really talking about a "men in white coats" setup, rather that Dapol could avoid all of their embarrassing mistakes by simply getting someone in the office to take a few seconds of their time to actually LOOK at the decorated samples, think a bit, and then reject them for being very obviously wrong.

The IC DVT is a perfect example of this laziness (and doesn't look like it's selling very well as a result, even when being shifted well below RRP). The fact that it's been produced in the wrong colours would have been immediately apparent had Dapol bothered to plonk it down on the track next to a Mk3 coach in the same livery. A similar "monumental" effort would have enabled them to notice similar issues with the "Pretendolino" DVT.

As has been suggested, I did in fact vote with my wallet - immediately prior to the IC DVT being released it became fairly clear that Dapol had probably forgotten to do it in the right colours, so I put my pre-order on hold and then cancelled it when the first photos emerged and confirmed my doubts. I already have a Dapol IC DVT in the wrong colours so had no need for a second one... I've subsequently cancelled all my other Dapol pre-orders, namely a HST set and two 142s, and made the retailers aware of the reasons. If retailers start noticing that nobody actually wants to buy the stock then I suspect it will eventually feed back to Dapol...

JB

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Re: Dapol Quality

Postby ParkeNd » Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:50 pm

Bufferstop wrote:Dapol were never that well resourced that they could afford stringent QC checks, their failings used to be easier to fix than Hornby's design shortcomings so there wasn't too much pressure on them to improve. The 00 J94 seems to have turned out to be noisey. Nothing about it says that it will be and Hornby seem to have made no difference to it since they took it on. Their N gauge products do seem to have improved over the GF made in Poole versions, we just seem to become more critical after seeing the best of what can be produced.


My father has been dead 38 years and his last new car was an Austin Maxi - he would be dazzled with the quality of my new Golf. Over the same period it is clear that Bachmann Farish have made huge improvements over the old Poole GFs, but I suspect not to anything like the same extent as in the cars example.

Over the past 12 months I have returned 7 locos which amounts to about a 25% reject rate for bad quality. I think if others were to add new locos they had stripped and rebuilt to new locos returned they may get similar figures. Nothing else I buy has such a poor set of figures, and the company I retired from measured bad quality at part of 0.1%. In an interview I think in Hornby Magazine, the two UK Directors of Dapol, if I read it correctly, declared themselves very happy with quality and dismissed forum rumblings about the 57xx running problems as just unhappy people joining with other unhappy people and masking the vast majority who were delighted but silent. This doesn't suggest a step improvement is just around the corner.

The cost of good quality should be zero, but only if the cost of bad quality is being measured for comparison - which I would guess it's not. By comparison I have two Nikon lenses made in China which frightened me when I considered buying them (only Made in Japan has impressed me in the past). The quality of results and reliability is staggering but they cost more like £600 each than £100 each, and maybe that is the issue.

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Re: Dapol Quality

Postby ParkeNd » Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:52 pm

jivebunny wrote:I wasn't really talking about a "men in white coats" setup, rather that Dapol could avoid all of their embarrassing mistakes by simply getting someone in the office to take a few seconds of their time to actually LOOK at the decorated samples, think a bit, and then reject them for being very obviously wrong.

The IC DVT is a perfect example of this laziness (and doesn't look like it's selling very well as a result, even when being shifted well below RRP). The fact that it's been produced in the wrong colours would have been immediately apparent had Dapol bothered to plonk it down on the track next to a Mk3 coach in the same livery. A similar "monumental" effort would have enabled them to notice similar issues with the "Pretendolino" DVT.

As has been suggested, I did in fact vote with my wallet - immediately prior to the IC DVT being released it became fairly clear that Dapol had probably forgotten to do it in the right colours, so I put my pre-order on hold and then cancelled it when the first photos emerged and confirmed my doubts. I already have a Dapol IC DVT in the wrong colours so had no need for a second one... I've subsequently cancelled all my other Dapol pre-orders, namely a HST set and two 142s, and made the retailers aware of the reasons. If retailers start noticing that nobody actually wants to buy the stock then I suspect it will eventually feed back to Dapol...

JB


A 2% Audit would sort this - but as you say it probably doesn't happen. But who can tell rather than conjecture?

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Re: Dapol Quality

Postby jivebunny » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:35 pm

Guess who's just released their Intercity Executive-liveried HST bookset with Intercity Swallow-liveried coaches in the box... :roll:

JB


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