G Scale Model Train Forum banner

Aster Mikado Kit

15202 Views 101 Replies 28 Participants Last post by  CapeCodSteam
I am going to be getting an Aster Mikado kit from Royce. After the Huckleberry steamup, where I got to run Fred Gandolfi's Aster Mikado I really found out how much fun alcohol firing was and what engine I really wanted. Do any of you guys have any tips for building the Aster Mikado kit? I did get the axel and tender pump kit.
61 - 80 of 102 Posts
Charles, I have been in contact with Hans via emails today, and as you have pointed out we are only hearing one side of the story. I have heard the other. At this time I will not go into more detail then given in the above post. I cannot see how Brian feels he is owed anything further then the new stack, and certainly not a refund!
WOW 4 3 pages of complaining and not a single photo of the stack in question to back up any issues. I have dealt with Hans and have had nothing but good dealings. I also agree that the stack in question is the only part that should be replaced. Not a refund. I have seen many asters with the rim of the smokestack having no paint.

Accucraft has many locos with peeling paint on smokeboxes and burnt paint but I dont see anyone asking for a refund because the paint is burnt. BTW many of the K27 and K28 stacks on the inside all the paint has peeled off from the heat. Including mine!
All I can say to you Charles is, if a company has an engine in stock (even if it was from 1999 to 2000) they should still have parts for it in stock! Jason I would expect nothing less of you then you calling me a liar! I am seriously done with this. Everyone but 2 people have been making me the bad guy when I am not. If Hans would have offered me a new stack first instead of talking to me like he did none of this would have happened!

You have to understand that people who have dealt with Hans have to be skeptical towards your story, unfortunately it seems that you think everyone is out to rain on your parade/insult you. Let me assure you that is far from the case. No one is saying you are to blame, but we can only judge based upon your testimony and the experience that others have had. We are only trying to help you remedy the situation.

Aster does have the parts in stock...in the main warehouse in Japan. You seem to forget that Hans and the other Distributors are only that, distributors. They only carry what is necessary to fill out orders, nothing more. The occasional bags of screws and other consumables, but that is about it.

I for one have no issue waiting for parts that I know are of OEM quality or better. Will you receive the part? Yes. Might it take longer, probably.

Steam oil WILL bake onto the porous castings of smoke boxes in time, and that is a FACT It has happened to most all aster engines, some, like the Mikados, get it worse than others. It is completely situation dependent.

I am going to leave it at that. God forbid if this turns into another bashing thread....
See less See more
Okay guys, lets take a look at what is going on here. When I had my problem back in 2003, I took a couple of pictures to send to Jerry Hyde. I realize that it isn't a good picture, buy you can see what the problem is. This was after ONE steaming of the engine.

I was able to mix some paint while waiting for the replacement part and came up with a good match using Poly Coat(I think that was the brand) paint mixing 'mud' and 'oily grime'. I baked the paint with a hair drier to cure it and have had the paint on for almost five years now. There are a couple of minor chips in the new paint, but it didn't peel off like the original paint did.

Now, I happen to know that Brian does not yet have a suction fan......(AND NO HE DIDN'T BORROW ONE) so, that leaves out the issue of a fan dancing around and chipping the paint. Believe me, I had the same problem as Brian, and I know for sure that Tom Toth (Steamtom2) also has that problem.
If the man says he has a problem, then he has a problem. Too much meaningless input into this thread that didn't help the situation.
I was just lucky enough to have my problem fixed before the new part came. I don't think that this is a major problem by any means, but it is annoying to have a brand new engine and have bad paint. A show stopper, no. Just goes to show you that even Aster makes mistakes (even though they are few and far between)!
Just my two cents.
See less See more
Liar WOW!!!!! I re-read my post and still do not see where you could get that from.

As for having parts Aster is one of the few companys that really stock parts. Accucraft does not have a parts program nor do they have parts for a loco thats 3 years old nevermind 8. Case in point K27, K28, C21,C16 even the new 4-4-0 has no parts available.

I ordered parts for a 27 year old Aster and they all arrived in about 14 days all in stock.

Now that the fact comes up that he did not have a suction fan how did he get the boiler up to pressure. If he borrowed one that yes he could easily chip paint. Putting out the fire with the tire inflators is the other common way to chip the paint.

My friends Berkshire had the paint chipped off the top ring of the stack from the fan sitting on there while firing up. It is a normal wear and happened on the 1st steamup. Yes while wiping down you can remove more or remove the loose paint.

I have the same ring on one of my Asters and it was from firing with the fan.
See less See more
Now, i happen to know that Brian does not yet have a suction fan......

Well then what was stuck down the stack to draw a draft? It is the nature of the beast. Just about anything that sits on top of the stack and draws a draft, (even the Aster suction fan) will take the paint off in short order in the area pictured. It is paint on brass in a area of high heat, oil, and water. Add to this, the vibration of the fan (or what ever else) used. The paint is going to flake off, plain and simple.

As far as your trashing of Hans, well I do not buy it. I have not known a single person that did not get treated fairly and with respect from him. He has gone above and beyond filling parts orders and trying his best to make things right for people around here.

There is an old saying, "You can't keep everyone happy all the time", and in this case I am sure that Hans has tried too.
I do not have a suction fan. I have not recieved it yet. From talking with Fred we came up with the idea to use a vacume. It is the same principle and worked fine. Jason I still have no idea what the **** your problem is with me. Jason maybe I should post that email you sent me about a month ago?

You give up way too easy.... You are willing to return your engine after you spent all that time building it, for something as simple as chipped/flaking paint on a small area? If you get derailed that easy, and find necessary to go off publicly on MLS like that, then live steam is probably not a good idea... I wish I had problems that minor. I would have repainted it like Fred did and got on with running trains.
As I can see no one sees my problem. I do not feel like I was treated right. Also paint should just not flake off like that. The bottom line I am just not happy with Asters service. I think it is crazy that it taked 10 days to 2 weeks to get parts to you that were there mistakes.
Posted By Brian Tusin on 09/09/2008 8:42 AM
As I can see no one sees my problem. I do not feel like I was treated right. Also paint should just not flake off like that. The bottom line I am just not happy with Asters service. I think it is crazy that it taked 10 days to 2 weeks to get parts to you that were there mistakes.

I beg to differ. I do see your problem. You feel slighted in your treatment by Aster's representative here. You feel that for the price you paid (probably around $4,000.00 and over 20 hours of your time) you expected the part to not lose paint. You are not a happy camper at this point.


Oh, also, you feel that 10 to 14 days is too long to get a replacement part to you. There, now I believe I have reiterated your feelings about it.

You feel doubly-slighted because, after you pubicly complained, the Aster Representative has relented and said he will honor your request for a replacement... you see that as sort of a backhanded appeasement gesture.

But, I don't think that is really your problem. I really don't!

Your problem is that you are not thinking through the situation.

You have a half dozen respondents to your situation here on MLS that have attempted to help you understand the reasons that the Aster Representative did not immediately respond in your expected way. We have attempted to explain why the paint came off. We have attempted to explain that even if he were to send a replacement, it will do the exact same thing. Please think ahead a short time and realize that you will not be better off for receiving the replacement. It will accomplish NOTHING for you. You will not gain from that response to your problem.

I initially thought that the amount of paint that came off was a large patch on the outside of the chimney such that there is a glaring shiny brass spot visible. I realize that the photos that have been posted are NOT of your engine, but you have not stated that the amount of paint that came off was much worse that what they show. So I attempted to find a reason for the problem and asked questions to gather more information. I had to ask twice before you responded. This tells me you were not seeking solution, but rather demanded assuaging your ego.

Cool yer jets, fella! Think through this situation.

The paint comes off the chimney... many people have pointed that out. Yes, you paid a pretty penny for the locomotive. But, I wonder how much we would have to pay for something that would not lose paint like it did? Would you be willing to pay $5,000.00 for one that the paint won't come off of? I wonder what it would cost to come up with some process whereby the paint would not come off... $10,000.00?, $50,000.00? Put a price on it, please!

What price would you find acceptable for the locomotive if you knew the paint would chip off? What discount do you expect? Knock $10.00 off?... $100.00?, $1,000.00?, $3,999.00? Put a price on it, please!

I am not privy to the actual conversation, but by your own account, the Aster Representative explained that a replacement part would just do the same thing. Think ahead a bit here, and tell me how many times would you demand repeated replacement parts for the same problem? Put a price on that, please!

Have you mailed anything lately? How long does it take your electric payment to get from the mailbox to the electric company? 2 or 3 days if it is just across town. How long to get a part from Japan to the U.S. and to your house? Sure, there are 2nd day air services... wanna PAY for that? Put a price on it, please!

What should the Aster Representative have done after your public complaints here? Ignore you completely? Sue you for defamation of character? Send you a factory built replacement engine? Deliver it to your door personally, with a bouquet of roses, a box of chocolates and a lottery ticket? Put a price on it, please!

I don't know what you should do at this point. I don't think that it would be right for you to receive a full refund for the locomotive if you send it back. I have no idea what shape it is actually in... it may be in perfect condition (except for some missing paint on the stack) or it might be in need of corrective repair. I DON'T KNOW, but if I were the vendor, I would not be in a mode of cheerfully refunding your money.

I would like to see you keep the locomotive and enjoy it, but I have the feeling that is beyond possibility at this point. I suppose you could sell it and attempt to recoup your costs.

I'd recommend you get a hobby, but that may be a bad bit of advice for you... uh... get a second job so you don't have time for a hobby, you might be happier that way.
See less See more
Ok I don't know if anyone else bothered to read Brians bio, but I did. We have a young grad, high school I guess. who has a job at "Train America Studio" when I googled it I fond this: http://www.tastudios.com Quote from bio "With my Graduation money I (Brian) was able to buy an Accucraft SPC #9 4-4-0 in June, and I just got an Aristocraft PRR Mikado" end quote. As we know from this thread he then also purchased an Aster Mikado kit. He is younger then most of us by a generation. Has a job and may be lucky enough to still live at home (this leaves more disposable income to buy trains). His attitude is typical of many his age, I refer to them as the "ME" generation. He does not have the experience to "think thing thru", I am sure he will feel this is a negative attack, it's not. We are a small hobby and it is better for all if we grow in numbers. I remember when young Ryan B. showed up at PLS....... he has EARNED the respect of others in the hobby over the past years.
To Brian: Dude relax, enjoy the hobby! This is a place where you can make great friends, who are always ready to help. No mater what brand, scale or fuel type you enjoy.
See less See more
I just received a replacement Johnson bar push rod and shoulder bolt for my 5-year old Mikado, that I've steamed the heck out of since building it. It took Hans a week and a half from the time I emailed him to when the part arrived in my mail box. This is what Hans does, he receives various requests for parts and submits an order about once a week. The parts are air mailed to him where he checks them in and repackages them destined to their respective recipients. This process is a heck of a lot faster than Accucraft as NOTHING comes out of their manufacturing facilities in China, where some out of stock items are out several months and even that still isn't certain, and no one can give you a precise arrival date, not even Cliff.
Lesson to learn: our hobby is a small close community. I have heard (you via MLS and Hans via email) both versions. If one is going to make a situation public do so honestly, in such a way not to damage your integrity. Based on what I have surmised you might have developed a repetition that could limited your experiences in the hobby due to others not wanting to be involved with you. Already this situation will have involved another on this forum that when out of his way to make your "dream engine" possible and very doubtful would do that again for you.
Bottom line, you have the right to demand your money's worth with any product but cannot do so in an unreasonable way. In any impasse it takes two to prevent a resolution. Based on your own words, the other party did resolve your problem only to have you make it into another unreasonable problem and to complicate it by doing so publicly. This should have been dealt with first with the person your purchased from and then Hans if necessary, not on MLS.
Case in point: I worked many months with Accucraft on the GS4 to correct the shortcomings prior to any public notice. My objective was to make both the company and the hobby better by demonstrating the necessary changes could result in an excellent product. I could of just demanded my money back and got onto MLS to "bad mouth" Accucraft but the only one that would have benefited would have just been...."me." Instead we have helped almost two dozen community members make their engines a better experience along with an enjoyable one!
See less See more
Was the loco hot when you cleaned it up? That's a pretty effective way to remove paint, been there - done that - never to old to learn!
I don’t want to get involved with the ‘hostilities’ in this discussion but I do have a couple of things to say about burning paint off chimneys (stacks).

1. To reduce the likelihood of paint loss from inside the chimney, wrap a Kleenex tissue round the electric suction fan base to make a cushion between fan and chimney.

2. Always read the Operating Instructions which are included with the model and kit for a purpose! They advise the use of an electric suction fan to get sufficient steam pressure prior to opening the steam blower on the loco. An electric fan has a gentle draft whereas using some kind of Vacuum pump may draw the fire too strongly and cause the paint to burn off an overheated smokebox and chimney.

Rod Blakeman: You mention in this thread that you have had paint loss from an Aster. Well talk to me Rod! Maybe I can suggest something! Paint should not be burning off. Friendly advice is always available from your Aster Distributor and a spare part too if required. It is very frustrating to read your negative comments about Aster when we could have probably sorted out the cause of your problem with a call or email.

See less See more
I just got around to reading all of the vitriol in this thread and it was fun , albeit a bit on the stupid side .
Those of us long in tooth always remember that paint coming off inside a heated chamber is no surprise. If keeping the locomotive almost pristine is a concern ( especially in rare older models ) I suggest that Andrew's solution is the way to go , although I consider it a bit less than elegant . Purchase a roll of painter's blue masking tape and then just wrap the nozzle of the fan with a turn or two. Peel off the scorched tape between uses and you are all set. This looks better than having some nose tissue sticking out on the preparation table.

As has been mentioned before, a good, oversize o ring also is a good way to prevent the fan from rotating and keeps the screw heads (which are what can scratch paint) elevated a bit. A simple solution to a common problem, I have used it for many years with great success.
I was not complaining or too worried, as I suggest above, I thought this was normal. :) I was just trying to give Brian some moral support against all the flack he was getting for daring to suggest a problem with an Aster. !! No manufacturer is perfect and we should all understand that. If you remember even the factory built T3 I purchased from you did not run initially but we fixed it. :) It does not mean to say that we start "trashing" the manufacturer or that we should try and hide any failure, just accept that these things happen sometimes.

It's nice of everyone to offer Brian suggestions on how to prevent damaging the inside of the smoke stack. I thought that his problem was with paint coming off the outside ? Apologies if I am wrong about that. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sad.gif
See less See more
Can we finally put this thing to bed already? Can I have an AMEN?
61 - 80 of 102 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.