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I didn't want to start this thread. Some are going to see it as "inflamatory" and perhaps it is but it needs to be said here. Dave Goodson (aka Curmudgeon) as many of you know, has been a member of MLS since the beginning. TOC ("The Old Curmudgeon") has also been the principal reviewer of technical matters for Outdoor Railroader/Finescale Railroader Magazine and later Garden Railways Magazine which he still does for Marc Horovitz.

The problems began before this but have reached a breaking point with Dave's review of the Bachmann K-27 in Garden Railways. The review was rather mild (mainly due to editorial license) but in no way hyper critical or unfair! In fact, Dave took some flak for his "kid gloves" handling of the K-27 review!

Bachmann, aparently, was not pleased. Not pleased at all! Doug Blaine, VP of Marketing for Bachmann was incensed about the review! He wanted Dave removed as a reviewer for Bachmann's products and he felt that Dave was biased against the "Universal Socket" that they had spent so much time, money and energy in developing(!) and thus couldn't give a fair review. Doug was especially upset about Dave's lack of positive reference to the Socket in the review.

This was all two days ago. Dave has been told NOT to "harrass" anyone at Bachmann. He is essentially "persona non grata. None of this information is classified. There's a heluva lot more but essentially Bachmann is trying to dictate who does their reviews so they get the most favorable person possible. The problem with this is that GR uses Dave because of his technical expertise, his attention to detail, his honesty and his utter objectivity! Dave has done this for 11 years. There are those of us that WON'T purchase a product until we have had Dave do a thorough evaluation of the model!

In addition to reviews, Dave also does evaluations of the models to find potential (and real) flaws and to devise "fixes" for them (the shim kit for the original Shay is a good example) and then reports to Bachmann about his findings so Bachmann can correct them. He isn't on Bachmann's payroll! He does this for the good of the hobby which is why Bachmann's attitude toward Dave is so unfathomable!

It is speculation at this point but the focal point seems to be Dave's resistance to DCC in large scale and the "Super Socket" in particular in a number of threads here on MLS and LSC. SOMEBODY has convinced Bachmann that Dave Goodson won't work with them and so Dave has been "excommunicated." Dave has decided that this fight is unwinnable and not worth the headaches and frustrations and I don't blame him! He has decided NOT to do any more reviews of Bachmann products so SOMEBODY has won! I hope he's happy because these strong-arm tactics have removed one of the best reviewers our hobby has ever had.

I have kept this post as impersonal as I could. I am bitterly disappointed with Bachmann and am disgusted at the politics that have brought this decision about. There is a LOT more to this but you will have to get it from somebody else. I will not be buying any more Bachmann engines based on their "rosey reviews" which will surely be dictated by their marketing department! Rather, I will now wait until at least a year has passed and watch the fallout from the inevitable problems that will creep up and then decide whether to purchase one or not. This is not a good day for our hobby.
 

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Dave's expertise and quality of review not to mention solutions will be sorely missed when it comes to Bachmann's products.... /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sad.gif Really sad to hear.
 

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I could see if he'd slammed the new product, but that's nearly a glowing review.
 

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A Steamed Elder
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I am not surprised, but IT IS a very sad day for this hobby./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sad.gif
 

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On the upside,if his all his ties are cut then he can feel free on the forums to express his thoughts in any way he pleases. Could be very interesting reading.
 

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Wasn't TOC finding fixes and doing reviews long before GR started having him do their reviews? And why would it matter that Bachmann doesn't like him doing their review? As far as I can see, Bachmann takes out only one color ad in the magazine, so that doesn't seem to be the 'major' advertising dollar.

And Bachmann should have recognized that the Ames Super Socket (as it is technically known) is not the end all be all, or did I read the posts wrong? Why make a socket when all people really wanted were screw terminals to hook in their choice of power, control and sound? How hard was that? Why spend extra money in development when simplicity is preferred?

Frankly, the review I read was glowing, and the VP at Bachmann should read his own message board to get a better feel for how the buying public has recieved his product.

Still, I don't see that TOC will stop figuring out fixes for stuff. Maybe folks will just find out about problems and solutions faster, since he won't have to wait for Bachmann to post official fixes.

Mark
 

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Also not surprised, been reading the hoopla on LCS, I can't beleive how short sighted the Suits at B'mann are being, but having read Dave's reviews for a long time now, it seams like every time he looks at their product, finds issues, makes fixes or suggestions, someone at the big B gets there nose out of joint about it.

It goes to show how evil a sin Hubris is especially at the corporate level. Dave DIDNT BUILD THE DARN THING, he's just looking at the darn thing with a mind to way any of wound use it in daily basis. If he finds engineering shortcomings, that not his fault, if he finds obvious things that need repair (like loose counterbalances), thats not his fault either. But killing the messenger seams to be corporate standard operating proceedures these days. Kinda like Ford claiming Pinto drivers were the cause of all the problems for getting into accidents in the first place, their car had "no problem" when it left the factory.

As for the future, I really dont see much change other than Klambake finding someone else to do the reviews, I actually feel bad for whoever gets that job as they will start under a shadow of doubt. But I figure Dave will just keep on doing what he does, afterall it wasnt Bachmann or Klambake who sent the autopsy K-27 used in Daves reveiw, it was a customer, and Bachmann has ZERO control over what happens to there product once its sold. So I would expect to see Dave's exhaustive evaluations just move to the internet, where no candy coating is necessary just to please the corporate suits. The difference may be us having to make our own repairs or fix kits if the manufacturer refuses to accept the review as legitimate, they risk alot of bad blood if theres an obvious widespread problem and no fix from the factory, this is why I think they are being short sighted.

As for Bachmann, they obviously have no idea what kind of backlash they may have unwittingly unleashed. How it effects future large scale releases is anyones guess, and if Bachmann continues to insist on using their customers as the Beta testing platform, they had better not be surprised when the first run sales sag because no one wants to buy one without knowing what they are getting for their money.

Lets face it, $100 for an Annie is one thing, $700 for a K is something else entirely, for $700 I expect, no I DEMAND, that it run perfectly out of the box, otherwise forget it!
 

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I'm flabbergasted. TOC is such an asset to our hobby, and I didn't think that the review was negative. And who is Bachmann to dictate what people say about them? This is a country with the right to free speech and opinions. My own opinion of Bachmann products goes back to the first side-tank Porter that I bought from them. It had rough-surfaced drivers, which needed cleaning after only 15 minutes of running outdoors. And after only a few hours of running, its driving gear split. I never bought another Bachmann product, based on that one experience. Let Bachmann tell me not to mention that!!!
SandyR
 

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I gave up on the Bachman forum years ago. I think it was TOC himself that got me to come here? I visit a few other sites but this is the main source of info for me. I do subscribe to GR and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. However My current roster of Bachman products are limited and do not include any of the "problem children" products of the recent past. Their products are not my main focus in my future railroad so it's not an issue really to me. Since TOC is on the west coast IF I were to buy RCS products and paid to have them installed it wouldn't likely be from him anyway. I ahve come to respect his opinion on products though. Not always happy about HOW he shooses to communicate but that how he is and how I am and I still respect him in the morning (or any other time of day for that matter).

Reviews are reviews, good, bad, or other wise. I appreciate the folks that go to great lengths to try to tell me what it's like and spend hours if not days tearing things apart and testing things so I don't have to. Once I buy a product it'll get that treatment from me anyway and most often a review simply tells me what to look for once I have purchased the product adn is not a deciding factor on whether to buy it or not. My purchases of NEW equipment are rarely spur of the moment and require massive amounts of budgetting on my part. So getting a new loco as soon as it comes out is likely a VERY remote thing for me anyway.

Overall as someone with very little invested I find it very sad.

Chas
 

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Posted By Paul Burch on 04/03/2008 8:22 AM
On the upside,if his all his ties are cut then he can feel free on the forums to express his thoughts in any way he pleases. Could be very interesting reading.




Hmmm... I think you have to be careful understanding what happened here. Dave was 'working' for Bachmann (as he detailed in that other famous thread,) 'reviewing' their new models and providing technical input - which he wasn't at liberty to publish.

Simultaneously (or shortly thereafter,) Dave wrote a 'review' of the Bachmann K-27 for GR magazine, as he is one of their occasional resources for reviewing models.

Theoretically, there's a small conflict of interest there - if you are Bachmann and asking someone for a report on a new product, you might be a bit upset if the same person then writes a public piece, (possibly) revealing the same confidential info you solicited privately. (Knowing that Dave maintains the highest standards I'm sure there was no actual conflict.)

It sounds like Bachmann got fed up of being beaten over the head by Dave et al about the deficiencies of the new socket; they seem to have other advisors besides Dave.

The good news is that we won't get anymore of those posts by TOC that say "I wish I could tell you what I know about this..." ;)
 

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I don't think "working for Bachmann" is accurate, "working with Bachmann" is probably the right way to say it. TOC respected Bachmann's wishes to hold back some information until Bachmann had a chance to address it.

I do not think "there's a small conflict of interest" is also true, I have not known ever when TOC has compromised the truth, and that's what makes his reviews and opinions so valuable to all of us.

Not trying to "pound" you Pete, but there is a real difference whether you are compensated/an employee, or being cooperative to help the bigger picture.

Regards, Greg
 

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Good grief!

So, our beloved TOC, who has, AFAIK, developed WITHOUT PAY, fixes for OUT OF THE BOX problems with, at least, Bachmann's Shay, Connie, Railtruck and now K-27 (no doubt turning MANY potentially very dissatisfied Bachmann customers into satisfied ones), is now "out of favor" with the B-man because...?

Because he said the so-called "super socket" is, well, less than "super"???

Because he WOULDN'T give said socket a "positive" review when GOD and everyone knows he thinks it is less than "positive," and knows more about WHY that is so than just about anyone else on the PLANET???



The B-man should get his head out of... well, you get the idea, and make Dave the President of their Large Scale Products division! To NOT do so implies that they think that making products that work reliably, out of the box, for the greatest number of customers, and that are flexible enough to meet the needs of the rest, is NOT a way to succeed in the Large Scale market.

Not that Dave would take the job, of course. But we can dream, can't we?

We love you, Dave. Hopefully the B-man will come to his corporate senses and realize how many new product DISASTERS they would have had over the last few years if it weren't for your unpaid work.
 

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Greg,

No offence taken - I appreciate this is a sensitive topic and TOC has some loyal supporters. (I did mention he operated with the highest standards!)

Just trying to bring a slightly different perspective, and looking forward to reading the unfettered TOC's posts.
 

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I know English is a second language for me, but I thought the GR review was very good. It appeared to me that TOC wrote fair, unbiased review that is of great help to those of all levels of expertise.

I would encourage TOC to continue his reviews on this and other online forums.

Best wishes TOC
 

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A Steamed Elder
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If you go to Bachmann's site today, you will see two people from New Zealand trying to get help for the split drive gears on their BRAND NEW, out of the box Connies. They can't seem to find the help. Oh well.......:D
 

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A recommendation....EVERYONE that is going to the National Garden Railway Convention in Pheonix at the end of the month...need to do two things.

1. Sit down and figure out what you want to tell the Bachmann reps at the show...face to face. Make a note card if ya have to.

2. Visit the Bachmann booth...and tell em...standing close.

I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO pissed right now about this situation regarding Dave...anything I might say to Bachmann via email would be full of Navy language. I'm HOPING that the Bachmann representation at the convention includes some of the senior management...and not just The Bachman...but he'll do.
 

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Posted By xo18thfa on 04/03/2008 11:14 AM
I know English is a second language for me, but I thought the GR review was very good. It appeared to me that TOC wrote fair, unbiased review that is of great help to those of all levels of expertise.
I would encourage TOC to continue his reviews on this and other online forums.
Best wishes TOC




...But he did not go onto the Oprah show, then jump up and down on the couch screaming "I love the Super Socket! I love the Super Socket!" /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif

;)/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/whistling.gif
 

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That's 'cause Oprah wouldn't have him unless he was gay or transgendered.
 
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