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Super Modulator
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Discussion Starter #1
Nice picture of Shawn V's layout on the cover

Full color full page ad of Aristo trying to unload PCC cars (I hope they recoup some of their losses by re-using the trucks for the long promised S1 switcher)

Full page ad from Train-Li facing the table of contents... wow, that must have cost a lot... the new Zimo handheld looks pretty trick

RLD's ad right in the front too... go Robby!

Nice mining complex kit from gtrainbuildings.com although higher res pictures and more detail on the kit itself would be nice for $270

Class 66 locos from trainworld for $400... beats the $600 from texas!

MTH is still selling PA's direct (screw the dealers?)

Nice article by Kevin on "How to Videotape your railway"... the only error I found is that no mention of real video tape was made (ha ha, maybe talk about making a digital video?)

Nice article on Canadian layouts and plants, nice pictures always gets interest

Good weathering article with various methods

Shawn's layout article interesting on how it came to be, and very photogenic

St. Aubins ad looked sparse, not packed full like the other guys... wonder how they are doing? Their prices seem higher, $580 for an Aristo Consolidation from St. Aubins, the once price leader?


Good how to article on making figures from sculpey...

Really big indoor layout, wow, I guess you can do a lot in a 1,400 q foot basement!

I was disappointed though:

Kevin failed to give the wheel gage of the Aristo Consolidation in his review, which is way out of specification, causing many people to have running problems. There's a lot of detail in the review, picking up many small points, but leaving off the glaring wheel gage problems is disappointing


Again, in the Piko 37430 review, the back to back is way out, and no mention of the wheel gage. One would surmise that unless the flanges are also way out of spec that the wheel gage must also be out.



The magazine finishes off with a final Aristo ad, where one of the bullet points for the dash 9 is "extra weight for better performance"

Well, Aristo went from three 2 pound lead weights (6 pounds of weight) to one 2 pound weight with 2 more "free" ($5 each) to 2 more for $10-$30, to changing to zinc weights at HALF the weight of lead, and you only get one free, to the dash 9 on the back cover, where you get an VEN LIGHTER stack of steel plates...

So the magazine went from good to poor as I went though, but overall I think it was a very good issue, with obvious effort by the GR staff to have more how-to articles, and great photographs.

Greg
 

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Greg, not to derail the thread but you mentioned Aristo's PCC's, did they not sell well? I have no idea if they did or not, I was thinking of picking up one or two.
 

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Super Modulator
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Discussion Starter #3
Well, this is a matter of your point of view.


Many times, for example in the case of the PCC and the Consolidation, Aristo has boasted (yes boasted) that they sold out quickly.

But this is in reference to selling Aristo's stock to dealers.

But what you want to know is did PEOPLE purchase them or are they sitting on the dealer's shelves.

You can answer that question by the availability from dealers. Both products were not hot sellers, it's taken a while to reduce the inventory of the PCC cars and consolidations are being sold at cost now.

So, there's the real information.

If you get a PCC car, be sure to consider modifying the wheels to get them in gage, and running true... see my page on them on my site under motive power... aristo.... pcc

Greg

p.s. some further reflection on what I said above. It may seem I am picking on the loco reviews, but darn it, a small structure, or a box car is easy to modify... it is IMPOSSIBLE to fix bad wheel gage on Aristo locos without machining the wheels on a lathe and spoiling the plating in the process.

I expect truthful and factual information from a product review, and measuring the back to back, but NOT the actual wheel gage is no accident, it's a glaring omission.
 

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Posted By Greg Elmassian on 03 Mar 2012 08:33 AM
Well, this is a matter of your point of view.


Many times, for example in the case of the PCC and the Consolidation, Aristo has boasted (yes boasted) that they sold out quickly.

But this is in reference to selling Aristo's stock to dealers.

But what you want to know is did PEOPLE purchase them or are they sitting on the dealer's shelves.

You can answer that question by the availability from dealers. Both products were not hot sellers, it's taken a while to reduce the inventory of the PCC cars and consolidations are being sold at cost now.

So, there's the real information.

If you get a PCC car, be sure to consider modifying the wheels to get them in gage, and running true... see my page on them on my site under motive power... aristo.... pcc

Greg

p.s. some further reflection on what I said above. It may seem I am picking on the loco reviews, but darn it, a small structure, or a box car is easy to modify... it is IMPOSSIBLE to fix bad wheel gage on Aristo locos without machining the wheels on a lathe and spoiling the plating in the process.

I expect truthful and factual information from a product review, and measuring the back to back, but NOT the actual wheel gage is no accident, it's a glaring omission. Thanks Greg, your insight is always appreciated! I may want one for a shelf queen, not to actually run.
 

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Super Modulator
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Discussion Starter #6
I'm working on a solution for all Aristo steamers, I want to make a stainless steel "tire" that would go on the original pot metal driver (machined down).

The goals would be:

  1. correct back to back and gage possible and somewhat adjustable
  2. correct flange thickness (which is necessary for #1 to be possible)
  3. reasonalble flange depth (a little less than the really deep flanges, but enough to keep the loco on the rails)
  4. better power pickup (no oxidation, no pitting, no plating flaking off)
  5. better appearance
  6. improved tread taper (I'm hoping for better traction besides appearance)
  7. low cost
Anyway that's what I am planning.


Greg
 

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Greg
Still no mailman with my GR! I LOVE how I pay for a subscription for this thing and I don't get it till a week or so after everyone else!! Maybe this time it's coming extra slow as to be readable (in one piece) when it gets here.

Hey Kevin Strong do you have any pull @GR?
 

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...Kevin failed to give the wheel gage of the Aristo Consolidation in his review, which is way out of specification, causing many people to have running problems. There's a lot of detail in the review, picking up many small points, but leaving off the glaring wheel gage problems is disappointing...

From the review:

"The back-to-back spacing on the drivers was consistently 1.560", which is at the narrow end of NMRA specs but within tolerances. Each axle is directly powered by the motor, and each axle has some side-to-side and a bit of up-and-down play to compensate for uneven track. The pilot wheel and tender wheels have a back-to-back spacing of 1.575", which is on target for NMRA and G1MRA. ..."

As stated in the review, the sample provided by Aristo-Craft had wheels that matched factory specs and were within published standards. There were no performance issues relative to the gauge of the wheels on the specific locomotive that was reviewed. I am well aware of the gauge issues that appeared on some individual models of the Aristo 2-8-0. I consider any locomotive with wheels gauged so wide as to not fit on the track (and so far in excess of manufacturer's stated specs) to be defective. It's my policy not to review cleary-defective products, but to return them to the manufacturer so they can remedy the issue. How a manufacturer responts to such requests, and how the returned or replaced item performs or measures up are certainly fodder for comment if either was in any way problematic. If the item is returned or replaced in full working order, it's rare that I'd even mention I had to return the initial product. The manufaturer lived up to his end of the deal by fixing the issue. Yes, I do take others' experiences into account when doing reviews. I use them as a guide for things I need to be taking a hard look at. I do not make it policy to let others form my opinions for me.

It's not remotely unusual to have two people review a model and come away with differing opinions. One need only compare my review of Accucraft's EBT mikado in GR to Tom Bowdler's review of the same locomotive in Steam in the Garden. Tom is a very good friend of mine, but we clearly saw certain aspects of that particular locomotive differently. No individual review should ever be taken as the law of the land. Unless the two reviews are written on the exact same sample, there's no way to know the two models are identical in every aspect. Thus I cannot make any claim relative to the veracity of the other review because I don't know whether I'm looking a the same set of facts.

What Greg views as a "glaring omission" in my review is simply a reflection of the fact that I didn't see anything out of sorts based the specific locomotive I had in front of me. If it were his locomotive in front of me, it's reasonable to assume my conclusions may be different and I would have commented on that which he feels so strongly was left out. But it's not, and without taking specific measurements from his locomotive, I cannot make any determination as to whether I'd judge that speciific locomotive to be defective. (Though if it's not staying on the track, that's a pretty good indication that it is...) And if I were to consider his locomotive to be defective under these criteria, I would not have reviewed it, thus I could not in good faith reach the same conclusions anyway. So long as he's content to form opinions based on what I'd probably view as a defective locomotive, our perspectives could never align.

Later,

K
 

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Kevin.
A two part question regarding reviews.
1). Have you ever actually returned a model to a manufacturer as being not up to standard to be reviewed?
2). If the defects were remedied and the loco re-supplied for review, did you state that in the subsequent review?
 

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I respect Kevin ,yet I need to chime in here.
I HATE having to send something back that I have waited years for to come out. Even if they fix it or not. (thats if I could not have to fixed it)
 

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In answer to Tony's questions, yes I have returned defective products to manufacturers--more often than you'd think. What we get is often straight from the factory floor, and sometimes "stuff" happens. In terms of whether I mention the issue in the review, by and large no, provided the product is sent back in full working order. To do otherwise may unfairly prejudice the rest of the review. No matter what I'd write, it'd be colored by "the first one was defective..." There are circumstances where it would be appropriate to make mention of such an exchange or to reference the defect which caused concern, but that's a case-by-case kind of thing.

Certainly I understand the frustration of getting a product that doesn't work correctly right out of the box. But it's unfair to the manufacturer to criticize them right out of the gate without giving them the benefit of correcting the problem first. I'm not a big fan of "consumers as guinea pigs" but it's hardly a new concept, and hardly limited to model trains. It doesn't justify the practice, but it is] how things are done. By and large, the large scale manufacturers are fairly responsive to widespread QC issues, and take steps to try to remedy them on subsequent products. Sometimes the fix introduces a bunch of new "issues," but--again--that's hardly limited to model trains. Give 'em credit for fixing.

Later,

K
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Kevin, given the back to back spacing was right, it is IMPOSSIBLE that the wheel gage, which you STILL REFUSE TO REVEAL, is correct.

The flanges on your loco, being cast, must be the same thickness as everyone else's, and you can PROVE that the wheel gage is out of spec, by adding 2 thicknesses of the flange to your published back to back.

I just went out and re-measured my Consolidation, and as many people have reported, I got 0.106 "

Now, take your measurement from above for the back to back: 1.560 and add two flange thicknessses:

1.560 + 0.106 + 0.106 = 1.772 ..... convert that to millimeters for all those who don't remember the track gage in inches: 45.009 inches, WIDER than the TRACK for your wheels .

Yes, it's only 9 thousandths on your loco... but I suspect that if you measured and reported all the drivers, you would find more variation. Many Consolidations have perfectly to spec back to back, and thus much wider than the track gage.

Here is a typical aristo consolidation measurement:

rear driver 39.97 - 45.25
next forward 39.53 - 45.07
next forward 39.53 - 45.13
front driver 39.86 - 44.33

Real data, the first number was the back to back and the last the track gage. These were not taken by me, and the grossly large fillet at the base of the flange causes some uncertainty in the readings.

But the tremendous number of reports of problems, even recognized in the Aristo forum, and the lack of Klambake publishing the actual wheel gage is very disappointing.

I don't mean to pick on you personally Kevin, since I know the incredible pressure from Aristo and Klambake to not say anything negative.

But it is a disservice to the community, and the poor guy who buys one of these and has problems later..... when they pop up and we point them to the MLS threads... what will you say about the GR review?

Oh, well, mine was ok?

Very disappointing... shows we cannot trust reviews in GR on any large advertiser's product.

Greg
 

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Posted By Greg Elmassian on 02 Mar 2012 11:12 PM



Full color full page ad of Aristo trying to unload PCC cars (I hope they recoup some of their losses by re-using the trucks for the long promised S1 switcher)





Gre,
what are you referring to there?
are you talking about the Aristocraft ad on page 3?
When has Aristo mentioned an S1? I dont remember ever hearing that..
also, the PCC cars dont have any sideframes in that ad..
and..the S1 has "blunt trucks" that look like this:



Not even close to anything ever used on any kind of street car..(as far as I know anyway)

so your statement confuses me much..
can you clarify please?
thanks,
Scot
 

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1.560 + 0.106 + 0.106 = 1.772
Er, G1MRA and NMRA standards for track gauge is 1.772", so the wheels are mathematically in gauge according to published standards. The NMRA standards were written in imperial units, then translated to metric, so your .009" difference is a translation issue, not a compliance issue. (NMRA allows for an additional .010", which gives even more "wiggle room.") Technically speaking, the check gauge is .015" too wide, but given the large radius on the fillet, this is hardly material to the locomotive's performance. The sample that was ultimately reviewed operated very smoothly over my railroad without issue. (And my AMS track is actually slightly narrower in gauge than 1.772", with most around 1.760" or thereabouts.) What will I say about my review? The same thing I say about every review I write; that I stand behind it 100%.

I don't mean to pick on you personally Kevin, since I know the incredible pressure from Aristo and Klambake to not say anything negative.
There's no place in this debate for innuendo. Stick to the facts, and we'll continue this discussion. You insult me by insinuating that I'm selling my integrity to an advertiser.

Later,

K
 

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Here again.
straight from the factory floor, and sometimes "stuff" happens

I know where and how it comes from. But ,The high percentage of problems that I get and have to fix. I must get only the few ,"things that happen".
Theres lots I don't post either, simply because I get tired of negitive stuff also.
Most compines do fix there stuff. Its the down time and back and forth you go through.
All that used to be done personally at our local hobby shop with a dealer who has trains and KNOWS trains.
I had a very large HO RR. It was on the 76' layout tours at the NMRA convention. I don't remember hardly ever having to send anything back.
wrong orders yes.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Sorry Kevin, I actually edited your name out several times.

Let's pretend that you did not write the review.

I am very disappointed that GR and Klambake did not do their homework to make a fair and honest review and leaving out one of the most important measurements.

This is not the first time that a review has been "sanitized" in comparison to reality and easily available information on the product.

The mere fact that there was a lot of discussion on MLS, LSC and the Aristo forum makes it hard to believe in the integrity of the people involved.

Aristo certainly should have mentioned the fracas over these wheels when presenting their hand-picked locomotive to GR.

GR certainly should have done their homework, just a simple google of "aristo consolidation problems" (which any person should do before purchasing an expensive item) would have turned up information that would at least resulted in measuring the wheel gage of a locomotive that costs almost $600.

Thus, I am extremely disappointed in GR. I expect this of a manufacturer to a small degree, although Lewis Polk's dismissal of Paul Burch's problems as "undergauge track" (available on a yahoo forum) is really wrong.

I've talked to many people, and many people have contacted me privately with their measurements. The one reviewed in GR was the "best" one I have seen, mine, RJ's, and Paul's are way worse.

Again, I'm sorry that I mentioned your name Kevin, it's the magazine I'm looking to for doing a bad job.

Greg
 

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Posted By East Broad Top on 04 Mar 2012 12:43 PM
In answer to Tony's questions, yes I have returned defective products to manufacturers--more often than you'd think. What we get is often straight from the factory floor, and sometimes "stuff" happens. SNIP


K



OK. So that answers the first part of the question. Thank you.


Posted By East Broad Top on 04 Mar 2012 12:43 PM
SNIP
In terms of whether I mention the issue in the review, by and large no, provided the product is sent back in full working order. To do otherwise may unfairly prejudice the rest of the review. No matter what I'd write, it'd be colored by "the first one was defective..." There are circumstances where it would be appropriate to make mention of such an exchange or to reference the defect which caused concern, but that's a case-by-case kind of thing.

Later,

K

IMHO that attitude, which I assume is corporate and not necessarily personal, gives the impression of looking after the interests of the manufacturer and not looking after the interests of the consumer.
I can understand not mentioning damage sustained in transport but to not mention in a review that a sample submitted for review was unreviewable, for whatever reason other than aforementioned transport damage, seems to me to be biased in favour of the manufacturer over the consumer.
The consumer needs as much factual information as possible to make an informed choice. They should not have to rely solely on manufacturers claims.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I agree with Tony. I'm thinking why am I even subscribing?

Since basically all the ads are not final, as many people have found when calling (they are set months before), people are looking up prices on the internet and or calling.

So what are we buying the magazine for?

Entertainment and information.

I used to buy magazines for the review quality, and some still will call call it as they see it, but my faith in GR is gone.

The way the product should be obtained, is that it should be purchased anonymously and reviewed. If there are any negatives, I think it is fair to call the manufacturer about it, and obtain more information, and perhaps get another sample.

The manufacturer should then "buy the product back" from the magazine, if the magazine cannot afford to buy the review sample themselves (which seems silly in many cases).

Just my opinion.

Greg


p.s. what is worse for the hobby and manufacturer?

1. having a thorough review that points out the good and bad points, and in some cases, might convince people to forgo the purchase because of issues.
2. Or someone plunks down $600 for a loco that had a great review in GR, and find out all these problems AFTER he has purchased it.

I'll tell you #2 is WAY worse for the hobby, this will be one upset individual, and will be much more negative for the hobby.

(and what will you say to the guy who asks you about your review, Garden Railroads? that you had no clue, after all the controversy in several forums and the manufacturer was also aware?)
 

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Gre,
what are you referring to there?
are you talking about the Aristocraft ad on page 3?
When has Aristo mentioned an S1? I dont remember ever hearing that..
also, the PCC cars dont have any sideframes in that ad..
and..the S1 has "blunt trucks" that look like this:



Not even close to anything ever used on any kind of street car..(as far as I know anyway)

so your statement confuses me much..
can you clarify please?
thanks,
Scot


*******************************


Aristo is currently in design of the SW1 not S1. The detailed model plans were on display at the fall ECLSTS and at that point Lewis was hoping that it would be in production in about a year. Perhaps but we know how things work in the Chinese Train making world. There was fairly extensive discussion on Aristo site about SW1 last fall.


Regarding the trucks, remember that we are talking motor block not actual truck side frames. It is the PCC prime mover that will be utilized, not the side frames.

Tom P
 

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Super Modulator
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Discussion Starter #20
Sorry, I screwed up and said S1 when Tom is completely correct with the SW1. Lewis has been wanting to build one for years.

I think the last official comment was:

(Aristo forum 6/7/2011)

Dear Todd,

We are doing an SW-1 for next year. The R & D is done and mold work will begin soon.

All the best,
Lewis Polk
 
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