Guess I'm not going to buy any more Scaletrains

greatdrivermiles Aug 14, 2018

  1. bkloss

    bkloss TrainBoard Supporter

    I originally purchased a number of the BNSF GEVOS with sound and I was really impressed with the details of the locos. I have a lot of Kato, some Atlas and some FVM locos. Every model has it's strengths and weaknesses. To me, I place a high value on the mechanics and then the details. These run very smoothly and the details are currently unmatched for an out of the box model. Although I am not a HUGE fan of sound; these sound really good (ok, maybe the horn needs a little tweaking). IMHO I think that the value/price is very fair and I recognize that they may not be for everybody.
    I did purchase additional GEVOS without sound or decoders and purchased/installed the ESU 54686 decoders.

    I see that the C39-8 sales may be limited by the railroads that used these. Every modeler has their favorites but the supplier has to be able to make money to stay in business and continue to expand their offerings. I want all of the N scale suppliers to be successful as it helps ALL of us. I won't discourage any supplier from adding details as I still remember the early days of N where choices, mostly, didn't exist.

    P.S. I would greatly appreciate an easy process to swap out the as equipped couplers for MT or produce them with MT couplers. To me, this would greatly benefit and enhance the product line - moving forward.

    ...more than my 2 cents...

  2. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

    My layout is operations focused too. Running well is job 1. My sessions only last a couple hours, but I find it’s the details that people end up discussing for an hour before and for hours afterwards. I find with details, I get more operators pausing for photo ops along the way.

    An interesting thing I’ve found with details is people notice the inconsistencies. If you have a detailed layout, the one non-detailed engine sticks out like a sore thumb. If your layout isn’t as detailed, the one engine that is super detailed will stand out of the crowd.
    Mr. Trainiac likes this.
  3. vince p

    vince p TrainBoard Member

    Ditto Rick.
  4. Joe D'Amato

    Joe D'Amato TrainBoard Member

    I heard that the high end loco options on the turbines were the most popular...maybe they thought that was the trend and positioned themselves accordingly. I know a lot of dealers I talked to say that the DCC/Sound locos out sell the silent types at the moment.
  5. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    Here we go again.

    What a toy train manufacturer does has very little to do with our desires. Besides we can't agree on what we want so how are they going to know which model to create. SD40's-T's have been overworked anyway. It's time for some new stuff and or old stuff they haven't done before.

    Nonetheless look at all the fun we are having.
  6. ridinshotgun

    ridinshotgun TrainBoard Member

    I don't know how true that is across the board. We have members in our club that both the ST Gevos and turbines in sound. We mostly run at public events here where the ambient noise levels kill any sound feature of either loco. The only sound feature that comes through is the whine of the turbine. There is very little interest within the club for locos with installed sound at the prices that are being set now (by any maker) because it serves no benefit. In the case of the C-39 I am buying the dumb version and putting in my own decoder and saving the money from features that just serve purpose and drive the cost up.

    While I do love some of the ST freight car offerings I don't need all that little bits and bobs (especially the undercar details) that make up such a highly detailed car because quite frankly it sucks that they get damaged or fall off since the cars get toted around to shows and isn't sitting on a permanent layout being babied. Don't get me wrong some detail is nice but there is a point where it becomes more trouble then it is worth. And truthfully the couplers on the ST cars stink. All of my carbon black cars couplers have blown up because it takes undue pressure just to get them to couple and some have just done the accumate self exploding bit in the tote boxes going to shows. I know the trend is to offer more highly detailed cars but there comes a point of diminishing returns for an upper price point car (not to mention the money shelled out to replace the ST couplers with MTL couplers). At the ST price point for the 4785 hoppers I would have bought more than the 4 I did pre-order at a lower price point with less detail but didn't. Face it the ST cars are going on average $10 more per car than say a MTL car. So realistically at that lower price point I would have bought more cars and they would have sold more. I think they are running into the same wall that exactrail ran into both in choice of production models and price point that the market will bear.

    I do really wish the guys at ST good luck because I do like their stuff. They just have to find a better spot in the n scale market because I really think where they are at it is going to be a never ending struggle that will do nothing but disappoint them and current and potential customers.
    mtntrainman likes this.
  7. JMaurer1

    JMaurer1 TrainBoard Member

    The problem with sound has always been one is nice, two is okay, three or more is just noise and can become irritating. Also, at a shop (as pointed out by ridnshotgun) sound is a complete waste at a public display. That's why I stay away from sound...even if I got any I'm never going to run more than two at a time and I would rather have locos that I can run silent than pay extra for noise.
    mtntrainman likes this.
  8. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    Sound is something we oldster's screamed for when we were kids. Even John Allen found a way to add sound to some of his locomotives. Albeit poorly. There was S scale American Flyer and steam engine chuffs that sounded toyish, at best. Lionel was ok but it was that dammed three rail. Toy train sounds was viewed as a conundrum, quagmire or stalemate of types and the sounds of whistles and bells left much to be desired.

    Today, sound quality has improved, to a point. We aren't there yet. But everyone wants to play it LOUD!!!!!!! Back to playing with trains and the toyish approach to sound. I've always said, "If you can hear it from the street (as you get out of your car)'s to LOUD!!!!!!"

    Sound should be relative to the size of the locomotive and distance of the ear in scale feet from the locomotive. For example a quarter mile away and I can barely hear the local working the various industrial spurs in town. Out further and the sound dissipates and virtually doesn't exist. Our layouts should reflect the same thing. That is if we are trying to be realistic.

    I've been to train shows where you could hear the trains out in the parking lot. To loud for my taste but had the kids eyes wide open with wonderment and perhaps a bit of anxiety and fear.

    Sound has it's place but it's going to be up to you to decide at what level and just how much realism you wish to portray. On my layout I use sound as a background. You can hear locomotives moving about but they aren't necessarily the ones you see. If you get my drift.

    In time I will lose my hearing and it won't matter anymore. Till then, turn down that dammed music and those pester-some train sounds. Music, what in this stuff they are pushing off on kids today?

  9. wmcbride

    wmcbride TrainBoard Member

    To me the carbon black hoppers were just "weird." Never heard of them before. That's probably just me.

    My NS Tier 4 is beautiful. Bright ditch lights and headlight, nice detailing. The speaker was a disappointment. Not sealed/baffled properly and, as a result, the horn was tinny sounding like some weird MRC attempt. I expected better from them and worse from Atlas on their SD35s. The SD35s have a well-engineered and manufactured, well-enclosed speaker in the fuel tank that delivers high-quality sound and a decent horn.

    The order deadline for the C39-8 is Monday and I am torn. It's a cool engine but it's expensive and I assume the speaker will be jacked up again and need me to build a replacement. The fact that they did not offer CSX patch jobs of the Conrail units strikes me as a way to exclude a lot of orders from CSX modelers. Shane has always been pretty responsive to facebook comments and questions but there never was a reply concerning the lack of CSX patch units especially when they raised the insufficient order flag 1-2 weeks ago.

    Should I put my stretched modeling $ into a C39 or into a Rapido Draper Taper unit?

    As to the N scale tunnel motor issue: Intermountain is a problem but when did they last release a tunnel motor? Maybe a ton are right around the corner (except their factory has issues). I have a bunch and fixing the underframe gap, replacing the wheels with kato's etc. is part of the journey. Personally, I think a decent tunnel motor (and not as scrupulously prototype (see through, etc) as their HO version) would be a money maker. But it's not my money that would have to be invested. I don't blame them.

    Personally, I'd buy their Tier 4s and C39 if they'd fix the speaker/enclosure. Picking a profitable freight car is/was hard since so much is out there. The carbon black cars ... meh. But that's just my ignorance of them speaking.
    pastoolio likes this.
  10. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

    For those of you that think carbon black cars are weird, I live in a place where I frequently drive past a small BNSF yard, 6-8 tracks wide and about a mile long, and I see several of these cars every time I drive past. Don't know where they're from or where they're going, but they are almost always there, sometimes just one or two, other times 6-8. So they are not that unusual.
  11. Traindork

    Traindork TrainBoard Member

    Plenty of carbon black cars around the Texas Gulf Coast. I didn't find it to be a weird car.
    Those C39-8s on the other hand.....
  12. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

    They can also be used in pool power and there are patches...honestly they are cool looking units
  13. wmcbride

    wmcbride TrainBoard Member

    It is my deficit in that I never have seen them but I appreciate they are out and about. I wish ST well in selling them.
  14. wmcbride

    wmcbride TrainBoard Member

    I remember liking those C39-8 the first time I saw them in Model Railroader decades ago where someone was scratch-building one in HO. THE ST write-up on their order page explains their use in pool power out West etc. It just struck me as odd that ST didn't offer CSX patch units in the first round to enhance sales.
  15. Cajonpassfan

    Cajonpassfan TrainBoard Supporter

    Having read this entire thread, I must say I feel for the manufacturers; as a group, we're all over the place. Sound/no sound, super detail/good enough detail (whatever that is), this model vs. that model, this railroad vs. that railroad.... And I especially appreciate Scale Trains/Shane attempting to have a reasonable discourse and participate in what's ultimately a no win conversation; although knowledgeable, we're too small a cross section of the market. These guys put their money where their mouth is, trying to give us something special. Just for that, I give them a lot of leeway.

    Still, my quite possibly biased opinion is that Scale Trains' less than financially succesful venture into the N scale world is in part a self-inflicted problem. There are just two ways to survive in business and make money. Sell a LOT of stuff with a little profit on each item (MacDonalds) or sell a few things with very substantial margins (Nordstrom). There is another model, sell a LOT of sh!t at steep margins (Apple) but that doesn't seem to apply to N scale because of the relatively minuscule size of our market.

    Scale Trains business model seems to be to driven by the commendable desire to give us exceptional and unique models at a level others don't, but that drives the price way up. The price, and uniqueness, by definition, diminishes the number of sales, and hence the financial dilemma. If I were making recommendations, I'd say Scale Trains should continue to pursue a few of the high end, unique rivet counter models like the turbines that can pay for themselves (if they do) and rethink the rest of the production, with the mass market in mind. But that's me and what the hell do I know.... just one reporters' opinion.
    My sincere thanks to Scale Trains for trying to bring us excellent models. I do hope they succeed and make money doing it.
    Otto K.
  16. vince p

    vince p TrainBoard Member

    Agree 100% there Otto.
  17. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

    Yes, the market is fractured and possibly we have too many manufacturers vying for the same dollar. Atlas seems to want to increase their presence in N scale with their recent purchases and they are the only ones offering a full spectrum of products from rail joiners, track, rolling stock, locomotives, etc. Kato is second but in my opinion a distant second. Atlas is also the only one offering a 'value' line (Trainman) of more reasonably priced items although the prices on those have risen appreciably also. In my opinion the biggest threat to N scale is the constantly rising prices. In the future, basic economics of supply/demand/price will either make or break the hobby. The business model that has been pursued thus far may not be the one for the future.
    BoxcabE50 likes this.
  18. trainman-ho

    trainman-ho TrainBoard Member

    I recall that in the 60's Plastic model cars came with extra parts that made it possible to build the model as "stock", "Custom", or "Competition" or something like that. That might be a route for the model train manufactures to go to satisfy more buyers. "IF", big if I was the type that wants my models to be prototypical right down to rarest of details as applied by the owners, that would peek my interest.

    But my model trains just have to look like trains in general, wheels and trucks and a body some what similar to the real thing. In other word "good enough!".

    The problem maybe that many buyers in this day and age want to remove a product from the box it came in ready to go, and many lack the skill to apply even the simplest add-ons.

    NP/GNBill likes this.
  19. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Agree. 100%. Lack of supply is already a problem, causing many a complaint. Money available to pursue the hobby, yet another factor- which too many cannot understand, apparently assuming we are all as able to expend capital as are they... :rolleyes:
    Atlas 080 likes this.
  20. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Then also are overlooked, constantly, folks with physical disabilities- such as myself. I have the knowledge and had the motor skills, but no more.

    Also to be noted is time available to participate. Too many assume everyone else can freely carve out hours to do the modeling. Nothing could be further from true. Some folks are actively being educated, through post-high school. Not to mention their minimal budgets. Marriage and raising the family. Time required by the job... We note many who re-join the hobby after the offspring leave their nest and only then minutes begin freeing up to do something. Or after they retire....

    Let's never assume R-T-R is just being lazy or taking the easy route. It may be the only way we can be members of this community!

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