Micro Trains SW1500

Allamuchy Joe Jul 2, 2014

  1. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Many decades ago, during a brief transition period between Lionel and N scale, I did some modelling in HO. When cutting into an Athearn Blue Box kit back then, there was never the sense that you risking wrecking some rare, expensive, limited-edition model that couldn't be cheaply and readily replaced with a trip down to the LHS.

    On the subject of replacing molded on details in the name of accuracy, when you see pictures of models on which the molded on grab irons have been carved off and replaced with wire equivalents inserted into holes several times the diameter of the wire, one wonders if greater accuracy has truly been achieved.
     
  2. daniel_leavitt2000

    daniel_leavitt2000 TrainBoard Member

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    I have a few thoughts.

    First, I am a builder. One of my pet projects was to model an engine from every short line in Massachusetts operating in 1998. This included a Quaboag PIII GP9, a glut of special Conrail units, and an Alaska F7 (yes, there was one on long term loan in Central Mass). 1/2 of my engines are custom painted and I like to think I do a good job....

    Micro trains is the ONLY maker of engines produced in the US. Because there simply is no US based supplier for mechanisms, I understand that they needed to do something different. Their solution was to use an off-the-shelf mechanism from China.

    Had I been in charge of the project, I probably would have ordered the mechanisms, broke down the components and tossed them into a new frame. That probably would add a lot more cost, but would allow the company to produce a scale width hood.

    The hood width irks me. This is an engine that deserved the Atlas MP15 treatment: tons of phases and details, scale width hood and proper trucks. That wide-body looks out of place in the same way the Bachmann 44 tonner does. It ruins the look. This engine is known by the skinny hood. Its part of the charm.

    While tooling a new engine, they should have tooled a new truck side frame. It would be a 30 second conversion from the old friction bearing trucks included with the Walthers chassis and would calm a lot of us down.

    Yes, the friction bearing trucks are WRONG. Friction bearing trucks were only used on SW1500 that used trade-ins from previous SW units. I believe some even ran on Baldwin AAR-A friction bearing trucks.

    I am also a little worried about those contact strips. They look fragile and I hope that they last better than the ones on the Walthers SW1200.

    That being said...

    I built two SW1500s from Atlas, Bachmann and Kato parts. They were not cheap. They took a long time to build. I would rather buy one off the shelf. I still plan on buying the MTL SW1500. It is a compromise I am willing to live with (like my 44 tonner), at least until something better comes along.
     
  3. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Like Karl stated further on up...

    "I will be very honest in the fact that the 6" of extra width on this engine doesn't phase me at all. That's only .0375" per side, and you very rarely get the chance to eyeball an engine from that angle. My eyes are good, but they can't measure that."
     
  4. Ike the BN Freak

    Ike the BN Freak TrainBoard Member

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    However to some, the hood width is noticeable, to others it isn't...we all don't have the same eyes nor attention to detail.

    To Karl, he doesn't notice it, to Dan, he does. Are we going to suddenly bash Dan because he can notice things like hood width while Karl could not?

    My issue with the loco is still the trucks. For the cost of these units, I shouldn't have to file down the solid bearing journals on the truck sideframes and get donor roller bearings from other trucks to glue onto them.
     
  5. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'm not bashing Dan....dont know where ya get that. Dans got really...really good eyesight...and thats good. All I am saying is 'most' people can't decern approx 1/32 of an inch when looking at something without actually measuring it. On an n scale 'anything' thats about 1/64 of an inch on each side. To slam MT for such a miniscule amount of excess hood width just seems silly to me...just saying.
     
  6. Rossford Yard

    Rossford Yard TrainBoard Member

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    Thread is interesting and frustrating because I have checked several LHS and haven't seen one of these babies up close myself. And, I want one, but didn't pre-order due to the many discussions (and no must have road names for me, I need IHB)

    One said they wouldn't order for stock unless I preordered, a second said there was no such thing, and a third said I missed the UP by a month and they hadn't got the NS yet. No discussion in two other shops, but they just didn't have them.

    I am beginning to think they are just a myth!
     
  7. mcjaco

    mcjaco TrainBoard Member

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    Talk to an HOer now, and you don't have to cut anything up anymore. How boring (for me). My Dad thinks it's greats because he's never been into detailing.

    When you're 16-20, and you spent your lawn mowing money on a Blue Box, that first cut was pretty trepedatious. I freaked out everytime I put the knife to the plastic, even on those.

    As for holes being to big....then that person used the wrong bit. I take off the molded on grabs, and other parts. I want my models to be seperated from the hundreds of same old, same olds you see on N Trak, etc.
     
  8. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

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    I'm glad Dan picked up on the hood width. We all notice certain things, I don't notice everything, but I am inspired by others to try to do better with my builds.

    When are the flexicoil trucks coming? I like to build, but I don't like to waste my time if I don't have to.
     
  9. Jwieczorek

    Jwieczorek New Member

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    Thank you for the information. I will definitely look into this.
     
  10. MRL

    MRL TrainBoard Member

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    Hey if they are decent and come un-numbered in BN... If you know how to fix the contact strip issue:teeth:
     
  11. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

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    I'm going to call myself out. I must have been a little sleep deprived when I wrote this. I was looking at some .030" square styrene and I realized how much of a difference this adds up to. .0375" is very noticeable and not easily fixed. I am back to my original position of discontent.
     
  12. rrjim1

    rrjim1 TrainBoard Member

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    I don't think most people could tell the difference, if I took a square that was .530 and handed it to anyone and told them it was .500 I would bet you couldn't tell the difference just by looking at it. I have worked with small parts and I know I couldn't. The only way one would be able to if you had two to compare, then you could see the larger one.
     
  13. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Agreed.

    But, for the folks who do get torqued off by the hood being a skosh too wide, just knowing about "the problem" will continue to eat away at them on a subconscious level. Periodically, they will be driven to seek relief by venting their frustrations on a forum such as this one.
     
  14. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

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    It is not subconscious for some of us, it's very conscious. Myself and some of the other builders put a lot of effort into our models, to us they are miniatures of the real thing. I have an engine I missed a grab iron on, I can't wait to get my workbench set back up in my new house so I can fix it.

    When it comes to the issues on this engine, will most toy train buyers care about the difference? No. MT will still sell gobs of these engines.

    You call us "Rivet Counters" I call you "Toy Train Buyers". If you want to have an Area 51 engine on your layout you probably fall into that category. We all have different things we value. I value details and accuracy. I probably have $800-$1000 dollars in details parts waiting to go on engines right now.

    Don't be upset because we take our modeling more seriously than you do. That's just how we enjoy the hobby. To each their own.
     
  15. bumthum

    bumthum TrainBoard Member

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    I don't have an iron in the fire because I don't intend to buy one of these locomotives (it doesn't fit my road or era). I would ask why everyone who is so upset cares so much. If you don't like the product then don't buy it. Are you losing sleep because Bachmann is still producing an extremely un-scale GP-40? I would bet you simply don't buy Bachmann GP-40s and don't pay them much mind at the LHS. Are you losing sleep because Walthers wants around $20 for cabooses with no window glazing, based on old Life Like tooling... in 2014? Are you upset because Atlas is selling their C&O cabooses in road names which aren't prototypical? Why not do the same thing with this 1500? Why not just let it go and move on if it is bothering you so much? It was already explained that the MT SW1500 mainly exists to provide motive power for train sets and offering them for individual sale was a secondary consideration. MT never made the claim that their SW1500 would be the "end all, be all" of N scale switchers in the prototypical dept., what is wrong with simply not buying one and moving on the greener pastures?

    It just seems really odd to me to get so upset about something that really isn't all that life altering. Roller bearing truck frames can, and probably will, be made available through Shapeways... heck a board member already has a Blunt conversion for the LL trucks available, perhaps someone could commission him to design roller bearing trucks for this locomotive. $15 bucks and some black paint later you could have the correct trucks. The hood width was apparently a compromise to use an existing mech. so the price could be kept down. There are a lot of compromises in N scale to save on costs. It's just odd to bash a manufacturer for producing something different because it doesn't fall within some prototypical guidelines. It's a free market, if no one buys the locomotive then MT will know that they made a mistake. If, on the other hand, they sell enough to make it profitable then I suppose the market will have decided that those errors weren't that big of a deal.

    My two cents is over. Carry on.
     
  16. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

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    bumthum,
    I agree that it is a free market, does that mean we should encourage manufacturers to product high quality products or should we encourage them to produce sub par products?

    All we are doing is having a discussion about that.

    You also bring up cost compromises. FVM and Intermountain have both produced higher detailed engines that cost more. Do they sell? Yes.

    Why should we encourage mediocrity? Do you still run a fleet of Rapido Couplers (if so, this whole thread will be lost on you)? They were cheaper, they weren't as detailed. N Scalers could have settled, but for the most part, they didn't.
     
  17. mcjaco

    mcjaco TrainBoard Member

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    And to counter that, how long of a thread did TBoard have of NS modelers complaining about FVM not putting the headlights in the correct place? There are always compromises that have to be made. Multiple tooling costs more money. There has to be a good ROI for these guys to even consider doing it.

    Again, nitpickers (and I am one), are a very small segment of an already small market. Settle for mediocrity? No. But you do that buy showing it with your dollars. Joe gets beat up enough on their paint scheme releases.
     
  18. Rossford Yard

    Rossford Yard TrainBoard Member

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    Well, we have these threads of complaints all the time. I guess its cheaper than a shrink......

    I am not rivet counter, and usually take the mfgs side. I can tell if hoods are too wide and rides are too high and it just doesn't "look right" and thus, I don't buy it with all the other good product out there.

    And, while I understand the idea that forum complaining might move the needle forward, in general, I believe the MFGS. want to do that, and have, with only a few mis steps. For that matter, it appears to me that statistically, better products sell more. I am thinking of Walthers attempts to do moderate price rolling stock years ago, as well as any of the cheaper LL and Bachmann locos. That is just an observation, and I know there are also many calls for lower priced stuff for beginners. So, how can a mfg. win in this environment?

    And, while not a rivet counter, but a big diesel buyer, both for shelf (probably have one of nearly every model just to look at) and large layout, I know I get more enjoyment out of the best looking, best running locos. Anything less than the top tier becomes that shelf queen, and in general, the lower price isn't worth it to me. Granted, I spend too much on them, but I am in the near perfect/few compromises for $160 is better than compromises for $60 camp.

    Locos are just that important to most of us in the hobby, and thus, get more scrutiny. I am not sure what is typical, so my opinion isn't universal, I am sure, but it seems to be shared by many.
     
  19. SOO MILW CNW

    SOO MILW CNW TrainBoard Supporter

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    Ehh, buy it or don't, that is what it boils down to.

    I think Jeff hit the nail on the head,," cheaper than a shrink"

    Sometimes I think that the hobby is too stressful,," oh my god,, that rivet is out of place",,,," that is absolutely the wrong shade of blue for Conrail in that year"

    I say screw it,,who gives a flying flip anymore!!

    Wyt
     
  20. Ike the BN Freak

    Ike the BN Freak TrainBoard Member

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    Jeff brought this up, however, many of us have been waiting and wanting an SW1500 for years now, and there is no other product. Its a staple switcher since 1966, it covers so many eras, paint schemes, etc, however, its one of those units that it would have taken a little bit of work, but MT could have made it work, and made it an awesome model, instead of one full of compromises.
     

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