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Thread: Scale Trains.com

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    Default Scale Trains.com

    In a few short words.....

    I'm done with them.

    I went to the annual open house at Spring Creek Model Trains yesterday. I seen on the venue that they had invited several manufacturers to the show again and one of them was Scale Trains.
    After buying one of their new N scale hoppers recently (as I mentioned in this post:https://www.nscale.net/forums/showth...054#post562054)
    I thought it would be a good chance to chat with them about their choice of couplers?

    When I got to the show I found them with a couple of tables covered with most of their HO products.
    In the middle of the table were just three of their GE locomotives and one guy standing behind the table. Who really didn't look like he wanted to be there.
    But who could blame him? Deshler, NE in the summer, in the middle of nowhere. It's not like the N scale convention going on in Chicago this week?

    Anyway I approached him and just started to say "HI" when Ken Paterson rudely butted in just to tell the guy that they were getting ready to do the film in an hour or so, and continued to BS with him about stuff. So I just stood there, patiently waiting my turn.

    When I finally got a chance to talk with him, I told him that I just received one of their PS-2CD 4785cf Covered Hoppers.
    He replied "Oh good" in a less than enthusiastic tone.

    I complimented him on their hopper and how nice it looked and rolled but then asked why after to going to all that effort of getting all the details correct, why did they stop there and not use a better choice for the couplers? Of course I got a blank stare back from him. Before he could reply I also asked if they were going to do anything about them such as revamping them so they work better and look better or making it so that the couplers could be changed out with another coupler of choice on their next offering?

    He got a small grin on his face and said "Yeah, I think they're looking into it, I think they're trying to get it to coupler better......" He continued muttering something about how he thought a MTL 1107 or "something similar" could be used to swap them out, and that was it!

    I ended the conversation with a thanks and that I just didn't understand how a company who touts their new product as a Rivet Counter series can use a coupler that is anything but a Scaled looking coupler?

    I'm sorry but I don't sugar coat stuff, I get right to the point.
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    I've said before and will continue to say, I'll never own an ST product. When the company was announced, I brought it to the attention of my LHS as they were looking for retailers to carry their product line. A couple of other customers were very interested in their HO scale tank cars so the LHS owner looked into it. The next time I went by, I asked if he had inquired. He said, yep, it was a very short conversation. In order to be a "select retailer", he would have to had an initial order of $xxxx ( I can't remember the number now, only that it was 4 digits) and at the time they only had the HO scale boxcar kits, HO scale tank cars, and N scale containers. And given the pricing structure that ST had between the MSRP, the "discount" and price the LHS was actually being charged for the items, the LHS would make next to nothing given the amount of shelf/warehouse space he would have to dedicate for the amount of product his initial order would have to take up. Thanks but no thanks was the end of the conversation. I've never liked the way that pricing is the same across the board no matter where you buy the product at, to me that says ST is taking the hunk of the profit and retailers are basically advertising ST product for peanuts. Final straw for me was when ST had their blowout sales on the N scale containers meanwhile leaving their retailers holding the bag on the containers they already purchased. ST says they told retailers what was going to happen in advance of the sale and to not order any additional but some already had a large amount ( we know this thanks to real-time inventories). The only thing I've been mildly interested in were the 5188 hoppers, but it's still a no thanks from me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen H. View Post
    Anyway I approached him and just started to say "HI" when Ken Paterson rudely butted in just to tell the guy that they were getting ready to do the film in an hour or so, and continued to BS with him about stuff.
    That's unfortunate and very understandable why it would make someone irritated. Not sure what it is about tiny trains that makes a very small percentage of people with known names in this hobby act like big a**es.

    Something very similar to that happened to me at 2004 the National Train Show in Seattle. Big shot former NMRA president elbowed his way past me and my son to butt in to a conversation I was trying to have with a vendor. Big shot died a few years ago, so I won't ID him. But his rudeness and inflated ego were palpably disgusting.

    I don't get it. ...

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    A general gripe I have about manufacturer presenters at shows is that oftentimes they don't actually want to talk to people.
    I've had similar experiences with rude and impersonal presenters at shows.

    Now, I understand that it can be demanding traveling from city to city, standing and presenting for hours on end. Moreover, I can understand getting tired of hearing "why don't you do this" or "why don't you make that" umpteen times in every city. Reality is that you often can't economically change your product tooling to account for this specific detail or that or fix some fiddly aspect of operation. Reality is that many people will tell you they want this product or that made, but it's a niche thing you can't feel confident will sell enough to make it viable to produce. You only need to look at what a special run of an existing model requires and costs and then figure on a manyfold increase for an entirely new product. After a while, hearing endless infeasible proposals must get draining.

    However, what seem clear is many of these manufacturers are not treating show appearances for what they are--opportunities for sales, public relations, and advertisement. The show attendees are your current and prospective future customers, voluntary market research, word-of-mouth promoters, and product feedback. Don't treat them badly. Sure, many attendees will prattle on with what they think is the most interesting railroad-related nonsense in the world, but they often have useful things to say if you let them bend your ear a bit. Honestly, if you just jot down a summary of their comments in a notepad, the attendee would feel you respected them and were listening, even if you have zero intention of doing anything with their input. Perception is so important to a brand.

    Too many presenters are show circuit veterans and public relations novices. They treat shows like social clubs, chewing the fat with each other and ignoring attendees. It doesn't matter how quiet or busy a show is, they will just bypass, interrupt, and ignore attendees to kibitz over seemingly nothing.

    If they want to catch up with friends and industry contacts, they should do that on breaks, over lunch or dinner--not at the expense of doing their job.
    JERSEY CENTRAL LINES -- Road of the Friendly Trains

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    To be clear @Rwerner
    The guy was willing to listen to me, chat with me and was attentive. He gave me time to ask my question.
    No qualms there.

    But I here ya about being there standing for hours and hearing every little bitch and complaint from every Tom Dick and Harry who thinks they know everything from the models they play with to the prototypes as if they were the original designers. THAT would get old fast!

    I don't know the crew from Scale Trains, but I was hoping on a off chance that Shane would have been there (as he had been before), but with show in Chicago going on at the same time, I doubted that very much.
    Again with the other show going on and this being a micro show in comparison, this guy might have been chosen from the office to work the smaller show instead. Either way he was attentive to me, but he just didn't have the answers I was hoping for. When I got done, I thanked him for his time and shook his hand.

    Also it wasn't like I was asking him to retool anything, but just to see if they were going to do anything to improve the N scale couplers in the future.
    I wasn't expecting them to bend over backwards and jump up and down for me. All is good, I'm not going on a witch hunt, I will just be voting with my wallet from here on out.
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    I'm sorry, Allen. I completely missed your real point and went off on a tangent.

    I'm with you about the coupler size issue. I could ask that question of just about every N scale rolling stock manufacturer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    I'm sorry, Allen. I completely missed your real point and went off on a tangent.

    I'm with you about the coupler size issue. I could ask that question of just about every N scale rolling stock manufacturer.
    No worries Paul. No need to apologize.
    There were kind of two things I was mentioning, one was the coupler size and chatting with ST's and then I kind of slipped the mention in there about Ken as a side note.
    Yeah, almost all of the couplers are oversized in our scale, small a little, some A LOT!

    Couplers are turning out to be another one of those Can 'O Worms subjects.
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    I like ST’s freight cars. I have a dozen of the 5188 hoppers as well as a couple ET44s, and I plan on getting more. Do I like the couplers? Heck no. But the cars are far superior to everything but the BLMA line. I swapped the couplers out. To me it was no biggie. It was far less painful that watching a Ken Patterson “What’s new this week” video!
    Karl

    CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpwisc View Post
    I like ST’s freight cars. I have a dozen of the 5188 hoppers as well as a couple ET44s, and I plan on getting more. Do I like the couplers? Heck no. But the cars are far superior to everything but the BLMA line. I swapped the couplers out. To me it was no biggie. It was far less painful that watching a Ken Patterson “What’s new this week” video!

    Oh that's too funny Karl!

    I like the cars too, don't get me wrong.
    So may I ask how you swapped them out and which couplers you used?

    Sounds like a good tutorial to me?

    Maybe I'm making a bigger deal out these things than I should?
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen H. View Post

    Oh that's too funny Karl!

    I like the cars too, don't get me wrong.
    So may I ask how you swapped them out and which couplers you used?

    Sounds like a good tutorial to me?

    Maybe I'm making a bigger deal out these things than I should?
    I just grabbed a 10 pack of 1015s and swapped the guts into the ST coupler pockets. For the last 2 cars I used some 1017s I had from some old MT trucks. The 1017s fit and look better, but the design is more prone to the slinky action than the 1015. I think I had the whole dozen done in an hour.
    Karl

    CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline

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    OK! Thanks Karl.
    I'll give that a try.
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpwisc View Post
    . I swapped the couplers out. To me it was no biggie. It was far less painful that watching a Ken Patterson “What’s new this week” video!
    I hear you, Karl!

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    And when, @jpwisc, are you hoping to unveil the next little jewel from your workbench?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    And when, @jpwisc, are you hoping to unveil the next little jewel from your workbench?
    Paul, I’m hoping soon! I have had two crazy months at work, and in my spare time I’ve been putting in new floors at home. I did a little work on some projects today. I’m hoping to have some of the new Briggs coil cars shortly, and I need to make room on the work bench for them.
    Karl

    CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline

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    Well thanks to Karl and his little tip, I was able to convert the hopper just as he described!
    Thanks Karl!

    I used 1015's and also doubled the centering spring to see if that would help eliminate some of the slink?







    OK time to eat crow...
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    The 1017s have a little more slink, because the spring is on the other side of the center post. With the 1017s you won’t see the spring like you can with the 1015s. I should have soaked mine in Micro Engineering weathering solution first.
    I wonder if 1015s and 1017s cancel each other out or magnify the motion. Great... now I’ll be up all night wondering that...
    Karl

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    Ah I see what you mean now by seeing the springs?
    Not too noticeable being under the platform?
    So are the 1017's similar to the 1025's in the fact that the springs are behind the post?
    The Little Rock Line blog


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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen H. View Post
    If you want a second helping, you can have mine. Unless they change their retailer model, I won't need to dine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mu26aeh View Post
    If you want a second helping, you can have mine. Unless they change their retailer model, I won't need to dine.
    Gee thanks Adam! I think?
    You still have a legit complaint though.
    The Little Rock Line blog


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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen H. View Post
    Gee thanks Adam! I think?
    You still have a legit complaint though.
    It depends if you like crow, does it taste like chicken ?

    I just don't like to see the LHS do a lot of the leg work getting a manufacturers name around, then get kicked to the curb. Example, ExactRail. Started out you could get it just about anywhere, then they pulled all product and went to direct order once they got popular. ST started from get go with direct, and select retailers and then pulled back some of the retailers.

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