Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Does Model Railroader ever do an honest review anymore?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Tulsa, Ok
    Posts
    103
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 109 Times in 34 Posts
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Does Model Railroader ever do an honest review anymore?

    I was looking through the Dec issue of MRR at a book store this weekend and saw they did a review on the BLI Heavy 2-8-2 Mikado. In keeping with every other review I have ever read that MRR did on one of BLI's N scale engines, the review was glowing if not to the point of blinding. Not one mention of the numerous faults reported on those engines was made.

    I only own one BLI Locomotive, the Heavy Mike, and I wish I had never bought it. Four days of research, calling BLI tech support repeatedly with out ever getting any help, and just generally pulling out what little bit of hair I had left, I finally got the address changed and the locomotive running. No one that pays the price BLI wants for their models should have to go through any thing like that. And what really bothers me is I have zero guarantee the locomotive will hold its programing into the future. Other members in my club and my LHS have had nothing but bad luck with BLI also. On some locomotives the decoder failure rate approaches 100%, my LHS orders 6 locomotives of the same type, zero run out of the box, and all are sent back to the distributor for a refund; can you say Baldwin Centipede. BLI has gotten so bad that my LHS refuses to stock any BLI Product.

    And then we have the MRR staff, they write lovingly about every engine BLI produces, never once mentioning the decoder problems and other quality control issues that are a constant feature of any BLI product. The E units, the F units, the Centipedes, and other locomotives all have very well documented problems, and not once have I seen any mention by MRR of any problem with those locomotives. Literally can you believe any review MRR does anymore? If they are willing to overlook the numerous and obvious failings and quality control issues of BLI, then what are they overlooking on other manufacturers products. It used to be you could take an MRR review of a product as gospel, but evidently they have sold their honesty and reputation for advertising dollars. It is extremely sad to me how far MRR has fallen. Al Kalmbach must be rolling in his grave.
    ...to the topTop

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Twin Cities, Minnesota
    Posts
    1,829
    Thanks
    973
    Thanked 5,053 Times in 1,058 Posts
    Mentioned
    157 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I like my BLI 2-8-2

    -Mark
    ...to the topTop

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Tulsa, Ok
    Posts
    103
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 109 Times in 34 Posts
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I'm glad you got a good one, mine is a piece of junk.
    ...to the topTop

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV
    Posts
    942
    Thanks
    23
    Thanked 348 Times in 192 Posts
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    One issue with an "honest" review, is if they call out something as a turd, the manufacturer of said item is an advertiser in the magazine. So if you were paying for ad space for your new product, and 2 pages later is a review for it and it is called a turd, would you ever buy another ad in said magazine?

    However, BLI seems to be very hit or miss
    ...to the topTop

  5. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Ike the BN Freak For This Useful Post:


  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Mill Bay BC
    Posts
    2,965
    Thanks
    5,077
    Thanked 4,234 Times in 1,561 Posts
    Mentioned
    82 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default

    ^^^^^^ this says it all

    Steve
    ...to the topTop

  7. The Following User Says Thank You to aflica For This Useful Post:


  8. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Tulsa, Ok
    Posts
    103
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 109 Times in 34 Posts
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    So are their advertisers more important than their readers? How many readers are going to keep purchasing/subscribing to the magazine when they go out and buy a locomotive for say $400 based on the glowing recommendation of the writers and editors of MRR and find out after they bought it; it was a piece of junk? If a magazine doesn't have readers they have no need for advertisers.

    I have been misled by MRR a number of times in the past. Bought more than a couple of products based on their review, only to find out afterwards the products were either a) junk, b) useless for the intended purpose, or c) the product was not as advertised.

    If MRR wanted to be honest to its readership, they would stop doing reviews if they can't tell the truth about a product. Since from all I can see they don't care about the truth about how awful a product is, I can only conclude they don't care about their readers or the hobby. Lying about a product does more than just lose readership. A newcomer to the Hobby goes out a buys a $400-$500 dollar product based on the review MRR gives. Then that newcomer finds out that product is junk, yet is told by MRR it is the greatest thing since sliced bread. What does that newcomer think then? How likely is he/she to continue in the hobby when he is told by MRR, the voice of the hobby, that the piece of crap product he just spent a significant sum of money on is the best thing on the market? How many people have left the hobby because of Bachmann's poor quality starter sets over the years? Everyone here I think would agree we want to see the hobby continue to grow, but I for one, think that MRR's kowtowing to its advertisers hurts the hobby and in truth may very well be a danger to its growth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ike the BN Freak View Post
    One issue with an "honest" review, is if they call out something as a turd, the manufacturer of said item is an advertiser in the magazine. So if you were paying for ad space for your new product, and 2 pages later is a review for it and it is called a turd, would you ever buy another ad in said magazine?

    However, BLI seems to be very hit or miss
    ...to the topTop

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    653
    Thanks
    97
    Thanked 649 Times in 323 Posts
    Mentioned
    20 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    from all I can tell, MR quit doing honest reviews of N-scale items in the early 80's...

    that is my opinion.
    now lets talk about what is an honest review?

    I wrote a review of Kato's gs-4.
    From all I could tell, most people thought I liked the loco.

    it is hard to write an unbiased review and share what one finds
    because two different people will see the same thing in a loco as
    having different importance.

    and there is what one gets to review.
    how can you review a dead outta the box loco or a car where the
    axle sets have fallen out?

    so think of MR's reviews as advertising that the product exists
    and then I read on the net for opinions.
    with the complete understanding that both TB and RW
    consider advertising for a product as the only proper type of post.
    otherwise and you are 'pedantic.'

    one last item of note about reviews,
    I'd love to do a review of the B-mann k4.
    however, I am unlikely to buy one...
    I can't claim to be unbiased about the loco.
    I know what is in it.

    so you have not read my review/opinion because I do not want
    to write a review that has so little good in it.

    BLI locos suffer from many of the same problems.

    the folks at MR are very likely evaluating the product in question
    using a different measuring stick than yours.
    or mine...

    victor
    ...to the topTop

  10. The Following User Says Thank You to victor miranda For This Useful Post:


  11. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    5,110
    Thanks
    7,209
    Thanked 8,901 Times in 2,895 Posts
    Mentioned
    193 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)

    Default

    Both sides of the fence can be seen in this post.

    Give your advertiser a bad review on one of their products, you lose their advertising support but gain the trust of your readership.
    Give a false review on a product and gain your advertisers support, but you'll lose the trust of your readership and their support.
    Personally, if it were my magazine, I would much rather give a honest review of a bad product and take the chance of losing an advertiser than losing readership.

    Sending a message to the manufacturer would seem to be a win win?
    Then again, I wouldn't have my staff write reviews, I'd outsource it.
    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
    ...to the topTop

  12. The Following User Says Thank You to Allen H. For This Useful Post:


  13. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Sequim WA
    Posts
    3,240
    Blog Entries
    1
    Thanks
    10,776
    Thanked 4,883 Times in 1,928 Posts
    Mentioned
    110 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by victor miranda View Post
    rom all I can tell, MR quit doing honest reviews of N-scale items in the early 80's...

    that is my opinion.
    Which is garbage.

    Apart from all those bloviating here about MR, I'm the only one to have written product reviews for that magazine, as a staff member, as well as for RMC, as a freelancer. That makes me the only one on this forum who knows what the bloody hell they're talking about.

    I never wrote a single review for MR -- N scale product or otherwise -- while worrying about advertising or any other consideration. Nor was I ever pressured to do so.

    The magazines write their review based on the sample they receive from the manufacturer. The sample might be a jewel, it might be a piece of crap.

    Sounds like MR got a decent BLI locomotive. Accidents happen.
    ...to the topTop

  14. The Following 8 Users Say Thank You to Paul Schmidt For This Useful Post:


  15. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    653
    Thanks
    97
    Thanked 649 Times in 323 Posts
    Mentioned
    20 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    hi Paul,
    if I find the MR review of the Wlthers HO scale passenger cars that are bowed...
    we can have a discussion about the meaning of 'honest'

    after that, you are going to need to accept an honest review of MR's editorial content.

    victor miranda
    ...to the topTop

  16. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Fort Smith, Arkansas
    Posts
    1,366
    Thanks
    1,191
    Thanked 1,772 Times in 606 Posts
    Mentioned
    21 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    That makes me the only one on this forum who knows what the bloody hell they're talking about.
    Really? Just wow.
    Daniel Dawson
    ...to the topTop

  17. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    653
    Thanks
    97
    Thanked 649 Times in 323 Posts
    Mentioned
    20 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mobile One View Post
    Really? Just wow.
    I decided he is/was upset. I can think up at least one good reason, however,
    it is a guess and he may well have a different one.

    I can state as a fact that writing an honest review that points out many flaws
    of a product will make you many more enemies than it will make you friends.
    so there is some incentive to lean toward glossing over flaws.

    that is personal experience for which I was never paid.

    victor
    ...to the topTop

  18. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    34
    Thanks
    22
    Thanked 52 Times in 18 Posts
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    It doesn't make any sense to me that in today's online age for a print publication to risk alienating subsribers over pleasing an advertiser by saying their product is better than it is. MR ad sales department likely calls any potential advertiser with subscriber numbers and charge a cost based on per subsriber. Alienating readers by giving false ads, leads to less subscribers and therefore less ad revenue, which will affect their bottom line. I believe MR's majority revenue is still from print subscribers and those who go to the LBS and pick up a magazine to read once in a while or monthly. I've never worked for a magazine or another print publishers, so I'm just speculating on what I think happens with ad sales.

    Personally, I prefer to read multiple reviews from multiple locations before making a big purchase. I do the same with all my hobbies, whether it's buying new parts for my mountain bike or a new mountain bike, or a new locomotive for my trains. Different people are going to have different opinions on how well something operates and looks. In today's online world it's not hard to find multiple opinions on a product. Just a matter of determining who to trust.

    Also it's well known that BLI engines can be hit or miss, I've seen it brought up plenty of times on these forums. So it's possible MR got a hit, and the original poster unfortunately got a miss.

    Just my 2 cents.
    Kevin M.
    ...to the topTop

  19. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to KevM For This Useful Post:


  20. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    SW London
    Posts
    12
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 13 Times in 8 Posts
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I suspect that Kalmbach have got their customers confused, as do many such corporations. This is their statement on the Kalmbach website:

    WE ARE CUSTOMER FOCUSED


    Each and every one of our employees represent the passion of our customers. We go to great lengths to anticipate and understand the expectations of our customers and serve their evolving needs. From our advertising teams to our editorial staff and event planners, we are working together to support the mission of Kalmbach.

    Read it carefully and it would seem that the advertising 'customers' may come first... Always a long term strategic mistake I think, although it's not an easy balance to keep.

    Simon
    ...to the topTop

  21. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Sequim WA
    Posts
    3,240
    Blog Entries
    1
    Thanks
    10,776
    Thanked 4,883 Times in 1,928 Posts
    Mentioned
    110 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by victor miranda View Post
    I can state as a fact that writing an honest review that points out many flaws
    of a product will make you many more enemies than it will make you friends.
    so there is some incentive to lean toward glossing over flaws.
    You seem to have overlooked the review of N scale Con-Cor's GS-4 that I wrote for MR in 2002. Con-Cor called to complain because they didn't like some of the shortcomings the review pointed out. It was an honest review.

    You'll just have to accept that your assumptions about magazines' product reviews are incorrect. I've never seen your byline in either MR or RMC as a product reviewer, so not certain where you have credibility to state anything in that arena as "fact."

    And please don't try to guess my motives for being so vehemently outspoken on this topic. It stems from nothing more than countering your bonehead statement, "MR quit doing honest reviews of N-scale items in the early '80's." First you mentioned N scale, which is easily refuted, then you drag in Walthers HO passenger cars.

    Bottom line: You don't know what you are talking about.
    ...to the topTop

  22. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Fort Myers, Florida
    Posts
    159
    Thanks
    126
    Thanked 367 Times in 111 Posts
    Mentioned
    8 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon D. View Post
    WE ARE CUSTOMER FOCUSED ... passion ... serve their evolving needs ... working together to support the mission ...

    Pretty much every company has a 'mission statement' like that, and it all means ... absolutely nothing. Just a bunch of buzz words some useless manager put together, probably during a 'team building' retreat.

    Whenever you see a statement like that, you can safely ignore it as it has no meaning whatsoever.

    Dave
    ...to the topTop

  23. The Following User Says Thank You to 56Pontiac For This Useful Post:


  24. #17
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Twin Cities, Minnesota
    Posts
    1,829
    Thanks
    973
    Thanked 5,053 Times in 1,058 Posts
    Mentioned
    157 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    One thing to consider is what these reviewers are actually reviewing. I don't know if magazines actually go out and buy the models that they write about, but I'm assuming not. And in the case of locomotives, you can bet that the mfrs are only going to submit the cream of the crop - IE, units that have been inspected twice and then twice more. So, if a given model is "hit or miss" for consumers (vis'a'vis QC), you can bet it's going to be strictly "hit" for the reviewers.

    -Mark
    ...to the topTop

  25. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Spookshow For This Useful Post:


  26. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Fort Myers, Florida
    Posts
    159
    Thanks
    126
    Thanked 367 Times in 111 Posts
    Mentioned
    8 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Spookshow View Post
    One thing to consider is what these reviewers are actually reviewing. I don't know if magazines actually go out and buy the models that they write about, but I'm assuming not. And in the case of locomotives, you can bet that the mfrs are only going to submit the cream of the crop - IE, units that have been inspected twice and then twice more. So, if a given model is "hit or miss" for consumers (vis'a'vis QC), you can bet it's going to be strictly "hit" for the reviewers.

    -Mark
    Don't know about model railroad items, but the automakers started that practice long ago. During the 60's when performance tests (0-60, 1/4 mile, etc.) were big selling points, manufacturers did supply magazines with carefully selected cars - and some (notoriously, Pontiac with the GTO) super-tuned the cars (a la the 'Bobcat' kit) to give them a performance advantage. Or even sneaking a 421 in place of the visually-identical 389. Eventually some magazines went to buying a car right off the showroom floor to eliminate that possibility.

    Model railroad magazine practice = ?

    Dave
    ...to the topTop

Similar Threads

  1. Model Railroader to Real Railroader..How I did it
    By DJSTRAINS in forum General Rail Discussion
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 22nd Sep 2019, 10:32 AM
  2. Model Railroader does it again
    By Dragoon 45 in forum General Rail Discussion
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 3rd Dec 2018, 07:55 PM
  3. Who would like to help out another Model Railroader
    By bc6 in forum General Rail Discussion
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 12th Jul 2013, 07:03 PM
  4. Replies: 3
    Last Post: 25th Nov 2009, 10:41 PM
  5. Model Railroader Mag
    By railohio in forum General Rail Discussion
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 12th Feb 2004, 08:04 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •