MDC 4-4-0...whom are we kidding?

Folks:
http://www.horizonhobby.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=RND84501
This will probably start a flame war, but I can't help it.
I yam disgustipated.
*scratches MDC off affordable steam list for good*
Cordially yours: Gerard P.
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snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu wrote:

Having assembled a few MDC loco kits, there's got to be about $200- worth of labour involved in producing one of their models in RTR form!
Greg.P.
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Greg Procter wrote:

Easily. But for your money you still only get a fairly unconvincing generic 4-4-0 made from old and rather basic tooling. Surely the forthcoming Bachmann 4-4-0 would be a better buy?
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Here is the pre-production photo Athearn sent out earlier this month:
http://www.athearn.com/Newsletter/032106/Rnd_440_pre_prod.jpg
--
Terry Link
Bramalea, Ontario, Canada
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Oil headlight & turbo generator?
Electric markers?
Electric back-up light?
No pipes from the sandbox?
No boiler washout plugs?
Brass wheels?
To name a few anomalies.
Yes, I know it's pre-production but they are things to note.
-- Cheers
Roger T.
Home of the Great Eastern Railway http://www.highspeedplus.com/~rogertra /
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Roger T. wrote:
>> Here is the pre-production photo Athearn sent out earlier this >> month: >> >>
http://www.athearn.com/Newsletter/032106/Rnd_440_pre_prod.jpg
> > > Oil headlight & turbo generator? > > Electric markers? > > Electric back-up light? > > No pipes from the sandbox? > > No boiler washout plugs? > > Brass wheels? > > To name a few anomalies. > > Yes, I know it's pre-production but they are things to note.
Roger, they are, but after seeing this image I've revised my opinion about this model. It looks much better than I expected. I would now consider this model as a candidate for detailing/kitbashing.
All the best,
Mark.
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mark_newton wrote:

Mark:
Now you understand! This model (and the 2-6-0s that it is based on) were WONDERFUL candidates for detailing. The last one I bought, a low-driver 2-6-0, I paid $65.00 for, in 2001. It was listed at about $70 IIRC. Here are the detail differences Horizon has added:
A water line and clack valve. (which MDC suggested in instructions) Pilot support struts (ditto above note) A rather cradfast operating headlight One of those weird early airbrake units between the wheels
This last bit bears some discussion. It looks like they stole it from some old teakettle. Look how tiny that cylinder is! It looks like something you'd put on a freight car. This is no light American, my friends. Look at the boiler and cylinder size...this thing is pretty big for the time. MDC's brake cylinder was a little clunky, but it was big enough at least, and was the type used with an ordinary lever-linkage-hung shoe arrangement. The 'unit' style was probably only used on very small 4-4-0's.
Ok, this is becoming heated. <FLAME ON!>
You look at this, the turbogenerator and oil light (where the heck'd they get that monstrosity? A Bachmann Jupiter?), the electric backup light and markers, and the modern pilot(a MDC original, but MDC advised in instructions to replace with a suggested Kemtron part if modeling an early era), the lack of any valve rod even the wire part MDC /included/ in the kit, and you realize that this was redesigned by somebody who looked at a couple photos and didn't make the effort to understand anything about steam locomotives.
The mix of modern 1920s and archaic 1870s detail is absurd. Yes, I realize MDC's original was somewhat generic out of the can. But they at least understood steam, and included a very neat sprue or two of alternate details AND representative photos of an early and modern era engine WITH detailing suggestions.
These Horizon folks are airplane people. Would they take a B26, change the landing gear to fixed, wire-spoke wheels and a tail skid, and put four turboprops on the wings, and call it a B17? They'd get laughed off the runway.
Look at this loco's wheels, BTW. Brass? My MDC engine's drivers are nickel plated. I thought the whole line was being upgraded with those toward the end. Also note the flashline on the cylinders, and look around, and you will see it in other places. Don't expect this to be filed away...we've only got $150 in this thing for labor, and probably won't be able to afford it.
Really,it's a damnable shame. They've taken an affordable, adaptable, generic, kit that with some relaxing handwork could be built into a good-running and fine-looking engine, and kludged in some cheapo electronics, scabbed on some inappropriate and tackily executed detailing. If this was still a kit, at the same price as before, it would be a questionable value. But then they attempted to factory-assemble something that was NEVER designed for it, and even the overseas labor rates they are probably relying on can't make up for that.
Dave N. -- whether the 'builders' like you and me and greybeard are in the minority, I don't know. I do know that when the subject comes up in the hobby press or online discussion it always seems to involve the disclaimer 'BUT OF COURSE WE ALL WANT RTR STUFF AND THINGS ARE BETTER NOW YEAH'. Grr. And Bowser, by the way, is still very much in business, and expanding their line at their usual leisurely pace. And as for my business sense, well, I am an engineer, but I try not to downgrade equally important parts of industry such as accounting and sales. If they think this, this THING, will make them millions at $225, well, perhaps it will. I have a minor interest in history, though, and their methods seem familiar, so familiar that I have a suggestion. Football is a popular game. Why don't they decorate a line of, say, reefers, to represent popular American football teams, and call it
something like the 'Super Bowl Express'? Oh, they've got lots of reefer...s...
<FLAME OFF>
Arrgh. It's a low down dirty no good shame. Steve Caple, you're a certifi [ed | able] acolyte of Zargon, Lord of the Cosmos, aren't you? See if you can arrange for some smiting, or at the very least a plague of locusts or boils...
Cordially yours: Gerard P.
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On 1 Apr 2006 05:33:24 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu wrote:

Methinks you left the e out of bowel.
--
Steve

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Naa he got it right...
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For $224.98 it better do my dishes AND clean the cat box! A 4-4-0 straight from the factory with a decoder might be worth $100 tops. This is like buying boating stuff. You put the word "marine" in front of it and the price immediately doubles.
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Big Rich Soprano wrote:

And for anything 'aviation' multiply by ten.....
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Eww... you poor people!
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mark_newton wrote:

Forthcoming? The old Bachmann one would be a better buy. Errrk!
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It does seem high to me as a guy who does not use DCC and sound.
But for the DCC and sound equipped steam out there it does seem "in line". I just think all the "in line" prices for DDC and sound equipped steam are too high for my budget. But thats a personal opinion.
In my experience, most items can be found below MSRP.
As to the actual exeecution of the model, I giuess we will all have to wait to see the production models to find out how well they operate.
-- Jim McLaughlin
Reply address is deliberately munged. If you really need to reply directly, try: jimdotmclaughlinatcomcastdotcom
And you know it is a dotnet not a dotcom address.

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You don't live in Canada, obviously.
-- Cheers
Roger T.
Home of the Great Eastern Railway http://www.highspeedplus.com/~rogertra /
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Jim, It does seem high but then it seems down right cheap when you go to reserve a PSC SP 4-4-0 E-23 and find its $800 and about a $100 more if you want one already painted. Bruce
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line".
are
reserve
one
Bruce -
I would like to have the budget to fund $ 800.00 locos, unpainted. I just don't have that luxury.
Of course, I am "downright cheap".
--
Jim McLaughlin

Reply address is deliberately munged.
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MDC used to be some of the nicest kits, and when bashing for a RR that never existed, they were cheap enough that you could afford to goof. Horizon doesn't say, but it doesn't look like they have any intention of producing anything but rtr, at grossly inflated prices.
Just one more example of someone with a business degree thinking he knows something about the hobby industry, and destroying the industry in the process. The inevitable result of big company thinking in a limited market situation, SNAFU!
Cary Pittsburg conversion for the old Tyco/Mantua General makes a nice 4-4-0. UNfortunately, the General is now overpriced to the ridiculous.
Rich.
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greybeard spake thus:

Just to put this into perspective, and with all due respect to your preferences for cheap, easily user-modifiable kits (which I share with you); yes, this may be, and probably is, a good business decision by someone with a business degree. (I have a business degree [BSBA]--does that make me a bad person?)
You know, people like you (and me) who like to tinker with stuff are probably a *tiny* fraction of the market for model RR stuff. So while it was nice that MDC and Bowser and others had cheap, decent stuff that we could tinker with, it was probably just sheer luck that any of those items survived as long as they did. Face it: the hobby today is in no way the same as it was 30-40 years ago, in which time frame I'm afraid you're stuck. People *do* want ready-to-run stuff, you know. Get over it, and get used to it.
--
Save the Planet
Kill Yourself
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Pricing seems to have little to do with how much it costs to bring an item to market.
The decision about pricing probably goes like this: -
"The current price for good quality steam seems to be around US$250, let's try US$250.00 and see how it goes. If it doesn't sell, we can aways run some special sales."
-- Cheers
Roger T.
Home of the Great Eastern Railway http://www.highspeedplus.com/~rogertra /
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