Evaluating Models...


David Bean <David.J.Bean@...>
 

Hallo,

In the UK there are one or two publications that do very honest reviews. One
of these is the Gauge O Guild Gazette. They also send a copy of the review
to the manufacturer of the product for their comments before publishing the
review. They then include any response along with the review.

I like this idea as it does put both sides of the story or, at lest, offers
the manufacturer the chance to have his say.

It may make an honest review more practical.

Regards,
David Bean,
Sleaford UK


benjaminfrank_hom <b.hom@...>
 

Denny Anspach wrote:
Bill Darnaby's great review (for this list only) of the Sunshine
Vinegar car kit from this past July was a masterpiece of such writing.

You can see more of Bill's reviews on Ted's website at
http://www.steamfreightcars.com/modeling/reviews/review%20main.html


Ben Hom


Charlie Vlk
 

Denny-
The reference to Higgins reviews was for the technical performance (speed,
power, current draw, etc.) portion of the review. The appearance portion is
left to the eyes of the reader looking at the side by side photographic
evidence.
I personally don't like the reviews that rehash everything about the history
of the locomotive. The column inches may be padded for the reviewer, and it
may be convenient to have all the genealogy of a loco prototype with the
review, but as I have the source material I don't like paying for the same
material again....sort of like a Hundman tree article.
Charlie Vlk


Denny Anspach <danspach@...>
 

Charlie Vik's remarks on Model Eisenbahn's objective model reviews, and likens them to Higgins' reviews that were in the NMRA Bulletin for years.

Although I do not read a word of German, I have read enough English translations of these Model Eisenbahn reviews to recognize clearly that the Eisenbahn reviews are pretty thorough, and give the reader/modeler a LOT of useful information to sift through. Our modeling magazines could do worse than take note.

However, just like the dry-as-dust Higgins NMRA reviews of yore, one can also weary somewhat of this pure unvarnished "engineering" approach, and fervently wish for at least some leavening by the "arts and humanities" side of the coin- i.e. some thoughtful and introspective (but informed) opinion.

BTW, some of the reviewers from this list should receive kudos. Doug Harding's reviews in the RMC are always very readable, and they are thorough and instructive- and make one want to directly purchase and build just what he has reviewed- even though one may have no idea whatsoever how he or she is going to possibly use it!

Bill Darnaby's great review (for this list only) of the Sunshine Vinegar car kit from this past July was a masterpiece of such writing.

These writers' reviews gain instant credence because both know how to give the reader confidence that experienced and skillful railroad modelers are speaking to them.

Denny






--
Denny S. Anspach, MD
Sacramento, CA


BuyGone Treasures <buygone@...>
 

Jared:

I would chose another word to describe our fellow members on this list. One
of the more renown dictionary's describes an expert as "An X is a has been,
and a spurt is just a drip under pressure". I think are members are a hole
lot better that that.

-----Original Message-----
From: almabranch [mailto:harper-brown@...]
Sent: Monday, November 10, 2003 11:45 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Evaluating Models...


I don't buy a freight car model until I have heard something good
about it on this list. If some flaws in the model are mentioned I
can decide if those flaws are important to me, if I can fix them, or
if the model will be "good enough" for my purposes. This list is
where the "experts," i.e. former perts, are and I place a lot of
value on their former pertize.

Jared Harper



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almabranch <harper-brown@...>
 

I don't buy a freight car model until I have heard something good
about it on this list. If some flaws in the model are mentioned I
can decide if those flaws are important to me, if I can fix them, or
if the model will be "good enough" for my purposes. This list is
where the "experts," i.e. former perts, are and I place a lot of
value on their former pertize.

Jared Harper


Douglas Harding <dharding@...>
 

As one who writes product reveiws for one of the hobby magazines it has
certainly been interesting to read this thread. I am not on the staff of any
magazine, I am what one calls a freelancer. I got started writing reveiws
because I purchased an item for my modeling that impressed me enough to want
to write something about it. Now I write reveiws for several reasons 1) the
magazine editor sends something to me thinking I am the person who can
produce a review or 2) a manufacture gives an item to me, sometimes just
because I am in the right place at the right time or 3) I purchase something
I want.

I will not claim that my reveiws meet the expectations of this group, but
then I do not normally have this list in mind when writing. Remembering when
I first entered the hobby, I try to focus on the average modeler or first
time modeler, not the rivet counter or prototype police. Will he or she find
the item useful? What difficulties in assembly or in the instructions? What
additional information and or parts did I need to finish the model. And,
yes, is it correct for the item depicted? Members of this list are not the
typical readers of the general service hobby magazines. I do try to
consciously research any product I am reviewing. I am aware of prototype
fidelity, even if I do not always achieve it in my own modeling. If possible
I try to locate independent photos and drawings, ie not those included with
the model, to verify the manufacture either got it correct, or where did
they miss. Such research takes time, lots of time and access to the
resources necessary to learn if a grab iron is the correct length or the ice
hatch the right size. It is even harder for an item of a Railroad you do not
model or follow. We may all be "experts" for our favorite railroad, but what
about one across the country, or that obscure shortline you never heard of.
I recently learned Terry Thompson has an advanced degree in Church History,
not exactly top qualifications for writing model railroad reveiws. (But then
my advanced degree is in Divinity, which did nothing for teaching me about
model railroading). I do not have a photo library with 10,000 images, nor am
I located near a library or friend who does. And believe me the payment for
a review, while nice, is not often worth the time spent building and
researching a particular model, let alone writing, photographing,
processing, mailing, etc. Especially if you purchased the model yourself,
which I often do.

To write reveiws takes more than knowledge of a particular prototype. You
must be able to write or risk an editor completely destroying your hard
efforts. You must be able to take clear detailed, well lit and in focus
photographs. An ability to research the subject (ie knowing where to look
and what to look for) and communicate with manufactures helps. Several times
I have inadvertently assisted a manufacture with improving a product,
correcting instructions, or simply pointing out mistake they were not aware
of; while doing a review. And remember not every manufacture is an expert on
the railroad their item is for. Knowing how to produce an item does not
require knowledge about the item. Lifelike's main business is producing foam
coolers, model train kits are but a sideline.

While we have many accomplished authors active on this list, I have noticed
many other names (some who are often quite critical) whom I have not seen in
print. I will admit I do not read every modeling magazine out there. But
there are names I do not recognize or know. I suggest you start writing. I
do attend NMRA national shows, the Chicago Hobby Show, Naperville when
possible, and other events I am able to get to, where I can see products and
talk to those who produce them. Am I an expert? Not hardly. Not everything I
have submitted has been published. But I have been fortunate to have reveiws
in RMC over the past 14 years. And as I participate in this list I intend to
use what I learn to improve on future reviews to better service the hobby.

Doug Harding
Iowa Central Railroad
www.iowatelecom.net/~dharding/


Andy Carlson
 

I have a BLI E7
and have had a few problems with it, only one which
I would consider
significant, but overall it's a very nice engine.
Since I am responding to Mike's statement on the BLI
E7A, I feel safe in discussing a Passenger engine on
this list.

I am amazed about the "glowing" reception the BLI E7
has received from modelers I know. I haven't heard of
any criticisms, except for sound quality-most people
seem to like this E7.

I feel that the nose contour is only slightly improved
over the LL E7, the car-body battens and rectangular
portholes are no improvement at all over the grossly
oversized LL ones. The truck sideframes are so
simplified, I am reminded of the early Athearn die
cast blombergs-crude.

Yet they are selling well, I hear, and now we will
probably have to wait a decade to get a nice E7. I am
amazed that I am hearing no coomplaints.
-Andy Carlson