BLI Hopper Mods


Andy Harman <andy10@...>
 


Andy Harman <andy10@...>
 

At 01:55 AM 7/11/2004 -0700, you wrote:
the flash, produced the best lighted photos and the best
reproduction of the model's actual appearance. I agree the
flash just wipes out weathering. I use a tripod too, and
I close the shutter down manually to F11 -- most digital
cameras can't go below F8.
My digital is a cheapie. I spent 4x that amount and still hated it, so I
sold it and just kept the cheap one. It's 2.5 years old now. I'm waiting
for a Nikon D-series that will shoot full frame 35mm. Otherwise, I'll hang
on to my $$ and keep my film for the real photos.

I have taken some better shots with just strong lighting - I have 32K
floods set up and all that, but didn't feel like getting my hair singed for
these shots. They do the job to explain what I'm doing but they make me
look like a freshman hack at weathering, when in reality, I'm a sophomore
hack.

Andy


Andy Harman <andy10@...>
 

At 01:59 AM 7/11/2004 -0700, you wrote:

Regarding the modifications to the BLI hoppers: Have
you tried just removing the cast draft gear box, and
replacing it with another brand? I'd figure it out myself
but I am workshopless for the time being...
Why? That would be about 20x as much grinding, and I'd have to fiddle and
twick to get the height right. The way I do it now, the height comes out
right and the mods are pretty easy. Shouldn't have to do it, but, at least
it's something I can get down to an assembly line. Takes about 10 minutes
per car. Multiply by 54 hoppers - 540 minutes, or 9 hours, or, at my usual
billing rate, about enough to pay for 3/4 of the hoppers I ordered. I
could send BLI a bill, but it's likely to receive as much consideration as
my email send earlier.

Andy


Tim O'Connor
 

At 10:31 PM 7/10/2004, you wrote:
http://www.gp30.com/models/bli-hoppers/

Andy
Andy, regarding your comments on your photos...

FWIW, after much practice, I found that a couple of strong
lamps (including one aimed at a backdrop BEHIND the model)
plus allowing the digital camera to take the shot without
the flash, produced the best lighted photos and the best
reproduction of the model's actual appearance. I agree the
flash just wipes out weathering. I use a tripod too, and
I close the shutter down manually to F11 -- most digital
cameras can't go below F8.


Tim O'Connor
 

Regarding the modifications to the BLI hoppers: Have
you tried just removing the cast draft gear box, and
replacing it with another brand? I'd figure it out myself
but I am workshopless for the time being...


Brian Paul Ehni <behni@...>
 

The Kodak DCS Pro series has models using the Nikon lenses:
<http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/products/cameras/camerasIndex.j
html?id=0.1.18.18.3&lc=en> (be sure to get all the link)

The D-70 is a nice inexpensive 6mp.

I really enjoy my D-100.
--
Brian Ehni



From: Andy Harman <andy10@gp30.com>
Reply-To: <STMFC@yahoogroups.com>
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 2004 02:30:16 -0400
To: <STMFC@yahoogroups.com>
Subject: Re: [STMFC] BLI Hopper Mods

At 01:55 AM 7/11/2004 -0700, you wrote:
the flash, produced the best lighted photos and the best
reproduction of the model's actual appearance. I agree the
flash just wipes out weathering. I use a tripod too, and
I close the shutter down manually to F11 -- most digital
cameras can't go below F8.
My digital is a cheapie. I spent 4x that amount and still hated it, so I
sold it and just kept the cheap one. It's 2.5 years old now. I'm waiting
for a Nikon D-series that will shoot full frame 35mm. Otherwise, I'll hang
on to my $$ and keep my film for the real photos.


Andy Harman <andy10@...>
 

At 10:04 AM 7/11/2004 -0500, you wrote:
The Kodak DCS Pro series has models using the Nikon lenses:
<http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/products/cameras/camerasIndex.j
html?id=0.1.18.18.3&lc=en> (be sure to get all the link)
Interesting. 5 grand. Nikon doesn't make anything like it. I wonder if
it even supports autofocus..... it just says "F mount lenses", which means
they'll click on, but what about the rest?

The D-70 is a nice inexpensive 6mp.

I really enjoy my D-100.
The D-100 is pretty nice, but I don't want my lenses extended... its kind
of baffling to me why Nikon has resisted doing a full frame camera.

Andy


Kert Peterson <kertp@...>
 

On 7/11/2004, Andy Harman wrote:

http://www.gp30.com/models/bli-hoppers/
Nice work Andy. FWIW, I spoke to the BLI folks at the National Train Show and let them know that I was extremely disappointed at their coupler stunt. I model 1951, so I bought the four sets of 17" lettered cars. I told the BLI folks that I would not preorder any more of their cars or locomotives until I found out how their coupler pockets are designed, because I hate having to add working front couplers to locomotives and doing the modifications necessary to fit Kadee coupler pockets to $300 locomotive and $25 cars.

Incidentally, I have also preciously purchased 9 of their locomotives. No more until they get it correct.

Cheers,
Kert Peterson
Fircrest, WA
kertp@comcast.net

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
George Orwell


Brian Chapman <cornbeltroute@...>
 

So, Kert, what kind of response did you get from the BLI people after
pointing out the difficulty with their coupler pockets? Anyone there
in authority, with clout?

Brian Chapman
Cedar Rapids, Iowa


---


Owens, David <DOwens@...>
 

Kert:
Did the BLI folks respond to your comments?

Dave Owens

-----Original Message-----
From: Kert Peterson [mailto:kertp@comcast.net]
Sent: Sunday, July 11, 2004 4:05 PM
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [STMFC] BLI Hopper Mods


On 7/11/2004, Andy Harman wrote:

http://www.gp30.com/models/bli-hoppers/
Nice work Andy. FWIW, I spoke to the BLI folks at the National Train Show
and let them know that I was extremely disappointed at their coupler
stunt. I model 1951, so I bought the four sets of 17" lettered cars. I
told the BLI folks that I would not preorder any more of their cars or
locomotives until I found out how their coupler pockets are designed,
because I hate having to add working front couplers to locomotives and
doing the modifications necessary to fit Kadee coupler pockets to $300
locomotive and $25 cars.

Incidentally, I have also preciously purchased 9 of their locomotives. No
more until they get it correct.

Cheers,
Kert Peterson
Fircrest, WA
kertp@comcast.net

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand
ready to do violence on their behalf.
George Orwell





Yahoo! Groups Links


Don Valentine
 

Quoting Kert Peterson <kertp@comcast.net>:



Nice work Andy. FWIW, I spoke to the BLI folks at the National Train
Show and let them know that I was extremely disappointed at their coupler
stunt.


This is only half of the story, Kert. What was their response????

Don Valentine


Kert Peterson <kertp@...>
 

On 7/11/2004, Brian Chapman wrote (in response to my original post):

So, Kert, what kind of response did you get from the BLI people after
pointing out the difficulty with their coupler pockets? Anyone there
in authority, with clout?
There were two young fellows holding down the BLI booth. One of them said the McHenry couplers they use have springs and he has had 60 cars in a consist without the couplers breaking. He couldn't understand why anyone would want to change them. I calmly explained my reasons for using the couplers I use, to which he replied then I could just change them out. Hmmmm.... Not too bright a candle here... I asked if he had tried to change them out, and he said that he changed them out when the McHenry couplers broke. I asked if he used Kadees, and he said that he could put any coupler in the pocket. Without calling him a liar, I told him that I didn't think he had tried to use couplers other than McHenry couplers in the cars because McHenry couplers are the only ones that will fit.

I told both of them how much of their products I had bought up to now, and let them know that I would buy no more until they started installing working front couplers on their locomotives and coupler pockets that would take Kadee couplers.

They thanked me for my comments. I won't hold my breath for any changes, but then they shouldn't hold their wallet waiting for any more of my money, either.

Cheers,
Kert Peterson
Fircrest, WA
kertp@comcast.net


People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
George Orwell


Jon Miller <atsf@...>
 

let them know that I would buy no more until they started installing
working front couplers on their locomotives <
While you have a point with the hoppers not fitting a Kadee, BLI engines
have had a front coupler for a couple of engines now. I know the 3751 does,
the 3800 will, the J1 does, USRA light Mikado does, etc. In fact I think
all engines beyond the early releases do. If I remember correctly they are
all designed for a Kadee #5.

Jon Miller
AT&SF
For me time has stopped in 1941
Digitrax, Chief/Zephyr systems, JMRI user
NMRA Life member #2623
Member SFRH&MS


Rich Ramik <rjramik@...>
 

Kert:



You should have had some Kadee's with you. I think that would have been a
lot of fun to watch!



Thanks,

Rich Ramik





_____

From: Kert Peterson [mailto:kertp@comcast.net]
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2004 2:54 PM
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [STMFC] BLI Hopper Mods



* On 7/11/2004, Brian Chapman wrote (in response to my original post):

So, Kert, what kind of response did you get from the BLI people after
pointing out the difficulty with their coupler pockets? Anyone there
in authority, with clout?
There were two young fellows holding down the BLI booth. One of them said
the McHenry couplers they use have springs and he has had 60 cars in a
consist without the couplers breaking. He couldn't understand why anyone
would want to change them. I calmly explained my reasons for using the
couplers I use, to which he replied then I could just change them
out. Hmmmm.... Not too bright a candle here... I asked if he had tried to
change them out, and he said that he changed them out when the McHenry
couplers broke. I asked if he used Kadees, and he said that he could put
any coupler in the pocket. Without calling him a liar, I told him that I
didn't think he had tried to use couplers other than McHenry couplers in
the cars because McHenry couplers are the only ones that will fit.

I told both of them how much of their products I had bought up to now, and
let them know that I would buy no more until they started installing
working front couplers on their locomotives and coupler pockets that would
take Kadee couplers.

They thanked me for my comments. I won't hold my breath for any changes,
but then they shouldn't hold their wallet waiting for any more of my money,
either.

Cheers,
Kert Peterson
Fircrest, WA
kertp@comcast.net

.


Don Valentine
 

Quoting Kert Peterson <kertp@comcast.net>:

On 7/11/2004, Brian Chapman wrote (in response to my original post):

So, Kert, what kind of response did you get from the BLI people after
pointing out the difficulty with their coupler pockets? Anyone there
in authority, with clout?
There were two young fellows holding down the BLI booth. One of them
said the McHenry couplers they use have springs and he has had 60 cars
in a consist without the couplers breaking. He couldn't understand why
anyone would want to change them. I calmly explained my reasons for using
the couplers I use, to which he replied then I could just change them
out. Hmmmm.... Not too bright a candle here... I asked if he had tried
to change them out, and he said that he changed them out when the McHenry
couplers broke. I asked if he used Kadees, and he said that he could
put any coupler in the pocket. Without calling him a liar, I told him that
I didn't think he had tried to use couplers other than McHenry couplers in
the cars because McHenry couplers are the only ones that will fit.
I told both of them how much of their products I had bought up to now,
and let them know that I would buy no more until they started installing
working front couplers on their locomotives and coupler pockets that
would take Kadee couplers.

They thanked me for my comments. I won't hold my breath for any changes,
but then they shouldn't hold their wallet waiting for any more of my
money, either.


Thanks, Kert. That is what we needed to hear whether we like the
response you received or not.

Don Valentine


Denny Anspach <danspach@...>
 

Andy Miller feels that all coupler boxes should be made to fit Kadee couplers (and clones).

As a general statement for Kadee-size couplers, and as a practical matter, Andy is exactly right. However, Accumate Proto scale-sized couplers use a scale-sized (much smaller) coupler box that is both integral to the coupler (a true distinction), and moreover, it has a superior appearance.

Without looking at the BLI hopper cars, I would have no idea what the circumstances might be, but is adapting the Accumate Proto couplers a viable option (i.e. will the A-P box nestle inside the BLI box?)? The advantages would be a) superior appearance, and b) reliability (the close-tolerance engineered integral design of the A-P coupler shanks within the confines of its coupler box prevents the couplers from "twisting" out, and the absence of draft angles mitigates any uncoupling caused by the strain of a long train).

BTW, the "Kadee coupler box" should be instead referred to as the "Athearn coupler box". In 1959 when Kadee first came out with its magnetic couplers, Athearn had flooded the market with its inexpensive injected molded cars, and had in many way become the de facto mass market standard. Kadee simply then designed its couplers to adapt to the "Athearn coupler box". In the years then and since, although Kadee has been notorious for its coupler fastidious quality control, the coupler box dimensions have been subject to no control whatsoever- as any experienced modeler can attest.

A fool and his money are soon parted. BlI is a work-in-progress. I am ever more convinced that they are aiming for a new HO "toy train" mass market with products that far too often with scrutiny do not stand up well to the critical assessment by the serious scale modelers or operator. That the magazines give these products universal soft ball reviews is cautionary for all of us- on several levels.

I have purchased five of their products. One of which I have since sold still-in-box, another is a profound disappointment- but is essentially un-sellable; a third is awaiting a buyer (still in box); the fourth awaits its fate- also still in box; and the fifth is a five-foot-distance "demonstration" steam engine that impresses the occasional casual visitor.

At the moment, Caveat Emptor.

Denny
--
Denny S. Anspach, MD
Sacramento


Andy Harman <andy10@...>
 

At 01:13 PM 7/13/2004 -0700, you wrote:
Andy Miller feels that all coupler boxes should be made to fit Kadee
couplers (and clones).
Andy Harman feels the same way, until there is an established, reliable, solid scale coupler and draft gear standard.

As a general statement for Kadee-size couplers, and as a practical
matter, Andy is exactly right. However, Accumate Proto scale-sized
couplers use a scale-sized (much smaller) coupler box that is both
integral to the coupler (a true distinction), and moreover, it has a
superior appearance.
I'm not convinced it will perform at the same level as a Kadee 58. I don't even care about magnetic uncoupling, just coupling and staying coupled, and not breaking or fatiguing. The large head Accumate - which is normally provided with Atlas RTR rolling stock, has the distinction of being the least evil of the clones. I still replace them when the cars cross the bench for weathering or any other work.

Without looking at the BLI hopper cars, I would have no idea what the
circumstances might be, but is adapting the Accumate Proto couplers a
viable option (i.e. will the A-P box nestle inside the BLI box?)?
Not without removing material inside the box, which I'm already doing to fit the 5/58 style spring plate in place.

The advantages would be a) superior appearance, and b) reliability
(the close-tolerance engineered integral design of the A-P coupler
shanks within the confines of its coupler box prevents the couplers
from "twisting" out, and the absence of draft angles mitigates any
uncoupling caused by the strain of a long train).
I have two of the Genesis Trinity hoppers that came with this coupler. I haven't had them on the track yet. The car is too new for even my most modern modeling period.

BTW, the "Kadee coupler box" should be instead referred to as the
"Athearn coupler box". In 1959 when Kadee first came out with its
magnetic couplers, Athearn had flooded the market with its
inexpensive injected molded cars, and had in many way become the de
facto mass market standard. Kadee simply then designed its couplers
to adapt to the "Athearn coupler box".
This is true, although I remember Kadee spring plates that were too wide to fit Athearn coupler boxes in the mid 1960s. By the time I was regularly using Kadees (1969-70) the problem had been solved and the Kadee "5 and 10" would fit most Athearn rolling stock. That design did change though - the boxes were made slightly shorter at some point. I'm not sure when the bevel on the edge of the box came about, but I'm quite certain I can find Kadee "5 and 10" boxes from the 1970s and they are different, however slightly, from the current ones.

A fool and his money are soon parted. BlI is a work-in-progress. I am
ever more convinced that they are aiming for a new HO "toy train"
mass market with products that far too often with scrutiny do not
stand up well to the critical assessment by the serious scale
modelers or operator. That the magazines give these products
universal soft ball reviews is cautionary for all of us- on several
levels.
Soft ball reviews, and huge multi-page centerfold ads coinciding with being named Gods-gift-to-whoever in the popularity contest. Being less knowledgeable about steam overall, the mess BLI has made of their few diesels so far is very telling. I am very glad I didn't rush out to sell my Overland J1 Hudsons. I had higher hopes for the hoppers.

Oh BTW, this is obvious as well as exaggerated in the photos on my web site - but you can see that the BLI H-2a hoppers aren't black. They are gray. Kind of a bluish gray. Weathering cleans it all up, and without the digital flash it's not that harsh -- but I'm wondering if the complaint about the 3700 4-8-4 is this shade of gray, or worse (haven't seen one yet). PRR DGLE I can expect to be screwed up. But black is black.

Andy


Gatwood, Elden -- Tt, Inc. <elden.gatwood@...>
 

Folks;
Our reviews of BLI products that have appeared in TKM have not been like
those in MR or other print mags. We have devoted considerable space to
fixes and commentaries (we'd have done more of them, but there is not enough
staff or time in the day to do so). We have also repeatedly offered to work
with BLI on all PRR projects. Unlike some others, BLI has opted to continue
down a fast-track path utilizing its own unknown research, which seems to
have often resulted in issues that don't even maintain consistency in the
general nature of errors! DGLE paint, lettering colors, details, couplers,
decoder issues, and other features seem to vary willy-nilly with each
successive product. While some are ecstatic about the availability of these
products, it seems that it might be possible to slow down enough to iron out
some of the issues before they go into production.

Elden Gatwood

-----Original Message-----
From: Andy Harman [mailto:andy10@gp30.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2004 2:34 PM
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [STMFC] BLI Hopper Mods

At 01:13 PM 7/13/2004 -0700, you wrote:
Andy Miller feels that all coupler boxes should be made to fit Kadee
couplers (and clones).
Andy Harman feels the same way, until there is an established, reliable,
solid scale coupler and draft gear standard.

As a general statement for Kadee-size couplers, and as a practical
matter, Andy is exactly right. However, Accumate Proto scale-sized
couplers use a scale-sized (much smaller) coupler box that is both
integral to the coupler (a true distinction), and moreover, it has a
superior appearance.
I'm not convinced it will perform at the same level as a Kadee 58. I don't
even care about magnetic uncoupling, just coupling and staying coupled, and
not breaking or fatiguing. The large head Accumate - which is normally
provided with Atlas RTR rolling stock, has the distinction of being the
least evil of the clones. I still replace them when the cars cross the
bench for weathering or any other work.

Without looking at the BLI hopper cars, I would have no idea what the
circumstances might be, but is adapting the Accumate Proto couplers a
viable option (i.e. will the A-P box nestle inside the BLI box?)?
Not without removing material inside the box, which I'm already doing to
fit the 5/58 style spring plate in place.

The advantages would be a) superior appearance, and b) reliability
(the close-tolerance engineered integral design of the A-P coupler
shanks within the confines of its coupler box prevents the couplers
from "twisting" out, and the absence of draft angles mitigates any
uncoupling caused by the strain of a long train).
I have two of the Genesis Trinity hoppers that came with this coupler. I
haven't had them on the track yet. The car is too new for even my most
modern modeling period.

BTW, the "Kadee coupler box" should be instead referred to as the
"Athearn coupler box". In 1959 when Kadee first came out with its
magnetic couplers, Athearn had flooded the market with its
inexpensive injected molded cars, and had in many way become the de
facto mass market standard. Kadee simply then designed its couplers
to adapt to the "Athearn coupler box".
This is true, although I remember Kadee spring plates that were too wide to
fit Athearn coupler boxes in the mid 1960s. By the time I was regularly
using Kadees (1969-70) the problem had been solved and the Kadee "5 and 10"
would fit most Athearn rolling stock. That design did change though - the
boxes were made slightly shorter at some point. I'm not sure when the
bevel on the edge of the box came about, but I'm quite certain I can find
Kadee "5 and 10" boxes from the 1970s and they are different, however
slightly, from the current ones.

A fool and his money are soon parted. BlI is a work-in-progress. I am
ever more convinced that they are aiming for a new HO "toy train"
mass market with products that far too often with scrutiny do not
stand up well to the critical assessment by the serious scale
modelers or operator. That the magazines give these products
universal soft ball reviews is cautionary for all of us- on several
levels.
Soft ball reviews, and huge multi-page centerfold ads coinciding with being
named Gods-gift-to-whoever in the popularity contest. Being less
knowledgeable about steam overall, the mess BLI has made of their few
diesels so far is very telling. I am very glad I didn't rush out to sell
my Overland J1 Hudsons. I had higher hopes for the hoppers.

Oh BTW, this is obvious as well as exaggerated in the photos on my web site
- but you can see that the BLI H-2a hoppers aren't black. They are
gray. Kind of a bluish gray. Weathering cleans it all up, and without the
digital flash it's not that harsh -- but I'm wondering if the complaint
about the 3700 4-8-4 is this shade of gray, or worse (haven't seen one
yet). PRR DGLE I can expect to be screwed up. But black is black.

Andy






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Don Valentine
 

Quoting Denny Anspach <danspach@macnexus.org>:

Andy Miller feels that all coupler boxes should be made to fit Kadee
couplers (and clones).

As a general statement for Kadee-size couplers, and as a practical
matter, Andy is exactly right.

This may depend on which Kadee coupler box one desires. I can't even
recall the number of what I believe may have been the first Kadee coupler box.
This was the one with the small pin that fit into a slot in the coupler shank
that, in turn, had two springs with round inserts inside them that were
installed fore and aft of said pin. Even a young buck like you, Denny, should
remember that one (-: but may have overlooked it in your post.

Next we had the box for the standard #5. Now we have a more prototypical box
for the more prototypically shanked version of the #58, which IIRC is the #78.
Frankly, I'd just as soon see the new box for the smaller Kadee coupler become
the "standard". And as for those who complain about using a Kadee #5 on the
front of a steam locomotive I have a suggestion. Junk the Kadee box, cut the
coupler shank at the rearmost end of the square middle section, drill and tap
it for a 1 mm screw, or only the pin that holds the dummy coupler in the
coupler pocket of most brass imports and substitute the coupler with the
modified for the dummy brass one that probably came on the model. I've done
that for nearly forty years and have always been happy with both the visual and
operational results.

Don Valentine


Andy Miller <asmiller@...>
 

Denny,

I too like the Accumate scale coupler. I did not like the Accumate standard
coupler. All too often it would jam open. The narrow draft gear box on the
scale version seems to prevent this. Thus I see little downside to this
scale size, good looking coupler. The Kadee 58 has a noticeable gap between
the knuckle and the "fist", which is why I have stopped using them.

When no draft gear box is provided, the Accumate scale coupler has become my
coupler of choice.

Regards,

Andy Miller

-----Original Message-----
From: Denny Anspach [mailto:danspach@macnexus.org]
Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2004 4:13 PM
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [STMFC] BLI Hopper Mods


Andy Miller feels that all coupler boxes should be made to fit Kadee
couplers (and clones).

As a general statement for Kadee-size couplers, and as a practical
matter, Andy is exactly right. However, Accumate Proto scale-sized
couplers use a scale-sized (much smaller) coupler box that is both
integral to the coupler (a true distinction), and moreover, it has a
superior appearance.
. . .