Jump to content

Japanese vs US Build Quality


VentureForth

Recommended Posts

Yes we love it when folks search first before starting a new thread and add to an existing one if possible. Ties together more info and keeps content floating at the top as stuff gets buried in forums. A lot of the content is evergreen stuff so old does not matter much if it helps answer questions and provide good info! 

 

Search is hit or miss though and no worries if you miss something, of one of the mods or old regulars here remeber the old thread we usually try to combine them. 

 

Cheers

 

jeff

Link to post

With regards to the slow Dash 8, some light oil on the armature and worm bearings often works wonders. Absolutely tiny drops, I have an oiling pen rather like a large hypodermic which is brilliant for putting a drop exactly on the shaft so it'll be drawn into the bearing.

Link to post
On 12/4/2018 at 5:27 AM, gavino200 said:

That's been my experience also. I had a terrible experience with American brands. KatoUSA sold the only stuff that was reliable. Searching ebay for Kato trains was what got me into Japanese trains in the first place. I found a E5 shinkansen and it blew my mind. Once I found out (from this site) how to access the Japanese market directly there was no turning back. 

 

There's a second reason why I prefer Japanese and European trains. It the design. American trains, with some notable exceptions, tend to be very ugly (yes, that's just my opinion), They're very angular, and chunky, and plain. It's no accident. It's also true of other aspects of American design - cars, trucks, houses. Conveying a hyper-masculine sense of strength and power seems to be a main principle of American design.  Likely, because American values and ideals lean in this direction. That's all fine, but it limits the design possibilities. Just my two cents.

 

Wow. That sort of thing is best when it comes from an American. I agree, especially for contemporary passenger trains. And yes, also contemporary American cars look terrible to me. Interestingly things were not always like that. Take a look at a P-51, a humble ALCO RS-3, a Shelby Cobra, everything in Mad Men... It looks like things got ugly in the 70s and 80s and just got stuck there.

  • Like 1
Link to post

Most modern trains are stuck in the old image of American "power". Lots of hard edges and lines and very boxey. The issue is that it clashes with modern designs and modern needs. I, personally, like the look, but they all look the same now and it gets boring. While I'm not a huge fan of MU sets, Japan has a LOT of variety.

At least there's still some old F-Units running around.

Link to post
3 hours ago, bill937ca said:

There is good design in North America today. However, it usually is all Japanese in origin.  🙂

 

 

I don't know about that.  Looking at cars, while GM is the ugliest, for me, the Japanese cars are not much better (Toyota Prius anyone?)   They try and be cutting edge and they just look ugly, and very quickly dated.  There are a few exceptions.  The original Acura NSX.  The Miata.    I know this opinion is probably not very popular around here.

 

I'll take understated boring German design any day.   They are not quickly dated, and are not full of themselves trying to be different for the sake of being different.

Link to post

Prius design was not normal car design process. It was first done for just pure efficiency and few things smoothed over. That resulted in the dumpy teardrop design. Later marketing folks rode in hard on this and got puckers and sharp edges put in to make it look sporty to sell that way (and lowered efficiencies) and you got that really ugly combo of effency marketing design (if you have every had marketers in a design meeting where they start to call the shots in design...). Slowly it’s going back to more pure effeceny now with the prime and some design features from the get go, ot grafted.

 

jeff

Link to post
22 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

Prius design was not normal car design process. It was first done for just pure efficiency and few things smoothed over. That resulted in the dumpy teardrop design. Later marketing folks rode in hard on this and got puckers and sharp edges put in to make it look sporty to sell that way (and lowered efficiencies) and you got that really ugly combo of effency marketing design (if you have every had marketers in a design meeting where they start to call the shots in design...). Slowly it’s going back to more pure effeceny now with the prime and some design features from the get go, ot grafted.

 

 

Sounds like normal car design to me.  Engineers design it to work.  Marketers then destroy the design. 🙂

Link to post

Usually the designers do a lot more. I remeber an article on the v2 being so air design simulated design that designers only got to work on some little transitions and such.

 

Sadly American car design (and I expect elsewhere) has also gotten very comparmentalized. A friend from high school went into design to do car design. Starting out he was at a company that contracted with the car companies to do primarily door panels and side mirrors! They got the rough design and then just finished it, sometimes in the dark about the final tiny design details being done elsewhere. It explained why you saw some really odd front grills that did not match say front fenders... he took a call one day from a Finnish cell phone manufacturer. Very early days of cell phones and they were designed like bricks and they thought they needed some design and who else to ask for cool design but american car design company (hey they were thinking earlier I guess) so they called frank’s company. His boss said we do cars not phones! He was able to convince them to do a small prelimina contract to just kick around ideas. Went well and phone folks wanted to continue but the car folks said no not interested. So the phone folks asked frank if he wanted to come work for them. Well he ended up making all those cool Nokia phones in the 90s and 00s.

 

Funny to one day turn over the business section of ny times and 2/3rd Page spread on him! Was fun as I was teaching back at my old high school for a year at the time (20 years after graduating) and great to show the students what one of their alumna was now doing!

 

jeff

  • Like 1
Link to post
On 12/13/2018 at 7:43 PM, Khaul said:

It looks like things got ugly in the 70s and 80s and just got stuck there.

I was in Japan for the 70s and 80s therefore absolve myself of any responsibility for American culture during that time.  😂😂

  • Haha 2
Link to post
On 12/14/2018 at 3:48 PM, chadbag said:

 

I don't know about that.  Looking at cars, while GM is the ugliest, for me, the Japanese cars are not much better (Toyota Prius anyone?)   They try and be cutting edge and they just look ugly, and very quickly dated.  There are a few exceptions.  The original Acura NSX.  The Miata.    I know this opinion is probably not very popular around here.

 

I'll take understated boring German design any day.   They are not quickly dated, and are not full of themselves trying to be different for the sake of being different.

 

Well, the Japanese cars I see in the Inner Sydney streets nowadays are mostly bulky SUVs not different from their GM, Ford or German counterparts. So boring! 

Link to post
VentureForth
On 12/4/2018 at 10:33 AM, nah00 said:

Like Never Stall? If you can find it it can work wonders but strictly for pickups. I don't use it on motors but rather the contact between the pickup spring and the truck, makes a huge difference. The only thing I lubricate on motors are the bearings and you can tell with those since it's an obnoxious screeching when they dry out. My guess is about 90% of your problems would be solved by cleaning up those worm gears, the motor is having to fight the stickiness in there and unless you run it full out it won't be able to overcome it. 

 

Any idea how to find Never Stall?

Link to post
VentureForth

That's it.  Hmm... Kinda pricey.  I'll try to manually clean with alcohol first.  We're having a train show at the end of the month.  I may see if I can get some there.

Edited by VentureForth
Link to post
26 minutes ago, VentureForth said:

That's it.  Hmm... Kinda pricey.  I'll try to manually clean with alcohol first.

 

If it works (and I have not used it), what is your time worth?  Is it worth an hour of your time messing with the alcohol to save $5-$10?   Just food for thought.

Link to post
VentureForth
54 minutes ago, chadbag said:

 

If it works (and I have not used it), what is your time worth?  Is it worth an hour of your time messing with the alcohol to save $5-$10?   Just food for thought.

 

Does Alcohol work?  If not, then I won't waste my time with it.

 

Looks like I REALLY need to find my track cleaner.  Looks like my Tomix 6441 is a rare item now.  😞

Edited by VentureForth
Link to post
57 minutes ago, VentureForth said:

Does Alcohol work?  If not, then I won't waste my time with it.

 

I don't know.  It is good for cutting oils and greases.  If oxidation is your problem, then I am not sure alcohol is ideal for that.   I am not a chemist, but I did not find anything when searching on alcohol as cleaning agent against oxidized metal.

 

I ordered a tube of the "Never Stall" based on this thread just to put in my box, as if I have an issue I cannot solve, I'll have a tool to try without having to wait a few days.  When I get time to play trains, I don't want to be held up by lack of a simple tool in my box as I don't get lots of time to play trains (comes in spurts).  YMMV

  • Like 1
Link to post

I got some last year but have not gotten around to trying it, but should. Folks swear by it for those pesky pickup issues.

 

Isopropanol will clean up the grease and gunk that can build up if you open things up to clean all the contact points or use an ultrasonic bath on the while truck, but I’ve had chassises that just always seem to have pickup issues evennafter cleaning and fiddling. They will work ok for a bit an then act up. I’m hoping the neverstall can help those as repeated tear downs are not good for the mechs either.

 

sometimes a close visual inspection or poking into the truck or truck chassis interface with a microswab will come back with a pile of gunk and then cleaning is probably good. 

 

alcohol  is not effective are reducing oxidation. You need a reducing agent to do that like a metal polish and some physical cleaning.

 

btw most electrical contact cleaner won’t clean off oxidation, they are usually meant to clean just schmutz and grease off with some solvents (usually alcohols) and propellant.

 

jeff

Link to post
2 hours ago, chadbag said:

 

I don't know.  It is good for cutting oils and greases.  If oxidation is your problem, then I am not sure alcohol is ideal for that.   I am not a chemist, but I did not find anything when searching on alcohol as cleaning agent against oxidized metal.

 

I ordered a tube of the "Never Stall" based on this thread just to put in my box, as if I have an issue I cannot solve, I'll have a tool to try without having to wait a few days.  When I get time to play trains, I don't want to be held up by lack of a simple tool in my box as I don't get lots of time to play trains (comes in spurts).  YMMV

 

Chad, he has two issues. One issue is the gearing. The other now is oil on the tracks. 

 

I’m suggesting alcohol for the tracks only.

 

For anything relating to gears Id suggest asking @railsquid

Edited by gavino200
Link to post
VentureForth
49 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

 

Chad, he has two issues. One issue is the gearing. The other now is oil on the tracks. 

 

I’m suggesting alcohol for the tracks only.

 

For anything relating to gears Id suggest asking railsquid.

 

Yes.  My first effort will be isopropyl alcohol to clean the tracks.  I am having the biggest problem right now with traction.  My 8-car Shinkansen used to have no problems going up the 3.5% viaduct grade.  After I lubed most of my locos, I'm sure they have flung oil out onto the tracks.  I'll likely get some Never Stall for $15.95, shipped from https://www.litchfieldstation.com/product/never-stall/ to keep in my box like Chad and Jeff.  I know that my pickups could use a little juice.

 

Jim

Edited by VentureForth
Link to post
16 hours ago, gavino200 said:

 

Chad, he has two issues. One issue is the gearing. The other now is oil on the tracks. 

 

I’m suggesting alcohol for the tracks only.

 

For anything relating to gears Id suggest asking @railsquid

 

I use Kato Uni-oil, very sparingly usually [*]. Unless the gears in question are on Graham Farish (Bachmann) locos, in which case they're probably split and need replacing.

 

[*] had to dump a non-sparing amount into this MicroAce unit though (turn sound down for the first 8 seconds):

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post

Wow that motor is practically streaming its lungs out... glad that oil helped... It reminded me of a sore throat and mint flavoured lozenges...

 

I don't use oil on my trains too, but I do take them apart for some cleaning... I find the dirt accumulation terrifying sometimes... Must be Singapore.... The isopropyl alcohol works wonders on the tracks... so much till I love to use them for cleaning for almost anywhere metal around the house... 

Link to post

Gah! Who ever has that Dash 8 junk it! It's white gears are bound to split anytime now and no amount of grease will fix it...

 

As a US modeler though, I am quite fond of our equipment. Love the EMD SD70s all versions are unique but strong looking. And honestly that 710G just screams POWAH! 😈

 

As far as reliability goes for US manufactures (most are made in China) like anything, things need upkeep. 

 

Kato is definitely top tier for reliability. Details however is starting to lack...

I mean come on the P42 has been in production for over 15 years and look the same! I mean for $&+# sake they give us Ph. Vb and anniversary units but no BOLT ON NOSE?!? *eye twitches*

[/rant] 

 

Atlas is also great, slow speed is top notch (we like seeing our trains creep) again details are starting to lack, like Kato, existing models are just reproductions from 15+years 

Only difference is better mechanisms. 

 

FVM... Uh knock off Kato and Atlas. But they have details you can add!! It's kind of a pain to drill out 40+ #80 holes pray to a sentient being that the bit doesn't break then go back and install grab irons that may or may not disappear into the abyss because you used too much pressure on your tweezers.

They also run like Atlas. Maybe slower. Look better than Katos.

There I said it. *Dies inside*

 

Intermountain has it's issues... I won't let them forget about the Zinc rot that the SD45s got... But they are good runners and look great.

 

Athearn... It's all over the board, my favorite from them by far are the SD70s. The 75ms I own keep up with Kato C44-9Ws so that makes me happy... 

Had a Challenger once. Puked it's driverods all over the layout. Out the door it went. 

Bachmann... Eh... You pay for what you get in some cases... Some times trainset steamers are great... Others are junk, like their diesels.

Bachmann Spectrum... Yeah still a Bachmann... 

Broadway Limited/Precision Craft Models, look amazing but have some of the worst wiring issues... Run well, well when they don't fry their boards (DCC/Sound) 

 

Life-like/Walthers 

Ok this is honestly tough, as I am biased to my first N scale Locomotive... Which was a F40PH.

The life-like trains (not P2k) 

Are actually really smooth runners but are filled with lead (Pb) and look terrible next to Atlas or Kato of similar models. 

LL/Walthers P2k/Proto

Look good run well have some minor issues, and was sold to Atlas last year, (2018) everything besides structures anyway.

Well N scale for that matter.

 

Micro Trains Line, they borrow other brands locos and throw their stuff on it. (Yes I'm talking about the B. child that is the SW1500.)

 

Scale trains, Rapido and currentish line of Arnold is too new... 

Though Rapido and Scale Trains beat out all other manufactures in terms of details. 

 

Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...