Virginian AG

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at
Tue Sep 23 09:34:40 EDT 2014


Your point is fair, but I'd like to make the following suggestions in the interest of benefitting us all.  Let's assume you meant for the prospective reviewer to take a chance and purchase the model, and then is willing to share his experience of it "for the common good."  So that member is at risk for the purchase price of the model, and intends to allocate time for our benefit.  That being the case, the NWHS could help in the following ways:

1)  The NWHS could publish a guideline for reviewing a model.  This would include a checklist that might start with "Materials", "Fit and Finish Impressions", "Running Quality at Low Speed", "Number of Driven Axles", "DCC Equipped / Not", "Sound Equipped / Not", Price and other things that could be (somewhat) objectively determined without tools, drawings, instruments, or large time investment.  The list could continue with parameters that could be measured with modest tools (caliper, postal scale, etc) and include such things as basic overall dimensions, wheel diameter(s), axle spacing, weight, drawbar pull, "General Arrangement Accuracy of Appliances" with moderate time investment.  The list could continue through "Rivet Spacing Accuracy" and "Dimensional Accuracy / Location Accuracy of Details and Appliances", with the expectation that the reviewer would spenda very significant amount of time making precision measurements and comments regarding them.

2)  Any prospective reviewer would have the inalienable right to provide review on any one or more of the checklist items of his choice, without any expectation that s/he would contribute more than s/he wants to.  Each reviewer would submit her/his review, with the items s/he reviewed checked off the guideline's checklist.  Even if a reviewer only addressed one item on the list, so long as s/he makes that clear by checking only the associated item on the guideline checklist and does diligence against the guideline's criterion for that item, NWHS Members would be obligated to appreciate the effort made.  Reviewers who work far down the checklist (and publish informative comments) would be worth their weight in gold, and should be honored in proportion.

3)  Reviewers who are willing to take the time and effort to work far down the list (e.g., measuring the width of sand domes and rivet spacing) should receive help from NWHS to the extent of NWHS providing dimensioned drawings that exist in the Archives-free.  Yes, this might have a small negative impact on the Society's revenue.  Maybe this "free" drawing privilege should be administered as a refund for the purchase of drawings provided that result in a review meeting specific criteria for thoroughness.

One advantageous aspect of this approach is that it allows "crowd sourcing" of the review of a specific model-i.e., many reviewers could contribute different aspects of the review of the same model, according to their interests, abilities, and tools.  It would probably benefit us all to have several reviewers contribute on the same points of the guideline checklist-the same process that has made Wikipedia as accurate, thorough, and useful as it is today.

It would be very cool if the NWHS used wiki technology to publish the evolving reviews, allowing members to upload additional responses per the guideline checklist, suggest corrections or additional information sought, photos of models (stock and modified) and prototypes (as-delivered and modified.)  I suspect these reviews would very rapidly become "robust" in their characterization of the stock models and their suitability for customization to specific road numbers and eras, allowing members to make excellent choices about how to allocate their modeling dollars.  The evolving wikis would require appointment of a "light touch" moderator to eliminate offensive postings, but the accuracy of uploaded information could be moderated by membership "liking" or "disliking" as each member is motivated to do so.

Another advantageous aspect of this approach is that model manufacturers would have the ability to see what really matters to a very diverse group of NWHS modelers.

So, Alex, I agree that the Society needs members to contribute reviews, since the Society has neither the resources to purchase the models nor to allocate Society time to reviewing them.  But the Society might be able to afford the one-time investment to define a Review Guideline that will result in enduring benefit to Society members, and maybe even to implement the wiki technology on the Society's web site to provide the framework for continuously evolving, robust reviews of models.  Finally, the Society could help significantly by furnishing authentic dimensioned drawings to the reviewers who are willing to risk their money and contribute their time for the more detailed elements of model review.

Best Regards,

-Eric Bott

From: NW-Modeling-List [mailto:nw-modeling-list-bounces at] On Behalf Of NW Modeling List
Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 6:55 AM
To: 'NW Modeling List'
Subject: RE: Virginian AG

Roger Huber, Stephen Rineair, Jimmy Lisle,

Each of you have expressed an opinion on what you expect to see in a model review, but you expect someone else to do the work in providing it. When can the NWHS expect to see your write-up, as you follow your guidelines and expectations on the models you review? Please submit you reviews to meditor at<mailto:meditor at>.

Alex Schust

-----Original Message-----
From: NW-Modeling-List [mailto:nw-modeling-list-bounces at] On Behalf Of NW Modeling List via NW-Modeling-List
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2014 7:28 PM
To: NW Modeling List
Subject: Re: Virginian AG

I have to agree with Jimmy's points. I would prefer to make my own decision as to whether a new model is close enough for me or not and not have someone else decide I don't have the right to make up my own mind. I have a lot of brass models as well as other models. I don't think any of them is 100% correct for what they are supposed to be. Does that mean I shouldn't have purchased them? Should I have been denied the opportunity to be informed of the good and bad details or areas of those models? I would prefer to be educated as to the finer points of models rather than denied any knowledgeable input from "experts" on the group. The choice to buy or not is up to me and I'd appreciate a trained eye to guide my decision.

I have worked with and tried to work with several manufacturers and importers over the years. Sometimes they accept input and other times they turn a blind eye to help. I feel like that's their right. I also feel like we need to decide to not spend our hobby dollars on a poor or incorrect product if we so choose. The dollar rules and the manufacturers will notice and hopefully pay attention next time.

Personal feelings getting hurt because help was offered and denied is a personal problem and one's hurt feelings shouldn't prevent a critical review from being presented to the group or Society members and is more of a problem than an inaccurate model. If a manufacturer is offended by a critical review after denying help or information then so be it! Maybe you should accept outside input and maybe get a rave review that helps you recoup your investment. Pay attention to the folks who have the information.

Personally, the AG looks great to me. I found the tender a bigger factor than the domes. Some folks demand 100% accuracy but that's what makes this all so much fun! Lot's of modelers run Rivarossi 4-6-6-4's as Western Maryland M-2's. Beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder. Before the horde of N&W J models hit the market years ago I had a friend who ran 2 Lionel HO SP GS-4's painted like the J. Whatever works for you is ok.

Just my 2¢

Roger Huber

Deer Creek Locomotive Works


On Sat, 9/20/14, NW Modeling List <nw-modeling-list at<mailto:nw-modeling-list at>> wrote:

Subject: Re: Virginian AG

To: "NW Modeling List" <nw-modeling-list at<mailto:nw-modeling-list at>>

Date: Saturday, September 20, 2014, 6:38 AM

     "When the

model came out

            Rivarossi/Hornby asked the Society to  give our blessings on

           the model and review the model in the  "Arrow".  We refused,

           telling the person who made the inquiry that there  were too

           many incorrect details on their model for the  Society to


     Did Rivarossi/Hornby actually ask for  "blessings"?

     "One of the major points is that each of us  must find his or

         her own threshold of tolerance; that threshold will  vary as an

         individual decides what is "good enough"

that he is satisfied,

         or at least not offended, by what he sees in his  basement."

     Is it in the members best interests to  refuse

     reviewing N&W/VGN models? Would it not be better to  give an

     unbiased review to 1.) inform the membership what is  available, 2.)

     Point out the pluses/minuses, and then, let the  member

           decide if the model is right for  them?

     Jimmy Lisle

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