Model Reviews

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at
Sat Jan 31 13:10:01 EST 2015

I agree that the timeliness of a review is critical. In these days of limited production runs based on pre-orders and short runs a review would be based on something that has either come and gone or otherwise reasonably unavailable. Even considering this I still think a review would be of benefit to the membership as if one looks around these "out of production" and "Sold Out" items are indeed available at many hobby shops and places like feedbay, larger shops and individuals. 

I don't think the Arrow would be the best place to review modeling items due to the time factor getting it published and to the members. I think the NW Modeling List and electronic methods would probably be best for these things. I believe the Arrow would be a good place to deal with more common and stable things such as books, DVDs and that sort and maybe even brass items that have been around for a long time. Modeling articles based on these would be welcome, I'm sure.

A review is only as good as the reviewers knowledge, which brings up another serious question. Does the reviewer have facts and data, emotions and opinions or what else is the basis for his comments. The discussion on the VGN AG has already brought out many facts and opinions of just what is "acceptable" in a model and what is an abomination. The swiveling rear engine, domes, stoker, tender, paint, lettering and several other things are apparently not 100% accurate. I think these things should definitely be brought to light in any review. A review should be as critical as possible to enlighten possible buyers without getting into opinions. Facts are facts and need to be backed up. What you choose to do with the information is up to you. Some are appalled by these things....others accept them. Everyone has their limits. With all the things brought out so far I like the AG and I'm glad to see it's just not another C&O H-8 with Virginian on the tender. At
 least they tried and semi-failed! I do not care for the lettering being too high and the wrong color as well as the cab windows but as a custom painter those items are very important to me. To others the domes or swiveling rear engine are a "no go" as to a purchase. Whatever bothers you should be brought out in a review so YOU can make a decision as to whether to buy or not. A critical review isn't necessarily a condemnation or a negative thing. It just states facts. I would hope we would do a more valuable and honest review than MR. I realize they have to pacify their advertisers and basically endorse their products so can't really come down too hard but they often get it wrong or omit significant items of importance to use as collectors and modelers. In all fairness I also understand they have reviewers totally unfamiliar with whatever they are reviewing. I do hope if we elect to pursue some review format we rectify that situation. No one would be
 more qualified to critique N&W/VGN models than some of our enlightened members. The closer to home the more valuable the information would be to all of us.

A critical review can also have some far reaching consequences. Some manufacturers are rather sensitive about their products and take a critical review as a slap in the face and they run away mad. Some accept it as a wake-up call. They can either not make anything else in that area or seek further assistance in their next creation. I've worked with manufacturers who have gone both ways. In this information age and with all the great historical societies all they need do is ask and the help & information is there. Unfortunately they often don't ask. Sometimes it's a matter of economics such as a C&O H-8 being morphed into an AG and saving the terrible expense of new die work for an accurate boiler.

I'd be glad to assist with any reviews or anything the Society needs. I don't consider myself an expert at anything but I have 55+ years of modeling experience, have a rather huge library & photo/information collection, have been painting railroad models since 1973 and have inspected commercial aircraft for 35 years and I'm rather particular and critical of things so I may have something of value to offer....maybe not!

My 2¢+,
Roger Huber
Deer Creek Locomotive Works

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