New York Central J3a 'Hudson' Project Service Log 

The intent of this resource is to provide full and complete information regarding our ongoing improvement program for in-service models.  We take the issue of quality very seriously and will continue to make every effort to maximize the appearance and performance of each and every model we sell.  We make no claims regarding perfection, all we claim is that we will make every effort to satisfy each customer on an individual basis.  Because factual information is the life-blood of our business, we will not list any problem that we consider to be the subject of rumor or deliberate misinformation by our competitors (who find it easier to spread rumors than to compete with quality products) or detractors, we intend to list only problems reported by registered customers.

Please keep in mind when evaluating any of our models that there is a delicate balance required between operational considerations and absolute scale fidelity to the prototype, since very few models have pushed to that limit, the book on the subject is largely unwritten.

If you have additional information to offer or would like additional information regarding a particular situation reported, feel free to get in touch using our contact information.

Reported Situation

Situation Status

Model returned by customer, totally unacceptable to him
Refund sent to customer, although customer is anxious to buy 'late' version of the J3a
Wrong directional polarity on first few models delivered, no impact on correct functioning of the model, simply a direction of travel issue relative to other equipment
All models are being modified prior to shipment
Driver contacts provide intermittent contact under varying circumstances and on certain layouts
All models are being modified prior to shipment to eliminate the passing of current through the contact springs which may loose their tension due to heating
Cab roof potentially damaged by packing method during shipping
Replacement part supplied to customer and packing method modified to prevent possible damage
Cab alignment made unacceptable by packing method during shipping, same model as above
Packing method has been modified to prevent potential problems
Noisy operation in reverse, rattling sound
Advised several customers that their power supplies were unacceptable based on the guidelines outlined in the instruction booklet, provided recommendations for new quality power supplies
Hand rail stanchion pulled loose on boiler
Will repair for customer at upcoming show
Occasional pilot truck derailment
Provided instructions for adjusting down force based on the users situation, double checking all subsequent models for proper adjustment
Pilot truck wheels do not sit flat on rail head
Advised removal of packing material from between pilot truck frame and locomotive frame per unpacking instructions supplied with the model
Trailing truck wheels do not sit flat on rail head
Advised removal of packing material from between trailing truck frame and locomotive frame per unpacking instructions supplied with the model
Have received suggestions regarding providing more sculpted coal loads
Will consider when doing future projects
Have received comments and suggestions regarding the plug connection arrangement between the locomotive and tender
Will re-evaluate for future projects, but we are using the best components currently available
There have been several unfavorable comparisons of the sound system output to 3-rail sound systems
Advised what the differences in installation are between what we have done and what is typically done in 3-rail trains.  3-rail models use the tender shell as a baffle with much larger speakers and usually no bunker detail.  We place our speakers in the locomotive so that the sound emanates from the correct location and still yields louder than scale output with more fidelity.  We are not interested in the toy train type of room filling sound.
Battery wiring harness for sound system defective
Replaced immediately for customer, rechecking each harness prior to shipping
Concern has been expressed regarding the fact that our wheel set gauging does not match the NMRA standard.
Our tire profiles do not go by the NMRA standard nor does our gauging.   We have done extensive testing in an effort to minimize the operating radius required for this model and toward that goal have minimized the 'slop' factor in our gauging.  We have not built by theory, but rather by practical application. We have had derailing situations reported during operation on absolute minimum 60" radius curves and have determined what the cause has been.  This has been due to insufficient lateral motion built into the model to accommodate certain customer layouts, we have made the necessary adjustments to avoid this problem from now on.  The 'bottom line' is, in actual operation we could not approach the absolute 60" minimum radius using the NMRA standard for gauging.   A further point of information; the Lionel Dreyfuss Hudson (2-rail) that I designed did not agree with the NMRA standard either and it has an enviable record of performance.
There has been a question regarding the increased amperage draw when the model is operated in reverse.
This is a normal situation, the increase in amperage draw is the result of the reverse-gear actuator activating.  On subsequent models we will have a switch to disable this operation based on owner desire.
Because of the widely varying layouts our models are being used on, it has been difficult to anticipate what operational requirements are required beyond the basics.   We have found that in some situations we have built the model too precisely and with tolerances in the suspension in particular a little too tight.
We have begun loosening the suspension in terms of vertical travel and have also added a slight amount of additional lateral motion in the number 3 driver set.   We will provide instructions for customers that would like to do the same or will make arrangements to do the work in our shop.

Perhaps the largest ongoing problem that we have is the failure of our new customers to carefully and thoroughly read the instructions provided with the model.  The instructions address most every basic concern of operation and also provide helpful hints for more easily readying the model for operation.  We are more than happy to answer any and all questions, but it makes it much easier if there is a basic understanding of the model to begin with.  We are supplying a downloadable copy of our instructions with the link below, please feel free to make use of this link should you loose or misplace your original copy.

As we deliver the last of our first project we have been able to establish a benchmark for future development in our models.  we have managed to accomplish an awful lot in one big step and are now in a great position to push the 'state of the art' even further.  The only other models that have attempted the sort of features that we have offered have done so at the expense of detail accuracy and fidelity to the original locomotive design.  With what we have learned, we will hold our course and continue to be unique in the marketplace.