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Author Topic: Tyco: one of Bachmann's oldest rivals  (Read 27986 times)
Doneldon

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« Reply #30 on: September 30, 2013, 12:22:26 PM »

Dd-

I did a little investigation on the Inet. Tyco (trains) was founded in the 1950s as part of Mantua. Tyco (high tech) was founded in Switzerland as a high-tech and materials management company in1960. So ... they are and always separate companies.

I think you are correct that Cox never manufactured its own products. I think they specialized in producing limited-run train sets, mostly with a particular theme. One example which comes to mind is a John Deere set (made by Athearn) which my grandson dug up at a farm sale a few years ago. I think they also did sets for cereal companies and various other subjects. In any case, Cox contracted the construction of their pieces, many of which were dumbed-down versions of existing products. That is, they were made by other companies but not necessarily to the producers' usual quality standards. Thus, their details were only fair and their operational qualities not very good. Mainly, the sets were promotional items with unique paint schemes (which commonly lacked high standards).

I think Walthers purchased Life Like to start with an established name but they were clearly cautious about it, judging by how quickly they began the Proto 1000/2000 naming with Life Like almost as a subscript. It may even have been that they couldn't just buy some tooling, distribution routes and product licenses without taking the whole company. The Life Like name itself could not have held much value from a purely commercial standpoint.
                                                                                                                                                                                      -- D
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jbrock27

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« Reply #31 on: September 30, 2013, 01:02:40 PM »

Having a lifetime warranty is definitely a big plus.  
However, I can not put the B-mann's lifetime warranty in the same boat as say, the warranty on Craftmans' hand tools, where I can walk into any store with my worn out screw driver or box end wrench and simply be given a new one off the shelf.  

One has to consider the repair/replacement fee cost and cost involved in shipping it back with the hope the item gets repaired or replaced.  There may be plenty of occasions where someone decides bc of a lack of model or paint job availability that it is just not worth putting money toward these 2 costs as opposed to putting the same dollars toward the purchase of a new locomotive.  On those occasions, I feel the value of the lifetime warranty is nullified.  Yet, I would imagine it is factored into the item's initial cost.
It should also be considered, how often one has to engage in sending items for repair, lifetime warranty or not.  Doing that often would give me reason to pause.
Just some thoughts.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 01:12:24 PM by jbrock27 » Logged

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Desertdweller

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« Reply #32 on: September 30, 2013, 01:32:21 PM »

Don,

Then, it appears that there were at least two Tycos.

There had to have been something going on behind the scenes in the Walther's resurrection of LL.  LL had a strong brand recognition, but it wasn't necessarily a positive one.  It would be a little like starting up a new car company and naming it "Yugo".

jbrock,

A lifetime warranty can be an enormous plus, especially in a market plagued with quality control issues.

Over the past 35 years, I've worn out a good number of Bachmann locos.  But, I've only returned one for repair or replacement.  Why?

If I feel I've gotten my money's worth out of a locomotive, that's good enough for me.  Especially considering what they cost.  Things that are used wear out.  I'm OK with that.  Only things that are obviously defective when new, or are substantially expensive, will be returned.  I am more likely just to order a replacement part and fix it myself.

JBJ,

Those little V&T locos were sweet runners, and looked great.  The motors were more than adequate for small engines like that, and the paint jobs and brass details were very nice.  I knew a guy who built a complete 1870's-era railroad and powered it with these locos.

Les
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jbrock27

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« Reply #33 on: September 30, 2013, 02:02:48 PM »

I think you help prove my point Les.  The longer a loco is possessed, the less a life time warranty is a factor.
I know you work in N scale now.  What quality control issues are you referring to, if you are, in HO scale?  I have a 30+ year old Athearn Blue Box F7 that still runs great.  In all that time, I have only ever had to replace the rear truck bc the plastic split.  It went back together with all the same gears and other original parts except for the replaced half a truck frame and the old metal spring clip that contacted each truck.

Brewmaster, I still run DC and don't yet run DCC, so most of what I buy for motive power is not what I would consider "modern".  I like you, enjoy buying 2nd hand older locos for upgrading.  In most cases, Athearns and I tear 'em apart, clean them up, modify them to a degree and run them.  I do really like the Bachman Plus F7s I have purchased as well.  They run great and are nice and heavy.  
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 02:07:29 PM by jbrock27 » Logged

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Desertdweller

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« Reply #34 on: September 30, 2013, 02:21:54 PM »

jbrock,

The quality issues I was referring to were in HO and N scale low-end trainsets of 30 years ago.  Bachmann's lifetime warranty was a selling point none of their competitors could match.

Athearn and Atlas and Con-Cor were relatively "bullet proof".  Heavy, tough, overbuilt.  But not in the same low price bracket as Bachmann, Life-Like, and Tyco.  The Con-Cor N-scale locos were made by Kato.

Les
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RAM

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« Reply #35 on: September 30, 2013, 03:47:15 PM »

Let me clear up thing.  Life like was producing Proto 1000/2000 before Walthers purchased Life Like.  Varney was one of the early train set .    Marx tried to get into the HO market.  They had some good cars.                                       
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jbrock27

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« Reply #36 on: September 30, 2013, 03:48:31 PM »

Thanks for clarifying Les.  I thought you were referring to current QC issues out there.
Did they always have the lifetime guarantee?  I can never remember a hobby shop owner touting this aspect of the product.

Yes, I agree.  The first 3 being sold more toward the modeler market and the later 3 being geared more toward the train set market (in HO anyway) so that makes perfect sense.  I do agree that price wise Bachmann is very competitive for what you get and part of that is the result of Atlas and Athearn currently  pricing themselves much higher than they should be, IMHO.
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JNXT 7707

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« Reply #37 on: September 30, 2013, 05:14:18 PM »

.....Bachmann is very competitive for what you get and part of that is the result of Atlas and Athearn currently  pricing themselves much higher than they should be, IMHO.

How true! I love the Athearn and Atlas products but wow...out of my range. My newest "new" loco purchase was the Bachmann DD40. A lot of value there in my opinion for the money. Its Athearn counterpart is detailed and beautiful beyond my dreams, but honestly...at 3 feet away, while running a train, is it worth it? And requires what, a minimum 30" radius?
Not in my world....
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Jerry

Modeling the JNXT RR from its headquarters in Buzzardly, Texas.
Future home of the National C-Liner Museum.
Desertdweller

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« Reply #38 on: September 30, 2013, 05:35:15 PM »

RAM,

I didn't follow LL's HO offerings very closely, having switched to N scale.  If the Proto lines were brought out by LL independently of Walther's ownership, it shows they were really trying to improve both their products and reputation.

I do remember a sudden improvement in the quality of their N scale products, along with many new models and paint schemes appearing around 2000.  And the quality of those have shown improvement over the years.
That is why I consider them to be the most improved product line.

jbrock,

When I got interested in HO trains in 1969, I seem to recall Bachmann even then advertising their lifetime warranty.  They offered some unusual trains that hadn't been around long on the prototype: the UAC Turbotrain and the Budd Metroliner.

Even back then, Bachmann trains had features that made them superior to their low-priced competitors.
Cast metal chassis and all-wheel drive.   The N scale models used the same stamped-frame motor they still use.  They used brass gears and were noisy, but they ran about forever.

Varney was a bit before my time.  I don't remember Marx HO, only Marx stamped tinplate.  I do remember seeing some AC Gilbert American Flyer HO cars of that period.  They had cast-on detail, but good paint jobs.  They were pretty heavy compared to Athearn cars.

Les
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Jhanecker2

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« Reply #39 on: September 30, 2013, 08:13:26 PM »

you Guys are making me feel old .  I remember wheen Life-Like had a plant on Kostner avenue in Chicago. North of North avenue near the railroad tracks The Schwinn Bicycle plants were nearby . Shame I wasn't into  Model railroading then . that was back in the 1970s .  J2
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RAM

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« Reply #40 on: September 30, 2013, 09:01:35 PM »

Ok Jhanecker, I will make you feel young.  Varney in the late 1930s into the 40s had two classes of steam locomotives.  The super had all of the drilling done, sprung drivers.  It came in 4 boxes so could buy one box at a time.  It was like $50.00 prewar.  At that time it was a lot of money.  The economy class you did all of the drilling.  I don't think it had sprung drivers.  These were bras locomotive until late 40s.  The boiler was cast brass.  Mantua started out making brass locomotive.  they had a reading 4-4-2.  It never went back into production after the war.  The car were metal with paper sides.  Walters had wooden cars with metal detail parts.  Athearn had wood and paper cars.  Silver streak had nice wooden car.  Red ball and many other small companies had wood and paper cars.  Lehigh made cars with plastic roof, ends, and bottoms, with paper sides.  I built three of box cars.  I painted the plastic parts, and before long the paint came off.  Now I know you must wash the plastic part.  Aren't you glad you are not that old.
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jbrock27

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« Reply #41 on: September 30, 2013, 11:16:22 PM »

JNX, excellent points!

Les, the Life Like Proto 2000 (P2K) locos are excellent runners and pullers.  One should know (and have no reason not to know by this point in time and age of communication) that if you get one with the original axle gears, you will need to replace each of them with an Athearn axle gear.  This is bc the ones originally stocked on the P2Ks would split, even sitting unused in the box.  They are very easy to replace and are a small investment of time and expense in exchange for a solid running loco.  I never owned any of the older Bachmann model locomotives, only the more recent ones noted above.  After 2 AHMs I was done with those for good.  Once I bought my first Athearn, I was hooked on the flywheel drive.

Ram, I think I would go nuts having to work with paper sided cars!
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Johnson Bar Jeff

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« Reply #42 on: October 01, 2013, 01:37:38 PM »

Our family had a hobby shop from the early 70's into the mid-80's, and the Tyco sets were incredibly popular.  I think the one thing they had going for them at the time was the marketing and the packaging.  The sets always looked cool: Comin' Round The Mountain, Silver Streak, Golden Eagle, Chattanooga Choo-Choo, Clementine, Durango, tons of them! 

I was reminded of this post by something I noticed on eBay this morning. If I had been a kid back in the 1980s, I would have really wanted the A-Team train set.  Grin
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raveoned

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« Reply #43 on: October 01, 2013, 02:25:35 PM »

Our family had a hobby shop from the early 70's into the mid-80's, and the Tyco sets were incredibly popular.  I think the one thing they had going for them at the time was the marketing and the packaging.  The sets always looked cool: Comin' Round The Mountain, Silver Streak, Golden Eagle, Chattanooga Choo-Choo, Clementine, Durango, tons of them! 

I was reminded of this post by something I noticed on eBay this morning. If I had been a kid back in the 1980s, I would have really wanted the A-Team train set.  Grin

I remember our store having the G.I. Joe set, but no one wanted the A-Team one.  We never ordered any of those or the Transformers ones.  The G.I. Joe one sold well because the loco and cars could be bashed into other things pretty easily, but folks couldn't get past the A-Team one enough to buy them and use it for other things.

I think the two we sold most were Chattanooga (both the original steam and the diesel one) and Comin' Round The Mountain, because that one had a diesel not many other makers had for a low price (an SD-45 high hood, I think?)

One I always liked was the Royal Blue freight set.  It was the Chattanooga style 2-8-0 in the blue with the silver stripe down the center of the tender and matching caboose. 
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JNXT 7707

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« Reply #44 on: October 01, 2013, 03:53:57 PM »

There are many Tyco collectors that love those themed fantasy sets (Midnight Special, Chattanooga, Silver Streak, etc.) but I never get get into them. Especially horrendous (to me) are the newer themed sets I have seen out from various sources - M&Ms, NASCAR, sports teams.... I mean, I can't even make up a reason to see a F7 painted in a Elvis Presley scheme pulling full dome cars, each with his greatest hits...
If somebody reading this DOES collect these trains I have no objection, it's just a personal perspective for my own railroad.
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Jerry

Modeling the JNXT RR from its headquarters in Buzzardly, Texas.
Future home of the National C-Liner Museum.
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