Anybody here own the Bowande Casey Jones and can give a review? - myLargescale.com > Community > Forums

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Old 10-20-2018, 02:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Anybody here own the Bowande Casey Jones and can give a review?

Anybody here have this model and can report on your thoughts about it, good, neutral or bad? Looking at possibly buying one once my 7.5 gauge engine and track sells, and looking for an unbiased opinion of the model. Thanks
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Old 10-21-2018, 05:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I Have the Bowande Casey Jones, as acquired via the Australian Bowande dealer. The model is wonderfully detailed, and having come from decades of O scale, appears to be a rip-off of the famous Rivarossi O scale Casey Jones of the 1970s, copied down to the last rivet, including the Rivarossi livery (which isn't correct!). Aesthetically, its wonderful, and also represents an era rarely modelled, that of turn of the century. Most models tend to be 1870/1880s, or post 1920. Aesthetics is where it ends.
Out of the box, mine would not run at all. It was missing bushings and lifting links in the valve gear. Seemingly easy fix with the right parts, but would require a complete strip down to get to them. Ihad neither the time nor inclination to do the strip down myself. It took more than 8 months of arguing between the Auz rep, China and myself to try and get it fixed. I had suggested sending it to Ryan to repair, and I even offered to ship the loco at my expense, but NO, they just messed me about for ever. Finally they agreed to send it back to China to repair.
It came back, with the minimum of work done to it. Replaced the missing lifting links, but nothing else. I think their aim was to just 'make' it run, nothing more. So yes it runs, just... It wont self start. If you open the throttle from standing start, the wheels lock up. (doesn't appear to be a condensate issue). The only way to run it, is to push start it with the throttle closed - get the wheels turning and then slowly open the throttle and then she steam away from you nice and steady.
The axle pump is of poor design and out of axle centreline, so it causes a small bind. It runs OK with the pump off, but if you open it full, the wheels lock up. So you can only just crack the pump on and get water pumping into the boiler, but with a noticable bind on each wheel rotation.
In short, it is a lovely looking piece of crap. I do run it quite often, and can run it well when you know its specific quirks and limitations. Its poorly designed. Also it has a whistle, which is onlny good for blowing the fire out.
No I dont recommend it. I think Ryan could do a lot with this, but it needs stripping down, rebuilding and a totaly different axle pump. Worst performing engine of my collection.

David.
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Old 10-21-2018, 08:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Full review in Steam in the Garden.
January/February 2015, No. 137

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Old 10-21-2018, 10:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes, it is unfortunate that as David says, they are beautiful engines but have a lot of quality control problems.

I like that they have copied Aster on most of their drive trains and have a nice ceramic burner design.

They will probably improve on their QC but for now I would say it is a crap shoot on getting a good running engine from this manufacturer

It kind of reminds me of old Chrysler products that had all of the cool features but when you drove a new car around the block you would find five or six screws on the floor and a few rattles that weren't there ten minutes ago.
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Old 10-21-2018, 01:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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billie, I must disagree with your blanket statement concerning this manufacturer. The G5 I purchased was perfect right out of the box and the ceramic burner is IMHO excellent. From others I have talked to that also have the G5, no problems. Is it possible that since the Casey Jones was made they have made improvements to their QC? And so far I haven't herd any complaints on their Dec either. I am not affiliated with the manufacturer in any way but do talk to Bob Clark of Stoke'm and Smoke'm (American Dealer) occasionally. LiG
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Old 10-21-2018, 03:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I was with Bob Clark when he took his early production Casey Jones straight out of the box from China, (or so it appeared,) to run on Mike Moore's track at the Howard County Fair. It seemed to run perfectly normally (for a brand new steamer,) with no obvious problems. I probably have a photo somewhere.
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Old 10-21-2018, 03:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Just an example...
My friend recently got a BR 18 which ran fine out of the box till it ran out of water.
Turns out the axle pump was installed upside-down causing the check valves to work in reverse.
The fix was to turn it around which should have been a 15 minute job but because of the design, it took several hours.
Bowande couldn't or wouldn't repair it under warranty, so I had to fix it for him.

I believe this is one of the later models so it would seem that there is still QC room to go.

Another friend got one of the early Mallets which had numerous problems that took over a year to get corrected.

So...it seems if you are lucky, you may get a really good engine at a good price

The question is...DO YOU FEEL LUCKY
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Old 10-22-2018, 08:12 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Guess it would help that I plan to get mine direct thru Bob here in the states if there is problems I can light him up over it. It would be fresh from China as it will be in the order thats coming in early December at this point. Nothing else really like it out there unless you want an alcohol burning Aster at a much higher costs and even those have issues at times. I loved my Schools, but am restricted to the curve radius on Jim Sanders portable layout where I do most all my steaming(Yes the Jones will run on his layout, already discussed this concern with Bob). I think most things from China have spotty QC. A new run Ruby would not run right out of the box for a fellow club member till Jim Sanders competely retimed the model. So even Accucraft cannot get that simple engine right every time. Thanks for the reviews so far, guess we call this one a "pot luck" model. Hopefully I get one that is happy from the beginning.
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Old 10-22-2018, 08:44 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I don't know about previous to Bob Clark becoming the American distributor but today Triple R does their warranty repair. I'd not today have the beautiful K4 which came from the factory so badly made the boiler leaked and the tender pump was just thrown into it and not assembled or connected. Patience and working with the very much missed Cliff I was sent a new one and it is a charm. If we were to judge every manufacturer on a couple of errors (and there are horror stories about all of them out there) in production we'd have to have the talent and equipment to make our own, I for one don't. Like most of us here I can repair and modify them to an extent. Mike, please let us know how your findings. Thank You. LiG

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Old 10-22-2018, 10:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Wont be till mid December on the last update from Bob. I sold my ride on scale stuff, payment on its way with the balance when he picks it up in a couple weeks. Waiting on Bob to work up a package deal with some of the proper passenger cars that stays within my budget. Gonna keep my fingers crossed that I get a good one. Curious how the whislte blows out the burner unless there is an air uptake above the whistle for the burner. And your correct, other than maybe Roundhouse, which extensively test every model under steam before shipping. The stuff from Accucraft and Bowande is about as close to mass produced live steamers as we can get. So "bad builds" are bound to happen, just part of the manufacturing process. In a perfect world, those would be caught by the QC dept and never leave the factory. However, even over here in the USA, we know that doesn't always happen. And its those problem engines that get the most discussion, not all the others that run fine. Seen many of the UK style 8F engines running on youtube, just beautiful. Not many videos of the Jones though, wonder how many have been sold? BTW, the LMS Crimson red 8F is stunning!
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