I had been resisting doing a write-up on this topic since I didn't want anyone to feel like I was trying to insult their intelligence, but a look at recent "Sold" listings on eBay shows that people are still falling for a very avoidable scam currently plaguing eBay. Those who shop eBay often have probably noticed in recent weeks a large increase in scams originating from China. If you haven't heard of these shenanigans, these listings generally have a number of traits in common:

  • The use the image of a recently listed item (hard to detect if you don't frequent eBay).
  • The seller is located in China with 0 feedback and typically has a name consisting of random letters followed by random numbers (i.e. vxalh79631691).
  • The item is generally a high value item (such as a $400 locomotive) listed for a "Buy it Now" number in the teens ($12.12) and includes free shipping (again, from China).
  • The description will generally match the listing title verbatim.

An experienced buyer is going to see the red flags and stay away from the listing, but those who lurk on eBay less often may fall prey to this scam. This scam is not specific to G scale trains - it has shown up in other train categories and probably others. At the time of this writing, eBay has not come up with an effective solution to combat these fake listings but has generally been decent at removing them in a timely matter (but not always, as evident by the number of these listings that have sold). The best course of action when you see these listings is to report them (the link is at the top-right above the description) and move on.

If a deal is too good to be true, it is!

Stay smart guys & gals.

- Tom

Bachmann's Aristo-based Eggliners are starting to arrive at dealers and with them are the spare parts. The Bachmann Eggliner uses the same 2-axle motor block found on the original Aristo Eggliner, so spare motor blocks can now be found for your U25B/FA1/FB1/RS3 locomotives in need of a little love since the motor blocks from these 2-axle products were all interchangeable. The Bachmann part number is BAC 96275SP. The design appears to be the last one Aristo released without the axle spokes going through the sideframe and the machined wheels have the lovely metallic finish that everyone has known to identify as "good" Aristocraft.

Tonight USA Trains officially announced they are releasing a die-cast FEF-3 Northern (4-8-4) into their Prestige Series as well as a new run of heavyweights into their Ultimare Series.

The FEFs are all Union Pacific and are numbered #8444 (Black/Silver), #835 (Greyhound w/ Silver Stripes), #844 (Black/Graphite), and #8444 (Greyhound w/ Yellow Stripes). MSRP for all units is listed at $3799.95 which puts it in the same price category as the USAT Big Boy.

The new heavyweights consist of a Baggage / Club car (similar to the Aristo combine), Coach, Diner, Sleeper, and Observation car. Announced road names are Pullman (Green w/ Black Roof), NYC 20th Centry Limited (Green w/ Black Roof), Pennsylvania Broadway Limited (Tuscan with Gold Stripes and Black Roof), Union Pacific Overland Route (Two Tone Gray with Silver Stripes and Black Roof), Santa Fe The Chief (Green with Black Roof), and Southern Pacific (Green with Black Roof). MSRP For all cars is $289.95 except for the Observation car which rings in at $299.95 and puts them in the same range as their extruded aluminum cars and the original heavyweights that Aristo produced. Absent from this line-up is the full baggage car (big mistake) and an RPO. Initial imagery release by USAT appears to show 3-axle trucks.

Expected delivery for the engines and cars is April 18th, 2018. Talk to your dealer soon to pre-order yours.

Link: USA Trains Announcement

A lot of progress has been made on the database, with dozens of new items being added weekly. Right now the most time-consuming part appears to be getting my hands on credit-free images in uniform sizes. Aristocraft continues to be the bulk of new items being added, and USA Trains will probably be next followed by LGB.

Also, I started offering free website hosting for clubs and personal train-related sites. Head on over to http://my.gscale.net/ to get started. Hosting is free, but domains cost me around $12/year so that cost will be passed on directly to you. Companies or for-profit organizations can still use this service, but it'll cost $24 per year.

- Tom

After a brief hiatus as a result of ongoing site maintenance, I should be able to start working on the site with the majority of my tinker time again. The site has been optimized to user fewer resources and I've simplified a lot of miscellaneous things to make it easier for users to find content.

The first thing I'm going to to is re-visit the Manuals database. The current database was thrown together one night in less than a few hours, so there's a lot that needs to be cleaned up and re-organized. I also want to start adding LGB and Bachmann manuals/parts diagrams where I can find them. That process should start this coming weekend, so stay tuned!

- Tom