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Model Railroading > Deformed handrails on Athearn models


Date: 02/06/20 00:40
Deformed handrails on Athearn models
Author: brv200

Hi all,

there is an interesting phenomenon that occurred to two of my Athearn models (Genesis MP 15AC CP & RTR SD40-2 IND) and I' m kinda keen to read about your experiences.
Both models were bought in 2008 and both models actually never left their glass display cabinet. After a few years the handrails started to to fade out and the plastic obviously contracted and deformed in some way. I have to point out, that other Athearn purchases were NOT affected and  did not show similar changes. It seems to me, that the light causally determined  the "mutation" of the red color pigments. But its just an assumption.

My questions for you are the following:
- Did someone here on TO have to cope with the same problem?
- Did Athearn provide replacement parts AND are the new (red) handrails stable now?

I've attached a few photos for you to depict the damage.

Thanks for your interest and contributions.

Franz
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/20 00:40 by brv200.








Date: 02/06/20 00:42
Re: Deformed handrails on Athearn models
Author: brv200

some more pics....






Date: 02/06/20 00:52
Re: Deformed handrails on Athearn models
Author: needles_sub

Is your room subject to wide variations in temperature?
I have never seen handrails this badly warped.
I realize most hate MTH models, but I like their handrails. Going to shows, the really hold up.

Posted from Android



Date: 02/06/20 01:00
Re: Deformed handrails on Athearn models
Author: BigDave

If they were in glass, were they in a place where sunlight would have hit the glass? Could have led to a greenhouse effect inside the case.



Date: 02/06/20 04:41
Re: Deformed handrails on Athearn models
Author: SPDRGWfan

I'd guess the handrail plastic was much more sensitive to heat than the rest of the model.  It looks like heat exposure over time deformed them, such as sunlight or a lights shining on them.  They look light faded as well as warped.



Date: 02/06/20 06:30
Re: Deformed handrails on Athearn models
Author: BAB

Would say that they were made of poor quality matrial thats why the fad and distortion happened. We had a full scale SF caboose here at Train Mountain painted by some our volunteers that faded the red bad due to lack of one color of pigment in the paint having enough material in it.
 



Date: 02/06/20 08:40
Re: Deformed handrails on Athearn models
Author: g-spotter1

Do you have a special type of light in the case that emits excessive UV?  Outside of that, I have never seen anything like that, unless exposed to sunlight or high heat.  Send those pics to Athearn for some replacements.



Date: 02/06/20 10:34
Re: Deformed handrails on Athearn models
Author: brv200

needles_sub Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Is your room subject to wide variations in
> temperature?
> I have never seen handrails this badly warped.
> I realize most hate MTH models, but I like their
> handrails. Going to shows, the really hold up.
>
> Posted from Android

Nope, Sir!

These two models sit together with hundreds of other models in my show cases. The temperatures are pretty constant with a maximum of maybe 10 degrees. The room is in the first floor and normally I keep the roller shutters closed. The CP units sits on a different place as the IND unit does. I also do not use any artificial infrared or ultraviolet light.


 



Date: 02/06/20 10:40
Re: Deformed handrails on Athearn models
Author: brv200

SPDRGWfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'd guess the handrail plastic was much more
> sensitive to heat than the rest of the model.  It
> looks like heat exposure over time deformed them,
> such as sunlight or a lights shining on them. 
> They look light faded as well as warped.

In fact they are faded AND warped. As I've written already: No heat exposure at all.

The most interesting part of all the answers for me is: No one else obviously had to cope with this kind of deformation.

Many thanks for your replies.

Franz



Date: 02/06/20 12:37
Re: Deformed handrails on Athearn models
Author: funnelfan

I suspect they were regularly exposed to sunlight by some means, maybe even reflected.

Ted Curphey
Cheney, WA



Date: 02/06/20 12:44
Re: Deformed handrails on Athearn models
Author: Fizzboy7

In my thirty years selling Athearn locomotives, I have never seen that take place.    I am guessing sunlight may have been shining on them from a window or something else (?).    

Jason Eminian
Smith Brothers Hobby Center



Date: 02/06/20 14:36
Re: Deformed handrails on Athearn models
Author: Auburnrail

I have several Athearn 5 unit double stack cars.
I bought them because of the fidelity to detail, to Athearn's
credit they were (are) beautifully detailed models.
They have been stored for 2 years now in a fairly
constant moderate temperature and humidity, in a closet with no light.
All the thin plastic handrails, grabirons and anything else in plastic thin enough to
scale is warped as though one side or end shrank.
I attribute this to the basic fragility and instability of the type of plastic used for this application.
Oh, and my Bowser 5 unit platform has done the same thing. 
George Andrassy 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/20 14:40 by Auburnrail.



Date: 02/06/20 14:56
Re: Deformed handrails on Athearn models
Author: Gulliver-Stuart

The store I worked at in Mineola, NY had (maybe still has) one of those CP MP15AC's from the firs trun and the same thing happened to its handrails.  When Athearn did a second run of them I contacted Athearn and they sent a replacement set at no charge.

Stuart



Date: 02/07/20 05:41
Re: Deformed handrails on Athearn models
Author: RichM

I think the group exhausted the direct heat/light cause.

Looking at the issue more closely, I'd suggest it's a bad polymer batch, either too much solvent or too low an average molecular weight. The plastic never quite cures.That would also explain the color fade.

It's pretty difficult for a small manufacturer to provide a tight specification and the ability to verify it. Especially when normal expectations have been met for years.

I guess you could ask to see the provider's ISO process procedure.

Isn't manufacturing in China just wonderful?



Date: 02/07/20 06:41
Re: Deformed handrails on Athearn models
Author: SPDRGWfan

Gulliver-Stuart Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I contacted Athearn and they sent a replacement
> set at no charge.
>
> Stuart

I've done this too for some Athearn SD units I had.  Maybe we won't know the cause for sure, but hopefully Athearn supply replacements.



Date: 02/07/20 08:18
Re: Deformed handrails on Athearn models
Author: Athearn_Trains

Bad batch of red handrails. Affected any unit from that time period with red handrails. MR had an article about it a little while ago. Have you contacted Athearn customer support to see what they can do?



Date: 02/07/20 10:19
Re: Deformed handrails on Athearn models
Author: BrokenRail

Had something similar happen on two units, stored in the closet, dry, relatively constant temp. Both were RTR SD40T-2 and SD45. I would describe it differently though, not as warped, but rather, disintegrated. Damaged occurred over just a period of 2 years.
I obtained replacements from an inside source at no charge and completely the projects.
I would suspect Athearn would replace at no cost.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 02/08/20 12:04
Re: Deformed handrails on Athearn models
Author: globalethanol

KV Models just released EMD handrail stanchions:  http://kvmodels.com/kv-147h/ made out of bronze. Try those with your own bent wire and you probably won`t have to worry about anything warping.

twl



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