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Sierra Giant Scale - My experience

Old 08-01-2011, 10:03 PM
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apalsson
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Default Sierra Giant Scale - My experience

I wanted to tell my experience with attempting to buy a set of retracts for my Hostetler Cessna 421 from Sierra Giant Scale and a couple of other American Companies.
We often hear how one should buy Western Manufactured goods rather than out of China and people make passionate arguments that the higher pricing charged by the Western Companies is justified by the better service and product quality.

In around September last year (11 months ago), I started looking for retracts for my 27% Hostetler Cessna 421 and after a few e-mails back and forth, I engaged Century Jet to make me a set.
Several e-mails went back and forth where they were adamant they could make a scale set and I sent across drawings, photos, measurements etc.
Finally, the nose gear arrived and to my great disappointment, it was merely a standard 1/5 Scale 90 degree nose gear instead of the 105 degree scale gear for a 60lbs plus plane.
For this, I was charged USD$295.00
I quickly gave up on this and on suggestions from Wendell Hostetler, approached Sierra Giant Scale.

Throughout December, January and into February, I tried e-mailing them but didn't receive a reply to even one of my e-mails. I asked Wendell to contact them for me, which he did and was promised they would get back to me.
Nothing happened, not a cracker. I then approached another person who has built the same plane and again, he was promised they woudl get back to me, but nothing happened.
Eventually, I found out that the company where I had bought the laser cut short kit was listed as a distributor for Sierra and I approached them.

In May, they placed an order for a set and notified me in early June the set was ready. In good faith, I then paid around AUD$800 for the set and was advised they had paid Sierra and the set had shipped.
Weeks went on and no retracts. Upon chasing Sierra down, the dealer found they never shipped the set. After numerous phone calls, e-mails and other non-fruitful attempts, the situation is that I am out of pocket some $800 (USD$900), Sierra have my money but don't ship the goods, don't return e-mails and don't pick up the phone.

I understand they will be aware that for an overseas buyer, taking them to court over the matter is near impossible, so they seem perfectly happy to pocket my cash.
My matter is also complicated by the fact that I paid the middle-man, not Sierra directly and the middle-man then paid them.

I wanted to tell my story in the hope that I can save someone else this kind of a treatment.

I don't have a big budget for the hobby and in fact, I saved up for several months to have this amount for the retracts. It is therefore even more disappointing to be ripped off that amount.

I am going to park the build project because without retracts, I cannot continue and I cannot imagine trying the third Company.

I have some contacts in China. I might approach them and see if they can make me a custom set.
Undoubtedly, I will get good, speedy service and genuien value for money.
I guess I won't try any more American companies.

If any of you know Darrell from Sierra, please take a leak into his beer for me. He damn well deserves it
Old 08-02-2011, 12:35 AM
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SteveR
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Default RE: Sierra Giant Scale - My experience

I too have been waiting since OCTOBER 2010 for a proper set of gear for the 96" Jerry Bates Hellcat plan.

After 5 months I recieved a set of gear......for a P-40! (the leg lengths were wrong, retraction angles wrong and the rotation angle wrong too.) Numerous emails and phone calls ensued. Not one email has been answered by Sierra...but I have been successful a couple of times getting hold of Darrell on the phone. (I keep phoning until he picks up!)

Unfortunately he just promises that he has 'just' finished the parts and will send the gear 'next week'. He also says that there just isn't enough time in the day.... Well, if he keeps this up he'll soon have plenty of spare time!

This now the 10th month I have been waiting for a pretty simple set of gear..........I have a model 80% built but is now useless without the gear.

It is not that the product is bad....Darrell just has no organisational ability, and doesn't understand that he can't keep making promises and breaking them.

Come on Darrell....you can do better than this.
Old 08-02-2011, 02:22 AM
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Default RE: Sierra Giant Scale - My experience

Robart has a set listed:

http://www.robart.com/gear-finder?ti...9&tid%5B%5D=96

I have ordered Robart items through Tower that Tower do not usually stock
(just give Tower the part numbers & ask for a quote) & the service is
the Tower usual, very good.

I have had no real problems with Robart products, a happy customer! - John.
Old 08-02-2011, 10:13 AM
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Dick T.
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Default RE: Sierra Giant Scale - My experience

All of you guys will probably get hammered by fans who think Darrell walks on water. I don't know him and he is probably a nice guy who makes a good product. It appears he is just poor at running a business.

I have read many defensive comments ranging from he is retired, travels a lot, etc., etc. If that is so, why accept orders never intended to be filled?

I wish him well if retirement and travel is what he wants to do, just learn how to say 'no' when someone wants to order. Accepting an order and taking a year or more to ship is fine if both partys agree and no money has yet changed hands. But to accept payment and take forever to deliver, if ever, is plain robbery.

Good luck to the OP. I hope you get money back or the retracts. Either way, let us know.
Old 08-02-2011, 02:36 PM
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Default RE: Sierra Giant Scale - My experience

What an incredible situation.

So many time we are warned about doing business with the Asians, yet most of the posts about people being ripped off are about Westerners ripping them off.

Seems there is no loyalty to customers anywhere in business these days, especially the RCbusiness.

I hope the owners of the companies involved enjoy their retirements with their ill gotten gains. Who knows, maybe the retirement will be forced upon them in less than favorable circumstances.

Is it too late to reverse the financial transaction?
Old 08-02-2011, 03:16 PM
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Default RE: Sierra Giant Scale - My experience

I disagree with a lot of what you write John but I agree with most of that. Maybe you should publish something along those lines in your magazine. Might make them interesting reading for once.

Unfortunately here Robarts are distributed by one of the least popular distributors. That distributor won't sell direct and many shops deal with them as infrequently as possible. Even so, I don't think the Robarts would suit the Cessna the OP is building.

Just another example of why many never try to build scale. It is not always because of the "ARF mentality", sometimes it is just too hard to get the parts needed to do the job properly. Here is a customer of an allegedly legitimate business who has paid what sounds like a fair price (US$900) for a set of retracts yet still appears to have lost his money.




Old 08-02-2011, 03:21 PM
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apalsson
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Default RE: Sierra Giant Scale - My experience


ORIGINAL: Boomerang1

Robart has a set listed:

http://www.robart.com/gear-finder?ti...9&tid%5B%5D=96
These retracts are for the 24% size plans. I'm building the 27% one.
I contacted Robart and they advised they couldn't recommend the set for the bigger plane due to the projected weight
Old 08-02-2011, 03:23 PM
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apalsson
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Default RE: Sierra Giant Scale - My experience


ORIGINAL: aussiesteve

I disagree with a lot of what you write John but I agree with most of that. Maybe you should publish something along those lines in your magazine. Might make them interesting reading for once.
If he writes it himself, the copy right will be his (he knows very well what I refer to) [:@]
Old 08-03-2011, 01:48 PM
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Default RE: Sierra Giant Scale - My experience

Fair is fair!

I have been contacted by Sierra and advised the retract set has now been shipped. I have also been provided with a tracking number for the shipment.
I want it on the record that at no stage have I ever questioned the quality workmanship of Sierra retract sets. In my book and many else's, they are simply the best sets available.
In fact, the photos I was sent of the set show a beautifully made retract set, miles ahead of the cruddy 1/5 scale Nose gear Century Jets sent me earlier, knowing full well that I was building a 65lbs+ plane!

Regardless, I wish there had bene better communication. If I had been told in the beginning that this was the timeframe to expect, I would have happily ordered the set and wated patiently.

So everyone ..... please leave Darrell's beer alone, he has done his bit
Old 08-03-2011, 01:56 PM
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Default RE: Sierra Giant Scale - My experience

I'm still waiting for him to send me a quote on a set for a Waco. He has my plan, and it has now been nearly 4 years. He told me on more than one occasion that he would ship the gear out on Friday. Then he told me it was at the welder's and would ship on Friday (I've given up on ever seeing a quote, the gear or the plan). If he told me anything, I would not believe him.

Bill, Waco Brother #1
Old 08-10-2011, 09:27 AM
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Default RE: Sierra Giant Scale - My experience

To the OP apalsson, I have built the 27% Hostetler 421 in a -B version (with the tip tanks) and wound up going with Century. I'm not sure what you got from them but I had several conversations with Century while waiting on a response from Sierra. I don't remeber the owners name at Century but he was more than accomodatiing, answered the phone every time I called, responded to every e-mail within a few hours even on the weekends and once I gave him a 50% deposit (which he did not ask for, I did it just because I wanted him to know I was serious), a week later the gear was ready and I paid the remaining balance and had it in my hands in a couple of days. I'm not sure what you didn't like about the gear you got other than they use rivets at the pivot points rather than bolts but for a couple dollars in stainless hardware I already had in my shop that was fixed in a few minutes. I originally wanted the 105 degree retract as the plans called for but after talking to Century and doing some measurements I was able to use the standard 90 degree adjusted all the way out which actually comes up a hair more than 95 degrees and make adjustments to the mounting location to make it work and so far after nearly 200 flights and probably 500 cycles it still works perfectly. Century was more than willing to make a set of 105's but that would have cost more money. The owner of Century was willing to make whatever I wanted and laid every option on the table along with the associated costs and let me decide. Then as a final gesture Century had noticed that on the pictures of the real airplanes I had sent there was a rock fender over the back of the nose tire and even though I didn't ask for it or pay for it when the gear arrived it was there.

Even after getting the gear more communication ensued as I was looking for the best option for operating the nose gear doors and again Century stepped up and walked me though a system for the doors along with sending drawings and following up with me. All of this at no additional cost and saved me a bundle of money over what I had originally planned on doing.

Mind you all of this has taken place and to this day I'm still waiting on the quote from Sierra (I finished the plane in May 2008). Not taking away from Sierra and I have seen some of their work and yes it is nice work but if I have to wait 4 years for a quote and god only knows how much longer for the actual product to be made and shipped I would go out to the garage and fire up my lathe and mill and make them myself.
Old 08-23-2011, 01:52 PM
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Default RE: Sierra Giant Scale - My experience

Im wanting some scale p 51 Mustang 5" wheels. 6 emails and no reply. 4 months iv been waiting
Old 08-27-2011, 08:45 AM
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Default RE: Sierra Giant Scale - My experience

I just ordered some brakes, wheels, hubs, air valve, etc and got them within a week for Darrell.
Still, you shouldn't have to wait more than a couple of months for anything. That is ridiculous.
Great product though.
Old 08-28-2011, 05:57 PM
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Default RE: Sierra Giant Scale - My experience

I built an 80" ESM T-28 and bought the retract set from Sierra. They did a beautiful job. His customer service was great in that Igot the gear in a couple of days after order. Ionly live one state away though. Haha.

Even with his fast shipping on the gear, Ihad to wait for a fill adapter for my tank to work with my Robart hand pump. Ithink the wait was a few months. This was okay as Iused another hand pump that was much much smaller, but it worked. Other than that little annoying bump in the road, Darryl has always been nice and cordial. Ihope that Iwill do business with him again and I hope that he doesn't go away either. Darryl, if your reading this, keep up the good work, but by all means, make sure that you always take care of your customers no matter how small or big they are. Do right by them and they will do right by you.

Jon
Old 08-29-2011, 05:05 PM
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Default RE: Sierra Giant Scale - My experience

Looks like there is room for a new custom retract producer. Might be a good business for someone to get into.
Old 08-29-2011, 05:28 PM
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Default RE: Sierra Giant Scale - My experience


ORIGINAL: mrbigg

Looks like there is room for a new custom retract producer. Might be a good business for someone to get into.
Or .... because Darrell is undisputedly a master craftsman in what he doesm, maybe there is room for an administrative person in his business !
Old 08-31-2011, 04:21 PM
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Default RE: Sierra Giant Scale - My experience

Have you received thre retracts?
Old 08-31-2011, 05:34 PM
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apalsson
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Default RE: Sierra Giant Scale - My experience


ORIGINAL: pitcrew 232

Have you received thre retracts?
Absolutely!
And they are exceptionally well made too!
Old 03-07-2014, 12:53 PM
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Thumbs up

If Darrell is reading this I want the 1/4.5 scale retracts for the vailley fw-190. I've sent him an email.

Last edited by steph69; 03-07-2014 at 12:58 PM. Reason: None
Old 02-25-2015, 11:46 AM
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Apalsson,did you by chance take any picks of the gear , I am going to build the 27% also
Old 02-25-2015, 12:09 PM
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apalsson
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Originally Posted by boothg-3 View Post
Apalsson,did you by chance take any picks of the gear , I am going to build the 27% also
Mate, my project has stalled and I am unlikely to start again. If you are interested, I'd be happy to sell you the gears for a reduced price.

Regards
Old 02-28-2015, 01:46 PM
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TonyBuilder
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There must be two Sierra giant scales in a parael univers. I have been buying gear and parts from "Darrell" for years, answers phone calls and emails, ships gear and so on, glade I don't live in that alternate universe where you only get screwed.

TB
Old 02-28-2015, 09:32 PM
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Default nightmare

I tried to get gear for my Batwing years back--I sent him mock ups of what I needed--- he jerked me around for months -then returned what I had sent him without a single word as to why----I'd get out of the hobby before I'd deal with this clown
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