15 September 2019
Updates on the models currently under development at Bachmann.
Bachmann have shown us the latest updates to the many projects currently progressing towards our model shops. After the 3 hour session, it's apparent that some are moving along more swiftly as the new factory gets into full swing with more projects in process in the last six months than we have seen for a long time. It's also evident that some clearer air is being shown between Bachmann and other mainstream RTR producers in terms of functionality and quality of features.
In this exclusive video, Andy York talks us through the list and demonstraites some of the DCC features.
The first Class 20/3 samples arrived a few months ago but had been held back a little to show the item for the first time at the Bachmann Collectors' Club event, the model brings the Class 20 into the 21st century with its depiction of DRS liveries and working lights.
We have seen the EP samples of the 94xx previously but it was pleasing to look at the model more closely, it should be a strong performer with a very respectable weight to the model. It is hoped that livery samples will be on show at Warley 2019.
The Class 24/1 pleases all round too and, in our view, really captures the features.
Decorated samples of the Class 117 and Class 121 were on show, the decoration of the early 'speed whisker' livery is particularly good with ex-works underframe detail. There is a stunning piece of decoration on the blue/grey version with a minute 'Please close the door' sticker on the drop window, the text of which can only be about 0.3mm tall. Both classes are expected to arrive early in 2020. The low-level drive unit means that the interior floor level is commendably low and the 117/121 project has been a beneficiary of the substantial re-design which went into the Class 158 re-tooling.
The Johnson 1P has so many tolling permutations to the project to depict the locomotive from Midland Railway through to British Railways with different boilers, chimneys, safety valves and bunker coal rails for eaxmple. It struck us how well-balanced it is with the centre of gravity just behind the centre of the rear driver indicating that it should be strong and stable. In testing, it has handled 15 coaches on the level and five coaches on the test-track gradients which are about 1 in 30. A look underneath shows it should be relatively straightforward to re-gauge to EM/P4.
We had chance to operate the 45T Ransome's steam crane as well as look in awe at the detail levels. The small knob has a magnet in one end to remove the circular panels on the rear of the cab to access the operable mechanism and the other end has a square peg to turn the fitting to raise and lower the jib and hook. With extendable outriggers and full rotation it's very posable for breakdown scenes. Comprehensive instructions are under preparation which even include how to re-rig the jib and hook if anything unfortunate happens at some point. The model will be shipped in a larger box with the jib raised to keep the cables under tension to ensure the model reaches the customer in the best possible condition.
The Class 158 and 159 should arrive in early 2020, Andy was really taken with the GWR surprisingly as he's not that fond of the contemporary livery but Bachmann have done something a little different with the paint finish with the dark green having an increased sheen compared to other models which with the matt diagonal band gives a pleasing differential in the finishes. One feature which caught his eye was the finesses of decoration to the door control panel and signs. The decoder socket is very easy to access with the removable underfloor panel.
We had the opportunity to test the sound-fitted version of the 159 which has an amazing array of sounds even down to the windscreen wipers. It was interesting to note how the sound-fitted model operated under analogue control with smoothed acceleration and deceleration evident in addition to the basic running sounds (so it's not just for DCC!). Whilst both the 158 and 159 come with pre-fitted speakers the 159 benefits from having a speaker in each of the end cars to give a degree of separation on where the sound appears to come from. The 158 has a single speaker.
The N gauge star of the show was the first EP sample of the Class 319 unit, the shape is looking very good and there's a nice feature with the end couplings facilitating the coupling of multiple units together whilst maintaining better appearance, a huge improvement on a big rapido hook. The model will be on show for the first time to customers at TINGS 2019.
The N gauge Mk2F and DBSO have reached decorated sample stage, the directional lights on the DBSO are stunning!
Decorated samples of the N gauge Thompson coaches were available for inspection including the complex fake teak finish which, I think, works even better in 2mm scale than it does in 4mm.