REVIEW: Bachmann WD 40T 'Parrot'


By Howard Smith

17 December 2019

Howard Smith examines this new arrival from the Barwell manufacturer, ideal for modellers with an interest in WW1 military traffic.

Railway modellers are being treated to a number of product releases depicting locomotives and rolling stock used by the railways during WWI. A growing range of OO gauge and complementary OO9 gauge models are helping modellers realise the creation of an often-neglected, yet important era, when the railways were used for the movement of munitions, troops or equipment to and from the front line.

The latest rolling stock proposition to arrive from Bachmann is this 40T ‘Parrot’ wagon. Kindly sent to our office for review, we were afforded its sample with a sheeted tank in WD livery with yellow lettering, supplied with a cast resin load. Another variant in LMS grey without the sheeted load is shortly to be made available, too.

First look

Arriving toward the latter part of WWI, the vehicle carries an all-over grey livery with yellow lettering, denoting its owner, the War Department with WD and ‘broad arrow’ inscription and operator when in France - Etat. Close inspection of the chassis builder’s plate on this new model reveals the crisp inscription ‘Fox’s Pressed Steel Frameplates, Leeds Forge Co. Ltd, 1917’. Supplied with an accessory pack containing cosmetic rail jacks, screw couplings, shackles and pipes, from the box the intricacy of the wagon is quite sparse, though rivet detail brings it to life.

The manufacturer has opted to use a die-cast chassis for strength and weight, making it a stable and smooth runner when loaded. At 95g, the cast resin load outweighs the wagon by 10g, though the ensemble remains stable in operation. A magnet located in the wagon chassis attracts another in the load, ensuring track irregularities, banked curves or sudden jolts don’t cause the load to move.
The skeleton underframe of this vehicle is correctly sparse for detail, but the wagon sides with a perfectly-scale handbrake wheel, six attachment loops and rivet detail compensate. Its pre-Grouping diamond-framed bogies are highly-detailed, the finesse of the axle box oil covers and springs being areas that I feel are worthy of highlighting. Even the attachment for wagon inscriptions when running overseas hasn’t been neglected above the left bogie when viewed from the side. Photographs reveal this sprung clip to be mounted on a wooden block, also depicted on the model. The handbrake wheel is fine and accurate, too.

Bachmann Parrot 38-740

The wagon load sports a textured tarpaulin cover, three moulded string ropes further elevating detail. The tank load is authentically-painted and appears to have received a wash of darker paint, highlighting shadows and detail. I like the impression of the raised gun turret atop, though not being a WWI tank expert and with its lacking the side turrets, I’m unsure of the type it depicts.

All told, another excellent release, providing further variety for military modellers of WWI and beyond into the 1980s, with some seeing use as crane match wagons. Very versatile and highly recommended.