23 January 2023
Despite minor gripes, this model is held in high-regard by Andy York, as he takes a first look at the new model.
Bachmann's Graham Farish brand has given us access to a review sample of its new Class 90 Bo-Bo for 2mm:1ft scale / N gauge. The model captures the style and appearance of prototype, just as its previous 4mm:1ft scale model did, running under the Bachmann Branchline brand when first released in 2019.
What we like:
- The nuances of the curved cab roof area through to fine replication of bodyside grilles and door panel lines and wealth of underframe and bogie detail are well-captured. Although the roof equipment is relatively simple for an electric locomotive, it is accurate and well-defined.
- The scaled Brecknell Willis pantograph, which isn't operable, but is posable at a range of heights, is impressive for the scale, feels durable and is easily unclipped from its stowed position by a clip which can released with tweezers. The very fine pan head is easily rotated to the appropriate angle, and only under close scrutiny can it be seen that the collector sections on the top are an upturned angle section rather than a flat surface.
- The front 'face' of the model captures the clean lines with the recessed wipers (to explain why none is visible) and a very fine grille covering the horns.
- Removing the Rapido coupling allows the user to fit the front valance filler into the aperture, but my admiration for the factory’s assembly workers is heightened when it came to fitting the piping details.
- The performance of the model is superb, smooth, quiet and capable of drawing a full-length train with directional and cab lighting; analogue users can configure the directional lights, which look superb in action, via the dip switches inside the body. DCC users can, of course, manage this via the functions.
What we noticed:
- The passenger-dedicated locomotives initially had a rubbing plate for propelling stock while the buffers were retracted and turned (the model does not have the rotatable buffers that the 4mm version has). On the model this sits slightly proud of the extended buffers which isn’t correct but is a reasonable compromise.
- We have seen several excellent approaches to the accessibility of decoder sockets from manufacturers and from Bachmann, too. Having to pull the bogies out from the assembly – which are somewhat stiff at first to do – may be a worrying moment for the modeller before the four, very small, screws are moved. The body can then be separated to fit a Next18 decoder.
Overall, this is an excellent and highly capable portrayal but it appears that design considerations were necessary, which has made the model a little more difficult to fit a decoder than is ideal.
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