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Bachmann 4MT Tank

Bachmann BR std 4MT 2-6-4T no 80097 cat no 32-351
The first introduction of this model was one of the earlier Bachmann Blue Riband releases, and came out back in 2001. Had one back then and well liked it, but sold it on quickly with a little added detailing and weathering. I had bought it mostly to check over what was the beginnings of a new standard in OO RTR models. Bachmann don’t appear to have changed anything on the model with later releases, but this one must I think have been ‘new old stock’ when purchased about four years ago. Whatever, really convincing. Measures pretty much bang on wherever you lay your ruler, the shape looks right from every angle; a good solid lump of large BR design mixed traffic tank loco. It helps that the prototype is a handsome and well proportioned machine, the model represents that very well.
Fourteen years ago this was an example of one of the new model introductions that first had me thinking ‘all the practical external detail for 4mm is present’. The glazing, paint, lining and numbers all very neatly applied; a pretty plain and unpainted cab interior though, but then it is hard to see inside anyway. I’ll drill the front frame lifting holes and glue on small washer reinforcements, maybe replace the buffers which are the weakest looking part of the model, (slightly too long stocks, clumsy oval heads which can turn to a jaunty angle). But really it is well detailed enough to stand up to the best of the OO introductions in the years since it first came on the market. Nothing has fallen off in operation, or been knocked off in occasional handling.

Still as good as I remember the first one’s performance. It’s heavy and that always helps with good rail contact for both pick-up and traction, and this example did not disappoint. The pick-up wipers were making full contact, and it ran smoothly from dead slow in both directions. Generally quiet although there was a click going forward, a small bend in the connecting rod one side had to be straightened and that fixed it. Pulls like a champion, belts along at full express speed with as large a train load as it would have pulled in reality, what’s not to like?
Fitted it with my usual choice of decoder, an 8 pin Lenz standard. As usual with this decoder performance is all one can ask for.
The construction is ‘interesting’ and something Bachmann have not repeated: the closely related Fairburn 2-6-4T (highly recommended BTW) enjoys a simpler scheme. Six screws to undo, five underneath ( three obvious and two well hidden above the expansion link bracket) and the speedo cable screw. It’s quite easy to get the body on wrongly, until familiar with the model, slight cocked up angle at the front results. Reassembly of the speedo link can be a trial. Small adjustments to get the pivot well centred on the axle end will pay off! Patience will get you there in both respects.
Good choice as an all purpose machine for many locations, to work both freight and passenger services.
Overall ranking
9 A couple of awkward constructional features hold it back from the full 10. Bachmann learned from this model and didn’t repeat these features!

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