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Bachmann BR A2
 
Username
Paul Johnson 
 
Version
Bachmann Peppercorn A2  in BR green late crest no 60533  catalogue no 31-528
 
Appearance
Here is one super handsome chunky 6’2” wheel pacific. The prototypes were the best looking of the post-Gresley Doncaster pacific designs, and the model has the overall looks well rendered. This release is I feel better sorted than the initial releases, some of which had poor fit of the cab to the footplating and boiler, (which took some work to correct for those who were bothered). There are two holes in the loco to tender drawbar, scale spacing on the closer hole which looks most realistic but limits the model to a minimum curve of about 30” radius. The longer setting will get the ensemble around set track curves. There are the usual small compromises with RTR, driving wheels slightly undersize over the tyres for example so that the diameter over flanges is correct, and thus the wheels fit under correctly positioned footplating, but you have to run around with a ruler to spot these things, doesn’t detract from the overall appearance of the model in my opinion. The finish is ex-works, the Brunswick green and lining all pristine, numbering etc neatly applied. A set of etched name plates are included for the owner to attach.
 
Detail
Has what I consider about  the ideal level of detail. Nothing too small to be robust, and nothing which cannot really be seen when the loco is running on the track. The multiple valve regulator on the superheater with external rodding correct for this loco is nicely represented, with the extra and quite large casings prominent on the smokebox.  A good touch is the representation of the wood inside frame of the cab side window. Some detail such as on the cab roof is a little heavy (this piece has come straight from the 12 or more year old A1 tooling) but it doesn’t bother me: if it did, tools out and modelling time!. There are cylinder drain cock pipes and steps supplied in the box for the owner to add  if the layout curves permit.  Fiddled around with the fall plate to set it at a more realistic position with much less clearance; slackening off the two screws which hold the cab on the footplating allows this captive part to be removed, it can then be reshaped, but this has to done  to suit the layout. Bachmann have not fitted the wires representing the electrical conduits on the RHS of the loco, the locating holes in the cab front are still present (same piece as the A1 remember) so can easily enough be fitted by the owner who wants them. I imagine they may have done this because too many people bent the one that runs to the motion bracket when removing the chassis of the A1 models?

Performance
Came out of the box running perfectly, smooth and quiet in both directions, and Bachmann have geared it about 30:1 which results in a scale maximum speed of about 180mph on 12V DC. The pick up wipers all properly stayed in contact with the wheel backs whatever position the wheels moved to. So genuinely ready to run. After an hour of gentle trundling forward and reverse, tried it for traction and 14 of Bach’s mk1 coaches were handled on the level, with just a nice half turn or so of wheelslip on starting, this looked very realistic. It would pull this train at a scale speed of 90mph with plenty of extra in reserve for a high speed run: (better in this respect than the A1 model which only just gets to 90mph).  The loco alone weighs 365g, and there’s space for the extra weight which I will add. 
Maintenance
Chassis is removed by undoing three easily accessible screws, two under cab rear, one up front; the tender drawbar has to be removed and then the chassis came out freely, it relocates easily too. The springing on the carrying wheels is well judged, enough for trackholding but doesn’t impact traction. The keeper plate is a very easy fit too, three more easily accessible screws to undo: Then you see there’s a spring on the leading driver, a welcome feature as this is a real aid to reliable pick up.
 
Minimal grease on the moving parts, really tidily applied which is always good  to see; obviously will get more grease as required.
 
A  Lenz silver was hard wired after removal of the socket and its mounting as I wanted some of the space where the socket was for more weight. The good smooth performance with DC was lifted a few more notches with DCC. Probably going to end up about 250g heavier to get the traction I want.
 
Comments
Inevitably I found myself comparing it to Bachmann’s A1 model, first released about twelve years earlier and with which it has much in common as a design. It’s a better executed model in several ways which is good. Any OO layout would be improved by having one of these running on it.


Overall ranking
10. Some more class members (those that came to KX occasionally) would be very welcome, come on Bachmann, Bronzino and Velocity in BR late crest please...

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