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Bachmann Class 03
 
Username
Paul Johnson.
 
Version
Bachmann class 03 DM shunter  in BR green D2011  catalogue no 31-360
 
Appearance
Really gets the very square angled outline of the original, the cab looking like a cube. I don’t have a drawing to measure it up, but do have several photos and memories. Looks right to me. One strange defect on the chassis, a slotted screw as the centre crankpin. If the standard hex head crankpin Bach use fits, I will substitute these. Paint, numbers, totem, all very well applied.
 
Detail
Lots of it, and adds to the authenticity. The many handrails all present, very neat bonnet side louvres, excellent glazing for a very clear ‘see-through’ cab with the control levers on view  sticking up from the control desk, good representation of the chequerplate of the platforms alongside the bonnet. Best of all the very fine mesh safety grilles behind the cab steps shielding the fly cranks. You can choose to plug up the necessary coupler mounting apertures in the deep bufferbeams, with a push in alternative pair of blocking pieces provided in the pack, which is a good option to have.
 
Performance
This was all it should be as received, pick ups properly adjusted, ran near silently forward and reverse. Slow speed on DC was very slow, below walking pace, just what is required for a slow shunting type. The action was actually rather better than the all too graunchy and abrupt getaway of the real things. These were not the most sophisticated machine in reality. Traction is good for over  twenty wagons: that’s more than it would normally have been seen moving when shunting cuts of wagons. A metal running plate makes this a solid and weighty little model, feels good in the hand. So, genuinely ready to run, buy it, put it on the rails, and it works really well.
I suppose the cautionary note is that my layout is all live frog points. With a wheelbase less than an inch and a half, dead frog points are inevitably going to be a problem. Sorry folks, just the way it is. The one way around this is to model the loco with a ‘runner’ wagon carrying pick ups.  Quite a few of the real locos were equipped with runner wagons: because the short wheelbase meant they could go undetected by track circuiting on point work.
 
Maintenance
The factory lubricant was ‘just right’ a little grease in each axle well, very tidily applied. I will be surprised if I need to add more grease any time soon, as a small shunter it isn’t ever going to run far. A good choice of gear ratio has been employed to get the slow speed, I counted 44:1, and this with the small wheels results in the very controllable low speed movement. The biody comes off very easily, two screws one each end under the coupler pockets.  I thought I was going to remove the wiring and solder in a small decoder, but having had it open and seen how neatly the six pin decoder socket is arranged in  a well sized void for the decoder  under a false floor in the cab, I feel like getting a six pin N decoder to take advantage of this. Given the very sweet running I am confident that operation on DCC will be all it should be.

Comments
What a tidy little model. In case it isn’t clear enough already, I like it very much.
 
Overall ranking
10. I don’t need another one – there was just the one in the area I model – but I might be tempted and make it into a W+U diesel tram loco by adding the required tram skirts, or even buy one and use the mechanism to power a J70 tram body, for which it would be close to ideal.


 

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