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Bachmann Class 55
 
Username
Paul Johnson.
 
Version
Bachmann  Deltic (class 55) D9017 in BR two tone green with yellow end panel 32-529

 
Appearance
Well it looks like the mighty drone, and the overall measurements are correct, save that the body is positioned at what I estimate to be a scale 5” overheight above the top of the bogie frames, giving it a strange ‘on tiptoes’ look (readily rectified). The paint job is good, slight fuzziness at boundaries in a few places if you look closely, the numbers and totems neatly applied. The front windows are noticeably slightly undersize, especially in depth which does affect the ‘face’ a little. There was a lot of criticism of the nose shape when the model was introduced: I saw these things near every working day when they were in service, thanks to being located in various offices overlooking the ECML, and the model looks like what went roaring by, so good enough for me.

 

Detail

 The real thing was very sleek and featureless on large areas of the bodyside and the model replicates this. Cover panels are often represented by printed on lines though, which is taking things too far; some work with a scriber and rule to give these some relief is beneficial to appearance. The etched name plates supplied are very good which is some compensation. The buffers are crude to be frank and not quite set straight on my model, a couple have fallen off in service, easily reattached: someday it will get complete replacements. Be very careful when handling the body by the sides, easy to dislodge glazing, this too easily resecured. A pretty comprehensive set of add on bufferbeam detail has to be used selectively, what can be installed depends on both the layout curves and coupler used.
 
Performance
Ran really sweetly and quietly straight out of the box, picks up on all wheels. Bachmann’s excellent standard centre motor drive and a lot of chassis weight enable it to reliably pull a prototypical load up to scale express speed. (If your layout is big enough it will run thirty coaches up to a scale 100mph, which is fun.)
 

The outside end wheelsets are narrower then usual, to avoid them hitting the bodysides on second radius curves. This can cause derailment problems with older set track points as the wheel can literally fall into the crossing gap. I have been told ( by someone I would class as reliable) that currently produced set track points are OK.


Maintenance
It came with adequate grease on the moving parts, and will get more grease as required. After a pleasant half hour  undoing all the body securing screws, access to the interior is straightforward enough, it needs a 21 pin decoder though there is no mention iof this on the box, guess who only had 8 pins available?  I have used the Lenz 21 pin silver, running is excellent from a dead slow smooth crawl up to a realistic maximum speed, but the budget Bachmann 36-554 now available will run this mech equally well.

 

Modifying the bogie pivot to drop the ride height is a simple task, did it at the same time as decoder install and soldering on all the clipped on electrical connections on the main PCB. Big improvement to the model’s appearance when the gap between the top of the bogie frame and the bodyside lower edge is to scale, BUT, this is only possible if curves are 30 inch radius or larger, otherwise the wheel tops will cut holes in the body sides. That last must be the reason why Bachmann have mounted the body higher above the bogies than it should be. I feel this is a good move: all the components are to scale, which means you get a more accurate model if  the  layout has large enough radius curves to permit the modification.
 
Comments
An adequate model, but compared to the NRM/Bachmann DP1 looks downmarket. If Heljan use the DP2 chassis they have coming in OO, with the research for the O Deltic they are working on and which looks very good indeed in preview pictures;  that could well be a knockout OO model against the Bachmann version...
 
Overall ranking
8

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