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Bachmann LNER C1

Paul Johnson.
Bachmann C1 Ivatt ‘Large Atlantic’ in LNER Green – exclusive to Locomotion/NRM
Oh wow! Many older steam enthusiasts rated these the best looking locos in the UK. The model doesn’t disappoint, screams elegance from all angles. Measured it and it is correct, compared it to photos and it looks right, even some features which look ‘wrong’ like the accurately reproduced flat on the back quarter of the rear driver splasher. The daylight that should be present under the boiler is there and some (correctly) red painted parts represent the visible top edges of valve gear components, the drive train is fully concealed. The tender is a milestone in itself, first example of a GNR design six wheeler in RTR.
Bachmann have had to make a few compromises to get a working OO model though. The wheel tyre diameters are at maximum wear, essential on the drivers which in reality are spaced extremely closely. But what you see impresses, because that short driven wheelbase is thereby made correct to scale, and if that isn’t right all sorts of other distortions creep into a model, as seen on the old cast whitemetal kits from various makers over the years. The biggest visible compromise is the connecting rods which have a cranked bend in them. This is necessary for set track radius 2 operation to avoid the rod catching on either of the leading crankpin and the steps in the centre of the coupled wheelbase. Very awkward, and I cannot see another solution for a RTR model. (Going to find a way to fix this on mine as I use larger radii.)
I’d reckon this as ‘all practical detail for 4mm is present’. Usual selection of user selectable parts to add, dependent on how tight the layout curvature is, and therefore what clearance is required for the bogie to swing out and for the tender to move relative to the loco. You can set the loco to tender distance on a screw locked slide from true scale to ‘miles apart’ as required. The glazing, paint and numbers all very neat, some extra green paint really required on the splasher tops I believe for an ‘in service’ LNER loco rather than the restored paint job. I really like the very freely hinged fall plate. The opening smokebox door stays shut while running which is good. Probably the best representation of a smoke box interior yet seen in a regular OO model – but still nowhere near accurate! But then I run my locos rather than pose them on shed for maintenance attention.
Some of the detail reflects later appearance – the model is of the preserved loco, not as it first appeared in service and this has to be borne in mind – so there is detail which may not be right for 1902, this sort of thing often means boiler top fittings like chimney, and dome, and stuff like riveting isn’t quite as when the loco first appeared. The buffers are not sprung, but nicely made to give the appearance of parts which can move. The ‘coal’ is a ballast weight, best removed and replaced with coal that looks like coal!.
Again with the Wow!. Good quiet mechanism that ran really well straight out of the box. It gave a smoothly gliding impression as it first cruised around the test track, really lovely to watch. The pulling power was the pleasant surprise. Atlantics are not easy to get right in OO in a number of ways: tend to sway about a lot, hard to make pull well, apt to fall off the track unprovoked. None of these troubles here. Very steady running, will pull a full size heavy train on level track and still belt along in the scale 80 – 90mph range: all that the real thing would do in short. Never thought we would get a RTR atlantic, let alone one good for sixteen Bachmann mk1s on level track. That’s extremely pleasing, mine looks great with the five to eight ‘K’ type Pullman cars that they worked on express services in the 1930s, and for which they were kept sparkling clean.
Off with the tender body, that was a little difficult to both release and replace, after taking the two rear screws out it needed a lot of wiggling to release the clip on elements at the front, and it was similarly awkward to re-engage these. The only construction aspect I would criticise. Cut off the capacitor – not needed with DCC – and installed a ‘Lenz Silver21’ decoder. Superb operation.
Three screws release the loco body for servicing the mechanism, very tidy inside. It came neatly greased on the moving parts, and will get more grease as required. Very neat mechanism arrangement, the axles run in brass bearings, the motor mount is screw assembled, all as it should be.
There’s space inside for a lot more weight, if anyone wants to operate it on a layout with gradients. Mine is going to get some, because I do have gradients and expect a reliable start with a maximum load train, and the Pullman cars are a little draggy due to the axle pick up wipers.
Worth the money – yes it is expensive – but just try making one run this well for yourself to appreciate how good a job has been done here. And then there is the beautifully modelled bodywork and a choice of fine paint jobs too. Is this going to be GNR origin loco of the year, or will either or both the Heljan O2 or Hornby J50, 1.) arrive?, and 2.) top it? Potentially three GNR loco releases in one year, never thought I would get to write that.
Overall ranking
10. A corker. Available in original elaborate GNR two tone green livery with lots of red oxide and lining everywhere, attractive LNER lined green (version described here), and BR black.

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