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Bachmann LNER K3
 
Username
Paul Johnson

 

Version
Bachmann K3; several  BR liveried lined black, mainly 32-277, 32-278.
 
Appearance
This model captures the look of the prototype very well (distant memory and reference to photos) and is very neatly painted and decorated. Measures well against drawings generally, the driving wheels are a scale 4” undersize though. (Bachmann appear to have done this to get as much weight into the model as possible, the cast metal footplate tapers on the underside to increase the weight in this component, and the wheel diameter reduction enables enough clearance.) Doesn’t harm the general look of the model in my opinion, as the wheel is full diameter over the flanges. The tender couples on at scale distance if the inboard of the two coupling holes is used, which is a nice touch.

 
Detail
Well detailed and everything stays put. Nice touches like footplate stays, a detail not that often represented. The valve gear looks particularly good, the expansion link a proper two plate unit with the radius rod in between and driven by the link, in turn driving a moving valve spindle. One of the best 4mm valve gears in RTR, with almost* every bit that should move giving a fine effect when the loco is in motion. (*The forward spindle to the conjugating mechanism doesn’t move...)
 
Performance
They usually need an hour or two of medium speed running in both directions to settle down to good performance. Adjusting the pick up wipers for good contact is something that often needs to be attended to on a new model. This done the model will run smoothly and quietly from a slow crawl up to a realistic maximum speed for the type. Picks up on the six driven wheels only, in a rigid chassis. Despite this, pick up is very good. It is a little light to reliably pull as large a load as these very capable locos could be used for, six hundred ton gross of fitted stock could be run on 50mph average speed schedules; but the model will slip a lot with a passenger or freight train representing a load this large (15 corridor coaches) on anything other than dead level straight track.

 
Maintenance
I have had a problem on several of the earlier purchases (32-277) with wires detaching from the pick up strips, I would now resolder these automatically when fettling the pick-ups on a new loco. Grease lubrication works well.

 

It is easy enough to fit a decoder, there is a socket and a good space alongside in the top half of the smokebox for a standard size HO decoder. But that is not what I have done, instead modifying the interior to eliminate the mazak ballast weights and pack in denser lead. That gives the model the weight for traction to imitate the prototype. I have Lenz silver or standard decoders in mine, and these give excellent performance.

 

Another little trouble that affects DCC users after some while in operation, is that there is very little clearance above the pony truck wheels before the flanges hit the chassis block. If there are any gradients or irregularities in the track, eventually the flanges wear through the chassis block paint, and then a momentary short circuit can occur. Took a couple of years before enough paint wore off for this to happen with the first of mine, easily fixed by cutting slightly deeper arches above the pony wheels with a side cutter in a high speed rotary tool.
 
Comments
These locos were somewhat overshadowed by the succeeding design, the rightly famous Green Arrow V2 2-6-2.  Nonetheless this Gresley design for the GNR was easily the most successful pregrouping type of heavy mixed traffic loco ( BR rating of 6MT) and much multiplied by the LNER for use on main lines for everything from mineral haulage, fast fitted goods and secondary fast passenger turns. Known for their lively crew ride they got the nickname ‘Jazzers’. They were scrapped pretty fast as the diesels came in, BR having built a lot of type 2 and 3 power to take over their bread and butter freight hauls; the locos (many around forty years old and well worn in continuous heavy service) went  too early for any thought of preservation so there is no example to see today, good to have a RTR model
 
Overall ranking
9 - docked a point for the flaky wiring on some examples and slightly underweight for their power class as supplied. Hasn’t stopped me buying several...

Review Hornby Bachmann 
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