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Bachmann LNER O4
Paul Johnson.
Bachmann BR black no 63601 in BR black late crest 31-001

It looks right, and measures up well against drawings. It’s plain black, with numbers and totems neatly applied. The very open cab looks well all painted up with a  cream interior, but I don’t think they often looked all spick and span like that in regular service. A quick examination of photographs of the type in BR service will reveal the often appalling exterior state these locos presented; plenty of scope for heavy filthing up, it is almost impossible to overdo it.


There is a mechanical detail which may irritate slightly if you have an eye for these things: the piston rod and slide bar angle is slightly too steep so that the piston rod axis does not align with the centre of the driven axle. Can be corrected with a little work.
This design is very plain so detail parts are few, all are more than strong enough and look realistic.  The tender fittings generally are very pleasing, especially the fire iron rest ; also the very neat and commendably thin hinging fall plate to cover the freely adjustable loco to tender gap are good features which add to the realism of the model.
Ran really sweetly and quietly straight out of the box, picks up on all coupled wheels. Good gearing for slow speed plodding with a heavy mineral load, really looks the part in motion with the heavyweight mechanical parts, especially the very large big end, swinging round.  The loco has ample motor power but is a little too light to reliably pull a prototypical load. Very easy to part dismantle the body, undo the ballast weight securing screw and remove the boiler ballast weight, and shove in a lot of lead. Then it pulls like it should.
It came with adequate grease on the moving parts, and will get more grease as required. The hex head of the big end crankpin is 3mm over flats, so needs a larger nut driver than the usual 2mm. The 21 pin decoder plug is in the tender – hurrah -  so the decoder is very easy to fit. (This is progress!) I have used the Lenz 21 pin silver, running is excellent from a dead slow smooth crawl up to a realistic maximum speed.
This is a good  model of a very important class, the first in the UK to be selected as a national standard design for war service. They saw widespread use on the LNER and GWR systems and on into the equivalent BR territories, the LMS also had some, and after these were scrapped the other regions' examples still regularly visited their rails; so it is as near universal a steam model as can be imagined, covering most of the final fifty years of steam operation.
Overall ranking
10 It must be, I have gone out and bought another.

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