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Bachmann LNER V3

Paul Johnson 
Bachmann V1  in BR black early crest no 67664  catalogue no 31-602 (applies  to V1 and V3 types, essentially the same model)

Generally captures the appearance of the real locomotive very successfully; it doesn’t hurt that this was a neat and attractive design, and that translates well in model form. Paint, lining, totems and numbers all neatly applied. Dimensionally a good match for what is shown on reliable drawings. Rather a heavy mould part line along the boiler top (there was genuinely a cladding joint here, but it is over heavy for that) and in other locations, careful removal really helps appearance.  The split chassis construction makes the bottom of the chassis deeper than it should be, there’s little light through the wheel spokes, and no daylight under the boiler. The couplers are the older medium size tension lock design, and moulded integrally with the bogie frame; no NEM pockets for easy exchange to another coupler type.
The detail is all present and firmly attached, although some of the plastic detail is a little heavy and on mine one piece was not true and square, an outside steam pipe. Window glazing is quite deeply recessed , no cab interior detail and the moulded coal is a blob.  Buffers are not sprung. User attachable parts supplied for brake rigging and vac pipes. Worth substituting aftermarket detail parts for some of the more noticeable  clunky plastic moulded on detail, like the smokebox dart handles.
Like most split chassis locos takes some hours of running in to become quiet at all speeds and a smooth performer down to a really slow crawl. The weight and sprung trucks really help the all wheel pick up, that’s very reliable indeed (although the rear truck wasn’t wired as received, added these connections - very easy job - while converting to DCC). It covers the speed range from slow to rather more than a normal maximum speed on DC.  These locos were used on suburban service and were fast, top speed was about a scale 90mph once decoder fitted. Will pull a full size train load for the type without difficulty.

It came with adequate grease on the moving parts, and was cleaned and regreased as required. Regular cleaning out of the main axle bearings to remove the black mess, and replacement with a smear of fresh grease is the secret to keeping any Bachmann or Mainline split chassis type’s electrical pick up working efficiently. The moment the running deteriorates in any way, that’s where to look. They are pretty maintenance heavy as a result; with constant use they needed this work every six months. A  Lenz silver was hard wired in, delivered the usual excellent control. This is one of the easier split chassis locos to convert to DCC, as there is void space inside. A decoder will go alongside the motor flat on the tank side, or in the bunker. A high peak current decoder is a necessity, this motor type used on the split chassis models can momentarily draw very high current, five to ten times the normal 150mA. Not sure why this is, just something to be aware of, it needs a 1.5  to 2A peak current decoder specification to avoid an unexpected decoder failure.


One of the better split chassis performers in the long term. Mine wore out after about seven to nine years of regular use. Once all the plating has worn off the wheel tyre and axle bearing surfaces, the pick up becomes poor to non-existent. Largely free of the other well known troubles of split chassis mechs, the wheels on mine have stayed on, gears haven’t split, wheel face inserts have stayed flat, and they remain quiet runners right up to wear out.  (The loco body can then be fitted on the later Bachmann K3 chassis – the V1 chassis was based on that of the K3 in reality – modified with the rear truck off the old chassis. And there you have a model with a better chassis all around – simple!)

Good model of the subject when introduced, now rather dated.

Overall ranking
6. Bought more when they were the only game in town, all pretty similar. Now decidedly below par compared to something like Hornby’s L1.

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