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Bachmann SR C Class

Paul Johnson.
Bachmann C class 0-6-0 no 31086 in BR black unlined early crest cat no 31-462
This represents the SECR design C class 0-6-0, a long lived type and relatively numerous by SR group standards with over a 100 in class, and which survived to near the end of BR(SR) steam operations. A very pretty small 0-6-0 which can still be seen preserved on the Bluebell railway, and I reckon the model is a good representation. The key dimensions check out and it looks neat and pretty – as it should – not least due to the lovely curve of the cab side cut out, a very characteristic feature of late Victorian loco design well captured on this model. There is a slight shortage of daylight under the boiler from ahead of where the firebox should finish; not a disaster as it doesn’t call attention to itself, and the large sandbox on the centre splasher acts as a mask for much of this.
These locos were pretty plain externally, so the detail opportunity is limited. What is represented on the loco is consistently done well; look at the chimney taper and safety valves.
Perhaps the tops of the rods for the valve gear mechanism could have been shown under the boiler? The cab interior though, has pretty much ‘everything’ painted up which is perhaps some compensation, and useful on a model with a tiny cab and low tender front where most of the controls are on open view. The glazing, paint and numbers all very neatly applied.
The tender has one major and pretty visible compromise, the brake shoes are moulded in line with the frames, well away from the wheel faces. I can see myself altering this one day as it isn’t worthy of the rest of the model. The lump of cast ‘coal’ which doubles as a ballast weight is best removed and replaced by real coal. There’s not even a small representation of the coal slide to the shovelling plate, which I like to see represented even if only in shallow outline rather than full depth.
Setting the drawbar for the loco to tender distance is by the good feature of a screw locked slide. This may be set close enough that the very fine hinged fall plate on the tender step lies on the rear of the loco footplate and moves as the model goes over any less than perfect track, I had to pull out the two intermediate buffer castings from the tender front to allow the tender to swing when closed up to scale distance. This is all rather good, but will limit operation to curves of about 24” radius; opening up the slide setting slightly will get loco and tender round smaller curves.
Straight out of the box operation was fine. The pick-up wipers made full contact, and it ran well in both directions immediately. Quiet, pulls well, certainly good for the relatively small loads such a loco would usually haul. Truly RTR and you would have to be very critical to find fault, it got appreciably better at a smooth dead slow crawl speed after an hour or so of steadily jogging along.
This model was fitted with Lenz Silver21 decoder with which it runs beautifully.
Two screws release the loco body for servicing the mechanism, and it is all very neat inside. There was adequate grease on the moving parts, which will get topped up every now and again.
Hoping Bachmann keep going with models of small locos to this standard – or better..
Overall ranking
9.5. One or two small niggles – the sort of things that only get noticed because the general standard is so good - but really a very fine model altogether.
Review Hornby Bachmann 
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