Tag Archives: Bachmann

So, what aren’t they making?

Well, chaps, New Year is nearly upon us, and inevitably that means the new models for next year will shortly be officially announced. Already things are looking exciting. Kernow have their Beattie well tank and Hastings DEMU on the way, Bachmann have promised us a Robinson O4 (not a moment too soon), a Cravens DMU, a retooled Class 03 and a 2-EPB EMU. Dapol have a Class 22 on the way. Even Model Rail are getting in on the act with their Sentinel shunter, something I’ve often thought would be a good choice in ready-to-run, although that’s partly because I like small, quirky locomotives. Roco have their OO9 Double Fairlie on the way, pioneering ready-to-run British narrow gauge in 4mm.

I think the most interesting lot of models, certainly if you’re a diesel person, is in Heljan’s range. We’re promised Lion, the Class 23, the Class 14, the Class 15 and, rather out of left-field, models of all four types of four-wheeled railbus used on British Railways (AC, Park Royal, Wickham and Waggon und Maschinenbrau).

There’s even an all-but-confirmed rumour that Bachmann are to bring out a ready-to-run City of Truro. Everyone’s sworn to secrecy at the moment, but here are the facts as reported in the modelling press.

  • Bachmann is producing a top-secret model.
  • One of the major manufacturers has been developing a model of City of Truro in secret.
  • Bachmann produced a hugely successful model of Deltic for the National Railway Museum and have been looking for a follow-up.
  • They carried out a poll and City of Truro was the National Collection locomotive most wanted.

Basically, this is the worst kept secret since Watergate. I look forward to it, I think City of Truro is a fine and elegant locomotive and I have no doubt that sales will be through the roof, particularly if they produce it as it looked when performing railtours in the 1950s.

No word on Hornby’s programme yet, so I’ll no doubt be scouring their website as intently as is possible with a roaring hangover on New Year’s Day.

So, what’s next for the major manufacturers? Well, frankly, I think all bets are off. Take a look at the list above and take a look at some of the models we’ve already had in recent years – the ‘Clan’, the 4-CEP, Falcon, Kestrel, Deltic, Class 17, Q1, T9, the Devon Belle Observation Car. These are models that, not too long ago, would have been considered risky if not downright insane for anyone to produce ready-to-run. Yet even the economic climate hasn’t slowed the flow of oddities. So, these would be my wild guesses.

  • The Class 35, better known as the Metrovick Co-Bo, better known still if you grew up with Thomas the Tank Engine as Boco. It’s the really obvious gap in the diesel range at the moment.
  • DP2, the super-Deltic produced in the 1960s. No more ridiculous than some of the one-offs Heljan has been producing, it was basically a regular Deltic externally. Bachmann, over to you.
  • Duke of Gloucester. A one-off, but it’s an obvious gap in the range of BR Standards. It’s back in the news at the moment and, of course, has done extensive work in preservation.
  • Come to think of it, the other BR standards, namely the 3MT 2-6-0 (i.e. the tender variant of Bachmann’s recent tank) and the 2MT 2-6-0 and 2-6-2T.
  • Upgraded GWR coaching stock. Given Hornby’s upgrade of their Castle class, this is an obvious accompaniment.
  • An upgraded GWR King. Generally, upgraded GWR stuff.
  • Hornby, I have no doubt, will continue to expand the Railroad range. I’d imagine the old Castle and Schools class will find their way there. There’s a fair bit of Lima that would go quite well there, I’m hoping to see the LNER J50 and GWR 94XX.
  • Electric traction is obviously neglected at the moment. So, BR Classes 81-85, the EM1 and EM2 for Easterners and the Class 71 and 74 for Southerners. I note that Hornby have been advertising catenary recently – preparing the ground?
  • Obviously it depends how sales of Bachmann’s new 4-CEP go, but it does seem to be the dawning of the age of the old-skool Southern EMU at the moment. I would imagine a pre-war unit such as a 2-HAL to be a good choice, as it complements existing models but is reasonably different in outline.
  • People keep on asking for the Blue Pullman. Will someone finally grant them mercy?
  • Hornby have re-released the Dean Single and Caledonian Single in a number of guises. The one veteran from the Triang range that hasn’t been re-released is Rocket. Could this be its year?

Those are just my guesses for now, but as I say, nothing is too ridiculous at the moment. Nothing at all.

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Ready-to-run Class 07… sort of

We seem to have reached the stage in OO scale modelling where there is no such thing as a stupid suggestion. Beattie well tanks, Southern Region multiple units, BR Clans and the Kestrel prototype diesel would all, not so long ago, have been considered a mildly insane prospect for the ready-to-run manufacturer. And all are either on the drawing board or in the run-up to release. We’ve actually got to the stage where the manufacturers are running out of diesel locomotives to make.

However, while we wait for the Class 14, 15, 03 and no doubt 23 and 28 in due course, there’s another class that’s been stealthily prepared with almost no attention from the model press, and is now not far from its release.

The prototype. Thanks, Wikipedia!

The prototype. Thanks, Wikipedia!

It’s a humble shunter with a relatively small area of operations, being based in BR days at Southampton Docks, replacing the old USA tanks. The class was also capable of shunting EMUs (three worked at Bournemouth doing just this). A number were sold into industry and seven survive to the present day. In many ways, it’s a better candidate for a ready-to-run model than some of the prototypes that are already being manufactured. It’s not surprising that Bachmann have snapped it up.

What is slightly surprising, and what accounts for the lack of attention in the modelling press, is that it’s to be made for the American market. It will only be available in the UK via import. No word on price, but it’ll probably be between £30 and £40. It will only be available in one livery, which will be non-prototypical. Here’s a photo.

Ta-daaaaa!

Ta-daaaaa!

Yep, that’s the catch. It’s a Thomas the Tank Engine character. See, the great thing about Thomas and Friends is that the engines are, with a few notable exceptions, based on real life prototypes. Our man Salty here is a character invented for the TV series rather than the original books who is, yes, a dock shunter. By coincidence, shunter number 2991 is one of the survivors, currently based at Eastleigh (it’s the one in the photo up there).

The model isn’t perfect – some compromises have clearly been made for the sake of producing a model robust enough for children’s use, and the bonnets look a little low compared to the cab. But with a repaint and detailing, it would make an interesting addition to an industrial, dockside or depot scene. You might have to remove the face – I’m not sure whether this was a feature of the prototype or not.

If you’d prefer something more detailed

http://www.silverfoxmodels.co.uk/st/st.htm – Silver Fox produce a resin kit that uses a Bachmann chassis.

See also

http://www.semgonline.com/diesel/class07.html – A nice photo of the prototype.

http://www.pegnsean.net/~railwayseries/salty.htm – About Salty (more photos)

http://www.wnxx.com/disposals/disposals07.htm – Withdrawals.