Author Topic: Nice Bachmann surprise..  (Read 1539 times)

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LV LOU

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Nice Bachmann surprise..
« on: May 04, 2014, 01:41:58 AM »
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 I was at my friend hobby shop yesterday.Never went there much,he was always mostly large scale & narrow guage,but he's starting to carry more modeling stuff,and HO and N trains,especially used stuff..He E-mailed me,said he had a bunch of N in he bought at an estate sale.Got there,a lot of it was already sold,[the place is a pretty far trip for me,didn't get right there..] Anyway,got some old stuff dirt cheap,an old 3 car modern SP Rapido passenger train with a matching Rapido FA,had a blown motor,but I have a few.LOts of other trinkets.I was ready to leave,when he says:" what about these?" There sat three Bachmann 4-4-0's,almost all that was left,couldn't have cared less..He says:" I'm not even gonna try them,I know they're junk,they don't run..How about 15 bucks for the three of them?"
  Well,not interested,but also,not stupid..I had a pair in the scrap at home,maybe I could get two running half decent..Got home..Imagine my absolute SHOCK,as I put the nicest of the three on the track,a nice,clean PRR,turned up the throttle,and it crawled away,dead slow,and went over every switch on my RR without as much as a single hiccup,as quit as a Kato Mike,for ten minutes!!! I mean,we're talking about a Bachmann American,crawling around my 40 foot mainline at 20MPH!
    I felt lucky,the B&O was next..Ran just as well,but there was a problem with the front truck bracket.A little bending,it runs as well as the other one,but I'm having minor problems with the front truck occasionally derailing.AS soon as I get time,I'll dial it in..The third one wasn't so lucky,it had some damage,but as soon as I can iron out the pickup problems,I'll have that running,too.The third doesn't run anywhere near as well as the others.Did B-Man do a major upgrade on these? Everything on the first two just seem much nicer than the others I've had,wheels are molded sharper,nicer paint,ETC....I may take both of the nicer ones,and put matching baloon stacks on them,and paint them for my logging railroad I'm building..   
« Last Edit: May 04, 2014, 01:45:43 AM by LV LOU »

victor miranda

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Re: Nice Bachmann surprise..
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2014, 04:11:22 AM »
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I don't think b-mann did a major upgrade...

the b-mann 4-4-0 is remarkably variable in terms of what you get.

some don't track and do stall.  most will run and track but slow is not an option

and the odd one is a prize that tracks and runs fairly slow.


I have found that brokmoto's observation that if you can get the tender wheels rolling,
the loco is vastly  improved, is quite accurate.

in my attempts to improve the ones I have,
it seems the tender trucks are easy to break.
I lose about 1 of 4 during the initial disassembly. 

getting the truck to flex is the main issue.

victor

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Re: Nice Bachmann surprise..
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2014, 12:25:18 PM »
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 Victor,I'll hafta get some pics,but the two "good" ones just look better made than my others.My old ones have a hex/cup driveshaft,these have a cutie little ball end shaft.The wheels,especially on the tender & front truck,just look better,sharper molding,higher quaility.
  Are there any other freight cars that are small like the Bachmann cars?

SkipGear

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Re: Nice Bachmann surprise..
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2014, 02:54:57 PM »
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Themost recent 4-4-0's are very good. If it's a PRR, then it is the absolute newest release. Any of the 4-4-0's with the EZmate coupler on them are a pretty safe bet.
Tony Hines

LV LOU

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Re: Nice Bachmann surprise..
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2014, 03:00:18 PM »
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 Tony,these have Rapidos...It is a black/gold PRR,though..The other good one is a red/gold/creme B&O..

spookshow

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Re: Nice Bachmann surprise..
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2014, 06:19:03 PM »
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The ball-and-pin driveshaft is on the newest version. Not bad runners at all.

Cheers,
-Mark

brokemoto

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Re: Nice Bachmann surprise..
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2014, 06:31:04 PM »
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Bachpersonn did a series of improvements on these.  The last issues in the cardboard box were improved over older versions.  While they still tended to wobble toward the tail, they tracked and pulled better than the older versions.  They also had a little better slower speed control.  The majority of the last of the cardboard box issues will hold a steady twenty five to thirty SMPH. 

The plastic box versions are the real winners.  B-mann got rid of the tailing wobble.  They will hold a steady fifteen SMPH.  They pull better than any of the other versions.  I found the plastic box versions such an improvement that I actually fitted a MT coupler to my Jupiter so that it could spot cars on sidings.  To be sure, it can only do it by backing the car into the siding, but to have a Bachmann eight wheeler run well enough and slowly enough to do that is worth remarking.

The hex ended drive rod versions of these are HOON-kay.  Many of them are unable even to get out of their own way on straight and level.  If your tender wheels have not seized before you take it out of its box, they will seize shortly afterwards.  The earliest cardboard box versions are not much better.  While some of the latter will pull a car or two, they still seem to have three speeds:  not-at-all, very fast and way too fast.  Every once in a while you could find a C+ grade copy.  GF has a #119 like that.

Some general things on these:

As more than one has observed, the real weakness in these is the tender trucks, even in the plastic box versions.  The wheels do spin better on the plastic box versions, but there is room for improvement, still.  The curious thing about these, though, is that the springs work well in the pick-up system.  When MP used springs in the tender of its Pacific, they were disasters.  While on the subject of pickup, this leads to the next generality......

These things do not like plastic frog switches.  The tender wheelbase is simply too short.  Spend the money for metal frog switches, buy some plastic railjoiners and make your gaps.  Either do that, or use Unitrak and make the frogs live.

These things require HOURS upon hours of break-in time.  Spend the time doing this; you will be glad that you did.

Comparison to Atlas:

Atlas wins hands down on appearance for both the mogul and eight wheeler over the B-mann eight wheeler.   The B-mann looks clunky next to either Atlas. 

The plastic box B-mann and the Atlas eight wheeler are about the same on runnability and slow speed control.  Funny, the two examples that I have from Atlas' second run of the eight wheelers show that tailing wobble that the last cardboard box and older B-mann eight wheelers showed.  It is not as pronounced, but it is there.  I have four examples from the first run and none of them show any wobble, tailing or otherwise.  To be sure, many of the cabs in the first run had a rakish cant to them.  Someone disassembled one and found that the tab to which the cab is screwed was bent, but is easily bent back--more on a related item, later.  Also, the pilot on the first run was not quite lined up properly.  The second run has eliminated the cab and pilot problems.  The Atlas eight wheeler is EXTREMELY FRAGILE; it does NOT stand up well to handling.  The B-mann eight wheeler and Atlas mogul will stand up to handling.

The Atlas mogul is the best puller of the three, but it has the most unreliable electrical pickup of the three.  Of the two eight wheelers, the Atlas is the better puller.

 The B-mann eight wheeler has electrical contact that is much more reliable than that of the Atlas mogul.  Reliability of contact on the later versions of the B-mann are about the same as the Atlas eight wheeler.  The problem with the mogul is that only half of the tender wheels are live.  The locomotive drivers are live, but the presence of the traction tyres reduces the reliability of contact on the locomotive to little more than zero.  The B-mann eight wheeler's drivers are electrically neutral, but, funny, despite the Rube Goldberg characteristics of the eight wheeler's contact system, it really don't work all that bad.  The non hex drive rod versions are a glaring exception to Miranda's Maxim as explained by ke:  "The poor performance of many N scale steam locomotives is far too often directly attributable to poor electrical contact".  The cardboard box versions of these that perform poorly do so due to poor design. manufacturing and quality control.

Another funny comparison point.  The Atlas eight wheeler has a rather long drawbar that is anchored toward the middle of the tender.  The B-mann 'drawbar' consists of a generous loop on the fore of the tender through which you put a screw that is anchored toward the aft of the cab.  This allows for much flexibility.  This thing will take a really sharp curve.  The Atlas on the other hand, does not like nine and three quarter curves.  My nineteenth century pike has a double track main.  The outer, 'passenger' track,  has curve radius of eleven inches.  The inner, 'freight' track, from which you access the industrial sidings and team track, nine. (keep in mind that the pike is only two by four feet).  The B-mann eight wheelers have no problem on the inner loop, but the Atlas will pick the points or frogs on the PECO turnouts set to main.  Yes, I did commit the turnout-too-close-to-curve NONO (What do you want for a two by four pike, anyhow?), I am aware, but the B-mann eight wheelers, the Atlas moguls , the MDC/Athearns have no problems.  I suspect that the stress points caused by the curious anchor point of the drawbar are causing the Atlas to derail.  All but one of my seven examples do this.

MT is selling Civil War era box, flat and 'conductor cars'.  Republic Locomotive Works and Precision Laser Kits (I think that is their name--and I have some of their kits) sell nineteenth century flat cars.  I seem to recall that one of them was going to manufacture hopper bottom gondola kits, as well.  Both are wood kits and are very good kits.  Athearn/MDC have thirty six foot, truss rod boxcars on archbar trucks, some with nineteenth century schemes, some with 1920s and 1930s schemes.  Some Shapeways sellers have nineteenth century rolling stock, as well.

I am still looking for nineteenth century BALTo & OHIO lettering, but no one, to my knowledge, sells it.

If I can find one of GF's digicams, I will take some comparison photographs of the two Atlas' and the Bachpersonn.  It is time to take some newer photographs of my nineteenth century pike, anyhow, as I recently added late fall foliage trees and some shrubs.  I have not gotten around to discoloring the bright green of the shrubbery, yet, so the flora will look a bit odd in the photographs.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2014, 07:19:55 PM by brokemoto »

brokemoto

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Re: Nice Bachmann surprise..
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2014, 11:47:58 PM »
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It is not 'Precision' Laser Kits, rather it is RS LASER KITS that sells the nineteenth century flat cars and gondolas that I have.  Apologies to those nice people at RS Laser Kits.  In fact, I just found one of their kits that I ordered.  It is a kit that you can build as a flat or a wood slat sided gondola.  B&O had many like this from the 1880s to the early 1900s.  If only I could find some of those funny lettering font BALTo & OHIO decals.  I do not know of anyone who sells them, though.

Catt

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Re: Nice Bachmann surprise..
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2014, 12:00:12 PM »
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Back around 20 years ago (more or less) when Target first came to Grand Rapids,MI. at Christmas they had a special "Trim a Train " set made by Bachmann just for Target.The loco was the American 4-4-0.I bought the set after Christmas for I think $15.00.I was warned by several people that the loco would not last me 20 minutes.Well here is some 20 years later the loco still runs just fine and the only problem I've had with it was losing the driveshaft and that was my fault.

Ten years ago I bought a second one (after test running 6 of them) and it runs just like the first one.Every so often I think about replacing those chrome plated pizza cutters on the tenders but as yet have not done so.I am planning on 905s for both sometime this summer though.
Johnathan (Catt) Edwards
Sole owner of the
Grande Valley Railway
100% Michigan made