Author Topic: USRA Twin Hoppers — Bluford / Bachmann Comparison  (Read 1061 times)

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bbussey

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USRA Twin Hoppers — Bluford / Bachmann Comparison
« on: June 17, 2016, 04:01:00 PM »
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I received my six Bluford USRA twin hoppers decorated for New Haven today.   They look good, as I suspected they would from the online progress photos.  But I wanted to see how the Bachmann version matched up, since some felt it was a sub-par effort.  I have to say, a side-by-side comparison shows otherwise.

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Overall, the detail on the two models is comparable.  The models both ride at the same height.  The fineness of the rivet detail is the same.  Various individual plates appear to be on both models at comparable relief.  The T-frame trucks on the Bachmann car are not valid for the prototype, but it's nice to have that truck available for other purposes.  The black paint on the Bachmann C&O model is more of a satin or matte finish, while the black paint on the Bluford NH model has more gloss to it.

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The B-end brake configuration is different on the two models.  The Bluford cars have a ratchet brake, while the Bachmann cars have a brakewheel.  I will have to modify my Bluford models to have brakewheels to match the New Haven prototype.

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The simulated coal loads are different.  I actually prefer the look of the Bachmann load, but both loads probably are not fully prototypical in appearance.

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The ribs on the Bachmann model might be slightly more shallow than the Bluford model (and the prototype), but it is not as pronounced as one would believe.  The two models blend well together and do not look out of place with each other.

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In fact, they are so compatible that I have no urge to upgrade my bashed Pennsy GLd to one of the Bluford offerings.  While installing MTL couplers on the Bachmann model is a huge pain, the end result makes the effort worth it.

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Also, I actually prefer to run the cars empty, and I prefer the interior detail of the Bachmann car.   The bracing really makes it pop.

So the bottom line is that the Bluford model is a winner, but the Bachmann model more than holds its own.  The Bluford model is available at a better price point and in greater variety of accurate schemes, while the Bachmann model can be pricey and has been released with mostly inaccurate schemes.  But the tooling of the Bachmann model is first-rate, along with the Bluford model.  I'll probably be looking to add the interior bracing to the Bluford cars along with the brakewheels, as it's easier to do that to the six Bluford cars (and three more special-run NYNH&H schemes en route from BLW) than to finish the eight Bachmann models I currently have in progress.



Bryan Busséy
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Chris333

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Re: USRA Twin Hoppers — Bluford / Bachmann Comparison
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2016, 04:36:06 PM »
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My complaint about the Bachmann cars is some of the schemes are odd. I have some Bluford's in the mail.  :D

jmarley76

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Re: USRA Twin Hoppers — Bluford / Bachmann Comparison
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2016, 12:52:52 AM »
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the Bachmann model more than holds its own

Thanks for taking the time to photograph and post the comparison! I would have guessed otherwise without it...  8)

OldEastRR

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Re: USRA Twin Hoppers — Bluford / Bachmann Comparison
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2016, 01:42:25 AM »
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Price not that much -- a "fire sale" going on now of Bachmann hoppers, at one online retailer.

muktown128

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Re: USRA Twin Hoppers — Bluford / Bachmann Comparison
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2016, 06:43:34 AM »
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Price not that much -- a "fire sale" going on now of Bachmann hoppers, at one online retailer.
I think I found the retailer.  They also have a brick & mortar store.  $14.99 each.

They also appear to be out of many of the new Bluford hoppers (hopefully this is only temporary).

Scott

jmlaboda

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Re: USRA Twin Hoppers — Bluford / Bachmann Comparison
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2016, 07:40:47 PM »
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Bryan, I hope you will share how you adapted the Bluford hopper to a brakewheel... will need to do the same once I begin to gather cars.

bbussey

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Re: USRA Twin Hoppers — Bluford / Bachmann Comparison
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2016, 08:03:58 PM »
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I haven't done it as of yet. But I'm planning on shaving the ratchet handle and adding probably InterMountain brake boxes. I'll have to verify the proper brakewheel manufacturer for New Haven's USRA hoppers and then choose accordingly. Just about every brakewheel style is available collectively among all the N manufacturers.
Bryan Busséy
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www.bbussey.net


Jim Costello

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Re: USRA Twin Hoppers — Bluford / Bachmann Comparison
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2016, 09:05:49 PM »
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I also thought of using Intermountain parts after I read that the model had a ratchet  handle.  From the drawings I have both
the New Haven series 115000 and 120000  used Ajax brakes.  I do not know of any aftermarket sets so may also be a case
for a Shapeways job.

Jim
Modelling the NH down under

bbussey

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Re: USRA Twin Hoppers — Bluford / Bachmann Comparison
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2016, 09:53:11 PM »
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InterMountain detail parts can be ordered direct in desired quantities, which covers the brake box.  Just have to check to see which would be best.  Sight-unseen and going by memory, I'm leaning toward either the R-40-23 brakebox or the `37 AAR brakebox.  A number of manufacturers make Ajax brakewheels.  The original Micro-Trains ones were the best, but the current ones molded in colored plastic are not as crisp.  The black ones probably would be passable though and would be the easiest to obtain.  InterMountain, Atlas, Bluford all have Ajax brakewheels as well.  Atlas has multiple examples, including the best looking in the form of the RS3/RSD4-5 version.  So, no reason to go the Shapeways route.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2016, 09:56:59 PM by bbussey »
Bryan Busséy
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jmlaboda

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Re: USRA Twin Hoppers — Bluford / Bachmann Comparison
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2016, 04:24:22 PM »
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Quote
Quote
...adding probably InterMountain brake boxes.

I also thought of using Intermountain parts after I read that the model had a ratchet handle.

Wow... thanks guys!!!  Didn't know about these details being available... will have to look for them so I can add such detail when the time comes to come of the freight cars I yet hope to build.