BACHMANN WEATHERED WAGONS
Factory-applied weathering is very much in vogue at the moment and we’ve received a bumper crop of weathered wagons from Bachmann: ex-private owner eight-plank open No. P63984 and ‘Covhop’ No. B886096, both in the Branchline ‘OO’ and Graham Farish ‘N’ gauge ranges. In addition to those is ‘OO’ gauge 21-ton grain hopper No. B885659 in late BR bauxite. First up is the ‘Covhop’, which is highly regarded in both Branchline and Farish ranges. Both our ‘OO’ and ‘N’ gauge samples carry BR freight grey. The quality of weathering in both scales is consistent and the airbrushed dirt/grime effect, which appears heavier towards the model’s chassis, is particularly impressive. The randomly applied rust effect isn’t nearly as convincing. However, I can sympathise with Bachmann because rust really does require relief to look effective, and that would certainly warrant a price rise. My biggest reservation is that the rust colour appears to be flat - perhaps a little tonal variety would have enhanced its appearance. It’s also a shame that the tops of each wagon aren’t more weathered, with some areas appearing virtually pristine. The 21-ton grain hopper is another fine Bachmann model and the rusty BR bauxite livery we received presents the same beautifully realised dirt effect as the ‘Covhops’. And, although the effectiveness of the rust patches is still hampered for the same reasons, the overall darker livery seems to suit the look much better, making this my preferred choice. Finally, we have both eight-plank opens. Bachmann has attempted to depict layers of peeling paint on wood, but on the ‘OO’ wagon, once again, flat colours create no sense of relief. The ‘N’ gauge version fairs much better - despite sharing the exact same colour scheme. Here, the stripped paint details are too small to detect any sense of relief and actually work rather effectively. It might seem that this review is relatively negative, but that’s an unfair assessment. As I mentioned earlier, the main problem is the lack of relief, which is something you’re only likely to see on a bespoke, hand-weathered model - at a much higher price. The fact is, few factory weathering jobs can beat a skilled modeller with unlimited resources and time. But, if you lack weathering enthusiasm or know-how, then these models are going to look far superior on a layout than their pristine counterparts. And for the price, I’d say that’s a fair deal indeed.
Impressive dust effect, excellent for modellers who can’t/don’t weather. Lack of relief, flat colours.