Re­views

Bachmann’s LBSCR ‘At­lantic’ and Hornby’s Rail­road ‘14XX’ go un­der the spot­light.

Model Rail (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Bachmann has taken a lot of flak from mil­i­tant key­board war­riors for the length of time that it’s taken to de­velop cer­tain mod­els. While Bachmann isn’t en­tirely blame­less for this sit­u­a­tion, it does tie in with its new de­sign ethos – like pour­ing a pint of Guin­ness, it takes time to achieve perfection! The el­e­gant Lon­don & Brighton & South Coast Rail­way ‘H2’ 4-4-2 has been five years in the mak­ing. It’s been tan­ta­lis­ingly close for what seems like ages. Last sum­mer, its ar­rival was post­poned as some tool­ing tweaks were still re­quired – proof that Bachmann wants to en­sure that a model is as good as it can be be­fore it’s re­leased to the pub­lic. We re­ceived ‘H2’ No. 32424 Beachy Head for re­view. This was ar­guably the most fa­mous of the six ‘H2s’, for it out­lasted its sib­lings by two years and is one of those missed op­por­tu­ni­ties for preser­va­tion. Hap­pily, that wrong is be­ing righted as a replica is near­ing com­ple­tion at the Blue­bell Rail­way. Beachy Head was a rail­tour favourite and looked par­tic­u­larly splen­did in BR lined black. It’s this fa­mil­iar liv­ery that our sam­ple car­ries and it does in­deed look, well, splen­did. The paint and print­ing is to Bachmann’s usual high stan­dard. A pair of etched plates is sup­plied in the box, but the printed ones are so beau­ti­fully printed that it seems a shame to cover them up. Im­pres­sive stuff! FOOTPLATE FI­NESSE It seems strange to start the re­view with the footplate but the ‘H2’ has a fea­ture that we’ve never seen be­fore: a fully hinged de­flec­tor plate that pro­tects the driver when the fire­hole door is open. The fin­ish here is good too, with lots of sub­tle brass and cop­per paint­work and all the fit­tings ap­pear to be where they should. The fin­ish­ing touch is a hinged metal fallplate. Tak­ing a step back from Beachy Head re­veals what an ex­cel­lent model it is. Bachmann’s de­sign team nailed that in­trigu­ing blend of Great North­ern and LBSCR styling. The shape and pro­por­tions look right and com­pare well to pro­to­type pho­to­graphs (pub­lished draw­ings are a lit­tle scarce). Even the un­pro­to­typ­i­cal bend in the con­nect­ing rod, which draws the eye on the GNR ‘At­lantic’ (MR210), isn’t as no­tice­able here. The die-cast metal run­ning plate gives the ‘H2’ plenty of weight. The trail­ing truck frames are die-cast too but, be­tween them, the fully flanged trail­ing axle, mounted on a pivot, has plenty of play – see op­po­site to see how it worked on our test track. The smooth, hand­some lines mean that there’s not a great de­tail of sep­a­rately fit­ted de­tail to com­ment on, but what’s there is ex­cel­lently ren­dered. When you have to sink to the level of crit­i­cis­ing the lack of mat­ing flanges on the smoke­box end of the driver’s side steam pipe, you know that you have a very good model on your hands!

Rivet de­tail is im­pres­sive through­out. Those around the smoke­box are good but it’s the ribs on the cab roof that re­ally catch the eye. It’s worth look­ing at the line of riv­ets around the ten­der tank too – they’re just as good.

MI­NOR NIGGLES

The only vis­ual nig­gle con­cerns the all-im­por­tant ‘face’. The shape, pro­por­tions and ‘dish’ of the smoke­box door are spot on but the ef­fect is spoilt by the lamp irons, as they sit a lit­tle too close to the handrail. Due to the tol­er­ances in­volved with work­ing with parts of this size, it’s dif­fi­cult to see how this could be avoided.

The shape and pro­por­tions look right and com­pare very well to pro­to­type pho­to­graphs

The other slight is­sue con­cerns the way the handrails are fixed to the boiler and smoke­box. There is a very small gap around the base of each handrail knob when there was no such gap on the real lo­co­mo­tive. Again, it seems churl­ish to point it out but, from cer­tain an­gles, it is quite no­tice­able. These very mi­nor niggles should in no way de­tract from what is a truly ex­cel­lent model. It looks like an ‘H2’ from ev­ery an­gle – from the pro­to­typ­i­cally tiny gap be­tween the driv­ing wheels to the pro­trud­ing washout plugs. Full credit to Bachmann – the ‘H2’ re­ally has been worth the wait and is heartily rec­om­mended. Bring on the ‘H1’!

NEM pock­ets

Drum­mond whis­tle, fit­ted to side of safety valve bon­net Low­ered dome, fit­ted Novem­ber 1935 Cast iron Ash­ford ‘U1’ pat­tern chim­ney, fit­ted Novem­ber 1935 Cab cor­ners rounded-off, fit­ted Novem­ber 1935 Maun­sell su­per­heater snifter valves re­moved 200lbs/sq. in boiler, mod­i­fied April 1938 South­ern Rail­way pat­tern lamp irons

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