Bachmann 64ft Carflat
◆ GAUGE ‘OO’ ◆ MODEL Bachmann Branchline 38-901 64ft FVV Carflat B745054, BR blue ◆ PRICE £36.95 ◆ AVAILABILITY Bachmann stockists
Reviewing models can be an unenviable task. After all, what can one really say about something that is, at the end of the day, little more than an underframe on a set of bogies? Actually, quite a lot. The N Gauge Society commissioned Bachmann to produce 1:148 scale Carflats (reviewed in MR246) created on redundant Mk 1 coach underframes, so it made sense for them to be offered in the Branchline ‘OO’ gauge range too. It also makes sense when your ‘OO’ gauge Mk 1 coach range is arguably the best and most extensive in the business. If you think there’s been some duplication with the Oxford Rail range, don’t let the minimalist nature of the ‘Carflat’ deceive you. Oxford’s 2017 model depicted a type built on 60ft EX-LMS underframes, whereas Bachmann’s new model features those built on ex-mk 1 vehicles. Our review sample, B745054, was ‘built’ at St Rollox works in 1968 to Diagram 1/088 (lot 3679) using former Western Region Mk 1 W25145. We compared the new Carflat to a Bachmann Mk 1 – in this case Brake Corridor Composite M21026 (39-226C) – and it’s clear that far more work has gone into the new model than simply making the coach frame to fit a new body.
The truss rods look familiar, but all of the brake gear is new, mainly because the brake gear on the real thing was modified to include a handbrake. The vacuum reservoirs look finer than those on the coach. The bogies are carried over. They’re to Bachmann’s usual fine standard, but are dated by the fact that the brake blocks are not aligned with the wheel treads. Unlike a Mk 1 coach, you get a decent assortment of accessories with the Carflat. There are yellow chocks (on sprues), Motorail side boards, vacuum pipes and dummy buckeye couplers (NEM pockets are mounted on sprung cams). There are also air brake cylinders, which can be fitted to make your Carflat air-braked if required. The body compares well to photographs on Paul Bartlett’s website (https:// paulbartlett.zenfolio.com). Bachmann has actually done a good job of simulating BR’S blue, and the printing is exemplary. Even the smallest text on the worksplate is legible, albeit under a magnifier. The FVV weighs in at 93g, which aids performance. Our sample performed faultlessly on our test track, with four Bachmann bogie coaches behind it. It handled tight pointwork and crossings with aplomb. Another excellent addition to the ranks of ‘OO’ gauge ready-to-run wagons. (RF)
It’s clear that far more work has gone into the new model than simply making the coach frame to fit a new body