Not quite the holy trinity, but a decent place to start. Many years ago when t’interweb was a bunch of MSN chatrooms and Yahoo groups with people in effect emailing each other abuse, I did a makeover of four Bachmann 08’s, one BR Green, one Departmental Grey, and two BR Blue. These were written up on parchment and presented to the general public through the medium of the Railway Modeller Magazine. At the time the Hornby 08 was the original Triang version, a coarse body on top of the Jinty 3F chassis. The arrival of Bachmanns 08 made us all sit up and take note, clearly there was another significant step forward in Ready to Run fidelity. Previously if you wanted a really good 08 the two versions were the Modern Outline Kits etched kit, or a Lima body on top of an Impetus etched chassis. The Wrenn (nee Hornby Dublo), 08 was also kicking around but was often considered ‘too difficult’ to make a finescale model from. The Bachmann model then, was very good, certainly leagues ahead of its competition with a good mechanism, a good resemblance to the real thing, though I’ve never run a ruler over the real thing or the Bachmann/Hornby models, and a good paint finish. So on the whole we were presented with a good basic model to work on. In the original piece I concentrated on the cosmetic issues.
The airtanks under the front buffer beam were more Kate Moss than Katy Price, and there was none of the pipework around the chassis that is so noticeable on the real thing. New airtanks were made from brass tubing together with the channel section that runs between both pairs of front steps. This is an integral unit, using three link couplings I can afford to reduce the detail compromises needed for ready to run tension lock style couplings.
The pipework was formed from brass straight wire, bent in an approximation of the shapes of the prototype. Pipe sections were shown by using masking tape wound round the wire and painted, and occaisionally a washer or small BA nut was threaded onto the wire to give a similar effect. I hand built four of these assemblies, and older and wiser now I’d have made a simple jig to bend all the wires to the same shape and length. Whilst far from accurate it gave a huge improvement to the chassis areas around the front and rear bufferbeams of the locomotive. This then left me with the opportunity to crack open the cabs and replace the glazing the hard way, by individually hand cutting each window pane. This is a tremendously tedious job, at the time laser cut glazing such as the Shawplan range was just a dream, not even on the horizon. This then left me with four 08’s looking like the following image.
Until the arrival of the completely new Hornby model for the 08 seen below, the Bachmann model was the best game in town. With the Hornby release the deficiencies of the Bachmann model, particularly in the appearance stakes were easy to see.
The Bachmann model had a less refined chassis in particular, this was easily seen comparing the two, Hornby and Bachmann, side by side. The Hornby connecting rods were finer rather than Bachmanns stamped variety and there was plenty of Bachmanns missing pipework on the Hornby model. The chassis springs are better defined on the Hornby model, however careful painting and weathering can significantly enhance the Bachmann chassis and can reduce the visual impact of Bachmanns thin springs. In terms of running quality the Bachmann model still scored highly. Some of the early versions of Hornby’s 08’s were nicknamed ‘screamers’ as at least one batch had a fault within the drive train resulting in what can only be described as a screaming sound. One of my Hornby 08’s had this fault which was cured by replacing the wheelesets with an Ultrascale kit. These have different shapes and materials for the axle bearings, so if yours is a ‘screamer’ then this may well be the cure, it certainly was for mine. In the meantime Brassmasters had realised that there was an opportunity to provide etched replacement connecting rods and balance weights for the Bachmann model, these were primarily marketed to modellers changing the Bachmann wheelsets with either Alan Gibson or Ultrascale replacements. I bought a few sets of these rods and as mentioned in the previous post they sat on the ‘to do’ pile. Another key arrival was the Shawplan Laserglaze kits for the Bachmann 08, I now had the final pieces of the jigsaw and three of the original 08’s were taken out of store and given their final makeover.
I’ll shortly cover in this blog how to fit the Brassmasters rods using the original wheels, and Markits crankpins, which is different from the Brassmasters instructions which involve changing the wheelsets.