New Bachmann Class 47 review (and comparison with ViTrains)
Posted 09 December 2009 - 21:22
Haven't yet seen a full review of the new Bach 47 and, having recieved mine in the post today, I thought I would give it a quick shot - with comparison made to ViTrains offering. Welcome any feedback from others on their views too - I would not claim to be an expert on this topic!! I am very much working on what looks right rather than mm accuracy but am referring to drawings of the class from latest MRI mag.
The model I am reviewing is 47474 Sir Rowland Hill in original red parcels livery. Comparison is made to Vitrains RES 47768, 47600 in BR Blue and an old Lima 47489 in Parcels livery (the Vitrains 47s were "finished" by myself prior to review).
Not much to choose between Bach, Vitrains and Lima to be honest. The biggest obvious difference is the fan grilles which are far superior on the Bach. By comparison the Vi's grilles are more like some of Bach's earlier attempts with the mesh being too coarse. Additionally it is not flush mounted (a la Hornby class 56). Lima's grilles of course are simple moulded affairs but I don't find overly offensive once weathered (I also generally upgrade this area with an etched grille - a project I can see me performing on the Vi locos in time). Otherwise, differences are minor but include spacing of ribs on the fibre glass sections (Bach are moulded as two pairs either side of centre line, Vi and Lima as 4x evenly spaced) - on this issue I would not like to comment who is right!! Additionally the panel to the outside of the fan grilles is moulded approx 1.5 times the size on the Vi compared to Lima and Bach but again would not like to comment who is correct. The cantrail grilles look right to me on all three but the Bach ones look somehow more see-through than others (which is a good thing!). Both Bach and Vi cater for different boiler arrangements unlike Lima which is a nice detail. Interestingly Vi and Lima did not choose to paint the fibre glass panels in a light grey as was apparent on the real thing (as far as I believe). Bach have made an effort in this area although it seems too dark to me (were these ever painted as it may be that all three are correct?).
This is where Bach / Vi really start to segregate themselves from Lima. The latter whilst having approx right shape suffers from primitive detailing though carving this off and fitting wire makes a huge difference. The Bach 47474 has 2 different front ends which is a nice detail - the opaque marker lenses look a bit fake to me and possibly oversized looking at photos. I think the issue here might be the overheavy black printing around the frames which exaggerates the feature but hard to be sure. Vi have also made efforts to replicate different details at front ends and 47600 has the same opaque marker lenses at one end. To me these are slightly more convincing but still not perfect - they seem to have a 2-tone effect which I suspect is caused by what is behind. I think they are slightly better overall. On the other end of 47474 is fitted a sealed beam marker arrangement which looks good but massively oversized when compared with Vi 47600. Looking at photos I suspect that the Vi sizing is more correct although individual locos did vary a lot. That said, if you don't put them side by side, the Bach looks nice!
Otherwise differences are minor (once Vi model has been finished!). To my eye the Bach glazing is slightly better. Wipers on the Bach are slightly superior too but only slightly. All main details are there on both models and appear correct (although have read elsewhere there are a couple of loco specific issues which I can't comment on). It is also noticeable that Bach have moulded a more detailed cab interior complete with interior bulkhead pillars ahead of drivers door which are quite prominent on real thing and I have not seen modelled before.
Side profiles are very similar between all three with not much to choose (except for Lima's moulded handrails obviously!). Only main difference is in cabside windows which are a little small on the Vi model - rendering the pillar between side windows and door overwide. This is much more noticeable on the BR blue example (where painted yellow) than on the RES example. As the forward handrail is centred to the pillar, this seems to put the Vi forward handrail too far forward.
First off, the whole underframe on the Bach supplied to me is the wrong way around (easily fixed). Apart from that, again Vi and Bach are light years ahead of the old Lima offering. Variations in underframe tanks are catered for by both Bach and Vi which again is good to see. Main tanks / boxes nicely moulded on both but the differences start when looking at the beams behind the tanks / boxes. Having studied this area at length on the real thing prior to attempting to replicate on an old Lima upgrade, I find the beams are too far forward on the Bach rather than positioned further back. I suspect this is a compromise to accomodate the motor / weight. Vi's effort is superior in this area being more prototypically positioned back from the main components. That said - at least both paid attention to this detail! Both have prototypical daylight in right places between tanks although there should also be some between the battery boxes and the underfame beams which neither Vi or Bach replicate (for obvious reasons of need to accom weight etc). Now I am picking holes though - really both are very good.
To my eye the Vi sits slightly high on its bogies although could be wrong. Bach sits slightly lower with Lima sitting lowest. Looking at photos is hard to be certain which is correct but the smaller gap on the Lima seems to make the setup less toylike amazingly. Seeing brass pickups through the frames on both Vi and Bach also looks out of place - again less of a problem on the Lima offering (I guess there weren't as many pickups!). That said, both Vi and Bach have moulded the bogies with varying depth of equipment which Lima never managed, making the more modern offerings more prototypically correct. There are differences in the size of the bogie footsteps with the Vi offering being quite a bit smaller than the Bach. Looking at ref photos I suspect that neither are right with the correct size being between the two but I don't have exact dimensions to confirm. I don't really see some of the issues raised about old Class 57 detail being removed from Bach's bogies - I don't see much evidence of this. What is true for both Bach and Vi is that the plastic used for the bogies is a bit shiny and may be difficult to paint - in this area Lima scores better with a nice matt finish to the whole underframe. The myriad of self fitted detail on the Vi model sits a little clumsily in places but I can forgive this as at least they were supplied. More of the Bach bogies is cast onto the main unit making more convincing.
No major probs on either Bach or Vi in terms of application - both much more evenly applied than my old Lima. There are quite big differences in the colour of paint with Vi's red being quite garish and their yellow a bit lemony besides Bach's deeper red and more orangey warning panel yellow. I would hate to say who is right here especially given paint colour variation on real thing particularly with age... Details such as OHL warning stripes are beautifully rendered on both models and way better than I could ever achieve myself! Bach scores points by supplying separate etched nameplates and arrows but I wish they would not print the name too as this would make life much easier for anyone doing a change of identity... Bach also scores points by applying paint into the nooks which is lacking on the Vi model - being particularly noticeable on the bodyside footsteps of the Vi model which are red inside despite being a part of the grey band (I don't believe this is prototypically correct!).
In this area I cannot comment as I don't have a layout at the moment with first wood actually cut yesterday. I can tell straight away that the strange wobble of the previous Bach 47 is gone but nothing else I can comment on really. If the mechs are the same as typical Bach / Vis then I would expect both to be silky smooth once run in and the Bach to run a bit too fast for prototype; the Vi a bit too slow. I am hoping both can put in good haulage on my new layout which will require them to handle scale length trains up a 1 in 60 spiral... only time will tell on this count though!
Which is best? I actually like both models very much and most of the detail differences won't matter to most. A lot of comment has been passed on the self finish nature of the Vi offering but I have to say that I found this quite rewarding as it really transforms the loco. In fairness to Vi I must add that it is the first loco I have fitted extras to that did not require fettling to fit the pre-drilled holes (a problem on every Bach and Heljan I have ever tried to fit details too). I suspect that this might just be down to thinner paint on the Vi not plugging the holes after they were drilled on the unpainted shell but could be wrong... Having performed this study of both I can safely say that I will not be cancelling my order for a number of upcoming Bach releases (including Ltd Eds) - nor will I hesitate to pick up more Vi examples as liveries suit my geographical / time frame. I would recommend either to anyone looking to purchase a 47 with the proviso of possessing some basic modelling skills to finish the Vi.
Hope this is useful to anyone looking to purchase a 47. Roll on some more liveries Bach and Vi!!
Posted 09 December 2009 - 21:58
Earleir Bachmann 47s have rivited front front frames, and other 57 related detailing parts which was unacceptable given the retail price they were asking back when they were first relesed!
The Vi trains model is a good rendition by Vi trains, Its let down by the easily removable paint, as you say theyve used such a thin layer of paint on the model! but thankfully this comes in handy if say youre modelling a 47 which is paint has rubbed down on! like 47768 did in the final days of its career. What I dont get is why NONE of the manufacturers omitt details like the transponder box, and emergency cut off switch?? surely if rendered correctly and positioned they would knock off at all?!
The Wipers on the Bacmann model are good but IIRC the blade should be in line with the wiper arm and not at an angle. The bogies can easily be fixed with a coat of Matt black paint which gets rid of the shiney look, but also is hidden when the bogies are Weathered.
not had a Bachmann 47 myself, but had thier 57 which was a good model, may get a Bachmann 47 to see if they have improved..
Posted 09 December 2009 - 22:27
Posted 10 December 2009 - 13:05
The lack of NEM pockets in the Vi version would be an issue for some but for me the main area is the wheels. The Vi one's need a little toneing down, they are a little too shiny.
Posted 10 December 2009 - 16:25
Good to see a measured & informative review on the site once again. I had thought we might not get any more actual "reviews" as they could get contentious & descend into flame wars - we just seemed to get stuck with wishlists & countdowns to models arrivals. I'm glad you took the time & effort to make this post.
Posted 10 December 2009 - 17:42
Very good and thanks, but I wouldn't have bothered with the lima compairsen Heljan would be better choice I think to compare them with
Maybe he didn't have a Heljan one.
Matt - thanks very much for taking the time to do this, I'm sure a lot of members will find it useful
Posted 10 December 2009 - 18:04
I fully support using the Lima model as a comparison, too. Unlike Heljan, Lima actually got the body shape and size right, and with a (good) bit of detailing work they can stand favourable comparison (aesthetically, at least) to more recent releases. Shame about the drivetrain..
Posted 13 December 2009 - 13:17
Thanks for positive feedback and additional points. As suggested I don't actually own a Heljan 47 to which to compare (I was out of the hobby for a few years doing studenty things and when I came back in Bach was launching their 57 which was obviously going to lead to a 47 so I waited!). I do have a large fleet of Lima 47s though which I had started to work through detailing and respraying (4 done so far) - I am not sure how many more I will do now though since, whilst they look fine, they run like dogs unless I invest a lot more changing wheelsets and motors which starts to approach price for a Bach / Vi one.
Posted 15 December 2009 - 18:11
I fully support using the Lima model as a comparison, too. Unlike Heljan, Lima actually got the body shape and size right, and with a (good) bit of detailing work they can stand favourable comparison (aesthetically, at least) to more recent releases. Shame about the drivetrain.
The Lima 47 has a lot going for it I think, even now.
John, if you're ever back in the village I'll show you how I converted a Lima class 47 chassis and an unmolested Lima mech which will seriously surprise you!
Posted 16 December 2009 - 07:21
But they are shifting them thats why they are retaining a high price. People are buying them, me included as I prefer them to the Bachmann model even these new ones.
well generally when released they are ??72-75 , when they realise they cant shift them at that then of course they will go cheaper
Posted 05 January 2010 - 23:45
The Heljan model still looks good to me, despite the width issue.
No 1 Ends (Bachmann left, Heljan middle, ViTrains right):
No 2 Ends (Bachmann left, Heljan middle, ViTrains right):
Roofs (ViTrains top, Heljan middle, Bachmann lower):
Sides (ViTrains top, Heljan middle, Bachmann lower):
Posted 08 January 2010 - 11:48
Matt thanks for the review.
Yep, thanks Matt.
Think I'll be sticking with my Heljans with maybe some Bachmanns added over time. The glazing on the ViTrains is what really grates with me. Far too Lima-like. Also, I think the loco looks as though it sits way too high. I can forgive the shortcomings of the Bachmann and Heljan versions more for some reason.
Just my view though of course.
Posted 08 January 2010 - 12:03
Posted 08 January 2010 - 12:28
ride Height is solved if you have the time to mill the chassis a bit ... Glazing sadly not solved, but if one of the Detailing part's suppliers would provide something like some etched overlays or replacement glazing it isnt solved. The marker lights and high intensity headlight are also a let down as well being to thin in appearance ... otherwise Its a good model that details up well!
You can easily make your own glazing for the Vi 47. The Bachmann hi headlight is also wrong. There are other ways to reduce ride height without the need for a milling machine. The Bachmann model is a pig to get to run properly in P4 without using floating wheels sets. Whereas the Vi 47 runs superbly well. The Vi yellow isn't bad when you have one in your hands to view, it just doesn't take a good photo. Ride height wise the 2 VI 47s that I have are both accurate to 14mil.
Posted 12 January 2010 - 12:52
I am looking for a two-tone green 47, with or without yellow half-panels, but with headcodes and without the orange roof-band with seems to predominate nowadays, i.e. an early version. I believe that Bachmann had one, but do any of the others?
Do I understand correctly that none of the current Class 47 models have NEM pockets mounted on close-coupling mechanics (example: Hornby 31 & 50), only on swivel joints on the bogies?