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Andy Y

Bachmann Press Day - July 2017

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On the 5th July Bachmann held a press day to provide updates on projects and there was an awful lot to see showing that there’s been a lot of progress since we last had a briefing 6 months ago.

 

The day started with an overview and a reminder that there is far more to Bachmann Europe than just the Branchline and Farish ranges:

EFE / Die-cast vehicles (buses etc.)

William Britain (Military figures)

First Gear (Die-cast vehicles)

Pocketbond (Construction kits etc.)

PROSES / model railway aids

 

There was a look back to where the hobby was 50 years ago, a larger market in terms of volume of modellers to a time when the largest retailer of model railways was F.W.Woolworth. Today there are fewer modellers but with more choice which does mean more pressure for all involved. The pie charts shown give an indication of the number of locomotive products being produced by each of the manufacturers.

 

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Bachmann are keen to show the differences in obligation levels between being a large manufacturer and an emerging manufacturer:

Bachmann is a significant employer in UK model railway sector along with Hornby and PECO

Bachmann contribute to local economy

Bachmann advertise in trade press extensively

Bachmann sponsor and support major exhibitions

Bachmann only supports ‘proper’ retailers

Bachmann has diversified its hobby portfolio outside traditional model railway sector

 

The question of whether the marketplace is a level playing field was raised comparing a ‘small’ manufacturer where there is a low-cost infrastructure, often no trade support with direct selling (no trade margins) and where lower prices are possible to a larger manufacturer, such as Bachmann, where there is a high-cost infrastructure, everything in-house, an experienced sales team, full trade support, full after sales support (service department) and full Media Support (including review samples, media briefings and press information issued at regular intervals).

 

Inevitably those elements come with costs but they are elements which are essential to maintain a sustainable business with growth. If a smaller manufacturer is to increase in size then those costs will too come to be part of their future pricing.

 

There is confidence within Bachmann at present as they are experiencing an 8% YTD growth in sales in their railway products; the backlog of progress on announcements is being reduced and the reliability of products continues to increase further. The DCC sound Castle, in particular, has been a big success in sales and the Stanier Mogul and Webb coal tank have proved very popular.

 

Bachmann pledged their future direction:

Our aim – to be the best

Our goal – to catch up with promised releases

Our vision – to build a sustainable business in what are the most challenging times since our formation

Our ambition – to continue to serve the hobby and put something back so that future generations can enjoy it too!

 

The acquisition and integration of the EFE range was explained; there will be closer integration of the Collectors’ Club to benefit both markets, this could be seen in the recent Bachmann Times where there are also updates on the road products. There is also a logical tie-in with the Classix vehicle range within Pocketbond. Bachmann will not be flooding the die-cast market in the way that has happened previously and will focus on a key release each month. Newly tooled products will happen in due course but the focus, at present, is on producing fully-decorated models from the factory rather than overprints on base models.

 

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A look through the Woodland Scenics catalogue shows just how broad that range is which Bachmann distribute, an increasing range will be distributed here including some very interesting figure ranges. Talking of figures there is an increasing range of figures in O, G and 16mm scales within the Scenecraft range.

 

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Products

 

It is increasingly evident that Bachmann are looking at bringing more added value to products and exploring where additional features can increase the appeal of products, a prime example of this has to be the Mark 2F coach range.

 

The latest EP samples were shown as below and the lighting functionality was demonstrated. Each coach contains a circuit board with built-in DCC circuitry so there’s no need to purchase or fit an additional decoder which allows the saloon and guard’s compartment (if appropriate) lighting to be independently controlled. Each coach will have a functioning LED at each end for a tail-lamp, the user can choose whether to fit the oil-lamp or battery-lamp mouldings or a blanking plate. The tail-lamp can be selected to be continuous or flashing (as appropriate to the lamp style chosen). Later variants of the coach will feature central door locking lights by the doors and these are selectable so that only the side of the coach which is at the platform is activated. The DBSO also features directional head and tail lighting and cab lighting.

 


 

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CAD work for the Class 90 was shown which will feature a servo-operated pantograph which can be raised and lowered, the decoder socket and selectable lighting for DC users will be accessible via a removable roof panel.

 

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The long overdue new tooling for the Class 158 was addressed with a statement that the chassis design is being carried out in parallel with the Class 117 and 121, not necessarily from a total commonality perspective but from a design principle point of view. The drive will be at a low level to keep the passenger area clear with a single motor bogie for each driving car; one decoder will be required per unit to operate all of the DCC functions and a dual speaker set up from one sound decoder to simulate separate engine sounds is under development.

 

It was previously announced that the J72, which can trace its ancestry back to the launch of Palitoy’s Mainline range in 1976, would be receiving a chassis upgrade. This project has moved beyond that and there will be a completely new tooling for the body too to give options for a smooth or rivetted smokebox, dart or wheel smokebox door handles, group standard or tapered buffers, clear or barred spectacle plates and it will feature a flickering firebox lamp.

 

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The 75T crane CADwork is mind-boggling, obviously not all of those gear wheels will be working but there are certain features such as posable outriggers.

 

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CAD work for the Cromwell tank which will be available to accompany the Warflat release was shown; this will be an injection-moulded plastic model featuring detail differences through the life of the tank and will have two magnets in the base which will allow them to be secured to the metal plate in the chassis of the Warflat to make sure the loads stay in place. Both the wagon and load are expected to be December 2017 releases.

 

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Vehicle loads for the Carflats were also discussed as they under developed with some hints that they will be of interest to those of us who would appreciate some more early 1970s vehicles!

 

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The LBSCR H2 Marsh Atlantic will have another 3 months added into its timeline before release as an issue with the curvature of the rear splashers was identified and a decision made to address that so it is likely to be around February/March 2018 when it is released.

 

H2.jpg

 

The livery samples of the Birdcage stock in SE&CR and Southern liveries were on show; the decoration and lining is simply exquisite, particularly on the SE&CR. How long is it since we have seen a mass market pre-grouping coach in a pre-grouping livery? I am sure this will proved disproportionately popular! The expected delivery date for the SE&CR coaches is September 2017.

 

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The production model, in early blue with small panels, of Kernow MRC’s 4TC was on show as were the 22T plate and bolster wagons for TMC. The first 4TCs are on the boat at the moment so arrival is expected within a few weeks.

 

The latest decoration samples of the faux-teak Thompson arrived during the day and were inspected; the paint finish has come on in leaps and bounds and looks extremely good.

 

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Decorated samples of the FFA/FGA Freightliner flats were on show with their 20’ and 30’ containers. There’s a good weight to each of the flats which should make for stable running even, loaded or empty. We should see arrival of these around November this year.

 

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The POT stowage vans have also moved on to the decorated sample stage. Expected September 2017.

 

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Review samples of the Class 450 have been issued so a review of these will be available in BRM September. The attention to the weathered example is quite revolutionary with faded paint areas for the roof whilst the vinyls retain more of their vibrancy.

 

In N gauge the Class 40 which is now in production looks excellent and we were treated to a demonstration of the DCC sound development work with 26 different sound functions; it packs a lot of punch!

 

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The first EP samples of the N gauge Birdcage stock were on show and these are likely to be available in the second quarter of 2018.

 

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CAD work was shown for the C Class in N Gauge and the TEA 100T tankers.

 

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The 009 range is now likely to be January 2018 and will be on shelves in an easily identifiable green box.
Edited by Andy Y
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You mention a class 177... is that a typo?  I've never heard of it.

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You mention a class 177... is that a typo?  I've never heard of it.

 

117.

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Good news re the J72.

 

Thompson LNER sorry dreadful , still looks like a MFI mock Pine cupboard.

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117.

 

Thanks for the clarification, a 117 is definitely on my list although I do have a couple of the old Lima ones.

 

Rather hoping the Telecom livery comes to fruition.

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That all looks amazing. I am inclined to exasperate Bachmann (and a lot of forum members) by wishing things would slow down a bit! The SE&CR birdcages do look amazing but so do the Southern ones!

 

I wonder if the J72 is a hint of things to come, in that Bachmann has given up the idea of putting new chassis under old bodies and will go instead for complete re-tools. I suspect the J72 might follow the Coal Tank by having provision for installing a sugar-cube speaker without the need for soldering.

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Thompson LNER sorry dreadful , still looks like a MFI mock Pine cupboard.

Perhaps but my reaction is: did they scumble as well as that in reality?

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Thompson LNER sorry dreadful , still looks like a MFI mock Pine cupboard.

 

What are you dismissively comparing it to? A piece of polished teak? Other manufacturers renditions of faux-teak? Period colour photos? Preserved interpretations? Or a cupboard from MFI?

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Those LNER coaches look great. Hornbys teak finish has really slipped since the first batch so to see these ones is amazing.

Edited by Hilux5972

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post-1-0-76818600-1499330156_thumb.jpg

 

Are those wheelsets to a different design to Bachmann's current ones - they look to be a shouldered plastic axle with metal wheels fitted?

Edited by leopardml2341

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Some interesting market positioning seems to be emerging from those models and those under development. I wonder if Hornby will start to adopt a similar approach as some of their latest developments suggest they have the same sort of idea?

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What a superb update and great news regarding the J72. Those Mk2 are just also incredible, it reminds me of European HO scale models with all the extra details and lights, brilliant.

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What are you dismissively comparing it to? A piece of polished teak? Other manufacturers renditions of faux-teak? Period colour photos? Preserved interpretations? Or a cupboard from MFI?

That is of course the crux of the matter and just how many decent, let alone full colour, photos are there available of Thompson coaches in their original 'teak' livery because that is the only thing a model can rightly be compared with.  According to a relative who worked in York carriage works they were spray painted so what difference did that make from traditional varnished wood?  Who is around to tell us as you'd have to be around 80 years old to have even a childhood memory of what these vehicles looked like when newly painted and before they weathered down.

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Maybe it would be easier if we could make coach sides out of those wood veneer strips....

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Maybe it would be easier if we could make coach sides out of those wood veneer strips....

 

Then someone would point out that these coaches are, to quote Andy, "faux-teak". The protoypes were made of steel and painted, so why would you want make them out of wood?

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Nice to see a good amount of progress being reported at last. So it seems Bachmann are going for lower volume / higher value which is probably a good move.

 

The trick will of course be for Bachmann not to fall into the same trap of overcommitting again in the future.

 

Roy

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Then someone would point out that these coaches are, to quote Andy, "faux-teak". The protoypes were made of steel and painted, so why would you want make them out of wood?

 

Granted, but surely if you want to replicate the wood effect, would it not be easier to use wood to do it? Or would that be unnecessary?

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Granted, but surely if you want to replicate the wood effect, would it not be easier to use wood to do it? Or would that be unnecessary?

 

They are replicating a FAKE wood effect, not a real one. The steel bodied coaches were painted with scumble, a popular effect that reportedly didn't look much like real wood. If the Bachmann versions looked like real wood, they would be incorrect. Their version is based on the very limited number of photos available.

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That is of course the crux of the matter and just how many decent, let alone full colour, photos are there available of Thompson coaches in their original 'teak' livery because that is the only thing a model can rightly be compared with.  According to a relative who worked in York carriage works they were spray painted so what difference did that make from traditional varnished wood?  Who is around to tell us as you'd have to be around 80 years old to have even a childhood memory of what these vehicles looked like when newly painted and before they weathered down.

Ok Mike,I'll crave indulgence for ...as you express it....a childhood memory.Whisper it softly but I DID in fact see quite a few examples of this stock in the early fifties (yes some did last that long in faux teak) at King's Cross. Let's just say that they look the business to me and for want of better "evidence" to the contrary other than my own "weathered down" recollection then to h**l with the "pundits" whoever they may be.Game on.Bravo Barwell.

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Thompson LNER sorry dreadful , still looks like a MFI mock Pine cupboard.

Those LNER coaches look great. Hornbys teak finish has really slipped since the first batch so to see these ones is amazing.

They are replicating a FAKE wood effect, not a real one. The steel bodied coaches were painted with scumble, a popular effect that reportedly didn't look much like real wood. If the Bachmann versions looked like real wood, they would be incorrect. Their version is based on the very limited number of photos available.

 

Can't be easy for Bachmann, opinion divided, the original looked like a fake because it was, but woe betide them if the model does! Edited by PrestburyJack

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Nice to see a good amount of progress being reported at last. So it seems Bachmann are going for lower volume / higher value which is probably a good move.

 

The trick will of course be for Bachmann not to fall into the same trap of overcommitting again in the future.

 

Roy

 

Higher volume isn't really an option nowadays. We don't want a generic version of anything, we expect all the tiny differences to be catered for on the model. The days of a single Class 37 with lots of liveries but no other changes are long gone. This pushes up prices if you are working at the high-quality end of the hobby, as Bachmann are. This is a particular problem with coaching stock as saying "we'll do Birdcacges" means "We'll tool up for all the variations on 3 different models for each livery" and takes a big chunk of the development time and budget. 

 

They are also well aware of the overcomitting issue. I challeneged them on the number of comissionsin the plan now and they are comfortable that these can be accomodated without detriment to the rest of the programme. We'll not see 26 items announced in a single year again for a start!

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Might I beg, plead, offer to sell my grans cardigan... for a photo of the Class 450 in pristine condition? Been looking forward to this model a lot. 

 

Also, was there any mention of:

 

- 37099 tooling alteration to the front lamp - due Dec/Jan?

- Production sample of the 70s (70805 and 70015) with tooled air intakes and smooth cabs - due Aug/Sept?

- Any comments on the announced 20/3s?

- Any mention of the GWR 150232, in terms of adjustment to the tooling which has seen the toilet window removed?

 

Also, great to see the Class 90 CADs, fascinating to hear of the working pantograph. Did they explain how this mechanism works? Seeing as I cancelled my pre-order for the Freightliner 90, I shall now re-pre-order it! 

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Also, great to see the Class 90 CADs, fascinating to hear of the working pantograph. Did they explain how this mechanism works? Seeing as I cancelled my pre-order for the Freightliner 90, I shall now re-pre-order it! 

 

Powered by a servo. Still some development work required and they are looking at options beyond a straight up/down action. You might be able to have it hovering just under the wire but this is still in the planning stage so no promises at the moment.

 

The pan will be as fine as possible but with very slight compromises to ensure it can be used. The real thing is incredibly spindly.

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Can't be easy for Bachmann, opinion divided, the original looked like a fake because it was, but woe betide them if the model does!

Don't forget the first samples went back because Bachmann were not satisfied with them.I'm afraid opinion as such in this case equates almost to pure speculation.As has already been posted here,photographic evidence is sparse and unreliable.We have to accept that this ain't going to satisfy some as I'm certain Bachmann will be aware.Thick skins are part of the job description.You cannot please everyone and the guys that painted them aren't around to give us the benefit of their opinion.Make your own mind up.I have.....and my finances can anticipate another hit.

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