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Class 121/122 Bachmann V Dapol


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Hi

Does anybody have an opinion on which model is best Dapol or Bachmann? Class 121 or 122. There doesn’t seem to be much difference in the 2 classes, although I think the 121 was made later than the122? They both look pretty good.I have a Bachmann 108 and it’s superb.

B

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I have both and there's not a lot to choose between them.  A lot of people say the Bachmann one is much superior but I don't see it that way.  I bought my Bachmann one new, and Dapol 2nd hand.  There were complaints of poor running initially of the Dapol one but mine was is fine.  Both can do with passengers IMHO (which I've fitted).  The Bachmann one feels very light.  The Dapol one feels like a very solid model IMHO.  The Bachmann one is generally felt to have better underframe detail but at normal viewing distance (and on the move!)  the difference is less obvious to me.

 

I've added passengers to both mine and weathered the Dapol one but not the Bachmann one yet.  The Dapol one has a higher internal floor meaning you have to chop the passengers up even more if that's something you want to fit.  There's lots of buffer-beam detail to fit on both, and lots of colourful language to be used on both when trying to fit them.  Here are some direct comparisons of mine on the layout.

 

 

rev Dapol Class 122 front.jpg

rev Bachmann Class 121 front.jpg

rev Dapol Class 122 side.jpg

rev Bachmann Class 121 side.jpg

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The Dapol Class 121 models have unreliable pickups. Unless fixed, they exhibit hesitations, lights flickering, and occasional stalls.  I bought two of them new - one was so bad I sent it back immediately for a replacement. The longterm solution is to fit additional pickups - or fit a Stay-Alive.

 

The Dapol Class 121 models also whine.

 

A Dapol Class 73 I bought new, derailed quite a bit, on a layout where there were no problems for my other 70 locos. I sent it back and refused a replacement.

 

I shan't be buying any more Dapol products.

 

All my Bachmann locos run without problems.

 

Edited by Mike Buckner
afterthought
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20 minutes ago, andyman7 said:

Yes, the 121 (Bachmann) has the headcode box; they don't make a 122 (with the roofbox destination blind) whereas Dapol make both types.

If they're meant to represent the same prototype. you could use them to play Spot the Difference.

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I see that Bachmann do this in Network SE Livery, I didn’t know they ran on the Southern . Can anyone put me right, I’d love to run one on my BR SR layout.

B

 

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According to Wikipedia, Class 121 units were all allocated to the Western Region in 1960 and in 1978 all of the units were still allocated to Western Region depots. - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Rail_Class_121

 

The Network South East livery wasn't introduced until 1986, so I'd suspect the model you're referring to is a late 80s into the advent of privatisation guise and therefore not suitable for a 1960s layout.

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Oh dear, can’t stretch that one. Oh well, never mind. Even running a special seems far fetched ! The 108 was a fairly frequent visitor on excursions from the North.

B

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16 hours ago, Butler said:

I see that Bachmann do this in Network SE Livery, I didn’t know they ran on the Southern . Can anyone put me right, I’d love to run one on my BR SR layout.

B

 

 

Network SouthEast does not equal BR Southern region.

 

;-)

 

 

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17 hours ago, Butler said:

Oh dear, can’t stretch that one. Oh well, never mind. Even running a special seems far fetched ! The 108 was a fairly frequent visitor on excursions from the North.

B

 

Well if you can run a 108 as an excursion from the barren North Lands, why not run a 108 with a 121 or 122 tagged on the back?

 

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The Class 117 / Pressed Steel 3-car DMU (as made by Bachmann) were known to operate the odd Reading - Tonbridge services back in the 60's & 70s in place of a Tadpole unit. Once the Reading - Redhill - Tonbridge / Gatwick Airport (North Downs) service was transferred to the Western Region (late 70's when the Tadpoles were withdrawn), initially services were provided by Class 119's, but the Class 117's did appear quite often, especially on the Tonbridge services (the 119's with their increased luggage capacity being used on the Gatwick 'Fast' services). The Bachmann Network SouthEast Class 117 has the destinations for Reading and Gatwick Airport, which they occasionally did appear on.

How does this relate to the Class 121. Well, on the odd occasion, and more often during the 90's, a Class 121 would be used to substitute for a Class 117 Driving Car. Not really easy to replicate with the Bachmann 117 model though, with it's huge between-car connectors.

 

However, in the 60's, you would definitely see a Class 121 or 122 on the Seaton / Sidmouth / Exmouth branches, once they were transferred across to the Western Region. In the South-east though I would guess the closest a single Class 121 would have got to the Southern during the 60's would be at Staines West or Brentford.

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I had both the Bachmann and Dapol versions. Both are DCC with the Bachmann also having Bachmann's sound.

 

The Dapol unit was a poor runner and I rarely used it. I replaced it with the Bachmann  unit which runs far better and has absolutely superb sound. Bought the 117 at the same time which also has really good sound.

 

Dave

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Thank you all for the advice. I have ordered the Bachmann with sound, and I will Run it with the Bachmann 108, ( with no Sound) on a Saturday excursion train. Seeing that they both seem to have the same engine B.U.T. Leyland 150 HP ??  The sound will do for all 3. I hope!

B

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Unfortunately, in my 1960’s Ian Allan books, I have noted ‘spotting’  many varieties of What are now classed as 121, 122, 108 etc but I didn’t  ever note where and when! Shame in hindsight, but at the time , not what we were interested in. The most attractive aspect of these railcars, to us kids, was the fact you could look out of the front windows seeing where you were going, a real novelty from our SR Emu units where you could never see forward, so we would ride on one if we got the chance.Even on a 4Cep the very front of the driving coach was locked off, or a 4 Cor where the whole bulkhead was moved to block the front in the drivers cab that was being used, preventing a view forward.

B

 

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2 hours ago, Butler said:

I have ordered the Bachmann with sound, and I will Run it with the Bachmann 108, ( with no Sound) on a Saturday excursion train.

 

Your issue is likely to be that sound and non-sound decoders tend to behave differently.  Sound decoders are usually set up with a delay between when you turn up the controller and when the unit starts to move while the engine revs up.  The acceleration and deceleration parameters will likely have been optimised to match the sound project.  You'll therefore need to play about with various CVs on the Bachmann 108 to try and match the performance of the sound decoder in the Class 121 to achieve a satisfactory consist. 

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Yes , thank you, I hadn’t thought of that. I guess it might be quite difficult to match. Would it be CV2,  start voltage, and CV’s 3 and 4, Acceleration and deceleration. Could I read the CV settings for the 121 and match them or would it be different on a sound Decoder ?

B

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There will be more CVs that can be adjusted on a sound decoder than a non-sound decoder and apart from the low numbered ones, these will also vary by decoder brand.  CVs 2, 5 and 6 or the speed table if you're using one would be the start point to match the speed performance of any two units (sound or non-sound).  However, you won't be able to just copy values as the motor, gearing etc will be different between the two units.  Matching CVs 3 and 4 would ensure that both units accelerate / decelerate a similar rate, but you'll also need to try and find a CV to replicate the fact that a sound decoder wont move as soon as the throttle is turned up, whereas a non-sound one normally will.  How you do that will depend on what decoder is fitted in the Class 108 and whether it has the necessary functionality to simulate a delayed start and try and match that to the performance of the Class 121.  I'm sure it will give you endless hours of 'fun'.

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Just a thought, is it possible to disconnect the motor on an emu or Dmu , so it can freewheel? I don’t know what is involved, never tried. If it was relatively easy it would save a lot of hassle with 2 decoders running together. I have a great many  emu’s running in pairs.

B

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I don't see why not - you'd be converting a motorised multiple unit into a non-motorised coach.  The issue would be whether your remaining unit (the Class 121 in the case) has sufficient traction to pull a rake of non-motorised coaches.  It would be worthwhile doing some haulage tests with a few coaches once you get your Class 121 to see what is possible.

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Yes thanks, good idea, but I have no idea how to get the motor apart and disconnect any gears. Maybe  someone has done it.

The 121 would only be hauling 2 coaches, can’t imagine that being a problem, but Certainly easy and worthwhile to try first. Maybe I could try it with a couple of Pullman’s, and form “The Wimbledon Arrow”

B

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