Joined: 28 Mar 2013
|Posted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:23 pm Post subject: Bachmann "new" HO Plymouth MDT switcher
|For modellers of the US railroad scene, finding a small, reliable and (relatively) inexpensive diesel switcher has often meant buying a Bachmann GE44 or 70 tonner model. Think again - the latest, Chinese-made Bachmann Plymouth MDT model may be a very useful alternative. I bought an HO version of this loco off ebay for fifteen quid last week, in as-new, unused condition, but they seem to retail over here for about £25-£30.
This model can best be described as “inspired by a Plymouth MDT” - it’s not a true replica by any means. For starters, it has an 0-6-0 chassis, whereas the real thing is an 0-4-0. That is not at all noticeable though (thankfully) due to the very deep side-frame/chassis detailing. The body too takes some liberties with the actual loco but then it’s been around for many years and from several manufacturers, I think (Tyco? Mehano?). My HO model measures just 4.5 inches (115mm) long over Bachmann’s usual US-style knuckle couplers, so it’s perfect for micro- or minimum space layouts. The wheelbase is just over 1.5 inches (42mm) so it’ll negotiate very tight curves: passage though Peco first radius Set-track was effortless, whilst I had it going round 12 inch (inside rail) radius Peco flexi track without any problems at all. It went through all of Peco’s dead frog, Set-track points at a crawl without stalling once. My Bachmann Drewry 04 failed that test!
The paint finish on mine (Burlington CB&Q, see pics of Giles’ “Lazy River RR”) was excellent and the nicely moulded body features some fine handrails on the front end and a working headlight. Most important of all is the performance: it’s a heavy little model and the slow running is truly most impressive. Add some detailing bits and pieces maybe, such as a driver figure, windscreen wipers, cabside handrails, better air horns and an air tank behind the cab and you’ll have a great switcher model.
These locos were very long lived, built c. 1950 onwards, and some are still in service today. Typical industrial users include glass works, quarries, mines, coal prep plants, agri-products, sugar refineries, chemical plants, sewage works, scrap metal processors, power stations, forest products and lumber yards, cement plants. I see no reason why a shortline couldn’t use one too on general freight business. I can't recommend this model too highly and at such a bargain price. (Make sure you buy the new, Chinese-made version though!)
The web sites below give some more info and useful photographic references for modelling: