At the Stafford Kennel, the new releases from Bachmann are currently being pondered. Bachmann have gained a reputation for intelligent choices coupled with some real boldness in some of their new items.
In terms of steam releases, the selections for this year are not machines of relevance to the Waverley Route, but being small tank engine classes with preserved examples, they will cater well for those on smaller budgets and those who see the full-size articles at the heritage lines where the locos exist. That should also with luck have a beneficial spin-off for the operating lines, I hope.
Probably Bachmann’s boldest venture this year is the SECR 60′ ‘Birdcage’ stock, to my knowledge the first true RTR coaching stock of pre-grouping origin. My friend Dave at Locoyard will no doubt be very pleased with this and the Brighton E4. Both items can be seen full size at the Bluebell Railway in Sussex.
Whilst the steam releases have avoided the Waverley this year, one very welcome diesel release is announced in the form of the BR/Sulzer Class 24/1. Mostly associated with the Highland/Great North section, these machines became common on the Waverley in Summer 1968 when new operating diagrams were prepared for the Inverness fleet. This came about due to the closure of the Buchan lines where the machines were regularly deployed until May that year. As such the 24/1s are very much a signature of the Waverley’s pre-hibernation swansong.
Another interesting addition to the range is the Whickham Trolley; an early example of On Track Plant, designed to move PWay workers and tools quickly along their sections. These were used on the Waverley from the 1950s so one will be acquired!
Bachmann have also taken the opportunity to revamp their Thompson mainline stock. This was something originally planned for ten years ago when an upgrade to the original tooling was mooted but found to be an over-complex technical task due to the design of the original tooling.
This time, we are receiving a brand new set of tooling. Good news for East Coast modellers and Waverley Route modellers to a lesser extent.
Modellers of more recent eras will be pleased with the new BR Mk 2 Air Conditioned stock announced including the DBSO Control Cars, familiar to those who used Glasgow-Edinburgh services in the 1980s.
An addition to the Mk1 Postal fleet is the POS sorting van also announced.
Freight stock is also varied and interesting this year and includes BR Grain hoppers, Long Wheelbase Pipe Wagons, a new 20 ton tank wagon and a WD/MoD Warflat wagon.
These are all types regularly seen transiting through the Borders in our chosen era.
Lastly from my point of view but no less interesting is a three plank open wagon of LMS origin. This type rapidly moved from traffic into Engineers’ Department use in the 1950s and ’60s and therefore will find similar use within my own fleet.
This list isn’t exhaustive but it’s a snapshot of a once again innovative and bold release policy from Bachmann.
Not a trace of fads like ‘Design Clever’ (low tech at high price) or ‘Talking a good job’ (if someone else does the research because we can’t be arsed) here!
Bachmann appear to be showing the other UK-based big guys how to do it properly!