Friday, 16 April 2010

Peak Practice

If you listen to some people older models aren't worth bothering with, however, I've always thought that with some it's worth persevering. The hobby has seen a lot of new ready to run models supersede previous offerings with mixed result sometimes too! I've compared the 'new and old' here previously.

Bachmann's all-new 'Peak' was a pretty decent stab at the type, despite a few little issues. Before this model appeared we had the Mainline version of the type which had appeared in various guises from Mainline, Replica Railways and, eventually, Bachmann. The releases from Bachmann received a US style twin bogie/central motor drive and a large improvement over Mainline's 'pancake' style motor bogie but the body and cosmetics were identical to the original releases. And this is one of the final releases from Bachmann -

I have to say that out of the box is looked horribly toy-like, not hinting at they rather nice mechanism contained within. The body moulding is a little heavy in places, not quite up there with the delicacies of Lima mouldings, but overall the shape was pretty good but the major issue was that the buffer beams were moulded as part of the body! Rather bizarre really! Of course, this meant that the loco looked rather odd if you were familiar with the prototype! A number of firms over the years have produced parts to enable this to be rectified. Looking closer you can see another rather obvious short coming, the recessed glazing, which really does betray how old the design is.

So why, when Bachmann have produced a new and improved version would you want to spend time with this one? Well, this was second hand at a very good price and would sit very easily alongside one I similarly produced about eight or so years ago.

As ever, the advantageous price means someone who is just starting out with conversions and detailing can give it a go without worrying about how much they've spent in case it doesn't turnout quite as they hoped. The only parts I used were Craftsman buffer beams, A1 buffers, Shawplan vacuum and steam heat pipes and Hornby air control pipes and screw couplings. Other sundries included new numbers and headcode numbers from Fox Transfers along with 15 thou clear styrene sheet from Evergreen. So, not too much to spend - of course the sheet plastic will provide enough to glaze a lot of models! The work is quite straight forward and sorting the glazing is good practice for this technique!

And the result? Well, hopefully something which will hold its own. The final addition of thoughtful weathering to pull everything together should finish the project off to provide a satisfying result. It would be possible to go much further and replace more of the moulded details but as it stands, it is very economical, no nonsense project. I'll leave it up to you to decide if it was worthwhile.

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