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Author Topic: (Slightly Belated) 2008 National Train Show Report  (Read 1604 times)

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« on: July 26, 2008, 05:57:58 AM »

First off, I apologize to the Bach-Man for my tardy post – hard to believe that it’s been a week since I met him at the 2008 National Train Show, but a family medical emergency kept me busy.  (Everything’s fine now, thankfully.)  Actually, I’m a bit surprised that there’s little comment from show attendees here.  I would have assumed some regulars on the Bachmann Message Boards went to Anaheim last week. 

So here’s my impressions and comments on Bachmann’s new On30 products, and other related items seen at the National Train Show.  Due to the elapsed time, I’ll accept any inaccuracies or misquotes below as my mistakes alone.


Rail Bus and Trailer:   This is a cute little bug.  Electronics board is under the pop-off roof in the front vehicle, while wires to trailer are for DCC lighting.  Doors can be opened and closed, though you probably shouldn’t play around with the front folding doors too much.  I couldn’t figure out how to manipulate them with just my pudgy fingers – you may need to tug with tweezers or gently pry the doors into desired position with an x-acto blade.  The driver figure will be individually painted so there will be some color variety. 

Outside Frame 4-4-0:  Bach-Man says this was based on the last American-type engine built by Baldwin in 1945.  You can’t get a more modern 4-4-0 than this!  It’s definitely larger than the earlier inside frame 4-4-0, though the narrow low-slung boiler gives this engine a very “ground hugging” appearance.  This is emphasized by the tall cab – take a good look at the high-mounted forward windows.  Personally, I think a saddle tank could improve the overall appearance, but I don’t know of any similar-looking 4-4-0Ts.  You can’t really see them due to the outside frame, but the drivers are spokeless solid disks.  I assume someone could strip this engine down to the drivers and connecting rods and build a larger 0-4-0 siderod diesel or gas mechanical.  Tender had three fuel options (wood load, coal load and oil bunker), all nicely molded.

4-6-0 Ten-Wheeler:  Whoa.  This is BIG.  I estimate it’s about the length of the 2-8-0 Connie, but the 4-6-0 is taller.  I like the tapered boiler. The two samples did not have alternate tender fuels, but since the coal load was loose I anticipate this will be released with wood and oil options.  Very impressive!  Both the older wood cab/fluted domes and modern steel cab/smooth domes version are elegant.

Upon my inquiry, Bachmann representatives guessed that the 2-6-0 Mogul pilots with operating front couplers should be out by November.


Fn3 2-6-6-2 Articulated Saddle Tank Locomotive:  I think this will be another big seller among large scale modelers, and agree that this is a fine candidate for On30.  When I mentioned this to the Bach-Man, he expressed the hope to eventually see everything in Bachmann’s Fn3 line reproduced in On30, and vice-versa, pointing to the new 1:20.3 scale 0-4-0 gas mechanicals as an example.  (These look very nice, by the way -- should be quite popular among the weathering artists and kitbashers.)

HO scale Log Skidder:  This would be an ideal subject for On30.  Mr. Lee Riley showed how the donkey engine boiler stack detaches and is stored on the frame for rail transport.  The coiled cables in the reels are actual wire, not painted.  A spring coiling machine was specially modified for this task.

HO and N scale Jackson & Sharp excursion cars:   The moment I saw them, I thought of the Disneyland trains just across the street.  (A Walt Disney “Lilly Belle” set prominently displayed right above the cars probably assisted that mental connection.)  I suspect members of the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society (who preserve the memory of Walt’s original live steam home layout) are quite pleased with this release.  The cars are almost 100% diecast for weight considerations so the seat backs aren’t reversible, but that feature would be more practical in a larger scale.  (Hint!  Hint!)  Truly amazing was the amount of molded detail and the pinstripe decorations have to be seen with the naked eye to fully appreciate them.  Even the clerestory windows have stained glass accents.  Mr. Riley took special delight in showing these tiny masterpieces.  But when I asked him about the possibility of releasing them in On30, he tuned coy and hastily explained that narrow gauge excursion cars were different in dimensions and other features.  Nothing “official” could be gleaned from this conversation, but if I interpreted Mr. Riley’s sly smile correctly they might be a good reason why Bachmann didn’t simply rescale the excursion cars.  I guess we all have to “anticipate” until the next announcements…

Elsewhere at the show, editor Chris Lane of the On30 Annual was very excited about the upcoming 2009 edition, and says it should hopefully be out sometime in November.  Another future release worth waiting for – I had a good time chatting with Chris at the Carlstens booth. 

Also at Malfunction Junction’s booth (from Las Vegas), I met Lynn Austin, who modified a couple Bachmann On30 Forneys.  One on display was a 2-4-0 with tender (a nicely-proportioned locomotive, reminding me of the Grandt Line 18-ton Porter – we need something like this), and an eye-catching 2-4-4-0T articulated saddletank engine.  Too bad I didn’t have a camera handy – both were excellent modifications (“Forneycations”?) Maybe some pics will eventually surface on the Net or elsewhere.

In closing, I’d like to thank Mr. Lee Riley and the Bach-Man for graciously answering my questions and sharing their enthusiasm for On30.  It’s always a pleasure chatting with these fine gentlemen, and I must commend the Bach-Man for performing the usually unappreciated task of Message Board moderator with infinite patience and aplomb.  I look forward to seeing them again in the future, along with another batch of On30 goodies.

Okay, I finally posted my National Train Show report.  Any other attendees?  Let’s see your comments!

the Bach-man

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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2008, 11:41:54 PM »

Dear David,
It was our pleasure to see you as well!
Your report is very complete and accurate, and, like you, I am anticipating!
the Bach-man
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