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Bachmann China DF7G

Prototype Information

Apart from a few very minor subclasses, the DF7G represents China's penultimate diesel shunter/industrial locomotive. They have been manufactured in Beijing and Sifang locomotive works since 2003 and well over 300 units have been turned out. The common color scheme is gold/red, although a silver/maroon livery also exists.

Model Production Summary

Release Date Production Number Production Run Scale Road #s Bureau
January 2008 CD00701 1st HO (1:87) 5146 Shanghai
" " CD00702 " " " " 5148 Shanghai
" " CD00703 " " " " 5011 Beijing
" " CD00704 " " " " 5013 Beijing
" " CD00705 " " " " 5082 Chengdu
" " CD00706 " " " " 5008 Shenyang
" " CD00707 " " " " 5045 Kunming
" " CD00708 " " " " 5162 Tibet
" " CD00709 " " " " 5143 Wuhan
" " CD00710 " " " " 5048 Nanjing

Model Review

Model image above shows some custom changes to the stock model;

- Bachmann EZ-mate couplers replaced with Kadee's

- Wheel flanges have been machined down in a lathe

- Model has been lowered by approximately 2mm by milling away some of the chassis above the bogies

- Exhausts have been drilled through to give a hollow effect

General
The DF7G's ushered in the first dedicated shunting locomotive for Chinese model railways. Bachmann released 10 road numbers for this model, the same deal applied for the SS9G's released in 2007. While the choice of roadnumbers is welcome, it is an interesting point to note that both of these models took a very long time to sell out, and can still be readily found on the market. Only one livery was produced - the common sand/red scheme. One would think over ten variants, they could have found the time to paint the other one!

Details
The cab details are really very nice, as are the roof details. The airhorn design is getting a little dated. The bogie details are really nice on this model, using separate colored pieces for the various components. The sand pipes bend inward towards the wheels which is a nice improvement over previous BC models, where I found said pipes will catch on certain points on the layout. The handrails are made of a pretty awful plastic that will bend out of shape very easily and not spring back into place and they are very bland - no rivet or joint details. I also found that the engine rides a nearly 2mm's higher than it should. The gold/red color scheme is very nicely done (if a little glossy, which seems to be the trend at the moment). The paint is even, with no fuzz inbetween the lines and the lettering is superb.

Performance
These are not the heaviest locomotives as a lot of weight is lost from the hood design. It is possible to squeeze in a few grams of lead, but may not be worth doing, and given the duties these locomotives perform prototypically, isn't really the kind of engine one would flog up hill with a long rake of loaded wagons behind it. My unit performed quite poorly at first, but I put this down to quality control rather above anything else. After some modifications, it runs very nicely. Wheel pick up is excellent and it is very quiet.

Electronics
The lighting is directional, and Bachmann have employed these very poor blue LEDs which are seriously underpowered and just the wrong color all together. Installing a decoder isn't too much of a hassle, but be very gentle when disassembling the model; There is a clip at both ends of the shell to hold it to the chassis - if you break one of these off, your DF7 just isn't going to look right again! As per standard Bachmann practice, the DF7G's have an 8 pin socket to accept any NMRA 8 pin decoder.

Coupler Conversion
The DF7G's will accept Kadee #58 (scale) or #158 (scale w/whisker), or #56/156 for long shanks.

Other Notes
Quite a few shortcomings, but after some modifcations and a lot of patience, a very useful locomotive for any modern Chinese industrial/yard scene.

Review Summary


The Good News

The Bad News
Finally a dedicated shunting locomotive!... ...Although it is a comparatively less common prototype
Bachmann's first hood unit design Deep wheel flanges
Beautifully engineered drive system Rides very high on the rails
Easy DCC decoder installation Poor handrail design & lighting
Beautifully painted and detailed Fragile when disassembling

Model Photos

Model image above shows some custom changes to the stock model;

- Bachmann EZ-mate couplers replaced with Kadee's

- Wheel flanges have been machined down in a lathe

- Model has been lowered by approximately 2mm by milling away some of the chassis above the bogies

- Exhausts have been drilled through to give a hollow effect

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