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Bachmann China DF8B

Prototype Information

The DF8B's are fairly wide spread in China and are used chiefly as heavy freight locomotives. Production started in the late 1990's and they are still being produced today. The first DF8B's were quite dumpy looking machines with headlights flush with the squared roof angles. After a couple of years, this was replaced with a more aerodynamic design with exposed headlight, rounder roof design and the solid pilots were replaced with a hollowed out version to assist in the cooling of the braking system - this being the subject of Bachmann's model. The most common color scheme for these locomotives is dark blue with thick cream bands and red line through the bottom cream band. There have however been quite a few variations.

Model Production Summary

Release Date Production Number Production Run Scale Road #s Bureau
September 2001 CD00501 1st HO (1:87) 5150 n/a
May 2008 CD00801 2nd " " 0101 Zhengzhou
" " CD00802 " " " " 0178 Shenyang
" " CD00803 " " " " 0150 Beijing
" " CD00804 " " " " 0158 Beijing
" " CD00805 " " " " 0181 Shanghai
" " CD00806 " " " " 0182 Shanghai
" " CD00807 " " " " 0198 Wuhan
" " CD00808 " " " " 0210 Tianjin
" " CD00809 " " " " 9001 Tibet
" " CD00810 " " " " 9002 Tibet

Model Review - 1st Production Run

Coming soon!

Model Review - 2nd Production Run

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

General
The release of the improved DF8B is a very welcome addition for Chinese modelers. Many of us were disappointed with the first version released, which was no more than a DF11 painted in DF8B colors. The second release model does a nice job in representing the class.

Details
The paint liveries and lettering are very nice indeed, with no fuzz. The bogies are very nice with a good amount of depth and detail. Side mirrors and roof mounted air-conditioning boxes are very nice also. The black ring around the main headlights is a real improvement and I hope it's used on any future models. The Tibet version has a few differences, notably with the extra rood equipment, different air reservoir arrangement and a few extra vents on the side panels. I feel the windshield wipers are too thick. I was disappointed with the painted on roof vents and would have liked to have seen a new design on the air horns, given they are very fragile and one can see a molding line from the cast quite clearly. This gives an impression of having a convex front, instead of concave.

Performance
The performance is exceptional. These are heavy locomotives (a little less than a DF4B, but quite hefty nonetheless). The deep wheel flanges, part of an annoying trend are ever present, which creates problems on Peco code 83 turn outs. Some electrical components are soldered on the motor case, and these have a tendency to break off - particularly during shipping. Wheel pick-up is very good as usual and the motor and gearboxes are also whisper quiet.

Electronics
The lighting is OK, but the headlights are not bright enough and are the awful blue color from the LED's. I usually replace my headlights by de-soldering them off the board and replacing with a standard "sunny bright" 3mm LED. The metal leads can be trimmed down and folded into place, giving a brighter and more prototypical look.

There is plenty of room inside the engine to add a decoder, and even more weight if needed. As per typical Bachmann practice, there is an 8-pin plug for the decoder.

Coupler Conversion
Swapping couplers is very easy on these models. They will accept Kadee #58 (scale) or #158 (scale w/whisker) for very close coupling, however I would recommend using long shanks (#156) if you have tight radius curves, particularly if double heading as there is a risk of derailments!

Other Notes
A good solid diesel that could find a home on most Chinese layouts. Very nicely done, but could have been even better.

Review Summary


The Good News

The Bad News
A logical model choice, given it's success in China Deep wheel flanges
Excellent smooth & powerful performance Poorly engineered electronics
Beautiful paint work & very crisp lettering Some of the details could have been produced better
Easy DCC decoder installation Yukky blue LED's

Model Photos

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

- Bachmann EZ-Mate couplers have been replaced with Kadee #156 scale whisker couplers

- Wheel flanges have been machined down in a lathe

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