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Bachmann China ND5 (phase ii)

Prototype Information

The ND5 locomotives were built by General Electric as the C36-7, and exported from the United States between 1984 and 1986. A total of 599 were built, with 422 of them sold to China. The Chinese received two batches of these locomotives. The first batch were standard C36-7's, the second (as in this review) saw improvements to increased visibility with the large front cab windows and a different arrangement of the air reservoir tanks next to the fuel tank. It has been running reliably on some of the busiest mainlines on China's rails for over 20 years.

Model Production Summary

Release Date Production Number Production Run Scale Road #s Bureau
May 2009 CD01007 1st HO (1:87) 0402 Shenyang
" " CD01008 " " " " 0358 Jinan
" " CD01009 " " " " 0234 Shanghai
" " CD01010 " " " " 0339 Shanghai
" " CD01011 " " " " 0300 Beijing
" " CD01012 " " " " 0380 Beijing

Model Review

General
Bachmann China's ND5 is a very welcome addition for HO scale modellers, bringing us the first mainline hood unit available (the DF7G is classified as a shunter).

Details
Bachmann China have captured every angle and dimensions absolutely beautifully. The livery is particularly well reproduced and the lettering is nice and crisp. Details on the models are really quite superb. Owners will enjoy the etched metal grilles over the large radiator fans, very fine windscreen wipers, hollowed out air horns, see-through steps and two-tone handrails. There is a pair of air hoses included which are to be installed by the modeller.

Performance
The performance is exceptional, even though they lose weight being a hood unit, these are very powerful models. Mine had no problems pulling 22 empty gondolas up a 3% grade @ 35% throttle. The motor is dead silent, although there is an awful lot of noise from the gear boxes, not especially surprising after seeing all the oil in the box. This doesn't go away after running in, and an appropriate gearbox lubricant is highly recommended. Top speed is just about right for a scale 120kph.

Electronics
The lighting is very nice, very bright LEDs for the main headlight and number boards, as well as marker lights. I would suggest the lights are too blue, but this can be fixed up by painting a tiny (really tiny) amount of "Tamiya Clear Orange (X-26)" on the surface of the LED's. The red reverse lights look fantastic and shine with a very good brightness level. It is a shame that the front and rear number boards can't be turned on at the same time.

Decoder installation is quite easy. The PC board has an 8 pin socket and I would recommend using a smaller decoder for these engines - for example Digitrax DZ125, or any N scale decoder - as the space inside is quite limited. Inside the fuel tank is a template for drilling speaker holes for those who would like to use a sound decoder.

Coupler Conversion
Swapping couplers is a little trickier on these locomotives, but is a pretty straight forward affair. They will accept Kadee replacement #156 (whisker/long shank).

Other Notes
Yes, the wheels still have the deep flanges (when will they learn), but this hasn't dampened my enthusiasm for these terrific models and I highly recommend Chinese fans buy one or two at least! You will not be disappointed!

Review Summary


The Good News

The Bad News
Model beautifully captures the prototype Deep wheel flanges
Excellent smooth & powerful performance Lots of gearbox noise
Crisp lettering and even paint work
Amazingly fine details, yet surprisingly robust

Model Photos

Model image below show some custom changes to stock model;
- Air horns custom painted same color as main body
- Bachmann EZ-Mate couplers have been replaced with Kadee #156 scale whisker couplers


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