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Bachmann China QJ2 2-10-2

Prototype Information

The QJ2 was an experimental gas powered locomotive based on the standard QJ in an effort to make steam motive power more efficient at a time where steam production was still a rather major event. QJ2 0001 was built in 1986 and was subject to a series of tests, before being converted to standard QJ configuration and mated to a new tender and sold in the early 1990's as # 7291. The original tender of this locomotive was preserved at Datong Locomotive works and then painted in light blue, making Bachmann's 'blue' QJ essentially incorrect! 7291 was still in service into the mid 2000's on the Pucheng-Baishui coal railway before being stored following an accident.

Model Production Summary

Release Date Production Number Production Run Scale Road #s Bureau
May 2011 CS00107 1st HO (1:87) 0001 (Black) Shanxi
September 2011 CS00108 2nd HO (1:87) No#, presumably 0001 (Blue) Shanxi

Model Review

General
Bachmann's QJ2 is the first, and most likely only run, of its class. The black version was released first, with the limited edition blue variant made available some months later. Packaging is much the same as QJ 2470 'Zhu De', which supports the model very well in the box, however I'm not too keen with this new style, particularly with this model given the extreme levels of detail and very limited places one can grip the model to remove it from packaging!

Details
Black version - the details are absolutely superb. Handrails are painted white which looks fantastic. The pony truck is painted red with white lining and the cylinder casings bear the China Rail logo - a great surprise to me as I detail many of my locomotives in the same fashion! The tender is incredibly well done. The headlight (on both versions) appears to be mounted a little too high from my photographs.

Blue version - this model is equally physically detailed, however lacks much of the printed details of the black version. It should be noted that the blue QJ2 (asides from the tender) is a fantasy version. I think Bachmann got a little lazy with this variant, with no road numbers painted on the cab side or smokebox and buildersplate is also painted blue with no detail. I doubt very much even if the real locomotive was painted blue, the workers would not have these details omitted, afterall they took the trouble to add the CNR logo on the tender. The weathering is also not particularly well done. For one, it is glossy and only applied to the bottom half of the model and is only one color. One would assume that if a steam locomotive was this dirty, the area around the smokestack would be slightly toasted as well!

Performance
The engine employs the same drive system as the latest QJ (2470 Zhu De). That is, it runs flawlessly. The center driver is flangeless and is the same size as the other drivers (read the QJ review for information on this). Tested on level track, these beauties will haul 20 - 30 freight cars with no issues. I have not tested this model on gradients at the time of writing due to lack of layout.

Electronics

There is plenty of room inside the tender to accept most HO scale sized decoders. As per standard Bachmann practice, they have an 8 pin socket to accept any NMRA 8 pin decoder. The tender shell is easily removed by putting a few toothpicks between the chassis and the frame, and again on the other side.

Coupler Conversion
As with all of Bachmann's steam locomotives, couplers on the back require a NEM European fit (clip). I recommend Kadee # 17's for these locomotives. The clips don't quite clip in place, but with a sharp hobby blade, a tiny sliver from the front of the coupler box will see they click in nicely (be careful when doing this and take off only a very small amount and more again if needed). I use a #153 (scale sized short-shank w/whisker) for the front coupler.

Review Summary


The Good News

The Bad News
Brilliantly detailed Blue QJ is unprototypical
A very interesting prototype Awkward to handle
Superb running qualities Weathering job is not very well done

Model Photos


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