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Model Encyclopedia - Bachmann China 1:87 DF8B Class Co-Co Diesel

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.


Production Summary

Model Review - First Series


Full review coming soon. In short, this was essentially a first series Bachmann China DF11 painted to represent a DF8B. Fortunately, Bachmann made a proper DF8B, although it arrived some 7 years later. The first series models are quite scarce these days.

Model Review - Second Series


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 colours. The second release model does a nice job in representing the class.



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.


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.


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.


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!


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