Model Encyclopedia - Bachmann China 1:87 ND5 Class Co-Co Diesel
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 (as in this review) were standard C36-7's, the second saw improvements to increased visibility with the large front cab windows, extra side windows, repositioning of the fuel tank and arrangement of the air reservoir tanks and the addition of white marker lights. The bulk of the fleet operated out of Nanjing and Shenyang and most units enjoyed nearly 35 years of operations. A small handful are still in operation in the Nanjing area, although numbers have greatly reduced since the arrival of HXN5's cascaded down from other parts of the country upon electrification.
Bachmann has released both type of ND5's with six road numbers for each version (plus a factory weathered version of the phase 1 locomotives)
I was initially put off from purchasing one of the phase 1 ND5's due to the colour scheme, however after seeing them in person have relented and acquired both type. The physical details on these models are very impressive. Some of the nicer features include see-through foot steps, etched metal grilles over the large radiator fans, very fine windscreen wipers, hollowed out brass airhorns and very fine handrails. Some of the differences between the two are placement of the fuel tank, arrangement of air reservoir tanks, slight exhaust change and significantly redesigned cab on the phase 2 locomotives for improved visibility. A small bag is included with air hoses to be installed by the owner.
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.
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.
Swapping couplers is a little tricky on these locomotives, but a pretty straight forward affair. The phase one locomotives (light green) will accept standard shank Kadee's (#5/58/158's), the phase two locomotives (dark green) will require a longer shank due to the in-built snow plough and will accept #156's.
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