New Bachmann Spectrum N&W Class J review.

Steam-Monsters Dec 19, 2006

  1. ben scaro

    ben scaro TrainBoard Member

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    Just a query from the standpoint of scratchbuilding . . .

    What is the length, wheel diameter and wheelbase of this loco chassis in millimetres, especially as compared with the old version of the N&W J ? Longer or shorter ?

    Cheers

    Ben
     
  2. Sizemore

    Sizemore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hemi,
    The drivers on the Class J are smaller than almost all others of the 4-8-4 wheel arrangement. Your best and safest bet is the Con-Cor Northern that was re-released not so long ago (98 or 02/03 comes to mind). They can be found on Ebay. You may even find the original release which you may find under Kato. They have the larger and more common driver size.

    Size aka Tim
     
  3. JDG

    JDG TrainBoard Member

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    Received my 611 from BLW yesterday and it did not run. The rear driver was locked up and cocked at an angle. The driven axle is the 3rd one back and it would sit there and spin. I re-quartered everything and it still cocked the rear driver when I turned the power on. All in all it was a good looking engine but I couldn't tell you how it ran. It's on the way back to BLW so he can replace it. Definately heavy and a good improvement over the plastic ones. They did a good job on the all balck tender also. Anyone have any ideas as to the MT coupler sonversion (1133??)?
     
  4. skipgear

    skipgear TrainBoard Member

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    Rick,
    No reasonable amount of weight will solve the traction issue in Steam. It helps but is not the end all answer to traction. Traction tires are the only way to reliably get traction. What many people fail to understand is that at most times, there are only 3 wheels making full contact with the rails (Geometry 101 - 3 points determine a plane). It doesn't matter how many wheels driving, how much weight is on those wheels or how they are arranged, in a soild frame loco, only 3 wheels are putting power to the ground at any time due to manufacturing tollerances and variance in the track. If we could build a loco with sprung axles that would allow all the wheels to follow the rails, weight would make more difference. Right now that is reserved for brass loco's and enterprising kitbashers.

    A diseasel has twice as many wheels driving due to the fact that the each truck can float and follow the rails, thus each truck has 3 wheels making good contact with the rails - double the tractive effort given the same weight and power. That given, most diesels that I have seen are only good for at most 15-20 cars on level track, 10 or so on a grade. There are of course exceptions, I have a pair of Concor PA's that have seen 50-60 cars with no sweat.

    Traction tires are a godsend for steam loco's providing they have reliable electrical pickups in the tender, which it appears this loco has. I have 20 year old loco's with traction tires that run just fine, no wobble, no problems. Yes, I have had some older bachmann cardboard box models that the tires made them horible but modern loco's just shouldn't have the issue.

    Show me a single diesel without traction tires than can do this....heck show me a single anything without traction tires that can do this....

    [​IMG]

    That is a 70 car coal drag behind a kitbashed 2-10-2 (based on a Kato Mikado). This loco runs trouble free and has 2 sets of traction tires on it. It ran for 30 minutes straight on the Ntrak display at the NMRA div 7 show this fall. The loco does have a bit of weight advantage (about 7 grams over a stock Mikado) but with more wheels driving, more weight, and better ballance than a stock Mikado, without tires, it would only pull 4-5 more cars than a stock Mikado without traction tires. Without tires, my stock mikado will pull about 20 cars, this without would pull about 25, with tires my Mikado will pull 45 cars, with 2 sets of traction tired drivers on the 2-10-2, I don't know how many it will pull, I ran out of cars at 70 when testing it that weekend.
     
  5. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    Here is a kit bashed Micro Ace pulling over 50 cars. It started out as a Pacific but is now a 4-6-0 Ten Wheeler. The motor was moved to the tender with a drive shaft and the boiler shell is packed with powdered tungsten mixed with white glue. It has one set of traction tires. The cars keep going out of site around the far corner.:teeth:
    [​IMG]
     
  6. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    What is this pick on Rick, Day? Grin

    To Skipgear aka Tony Hines and all tuned in,

    No problem I love a good discussion.

    Thanks for your comeback. Remind me not to get in a debate with you, regarding "Traction Tires", I would loose . You win this round.

    OK, I'm impressed. Just not convinced.

    My experience with traction tires has been anything but pleasant. I have to many locomtives where I needed to replace the traction tires and either I couldn't find them or they weren't available. I even worked in a hobby shop with research resources...nothing. So, my locomotives sit on the deadline, awaiting the torch.

    I still don't like, will never like and still prefer... "NO Traction Tires". Why? I've already given part of my answer. Because, I don't have the patience to deal with the problems of replacing traction tires. I don't want the hassle. I'd rather put in a set of early diseasels in... behind the steamer, to make the pull. Did I really say that? I would love to see two well balanced, properly weighted steamers, double headed and making the pull. That would be awesome...as well. As opposed to putting up with the dreaded traction tires. Just a personal choice.

    Now the question of the day. What will either of the two the engines pictured, pull up a 2% grade? Here's where metal meets metal, wheel meets the rail, traction versus slip and the sanders kick-in.

    Wow!...allegedly wrong twice in one day and on the same post. Let's not go for strike three.....I don't want to be out at the old ball game. Smiling sheepishly! What, am I the only one out there that feels this way about traction tires?

    Have a good day...all!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2006
  7. AB&CRRone

    AB&CRRone TrainBoard Supporter

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    Which picture?

    Ben
     
  8. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Which Picture?

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2006
  9. skipgear

    skipgear TrainBoard Member

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    Rick,
    I will be happy if it will pull 30 cars or so up a 3% grade helix, not sure if it will or not but that thing actually digs in and pulls harder in the corners because of the long wheelbase. The flanges rubbing the rails start having an effect on traction too. That is going to be the worst test on my layout. I don't plan, or have room to run more than 30-40 cars in a train on the layout I am building. The mainline will be 2% max grade, the helix 3%. My test loop has a 1.5% grade on it for about 5' and with 40 cars the engine doesn't bog or slip.
     
  10. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    So would I. I have a helix that is 2.5%. As it is now I have to double the diseasels in order for them to pull a 20 car train.


     
  11. Ed Pinkley#2

    Ed Pinkley#2 TrainBoard Member

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    OK so we are saying that the new Class J engines are good? I am looking to buy a few steamers and since I rode on the 611's last trip and my father was the conductor on it part of the way this is one I would love to get. It has historical value to me and my family. Just give me a thumb's up or down on this one please.
     
  12. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Ed and all tuned in,

    Despite all the rhetoric and ongoing discussion about traction tires. I'm planning on buying one. I recommend you do the same. Thumbs up!
     
  13. skipgear

    skipgear TrainBoard Member

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    Agreed, this one so far seems like a winner. Weight in the form of a die cast boiler and traction tires should make it a strong puller. All wheel live tender pickup is a definite plus. The detail looks top notch from the pictures. If it runs half as good as the Consolidations, it is a worthwhile purchase.

    PS. Sorry, more traction tire salt in the wound for Rick... I have a Spectrum Consolidation that pulls 50 cars with absolutely no modifications. Traction tires win again... ;)
     
  14. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    It's OK!!!!!

    I read here you are happy with the consolidations? I know... the tire traction thing. This is the first I've heard about the consolidations. Are we talking about the 2-8-0's or the 2-6-6-2's? I know, I know...where have I been? Pay attention there's going to be a quiz later...right!

    I have a friend who asked me about these. I would like to pass the word. Thanks.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2006
  15. skipgear

    skipgear TrainBoard Member

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    The Bachmann Spectrum Consolidation (2-8-0) is probably the best running steam loco on the market right now. The Kato Mikado (2-8-2) with the addition of a traction tire is the best ever just because their QC was better than Bachmanns. You have to add the traction tire to get it to pull strong as strong as the Bachmann and the detail parts on the Mikado are a nightmare I am told. I wouldn't know because both of my Mikado's are being used for Kitbash fodder and the detail parts are still in the box. Mikado's are few and far between right now but there is another run due in this summer but they are only offering it in a "Anniversary" paint scheme. More kitbash fodder.

    There are a few loud protesters of Bachmann's QC claiming a try before you buy. I work at a small shop and we have sold 20-30 of them this year, I have only seen one with issues, and was a simple fix of the drawbar pickup wire that ended up on the wrong side of the contact on the tender truck. It is one of the few steam loco's that I don't worry about coming back with problems.

    You have to be prepared to tinker a bit with steam, no matter who makes it. There are just more moving parts and things to wear and go wrong.
     
  16. Sizemore

    Sizemore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Too bad the 2-6-6-2 is a debacle! Looks pretty, doesnt pull worth a doodily, and QC was horrendous compared to 2-8-0 and 4-8-2. It's not that I've seen many returned just the overall mechanism quality was comparative to Lil Joes and Praries. They could stand a motor replacement and some fine tuning in driving truck tolerances.

    Maybe I'll have a project this Spring with some old LL E8 motors with flywheels...*ponders*.

    Size
     
  17. N&W

    N&W TrainBoard Member

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    FWIW I have a Bmann 2-6-6-2 (kitbashing to an N&W Z1b). It pulls decently and smoothly (25 Microtrains boxcars cars on level track). I had to re-guage the flanges but that's it.
     
  18. Sizemore

    Sizemore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yeah the one I have run's decently in forward, however slow speed sucks, auto jump to 3.5 mph. In reverse the rear driving truck hikes up its rear wheels and rolls cock-eyed (like A B B A Gen. 1 LL FA-2's). Essentially a binding rear truck in reverse, makes no sense. I havent had the guts to remove the shell and start to tinker, like I said project for the Spring ;)
     
  19. BnO_Hendo

    BnO_Hendo TrainBoard Member

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    Let's keep the boo-hahs down!

    I'm going to play devil's advocate here. Sorry.

    Bachmann has had a long history of QC issues, as I mentioned on this same exact thread that is posted on the Atlas Forum. Even their Spectrum 2-8-0 is hit or miss. Now before everyone starts out with how great it is, a friend of mine went down to Kleins to buy one. He had them tested first. There were 5 left, 2 of which wouldn't run at all. Again, let's not forget their Mountain that couldn't go up mountains... Iffy record... my 2-8-0 is being worked on by a friend of mine because a gear cracked.

    Someone on here mentioned that their new loco had an out of whack wheel. In all the "Hosannas!" I think that's getting overlooked.

    Traction tyres are a necessary evil. It's a question of physics. Diesels don't need them because they have smaller diameter wheels, significant overall weight, and more distribution of pulling power. A diesel has powered trucks in the front and back. The steamer's power lies in the center. Period. It has larger wheels, which results in less umph to pull a train. Remember, one of the reasons diesels overthrew steam is because they were "the pullingest thing around".

    Now if the designers recognize that changing traction tyres will be a necessary evil, they can design their steamers accordingly. For example, Kato's Mikado's rear rod is not connected to the wheel. One can easily slip a new tyre on it. I have also easily changed the tyres on a Rapido Pacific by unscrewing the rear rod's screw. As far as finding TTs, well, Kleins keeps them in stock. That's where I've gotten mine.

    Look, the only person on here that wants to see decent steam more than me is the JJJJJJJ&E gent. But Bachmann has a long history of making crap. I have enough older B-mann steamers in my parts box to atestify to that.

    I say they're not off the hook until a few owners here have run them for six months. Then let's see how they stack up.
     
  20. BnO_Hendo

    BnO_Hendo TrainBoard Member

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    QUOTE- "Mikado's are few and far between right now but there is another run due in this summer but they are only offering it in a "Anniversary" paint scheme."

    Whose Anniversary? Kato's?
     

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