Bachmann Fairburn 4MT – smooth, powerful and steady!

Now it’s time to get back on track (please excuse the pun!)  and talk about the best performing model in my collection.  It also gives me a chance to praise Bachmann, as I’m well aware that some of my previous reviews have been a little critical of the firm.  This is mainly due to the fact that Hornby have produced so many more southern steam models – the terrier, T9, M7, N15 Q1, Bulleid Light pacific (original and rebuilt) plus the rebuilt Merchant Navy.  Bachmann on the otherhand have produced the N class, Lord Nelson and not much else!

However Bachmann manage to cover the southern region indirectly and such is the case of Fairburn’s 4MT tank.  Designed by the LMS, many of these tank engine’s were built after nationalisation at Brighton to serve the southern region.  Having an example on a southern layout therefore is very appropriate!

The model looks very good and as you can see from the pictures, it is finished perfectly.  It has been criticised for not having footsteps at the front, but I’m pretty sure I would have to of removed them anyway to traverse  my 2nd radius curves.  The prototypes looks are austere, but personally I think austere looks can often be very good looking!  The motion is great too.

Where the Bachmann Fairburn 4MT excels is in its performance.  It is smooth, does not derail easily and very powerful.  To demonstrate this I’ve created a video of the model pulling 10 carriages around my tight circuit.  My T9 by comparison struggles with 2 carriages.  It is so good that I’m very tempted to get another!  If I want to sit back and watch the trains go by, this is often my first choice – I can rely on it more than any other.  Another strong point are it’s pick-ups – it very rarely stalls and works well even if the track is a little dirty.

So hopefully this re-addresses the blog’s Hornby bias somewhat!  Well done Bachmann!

Locoyardometer update! 29th April 2012.

Class: Fairburn 4MT Tank

Use: Mixed Traffic

Region: Pre-nationalisation career – London Midland, BR builds/career also Southern region

Era: 1945-1967

Preserved examples:

42073 and 42085 both preserved on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

Manufacturer: Bachmann

Motor: 3 pole Loco-drive

Power: Heavyweight

DCC options: 8 pin dcc ready/fitted (click here for DCC Fitting Guide)

Locoyard Review



No cab details or opening cab roof, but has many other details including lamp irons.

Outline/Looks: 4/5

The rugged austere looks of prototype is captured nicely, missing front footsteps only major omission.



BR black lined livery very nice.  Visible split-boiler line only downside.

Running Qualities:


Superb – it’s the best performing model in the yard

Relative Power:


Bachmann have produced a model that outclasses the prototype!



Cab detailing not as good as more modern models, but as it’s an enclosed tank engine this is a minor issue.  NEM pockets, DCC socket/fitted versions but no DCC sound version yet



For a big powerful fantastic performing model it’s good value for money

Overall Locoyardometer Score: 4.5

An excellent performing model that’s only major criticism is the lack of front footsteps.  You’ll not find a better performing or pulling tank engine on the RTR market at present – so it’s well worth it!

Detailometer 4, Outlineometer 4, Finishometer 4.5, Motorometer 5, Powerometer 5, Specometer 4.5, Valueometer 4.5, Locoyardometer 4.5

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