The Midland Railway’s 4F 3835 class numbered 197 examples. The class were tough and reliable and construction of the class continued by the LMS, albeit with lower chimneys and dome plus switched from right to left hand drive by the LMS. Hornby produce a model of the LMS-built type, which is an old Airfix model with a new mechanism. It is no surprise that Bachmann’s announcement to produce a completely new model of the Midland type was met with a lot of excitement. Today we see how good Bachmann’s model is…
Class: Midland Fowler 3835 4F 0-6-0
Region: Midland & Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway
43924 – Keighley & Worth Valley Railway
3 LMS Built 4F’s are also preserved:
44027 Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway
4123 Avon Valley Railway
44422 Peak Rail
Motor: 3 pole Loco-drive
DCC options: 21 pin dcc ready/fitted (Fitting Instructions included in users guide)
Reviewed Model: 31-880K (click here for prototype info)
With the exception of the non-opening smokebox door, this model has all of the plus points of the recently reviewed LNER D11 class. Detailing is fantastic – the riveting, the detailed cab, lamp irons, beautiful wheels, chimney, dome, Ramsbottom safety valves and even a representation of inside motion all add up to making this a very detailed model. The coal load can be replaced by real coal, although you’re limited to representing it as a full load due to the lack of depth. Also, as a word of warning, the metal coal load drops out easily and is quite heavy, so mind those toes!
As far as I can see, it looks exactly as it should. All the detail differences of the Midland (versus the LMS) version are present and correct. The Deeley tender underframe has had some criticisms due to a lack of depth. In this (now already rare) S&DJR version, the lining helps somewhat in bringing a little depth. However, the Fowler tender is very good.
In most cases, this locomotive is black and fortunately Bachmann are experts at producing black with a nice satin finish. This S&DJR version is beautifully finished, which helps explain why the limited edition lasted only a few days before being sold out completely! There’s barely (if any) sign of moulding seams – it’s very impressive!
One reason 0-6-0’s were so popular was that they can handle most track and this model is no exception. It is quiet, easy to control, steady and smooth. Unlike the SECR C class, pick-ups are on the driving and tender wheels and this has proven to be very reliable in operation. The chassis is pretty forgiving too and I’ve not had any derailing issues. One note though – some of the sanding pipes needed to be bent into shape when first running. This was easy to do, but look out for it as these pipes can get stuck in the track sleepers. Some member of model railway forums have said that some models have had a few problems, so run it in and test it thoroughly when new to make sure that there are no niggles.
This model is powerful enough and can pull 4 carriage trains around Locoyard’s tight 2nd radius curves with only a little slippage. Although it’s not the strongest model around, it’s relative power is only a little away from the real thing.
Specification is excellent with NEM pockets, sprung buffers and 21 pin DCC socket. No DCC sound version has been produced yet but it probably will someday as there is space a speaker in the tender. The detailing, looks, excellent finish and good quality motor all add up to a fairly comprehensive specification.
Not only is it better, but it’s cheaper than it’s Hornby rival. As with the Bachmann SECR C class and 3F, you get a lot of highly detailed and good performing locomotive for your money.
It’s combination of good looks, detailing and value make this arguably the best ready to run 00 scale steam locomotive model in the UK. The prototype does not have the wow factor of other classes, but it is arguably one of the most significant classes in the Midland region’s railway history. The LNER D11 class model represented Bachmann getting on level-terms with Hornby, but this model (for the price) represents them taking the lead. My advice to those who are considering getting one is to do it now whilst they are so cheap!
Detailometer 5, Outlineometer 5, Finishometer 5, Motorometer 5, Powerometer 4.5, Specometer 4.5, Valueometer 5, Locoyardometer 4.9