Bachmann GWR 45xx/4575 Small Prairie Tank Class Review

Locoyard - Bachmann GWR 45xx - 4555 32-127B reviewIt may have been around for a while, but Bachmann’s 45xx/4575 model is still an important model in the firms range.  It is an essential type for GWR branchlines, so an important addition to the Loco Model Reviews Page.  So let’s see how good the model is!

Class: GWR 45xx/4575 small prairie tank

Use: Mixed Traffic

Region: Western

Era: 1906-1963 (45xx) 1927-1964 (4575)

Preserved examples:

45xx:
4555 – Dartmouth Steam Railway
4561 – West Somerset Railway
4566 – Severn Valley Railway

4575:
4588 – Dartmouth Steam Railway
5521 – Swindon and Cricklade Railway (currently at Bluebell Railway as Metropolitan L.150)
5526 – South Devon Railway
5532 – Llangollen Railway
5538 – Dean Forest Railway
5539 – Llangollen Railway
5541 – Dean Forest Railway
5542 – Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway
5552 – Bodmin and Wenford Railway
5553 – London & North Western Railway Heritage Company, Crewe
5572 – Didcot Railway Centre

Locoyard - Bachmann GWR 45xx model review - 4555 32-127B (overhead view)Manufacturer: Bachmann

Model Reviewed: Bachmann 32-127b GWR 45xx 4555 – click here for prototype info.

Motor: 3 pole Loco-drive

Power: Heavyweight

DCC options: 8 pin dcc ready/fitted/sound – click here for DCC fitting guide (DCC Ready versions only)

Locoyard Review

Locoyard - Bachmann GWR 45xx model review - 4555 32-127B (front smokebox)Detailing:

4.5/5

This model is a little elderly now, so doesn’t have a colourful cab, or opening cab roof and the details are not quite as refined as others on the market.  But it’s pretty good nevertheless, with lamp irons, handrails, rivet detail with a nice smokebox door handle.  The motion and wheels are nicely done too, with pre-fitted brake rigging on the chassis.

Outline/Looks: 4.5/5

The character of this attractive 2-6-2T is captured very well.  The shape and dimensions compare very well to the prototype.  The only “but” here is noticeable in the pictures and not when operating from above (see below) – the bunker does not quite sit flush with the bunker, which may be a one-off, but be wary all the same.

Locoyard - Bachmann GWR 45xx model review - 4555 32-127B (rear bunker view)Finish/Decoration:

4.5/5

Bachmann models produced in the past few years have a lovely deep dark satin GWR green finish and this model is a perfect example.  The more recently produced models are worth looking out for, as the finish is so good.  Older versions (see below) are not bad, but the green is a lighter shade.  The wheels and motion are all nicely blackened too.  There are only two detractors and one omission to the finish that I can see, firstly the shiny coal load that can not be removed.  The shiny metal coal load is piled high (probably to help balance the weight of the model) so will be difficult to cover in real coal too.  Secondly the safety valve has a noticeable molding seam.  The omission is brass numberplates, but that is a simple addition if desired.  Note that older BR Green models were criticised for their thick lining.

Bachmann - GWR 45xx Prairie Tank - 4550

Running Qualities:

4.5/5

This is a good runner; it rides very well, is pretty tough and well balanced.  The mechanism is smooth and controllable at prototypical speeds.  The only thing that marks it down slightly is that it is a little noisier than more modern models with a noticeable growl.  Pick-ups are good for a short wheel base model.

Relative Power:

5/5

Thanks to having a well-balanced body, there is plenty of pulling power.  It can haul 5+ carriages around tight second-radius curves without slipping.  Considering the locomotive model is not as large as other 4MT rated machines, this is pretty impressive, much like the real thing!

Locoyard - Bachmann GWR 45xx model review - 4555 32-127B (cab)Specification:

4.5/5

Lots of digital options including a soon to be released DCC sound model, however DCC users need to be cautious.  Older models were not DCC ready, including (according to some reports) some that were labelled as such.  I believe hard-wiring a DCC decoder into older models is simple, providing you are happy using wire cutters and a soldering iron.  As mentioned earlier, there are better detailed models available, but the specification of the current model is good overall.

Locoyard - Bachmann GWR 45xx model review - 4555 32-127B (safety valve)Value:

4/5

Considering the age of the tooling, this model is not quite as good value as others out there and prices of £70-£85 are not uncommon.  The limited edition London Transport Museum version is whopping £97.99.  The slightly better 56xx model is usually cheaper, but this is probably because the 45xx/4575 has a more elaborate outline and costs a little more to make.  It is definitely the best value ready to run GWR prairie tank however, being cheaper and more superior in every way to Hornby’s 61xx.  It has been around for a while so secondhand bargains can be found, but be wary of DCC options and the quality of the finish of the older versions.

Locoyard - Bachmann GWR 45xx model review - 4555 32-127BOverall Locoyardometer Score: 4.5

The venerable Bachmann 45xx has been around for a while but still manages a 5 star rating!  It is characterful, well balanced, surprisingly powerful and nicely finished.  The biggest gripe I have is the slight defect with the bunker alignment, but that should be easily rectified.  If you are buying secondhand then be careful – check that you are happy with the finish and also be wary of DCC options (if applicable).  If you buy new, you have no worries at all, it’s a great model!  The motor may growl a little and it’s not as cheap as some, but it is an essential addition to a western region model layout.

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

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3 thoughts on “Bachmann GWR 45xx/4575 Small Prairie Tank Class Review

  1. Also the buffer beam number is way too high on the buffer beam, especially noticable in the front.

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  2. If you are going to review a product, at least have some knowledge about the prototype. 45xx and 4575 are different classes!! This is NOT a 4575 class Prairie.

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    • I’m sorry if you got that impression and I will look at clarifying the article. The reason behind mentioning both is that the Bachmann tooling caters for both 45xx and 4575 class locos (two classes differentiated by the shape and size of the water tanks) and therefore the review of the 45xx can give a good impression as to the quality of the 4575. One thing to say in defence of the review is that the model reviewed line does state that this is a 45xx example. Thanks for your feedback, it’s useful to know if something is not clear to a reader.

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