It 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
Era: 1906-1963 (45xx) 1927-1964 (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
Model Reviewed: Bachmann 32-127b GWR 45xx 4555 – click here for prototype info.
Motor: 3 pole Loco-drive
DCC options: 8 pin dcc ready/fitted/sound – click here for DCC fitting guide (DCC Ready versions only)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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