Bachmann GWR/BR 32xx/90xx Earl/Dukedog Class Review

Locoyard Bachmann GWR BR WR 32xx Earl Dukedog Class ReviewThose of you who follow this blog on Facebook may know that it was my birthday a few weeks ago.  I was fortunate to have been gifted a new model by Mrs Locoyard, chosen because she knew how I love the Bluebell Railway – the heritage railway where the prototype of this locomotive runs.  So here is yet another addition to Locoyard’s 00 scale model reviews section (click here to read).  Without further ado, we look at this impressive model. 

Locoyard Bachmann GWR BR WR 32xx Earl Dukedog Class Review (buffer shanks)Class: GWR 32xx / 90xx Earl Class

Use: Light Passenger

Region: Western (particularly Cambrian)

Era: 1936-1960

Preserved examples:

9017 Earl of Berkeley – Bluebell Railway

Locoyard Bachmann GWR BR WR 32xx Earl Dukedog Class Review (Churchward 3500 gal tender)Manufacturer: Bachmann

Model Reviewed: Bachmann 31-086 9017 BR Black

Motor: 3 pole Loco-drive

Power: Flyweight

DCC options: 21 pin DCC ready/fitted (DCC socket in tender, accessed by unscrewing 4 screws in each corner – space for speaker inside)

Locoyard Review

Locoyard Bachmann GWR BR WR 32xx Earl Dukedog Class Review (cab)Detailing:


The detailing of this model is excellent.  As with all new Bachmann products, the cab (above) is beautiful, which is important with this locomotive as it has a very open cab.  The smokebox door dart, tapered buffer shanks, handrails, fine wheels, lamp irons, whistle shield and outside frames are all excellent.  The tender is great and has a removable coal load.  It also has some excellent rivet detail although those on the smokebox saddle have had some minor criticism as being a little inaccurate and indistinct.   However to my eyes the only noticeable omission is an detail between the frames, unlike the excellent GCR D11 model.

Locoyard Bachmann GWR BR WR 32xx Earl Dukedog Class Review (profile)Outline/Looks:


In my opinion, this is the single greatest asset of this model.  It captures the look of the real thing perfectly.  The overall shape of such an unusual and charismatic prototype can not help but a smile on your face!  The dome looks fantastic, which is such a distinguishing feature of the class.  The chimney is great too as are the (non sprung) buffers.  The (newly tooled) 3500 gallon Churchward tender looks great too.

Locoyard Bachmann GWR BR WR 32xx Earl Dukedog Class Review (dome frames)Finish/Decoration:


Bachmann are usually particularly good at finishing their model’s and the simple BR black livery is executed very well.  There’s no sign of a moulding seam which is great too.  So why not full marks… well some of the red buffer beam paint has found it’s way onto the buffers on this example.  The safety valve, although correct for it in 1950’s condition is incorrect for it in it’s “preserved” state, as this model is intended to be.  The front numberplate is a little too wide and all numberplates are moulded.  Brass numberplates would be nice, but buying and fitting them is a reasonably simple task for a modeller.Locoyard Bachmann GWR BR WR 32xx Earl Dukedog Class Review (smokebox)

Running Qualities:


Smooth, quiet, reliable, stable – everything you would want from a model in this respect.  Pick-ups are great too and it is not prone to stalling.  This is a very sweet runner!

Locoyard Bachmann GWR BR WR 32xx Earl Dukedog Class Review (outside frame motion)Relative Power:


This is the model Achilles Heel.  It is very light on its feet and not as capable as the prototype.  As with many 4-4-0 wheel arrangement models, I suspect this is due to a dislike of tight radius curves.  The model pulls best on the flat and preferably on 3rd radius or greater curves.

Locoyard Bachmann GWR BR WR 32xx Earl Dukedog Class Review (from above)Specification:


This is a high-spec model built with exquisite separately fitted details.  It is DCC friendly has NEM sockets, sprung buffers, a quiet well mannered motor with tender pick-ups.  It has pretty much anything you’ll ever need except sound (although space for a speaker is in the tender) and/or lights.

Locoyard Bachmann GWR BR WR 32xx Earl Dukedog Class Review (Churchward 3500 gal tender - back)Value:


It is a very good price for such an unusual prototype.  I remember seeing (often poorly built) completed kit versions for well over double the price before this was on the scene.  Seeing as Bachmann have recently (as of May 2014) announced price increases averaging 20% across their range, I’d advise you to get one now if you can afford to!

Locoyard Bachmann GWR BR WR 32xx Earl Dukedog Class ReviewOverall Locoyardometer Score:4.4

It looks incredible, runs sweetly, is good value and well specified.   But it just misses out on five locoyard stars mainly because of a lack of power when hauling trains around tight corners or up hill.  That said, producing such a charismatic prototype of what is essentially a Victorian design (albeit a rebuild) was never going to be easy and Bachmann have done very well overall.

4 Star


Detailometer 4.5, Outlineometer 5, Finishometer 4.5, Motorometer 5, Powerometer 2.5, Specometer 5, Valueometer 4.5, Locoyardometer 4.4

To see how this compares to other models, click here for the Loco Model Reviews Page.

5 thoughts on “Bachmann GWR/BR 32xx/90xx Earl/Dukedog Class Review

    • Thank you! The Bluebell Line is a lovely place to visit, with such an incredible collection of locomotives and carriages, second only to the National Railway Museum in York, but unlike York it is a working railway (a pretty one too). I really must pay a visit sometime soon myself, its been a couple of years (which is a long time for me!) It even has a couple of diesels now, which should keep your other half happy too!


  1. I returned the first ‘Dukedog’ to Hatton’s because it had so little power. It required about 5 to 7 amps to get underway with no load, much more than my newly acquired ‘Cities’ loco. Alas, Hatton’s thought the power was typical. So I bought another Dukedog and it, too, required the same amperage as the first specimen. Despite its beauty, this model is badly underpowered.


    • Indeed it is lacking in pulling power and this example could haul 2-3 bogey carriages around a tight radius circuit, hence a half rating for relative power. Believe it or not, one model railway magazine actually rated this model 9 out of 10 for performance and I struggle to see how this could be the case! Thanks for the comment 🙂


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