Discussion in 'Product Review Forum' started by MilesWestern, Mar 6, 2007.

  1. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    Sep 21, 2005
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    The Bachmann Decapod: An Un-biased Review:

    This Is a review of Bachmann's new DCC onboard SOUND equipped locomotive
    By Miles Callan

    "These locomotives were popular in Europe, particularly in Germany, and in Russia; British use of the type was confined to the period during and after World War II. In the United States, the 2-10-0 was not popular but was a favorite of a small number of railroads, mostly in mountainous terrain.
    The 2-10-0's main advantage was that five out of six of its axles were powered, meaning almost all the weight was available for traction rather than being distributed over pilot and trailing wheels. The long rigid wheelbase , caused problems on tightly curved track, so blind drivers were the norm, either on the central axle, and/or on the second and/or fourth axles. Often lateral motion devices were attached to the leading driven axles." (Quoted from Wikipedia, retrieved March 5th 2007)
    Bachmann's Prototype depicted the locomotive which came to be known as the "Russian Decapod," which derives it's name from the 200 orphaned 5' 0" gauge Czarist Russian locomotives, built in the US by Baldwin and Alco. I believe the Bachmann model depicts the Baldwin prototype, built in 1917. The Russians ordered many more, but 200 were left at the plant in Schenectady, NY, at the time of the Communist Revolution. The order was canceled, and Baldwin had to sell these locally, to US roads. This was still WW1 at the time, so the USRA handed them over (after re-gauging them to Standard 4" 8 1/2" Gauge) to roads in need. Of all these roads, the ERIE had the most of them.
    My model, Atchinson, Topeka, and Santa Fe's #2552 depicts these real Russian Decapods bought by the Kansas City, New Mexico, and Orient in 1918. Here's an excerpt from the Santa Fe all-time steam roster listing the CORRECT numbers of these Locomotives:
    25542554-2556Baldwin191831934ex-Kansas City Mexico & Orient25652565-2569Baldwin192551955ex-Kansas City Mexico & Orient
    ( Retrieved on March 5th, 2007)
    I have to hand it to Bachmann, as Maxwell Smart would say "Missed it by THAT much!" Only two roster numbers off (from 2554), the number (#2552) belonging to another KCMO locomotive, one of two Alco-Cooke 2-8-0's. However, Bachmann may offer (or does already) a correctly numbered 2554, I have seen photos of one on display.
    The Bachmann 2-10-0 Decapod is one of the more beautiful models of "small" steam out there! It features a nicely detailed boiler back head with Johnson Bar (throttle lever) among other piping and gauges. The Firebox has crisp, accurate riveting, and features a rare treat: the Front of the Firebox is unobstructed, so you have a complete firebox, without the mechanism getting in the way. The lettering is extremely crisp, in all places. The Number boards also feature nicely crisp numbers. ALL the piping on this model is separate, which is a very nice touch. ALL the handrails are scale-sized metal wire, as are the hand railing on the boiler. The bell is an amazingly detailed metal casting, one of the best I've ever seen, and the coupler lift bars really lift!
    The only disappointments in the looks department, is that the figures (for both the firemen and engineer) are poorly molded, and even painted worse, I'd suggest replacing them with a pair of Woodland Scenic Engineers, or a La belle Crew. Another complaint is the strange manner in which they attach the front of the cylinders. It's almost a throwback to their Pancake motored 0-6-0, in the way that the reasonably loose metal casting, which fell off after a small bit of running, bit this can be fixed if it happens to yours VERY easily by very carefully applying a small amount of CA adhesive (super glue) to the TOP (smaller) cylinder, and pushing it shut.
    A cool feature included with every new Bachmann DCC locomotive with sound, is the little bag of coal, to weather the model, or to place behind the coal bunker to simulate spilled coal. Attach this with a light 50/50 Elmer's glue/water mix, or a liberal spray of Testor's Dullcoat over the spilled load.
    Here's it's main weak point, but it may change after some more run time. Right out of the box, the drivers were not in "quarter," which can spotted by site with an askew (not straight) driving rod. I fixed this quickly. Mine had a strange thumping in the first driver, and I'll see if I can get that fixed with a little tinkering. After being broken in, it managed relatively slow speeds, good for switching, with a medium top speed, just like the prototype.
    The Decoder responded well, and the motor seems a little strained for some reason, and has a bit of trouble in reverse.
    It can pull between 8 and 10 cars on straight and level track, a bit too weak compared to the prototype. It doesn't slip very freely under load, and has trouble with curves below 24" with a load, although It may be just my track.
    WOW. The Tsunami sound is the Best I've ever heard, hands down. It beats the BLI mikado, in clarity, whistle timber, and flexibility. It comes with these, sharp, crisp, and LOUD sounds. The sound is loud w/o causing tender vibration in factory mode. Here's a list of sounds:
    • F1- Nice, slow, realistic bell clang, suprisingly crisp
    • F2-Fantastic Long whistle sound, also well recorded.
    • F3-Perfect short whistle blast, it was included to make realistic signaling easier.
    • F4- Blowdown Valve, not white noise! I'm impressed at how realistic it sounds, and the varation in tone is nice.
    • F5- Dynamo- I swear, it was so real, I had to do a double take!
    • F6- This is the COOLEST FEATURE EVER! You hear the tender hatch squeak open, then water trickles for a moment, then starts to rush into the tender, then by pressing F6 again, the water slows, stops, the hatch squeaks shut, and you're off!
    • F7- Coupler Clank- Nice, but only one version, so it could get repeatitive.
    • By changing the Direction, you hear the engineer notch the johnson bar forward, or backward, nice touch!
    • By adjusting the throttle, you hear the real 4 chuffs per rotation, while stopped, you hear the snifter valve pop, and you hear the drivers clank in motion, and as you decrease throttle, you hear a great brake squeal.
    The sound is unparalleled, compared to brands of less, equal, or greater price, the Tsunami takes you back to the age of steam just by putting the locomotive on the rails.

    Altogether, a FANTASTIC locomotive, a bit light in the hoof, but, perfect for little locals on flat land, perhaps a mixed frieght. It's an amazing thing to see it plodding along, and I think despite it's minor (and FIXABLE!) performance setbacks, It'll find a way onto your roster, into your enginehouse, and into your heart. I've owned, and operated ALOT of DCC Sound equipped steam, and I'm most impressed with this product. Go get one today! :)
  2. GN.2-6-8-0

    GN.2-6-8-0 Member

    May 25, 2006
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    Really great review MilesWestern' really appreciate your effort :thumb: , Also just checked my email and mine shipped from Micromark this a.m .....getting excited!
    for any of those interested their selling this unit (2552) for $147.50 with DCC/Sound' outstanding value in my book.
    One question though' what would be the best product to use to remove the last number in order to replace it with one of the correct numbers without ruining the paint on the tender?