Received my Bachmann PC E33 a few weeks ago ,having at last found time to look at it thought it might be of interest to some folks to read about some Preliminary Observations?Most of which is applicable to the Conrail model also.
1 New clear plastic interior box! I like it (at the moment i am in the middle of a major DIY in the spare bedroom-guess where everything is stored in the mean time :-( Sigh.) it allows one to place it on a table/shelf ,well protected from dust and most accidental knocks and just enjoy it. One hopes that all future loco models come packed this way. The way to go for sure IMO.
2 Getting the loco out of it's box i found ,is fairly straight forward (more than can be said for some manufacturers products including Bachmann) .First Impressions - Very Good - best yet from Bachmann, overall dimensions appear to be correct (have not been able to find a scale drawing) there is a lot of detail on this model some of its correct, some of it even the correct scale, the model overall reflects a lot of thought and effort that has been put into it.
3 The first and most obvious mistake is the oversized PC logo on the front of the short hood, not easy to remove -- I have managed to do so, but have found the plastic very soft and easy to mark.
A good point for Bachmann - the body is reasonably easy to separate from the frame and/or chassis, more than can be said for a lot of other models - take note Kato and Athearn.
4 It unfortunately suffers from the usual generic problems re Bachmann products , what appears to be scale grabirons superglued in - tight against the body -, this is really noticeable re-the step/grab irons for reaching the roof of the locomotive. The toe kicks/kick plates(?) are missing in this area - again very noticeable. I have managed to unglue some of the grab irons but will have to replace a number of them.
5 Another generic problem break cylinders are too small- , for me they will have to be changed.
6 Re - Truck centres......E33 model = scale 41.5' ....(U25C = 42 ft).
7 Re - Truck length.........E33 model = scale 13 ft ....(U25C = 13 ft).inserts
8 Re - length of chassis/frame..E33 model = scale 64 feet (U25C= 64.5).
9 The see-through grills are incredible - a wake-up call to other manufactures well done
10 Trucks - against photos look fair representation though I think a lot of us will be adding further detail.
11 Frame --is made of metal, which has a good side as this helps to add weight to the loco, though the steps are plastic inserts with see-through square holes. Unfortunately there are several no no's with the pilot faces -- most of the detail is either wrong scale, wrongly placed, or doesn't exist on prototype, or should be but isn't there at all!
One of them, the missing footboards, would be okay for Conrail - all PC photos that I have seen have them in place - this part by the way is made of plastic and looks to be under scale?
The various hoses are well detailed but look to be under scale? They are plastic as is the piece of right angle plastic that they are attached to - this is over scale.
The two grab irons above are incorrect, and I have already removed mine.
The uncoupling lever I can live with but unfortunately sits to high, OK I hear you say -- so what! Well if you want to add the correct full width hand rail they will end up being far too close together IMO and will look odd.
The mu cable on the pilot front I have only seen on the preserved Virginian livery loco, not on any others.I have taken mine off.
Incidentally the handrails from the top of the frame/pilot do not descend far enough down -- see photos re -- George Elwood site and/or PC Web site. Of course it is far easier to do these corrections with a plastic pilot than a metal pilot :-(.
12 the handrails alongside the long -- hood are commendably fine/thin maybe too much so? The worst problem I have noted is either the delrin has shrunk or the holes in the frame have not been correctly spaced ? Several of the stanchion posts are misaligned leaning in one direction or the other , plus all the white paintwork should be yellow on the ends of the handrails, this includes the steps and the grabirons,plus uncoupling lever.Piece of chain each end will be needed for between the handrails above the pilots.
13 Crew are included and are fixed to the metal frame , though unpainted, are at least to HO scale - I happen to like crews in my cabs it doesn't make sense to me to have a well detailed loco, but no crew in the cab IMO. I slightly changed the body forms of my crew and painted them.
14 Nos on side of the cab are not of the correct style - haven't made up my mind whether i will change them or not a lot will depend on how easy it is to obtain replacement decos for the nos and of course a new PC worm on the nose.Any advice in this direction would be appreciated, particularly who would be likely to have them in stock.
15 Headlights at either end are nice but too small. Number boards also look under size but not too sure.Without a scale drawing its difficult to say, if anyone can advise me on where i can obtain a scale drawing it would be greatly appreciated .
16 Roof- the handrail (?) above the lights are non existent in the PC/Conrail era, but appear to be in place before that . Horns i don't know , don't have a good enough photo to say one way or the other . In general the roof detail appear very good indeed to my untutored eye, but i am sure others better placed and more experienced than i will hopefully come forward and give us the benefit of their wisdom. The lifting irons for the various access hatches are included, but for some bizarre reason are standing upright rather than laying flat as most photos seem to show. Incidentally through the fine mesh you are able to see a facsimile of what i presume is the cooling fan for the motors/generators.
17 Included as extra part is the Pennsy signal box ( first time ever i think) but unfortunately seems to be too small?
18 Also included are 2 side mirrors/wind deflectors 4 really are required, again i am not sure whether these are the right size?
19 Side skirts good news for those of us who like to create individual detail, these are separate pieces and therefore would be able to be cut down to fit those locomotives that were so equipped - by the way the air tanks and some pipework are included behind the skirts, altogether nice thinking on Bachmann's part.
20 Some window wipers are included and are fine scale, have not got around to working out whether they are correct for this loco or not yet, but at least a move in the right direction by Bachmann. Cab side windows do slide too and fro, perhaps just a little too easily.
In summary - I have been a customer of Bachmann's for many years, at one time from both sides of the counter, and apart from the English thing of rather having a soft touch for those regarded as the under dog have always followed their progress with interest if not somewhat at times with frustration. seeing their potential for being one of the top guys yet always seeming to fall short at the last hurdle. With this last effort they seem to almost get over it , but not quite . I very much like this model and despite its problems i am sure quite rightly will be very popular, particularly in NH and Virginian liveries apart from the fact that also its unusualness and its uniqueness , so how about it Bachmann, at least sort out the pilot plate problems + those awful brk. cly. and you will be well on the way. Mechanically i am not yet in a position to say for reasons already stated , the people that sold me the locomotive tested it for me and were impressed by both the running and the looks of the locomotive and just putting some test wires on the trucks i didn't find it overly noisy, but of course these are subjective observations, i leave it to others with the place and equipment to so this - the ultimate test?