I've put together a review that includes a DCC decoder & Kadee installation. The model is not one of the latest to hit the shelves, but I've been after one of these for a while and finally picked one up last week.
These are indeed the sort of model we need more of in the OO RTR ranges. With no J50 available, I have two examples of this mechanism, and one of the very similar mech. from the 56XX, powering old white metal kit bodies. The extra weight is no hindrance to the running properties. The Bachmann LMS 3FT (Jinty) has what looks like the same motor and gear train as the pannier, so should work just as well if you fancy something different for your second 0-6-0T.
Excelent review Doug. The loco is a staple for all GW and WR lines and Bachmann have done a fine job with the detailing. Your choice of a large decoder involved quite a lot of surgery but modellers willing to use smaller ones should be able to fit them without any milling at all and should not be afraid of trying. Personally I find the Bachmann PCB fitting can be useful for soldering connections up (having removed the factory fitted components) which can avoid the need to wire the decoder directly to the pick ups!
Something I forgot to mention about this chassis, but which came to mind while tinkering this evening, is that the centre axle is sprung. But there is practically no vertical movement as supplied. A slight deepening of the recess in which the sprung plunger locates; and on the keeper plate,cutting down the centre rib over the diameter of the plunger, and axle clearances in the sides, allows useful travel. If the model is made heavier, the spring can be stretched so that more load is placed on this wheelset. Definitely improves pick up reliability, always important with short wheelbase locos.
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