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Quick Look: Bachmann HO scale bay window caboose

Read this review from the July 2018 Model Railroader
Bachmann HO scale bay window caboose
Price: $59
Bachmann Trains
1400 E. Erie Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19124
Era: 1952 to 1964 (as decorated)

Comments: For those who want to add variety to their caboose fleets, these HO scale bay-window cabooses from Bachmann Trains are worth a look. The plastic models are built with new and existing tooling.

Although I couldn’t find an exact prototype for the model, it resembles a design built by the International Car Co. and several railroads. Window arrangements and other details varied from road to road.

Our review sample is decorated as Nickel Plate Road no. 425, one of 100 steel bay-window cabooses built for NKP between 1952 and 1962 by International and the road’s own shops.

Most of the model’s major dimensions are within inches of a drawing published in Cabooses of the Nickel Plate Road (Nickel Plate Road Historical & Technical Society, 1992). However, the trucks are spaced a foot farther apart than shown on the drawing and the window arrangement is different. This also caused the top stripe to be
narrower than the prototype.

The paint coverage is smooth with sharp color separation. Bachmann did a good job reproducing the different lettering fonts.

The Bachmann caboose’s plastic body features well-defined weld seams, roof corrugations, and other modeled detail. Separate plastic parts include the ends, side handrails, and smokejack. A rooftop bathroom vent is included as a user-installed part.

The model has some molded underbody detail. The air reservoir, brake cylinder, and brake rigging are separately applied plastic parts.

The model rides on well-detailed Bettendorf caboose trucks with correct 5'-6" axle spacing. The chemically blackened metal wheels are in gauge. The trucks swivel freely, and the model easily negotiated 18" radius curves.

The Bachmann caboose weighs 3.2 ounces, which is .3 ounce lighter than National Model Railroad Association Recommended Practice 20.1. The plastic E-Z Mate Mark II knuckle couplers are mounted at the correct height.

In addition to NKP, the caboose is available decorated for Baltimore & Ohio, Erie, and Union Pacific. A New York Central version features a small window bay to better match that prototype.

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Plan and design an around the room track plan.

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