Bachmann (Hong Kong) United Aircraft TurboTrain

Introduced: 1969

These old TurboTrain sets are pretty scarce and, as such, fetch ridiculously high prices on eBay these days (well in excess of $100 for a complete set in good condition). I'm not sure why though, as they're nothing to get excited about (but more on that in a moment). There are two versions that I know of - PRR and CN. These were sold either as part of a trainset (complete with track and power pack) or separately. The train itself consists of two power units (one motorized and one dummy) and three identical coach units. I'm not sure how long these models were in production, but given their scarcity I'm assuming it wasn't too long. Whatever the case, they were certainly long gone by the mid-1980s when Bachmann started redesigning the mechanisms in all of their trainset locomotives. AFAIK, the mechanism pictured below is the only one ever made for this particular model.

The first oddity with this train is the whole truck situation. The forward unit has a powered truck on the front and then an odd "dangly" truck on the back. And in a similar vein, each car is equipped with an identical "dangly" truck on its rear (thus creating an extremely bizarre piggy-back situation throughout the entire train). Trucks aside, the main problem here is the motorized unit. The thing has a grand total of two pulling axles and the equivalent pickup of an 0-4-0 switcher (employing a literally half-assed version of Bachmann's 1970s "brass gears" mechanism). Suffice it to say, performance is pretty poor. Unless you're going round and round the Christmas tree, this thing has lots of problems with stalling. Worse still, it's noisy as all get-out. Worse worse still, I've found that the powered unit has a lot of problems navigating turnouts. The wheels seem to be in gauge, but derailments are very common (I'm guessing due to the odd truck situation).

I guess the final nail in this train's coffin is the fact that it's pretty unconvincing looking as a model. The spacing between the cars is gaping, and the overall look is best described as toyish. I suppose these might be of interest to N scale collectors and TurboTrain fanatics, but that's about it.

To remove the shell from the powered unit, insert a couple of toothpicks (or whatever) and spread the sides apart to free the metal tabs on either side of the chassis from the shell and then lift the shell off.

Grade: F

The trainset -

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