OK, I finally have a product review for all you Narrow Gauge 1:20.3 people. I borrowed this one from Choo-Choo. Bachman has released it's new rail truck, and I borrowed one, so that I could do a review on it. This is one "nice" piece of rolling stock. My sample came painted but undecorated with a yellow cab, black bed, and brown side rails. I can already visualize the "bashers" out there changing the look, and weathering this truck so that it looks like it has been doing some serious work on the railroad. I do know that this truck will also be available in Rio Grand Southern livery.
The drive shaft is connected to the motor and turns prototypically to make the rear wheels turn. The mechanism is smooth and provides for a realistic running model. The hood opens on both sides and the motor is quite well detailed. The cooling fan on the model motor actually turns when the truck is running. Both doors open when you turn the latches, and the cab interior is well detailed. The underbody has a few details such as an exhaust system with muffler, and a fuel tank with a fuel line that stops before it reaches the engine compartment.
The stake sides are not readily removable, and appear to be glued on my sample. There is a tool box in the back of the truck which opens to reveal the DCC system that comes as standard equipment. There is a nice set of instructions along with diagrams to help you get your DCC working. A four position switch provides for all power off, power to lights, NMRA/NEM, and LSW/G. The instructions state that a 1 AMP decoder is adequate for normal operation due to the small current rating. The headlights are greenish/yellow LED's, and the tail light is a single red LED.. They work in unison, so that are either on or off when DCC is used. The truck comes with a standard pilot, but an optional snow plow comes in the box. By removing the pilot, the snow plow can be attached. The usual Bachman exploded parts diagrams also comes in the box, should you need to disassemble the truck, or replace a broken or missing part.
All in all this is a nice addition to the Bachman line of Narrow Gauge 1:20.3 rolling stock. My biggest criticism is that there is no place to mount a sound system and speaker unless you make a box that will fit in the back of the truck next to the DCC "tool kit". I know we have some very clever modelers out there that can probably come up with a workable solution to this one problem. Average price is around $158.95 from Ridge Road Station via mail order.