Side-by-Side: HO, Scale Test Cars

Cars from Bachmann, and Walthers.

Many years ago, Walthers released a Scale Test Car in HO scale.  This was an amazing product for it's time, however, being injection molded plastic, it had severe tracking issues.  This was commonly overcome with replacement Reboxx metal wheels, I've determined the replacement axles from Reboxx to be 1.020", with 33" wheels.  In 2019 Bachmann's die-cast metal version was released.  I managed to find a great sale on one, while I was ordering other supplies from M.B. Klein.

The new Bachmann version has an MSRP of $41, and shows as still available from Bachmann direct.



Bachmann Walthers
2.5oz, .5oz overweight 0.8oz, 1.2oz underweight
2" long 2" long
Metal 33" wheels Plastic 33" ribbed back wheels
Bachmann EZ Mate knuckle couplers Plastic X2F couplers (newer kits might have knuckle couplers now)
7 Prototype schemes, 1 Undecorated 12 Paint Schemes, unknown if Prototype based, 1 Undecorated
In production (2019-2020) Out of Production

Walthers has long discontinued their kit car, but it's still fairly common on eBay and at model railroad swap meets.  It's original MSRP was $8.98.  As said before, the Bachmann is RTR, and has an MSRP of $41.00.  A quick check of M.B. Klein shows two, the BN pictured here, and a Union Pacific, both with a sale price of $24.99.

As a side note, if you look at the photos of my Bachmann one, BN #979006, you'll see a brake wheel housing.  The model actually comes with a brake wheel mounted on a vertical staff, which is incorrect for the modern version of these cars.  There's a possibility that this was actually common as delivered, and later replaced with my version by railroad shops.  I scratch built mine with Plastruct and Evergreen polystyrene angle iron, a brake wheel housing from my scrap drawer, likely from Tichy.  The brake wheel is from Kadee.

For N scale modelers, Micro-Trains currently has a model available.  O scale, 3 rail, from MTH Trains.

A detailed review from 2019 is available online from Model Railroader here.

© 2020, Josh Baakko,