Monday, 9 May 2011

"Hornby VS Bachmann: Q&A"

I've had a lot of mail recently about my "Hornby VS Bachmann" series of videos. In writing up the script for the latest video, I've come to appreciate further the extent to which Thomas & Friends fans extol the virtues of one range over another.

There's been a lot of questions which I'll try to answer in full in this blog post Q&A. I've even thrown in one bizarre complaint for good measure! So here goes:

Q) Do you make the videos for kids, or parents?

A)My videos are really aimed at the parents of children who'll buy one or the other of the brand, but I thought I'd make it watchable for all ages. That's why it is broken up into sections, making it better digested as a video review.

Q) Is power everything? You put a lot of emphasis on power in the videos...!

A) No, power isn't everything. The Haulage and Tug of War tests are generally used to discern the full potential of the model's mechanical abilities. It must be said, generally the Bachmann range is made to suit a cheaper RRP (Recommended Retail Price), and thus the mechanisms are normally simpler.

Q) Did you use a gloss or semi-gloss black paint to fix the Bachmann James livery issue?

A) It was a gloss black - Humbrol no.21, specifically. I used Tamiya masking tape to get the shape of the smokebox correct, and also prevent the white footplate from being smudged.

The wheels were simpler: I taped up the flanges, and removed the coupling rods, before applying with gentle brushstrokes the same no.21 gloss black. I repeated the process for the tender wheels and axle boxes.

I may yet do a video on how to fix the many livery errors and problems with some of the models. Certainly my Bachmann Percy has become the most modified of my fleet with sprung buffers, repainting and refining the plastic bodyshell further. Pity about the face, but never mind!

Q) Why did Henry have Gordon's face in the Toby Review?

A) It was a little aside to "Peter Sam and the Refreshment lady" - where this switching of faces really did occur in the Television series!

Q) Why did Gordon have Henry's tender in the Toby Review?

A) That was an aside to the episode "It's good to be Gordon", which was a significant part of the plot!

Q) What's been your favourite model to review so far?

A) The James Review has been my favourite so far - the two models were equally good in many ways, and opened up interesting points and discussions on the video itself. The Bachmann James really did impress me, despite its annoying livery errors.

Q) Will you do Lady next?

A) No, I will not do a video review of "Lady". This is down to two very important points.

1) Neither Hornby nor Bachmann make a model of "Lady", and

2) Neither Hornby or Bachmann make a model of "Lady".

I'm aware that was technically the same point, but felt it so important that it was worth saying it twice!

Q) That is just plain harsh at the end about ''garden sheds'' not being allowed to compete (see the Toby Review? )! Or was it just that the two Toby models got owned so badly that it was a bad idea to put the footage in..?

A) One of the two Toby models failed prior to filming the Team Tug of War. Rather than leaving it out altogether, I put together a short film whereby Team Thomas won the Team Tug of War...again!

Q) It bothers me when you say "Backman". Its not bark-man either! It's Bachmann, you have to make the noise at the back of the mouth. If you cant be bothered to get the German right its just ignorant.

A) I'm British, born in Hong Kong whose first languages are English and Cantonese - German (which is where the name originally comes from) is not a language I speak with much clarity as I find languages difficult. Incidentally, your phonetic pronunciation is wrong. The correct phonetic pronunciation of the name is "BAHK-muhn".

A point of interest: Bachmann is in fact an American company, with a Chinese parent company (Kader), originally founded in 1833 by one Henry Carlisle.

Q) How much do these videos cost to make?

A) Each and every model has had to be purchased in and around their RRP (though I shop around to try and get the cheapest deals possible). Two people have donated models to the reviews, for which I am very grateful, and they are linked to in shout-outs throughout each specific review. The Gordon review terrifies me, as the Hornby Gordon has an RRP of £110...that's $180.19!!!

Q) What models do you think Bachmann and Hornby should make for the ranges in future?

A) I'm a firm believer in "playing to one's strengths", and on that basis, I think Hornby could do no better than to give the British Public what they want: and follow Bachmann's lead in making a set of Donald & Douglas models. They could be easily made as a bodyshell to fit the standard 0-6-0 chassis (which their Thomas and Duck models share), with a new tender specially tooled up (or borrowed from the Caledonian 123 model).

Bachmann should get in on the ground floor and make Hiro, the D51 engine first seen in Hero of the Rails. He's a popular character who would make a very handsome and significantly popular model - who wouldn't want to recreate the chase scenes with their Bachmann Thomas, Spencer and Hiro?

But if they wanted to listen to the fans more closely, then the money's on Duck appearing. There's no excuse for not making everyone's favourite Pannier Tank.

That's all for now from the Q&A - until next time, where we'll see Spencer the Hornby Engine take on Spencer the Bachmann Engine...!


  1. Hey Simierski! I watch your videos all the time and besides B&B and Emily who I voted for on this blog, I would like to vote for ( when it comes out) Diesel!!!! I know Bachmann is making him this year (don't know when) but HORNBy against Bachmann Diesel would be quite epic! But since Bachmann Diesel isn't out yet, I would easily understand you being unable to take that vote! c:

  2. "But if Bachmann wanted to listen to the fans more closely, then money's on Duck appearing. There's no excuse for not making everyone's favourite Pannier Tank."

    You got that right!

  3. how come you did not say that HORNBY Spencer doe not have a front coupler, like Bachann Thomas, percy and James

    1. why does he need one?

  4. I didn't know Hornby made Spencer. Simierski you just opened my mind in Thomas Modeling

  5. Hi! can i know where i can buy hornby/bachman in hk?