It's all gone quite now the Spitfires have gone away.
A conversation yesterday drifted to the new Bachmann 117 DMU. My opinions on Bachmann drive train engineering are a plenty, so glossing over that for a minute lets look at the price. The RRP is £314, though the dealers are all offering it for £267. To split the difference you are looking at a hundred quid a coach. I'd like one of these in Blue Grey to go on the possible rebuild of Rhiw (see above) The 117s were solid South Wales units and a bit of a natural for this layout, but three hundred quid?
I don't want to repeat Tim's review - pick up this months RM - but the detail is exquisite. However a huge inter-car coupling that makes the 1970s Lima tension lock look petite and there are switches to drop various electrical operations in or out. This is all very clever and may well appeal to a generation brought up on smartphones, but is this several steps to far? Operation of said DMU is thus: drive in - pause - drive out; are we into a sledgehammer and nut situation? There is also a 'special tool' required to release the inter-car couplers. Hands up the first person to mislay that at the end of an exhibition. I'm all too aware that I can sound like a luddite in these situations, but surely the very nice aesthetic mouldings driven by a quality set of gears (for experience says that this is likely to be the weak point) would please most buyers and would presumably reduce the price. Have we now got to the point where people will pay a substantial amount for stuff that goes flash-flash and chug-chug, but has the operational interest of a ping pong ball in a toilet roll?
A couple of people questioned me re the terminology used yesterday. There's not much on the net, but the initial search leads to here.