Bachmann 74XX from a 64XX

The 74XX is finally finished. This has been a truly rewarding project, one I wasn’t convinced I’d be capable enough to complete to a satisfactory finish. Without going over too much old ground, the principle difference in the 74XX (other than no autogear) was the cab join between the bunker at a right angle, not curved as bachmann have produced on the 64XX, plus there was no cab overhang.

The Bala-Blaenau Branch was (as far as I’m aware) never worked by autotrains so a 64XX would be on no use, but 74s were used heavily through the 50s. A model of a 74XX would be very useful.

Scalpel and file work followed and the results are good enough for what I require as a ‘layout loco’.


I chose to depict her as 7414, a regular Croes Newydd loco with several reference photos of her in the mid/late 1950s. The most interesting photo was one taken in 1956 at Trawsfynydd, showing her on a typical weekday passenger working. She was filthy….which appears common on the majority of 74XXs, more so than on the local 57s! However the most interesting aspect here is that someone had smeared in the grime, GWR on the tank side. Couldn’t miss the chance to try and recreate the engine in this condition. Due to copyright, I can not post the photography here, but for those interested, you can find it on Page 46 of ‘The Pannier Papers, No.7’.

As I mentioned earlier, the 74XX class in my period seem to have avoided the cleaners hand. I’ve not found a single clean photo of one on the branch. Amusingly the author Ian Sixmith of ‘The Pannier Papers’ even comments ‘where have the crests gone’ because the locos are so dirty, there is no sign of anything other than unlined grime!



Etched plates, and fireirons are from 247 Developments, and the smokebox plate is one of Ian Wilson’s from Pacific Models.



This has been such an enjoyable project and I’m so pleased I bit the bullet and actually had a go. I will certainly be making another 74XX using this method.


6 thoughts on “Bachmann 74XX from a 64XX

  1. Well you have certainly made a lovely job of the conversion Tom and have built a nice addition to your stud of Panniers which will do your new layout proud. I’m pleased that the conversion went well for you because when everything goes right it does a hell of a lot for your confidence.

    I can’t ever recall seeing a Pannier of any type in clean condition, not even on the ‘Channel Island Boat Express’ which used to pass through my local station complete with headboard!

    Eventually I will get around to modelling 7416 which was a regular around Kington, Presteign and New Radnor, so its only natural that she would have worked up to Llangunllo and onwards. So I’m hoping that a cheap, half decent body or a none running example might turn up on that well known auction site and I’ll stick it on an etched chassis.


  2. Hi Geoff
    I am really chuffed how she has turned out….and very glad I didn’t wait on the off chance Bachmann do produce a 64/74 with that type cab!

    I know High Level are producing an etched chassis to accommodate the 54/64/74. If things go to plan, and I can afford a shed in the garden, I am looking to do Bala Junction/Bala Town as a home layout, meaning I can retain and use all my Blaenau stock. (I seem to think you might be to blame for planting the Bala Junction seed back in my layout thread on MU last year 😉 ). If so I can use a 54XX on an auto train, which is what I think Bachmann have planned, more so than a 74XX, it would only a require a new chassis, the body is identical I believe.

    Regarding wheels for yours, could you not just add Ultrascale ones, as that was what you did on you 57XX wasn’t it? Or do Ultrascale not produce the correct wheels for a 64/74?

    I’ve just ordered a second 64XX in Black. They are looking sold out at most of the big box shifters, so thought it’s worth grabbing one now. 🙂


    • I already have the correct type of Gibson wheels, a suitable gearbox and motor in stock Tom so an etched chassis makes sense. I did indeed use an Ultrascale drop in wheel set for my 57xx but in those far off days they were sensibly priced whereas today they are just short of fifty three quid, add the cost of the model and you have one expensive pannier.

      Enjoy the next conversion, have your baseboards turned up yet ?

      • £53 for an 0-6-0 tank…ouch!

        Looking forward to cracking on with that (probably sooner than later). Alan Buttler has sent me some excellent colour photos of my chosen 74XX, 7431.

        No baseboards yet, which doesn’t bother me too much as work on stock. Tim Horn did say he had a two month waiting list.

        They should arrive just in time as a finish work for the summer, so have plenty of time.

        Currently keep checking C&L’s website for when they will have flexi nickel silver OO track in stock.

  3. You know what I think already mate, but to reiterate this is great modelling. Bringing another CN loco back to life with such attention to detail, it’s inspiring stuff. Looking forward to the next one in the stable and can’t wait to see you tackle some tender locos!

    • Thanks Al!
      The photos will certainly be helpful, the rear one in particular, I notice the rear cab hatch is open, so I’ll try to depict my 7431 like that.

      Tender locos? I’m awaiting some guy to do etched sanding rods! 😉

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