Bachmann (Wood) Tender – Improving the Look

Bachmann makes a very nice, relatively inexpensive 4-6-0 engine known as the Anniversary Edition or more commonly the “Annie”.

BM-tender-wood-1The Annie is great but the tenders, which come in the wood or coal burning variety, depending on the Annie, need some quick and simple cosmetic work to shake the toy-like look.



Here’s what I did to make the wood burning tender a bit better looking…

BM-tender-wood-2First, you have to remove the plastic pseudo-wood. There are two screws that secure the fake wood load. Remove the screws from the underside of the car and pull the wood load off the tender.



BM-tender-wood-5What you’re going to want to do is replace the fake wood load with a real wood load. For this your wood options are only limited to whatever yard waste and/or trimmings you have after cleaning up the yard.



BM-tender-wood-3I trimmed some branches from an apricot tree and cut them into pieces roughly 2 inches long. To come up with this length for the individual logs I measured the available space in the tender and allowing for some space in-between decided that four rows of logs filled the main cargo space of the tender nicely.



Next, I put down some wax paper and took some Titebond III and start gluing up logs. If you don’t have small branches try splitting larger pieces (in half or into quarters as necessary), which probably would look better than the whole log look I went with.


In the above picture you can see the bottom where the glue tends to settle. The wax paper prevents gluing the logs to your workbench.


There’s a small space at the front of the tender that will need a row of shorter logs and the at the bottom of the car are some more of the badly molded plastic logs. I painted these black and created a locking section to cover them. To keep the logs in place I drilled the block you see standing on end, right on through the floor of the car (see the small hole just visible in the picture).

I used the pin from a link and pin set from Ozark Miniatures to insert through the piece that extended across the tender floor in front of the brake handle post and into the floor of the tender. This locked the piece in place. The other, smaller block of 4 logs behind the brake wheel are then trapped in position.


I painted the floor of the tender with brown acrylic paint to resemble planking and applied a thin black wash to bring out the details.

With all the logs in place you have a tender that looks a lot better with very little work and some glue and paint as the only costs.

Let me know what you think. –TJ

(Originally posted 8/5/2011, revised 3/1/2013)

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