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Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

Hornby 08
R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

‘Finescale’ is an odd thing, its a bit like pornography, in that I’m not sure I can define it, but I know it when I see it! One of the barriers for people who want to explore the more accurate gauges in 4mm scale is the barrier of no ready to run models in the wider gauges. Phil Sutton sulzertype2.co.uk has recently broken that barrier with the options available with his class 24, but for the moment, if you want any other locomotive it’s DIY. Hornby’s 08 is an excellent candidate for a quick gauge change using the Ultrascale CAT007/378 conversion set. With the latest batch of this excellent model hitting the shop floors, there will be modellers out there wanting to convert them to either P4 or EM. The Ultrascale conversion isn’t cheap, but you do get a drop in wheel and gearset manufactured to the highest standards, ready quartered and pretty much a drop in replacement. The real beauty of it is that its engineered so that the set up and fixing of the external cranks are all sorted for you, so whilst this isn’t one of my fifteen minute heroes, it is a conversion that can be done in an evenings work.

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

Hornby 08
R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

I found the easy way to kick this conversion off is by removing the connecting rods. They are of a soft and pliable white metal so do take care when handling them. They are retained with a captive crankpin screwed into the hub casting of the Hornby wheelset.

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

I don’t have a spanner or socket set for these very small nuts, however I used a set of smooth faced tweezers to remove the crankpins, again being careful not to bend or damage the coupling rods.

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

Coupling rods removed and crankpins replaced. There seems to be a market for these wheelsets so they may have a value on ebay, or alternatively keep them so if you sell on in due course you can convert the locomotive back to OO and sell both loco and the ultrascales separately.

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

The next two tasks are the removal of the brake gear and the keeper plate, both are easy jobs, this then gives open access to the wheelsets. Make sure you note the location of any of the plastic shims as these are also insulating pieces from the electrical pickup to the baseplate.

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

The Hornby wheelsets can then be removed, my chassis’ had square phosphor bronze type axle bearings, you’ll note the Ultrascale set axlebearings are turned brass. If you ever wondered what the difference was between EM/P4 and OO the gauge difference can be seen easily in the above image. There is fortuitously space between the external frames for the replacement wheels to drop in with no remedial work required.

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

The wheelsets are supplied set up and quartered, the bearings have a lip on them which needs easing into the slot on the Hornby chassis where the original sets were located. Make sure this slot is clear from debris and gently press the wheelset into place. At this point I reassemble the chassis apart from the brakegear and turn my attention to the coupling rods. Prior to fitting them, run the chassis with no rods to make sure the gears are meshed properly and the wheels turn without any significant restriction. You will need to adjust the pick ups so they bear gently but positively on the rear of the wheel tread, this will give a slight resistance to the free wheeling, but not enough to stop them or make them run unevenly.

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

The original rods can be used again as I have done, and this is the fastest conversion. The Ultrascale crankpins are slightly larger diameter than the original Hornby crankpins so the holes in the coupling rods will need opening out. I use an engineers cutting broach for this, theres a link at the bottom of the article to a supplier. This is the best tool for the job to gently open out the crankpin hole, working from both sides you can cut away tiny amounts until you have a comfortable fit. It needs to be a very close fit but still revolve around the crankpin with no resistance at all. You could also use a fine rat tailed file or try drilling it but I really, really wouldn’t suggest it. It will be far too easy to take too much metal away leaving poor running or to damage the rods irreparably. The Hornby rods don’t need any thinning either so it really is a straightforward replacement. Once the rods are on, test run the chassis to ensure there’s no binding before adding the tiniest dab of superglue on the end of the thread of the crankpin. Capillary action take this into the lead thread and helps lock the nut in place.

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

Next steps are finishing, I paint the wheels using Humbrol or Revel enamels, and fit the brake gear back in place. I run the locomotive for a while to be happy everything is bedded or ‘run in’ well before filing away the ends of the threads protruding from the crankpin nut. If you want to use the Brassmasters etched rods for this conversion, I wrote up a Bachmann 08 conversion here /trinity-08-brassmaster Apart from the soldered rod construction the conversion would be almost identical. So then, that’s an evenings work to get an EM 08. No where near as daunting as some conversions can be, and a real booster for your confidence if its the first one you’ve done. The same principal can be used for a number of their conversion kits for simple steam locomotives, such as Panniers or Jinties, so, have a go!

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

Hornby 08 R3261 R3342 R3343 R3484 R3485 R2933

Here is one supplier of Engineering Cutting broaches, hobbyholidays.co.uk at the better exhibitions you will find either Phil with Hobby holidays, or other similar suppliers for this sort of tooling. Its worth getting good quality,when you buy too, good equipment will last a lifetime, and good suppliers like Phil above, will have a range to suit your budget. Tell him I sent ya ….

_B6O4719.CR2

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Hornby J15 R3232

Hornby J15 R3232

This is copied across from my other blog Albion Yard, I’m left wondering what to do with the Gibson kit now!
One of the latest items released by Hornby is the Great Eastern Wordsell designed Y14. The type first entered service in 1883 and was reclassified to arguable its more common designation of J15 after Grouping by the London & North Eastern Railway. The model as received depicts one of the class in their twilight years with the British Railways late crest, the subject locomotive being withdrawn in March 1963. The class was popular with both crew and enthusiasts. With a light axle loading the type was suitable for use on the light branch lines of East Anglia, for example it’s easy to locate images of the class working the Snape Maltings branch in Suffolk.

IMG_3881

The model I’ve been poking and prodding is the OO 4mm scale late BR logo J15 R3232. It is supplied in the contemporary packaging of a vacuum formed protective cover which fits inside a cardboard tray with an outer sleeve. The locomotive was well protected and no components are loose or have suffered any damage in transit.

IMG_3874

Included in the packing is a detail set including brake pull rods and the locomotive front coupling. Despite the models small size it weighs in at approximately 185g for the locomotive, the chassis block, footplate and boiler being metal castings. An additional weight is provided within the tender.

First impression often counts for me, and the J15 doesn’t disappoint. It immediately looks in proportion, edges are well defined and thin, particularly the cab roof and the color is a good opaque dull black with a very slight sheen to it. There are no paint blemishes and the detail printing is legible and clear. Like the K1 reviewed earlier on the blog, the yellow numbering looks to me a little too far towards a ‘lemon’ shade rather than a more cream color which I feel is correct. The wheel tyres and coupling rods are a pleasing steel color rather than bright chrome which blighted models in the not too recent past. Detail fittings are all correctly fitted and square and no evidence of excess glue around them. The prototype over its many years of service underwent a good number of detail changes. For the late livery as supplied it appears that Hornby have all the variations correct on this model and cross checking my available drawings the dimensions are correct too. The locomotive superstructure reflects the late chimney and dome in the forward position. Handrails reflect later era fittings with a continuous handrail above the smokebox face. Boiler mudholes are correctly offset on both sides of the engine and smokebox door is has the bevel edge and seating ring around the circumference. Smokebox dart is a separate fitting as are the lamp irons. The cab is represented with the later replacement steel plated roof and the cab sides the later smaller cut out. These are easily identified by the pronounced bowed effect of the cab profile and for the cab sides the tender rail and cab rails being of matching height.

IMG_3887

Looking at the assembly of the superstructure components the join lines all indicate that If in the future Hornby want to backdate the model to an earlier Great Eastern or LNER version that will be possible. Cab detail is delicately modelled with separate fittings, the screw reverser aligning perfectly with the external rod to the mechanism. In front of the off side cab sits a Westinghouse brake pump which is well proportioned and crisply moulded.

IMG_3870

The chassis is an interesting piece of model engineering. In terms of detail, it matches the superstructure above. Below the firebox on the right hand side you can see the strengthening plate and Westinghouse pump drain. Brake shoes and pull rods are moulded in plastic and are correct shape and size. Wheels on this particular locomotive have balance weights as they should, for a ‘last forty’ batch engine, and non fluted coupling rods. Both locomotive and tender have the correct number of spokes ad profile wheels. The top of the chassis shows a representation of the inside valve gear and the underside of the boiler, allowing full daylight to be seen through the locomotive.

IMG_3850

The chassis core is a metal casting with a plastic keeper plate that has phosphor bronze wiper pickups bearing on the rear of the tyre. All were in contact and the locomotive runs very smoothly through its full speed range without hesitation. The axles sit in circular brass bearings within the chassis block. The drive is to the rear axle, this is quite a challenge with a small open cab locomotive for it to remain hidden. The motor sits in a cradle which is the underneath of the boiler, and is fitted with two brass flywheels on extended shafts either end of the motor. Drive to the rear axle is taken via a plastic drive shaft to a gearbox tower that sits within the locomotive smokebox. The tower converts the drive via gearing to a plastic final drive gear to the rear axle, with all the mechanism enclosed within the chassis block, (more on this later). There is lateral movement of all axles though not excessive and clearance on the insides of the running plate splashers too. I’ve not measured it but my feeling is that the current chassis and running plate would likely accommodate an EM/S4 conversion with little (if any) modification.

IMG_3859

All wiring is tidy and accurately soldered, another neat touch being the channel within the chassis for the wiring loom from locomotive to tender. The tender coupling has two positions to allow for normal operation and close coupling for display or gentler radius curves. I’ve had no issues on 36 inch radius curves with the close setting used.

IMG_3879

The tender is correct for prototype and era. Like the locomotives they underwent changes throughout the life of the type. In terms of detail the tender shows the same degree of finesse and accuracy to era. Tender frame cutouts are correctly oval as opposed to ‘D’ shape on earlier engines, and the brakeshoes in line with the OO whelsets. The Fire Iron shield with the holder is in place as are external curved coal rails and the water gauge, all appropriate to the era portrayed. The brake cylinders for the Westinghouse pumps have been omitted; these are unlikely to have been visible and would probably have fouled the electrical connection between engine and tender. The molded coal insert for the tender is removable and shows the peculiar rectangular spaced coal bunker underneath, no gravity assistance for the poor fireman here!

IMG_3860

The tender houses the 8 pin DCC chip blanking plate. The tender floor has slots which if fitting sound will help with the acoustics. Space is limited however and a sugar cube type speaker would seem a probable choice if fitting sound, and possibly the removal or reduction in size of the tender weight will help.

IMG_3893

Whilst looking at the chassis of the J15 I wondered how it compared to a typical Bachmann product of a similar nature. In stock I had access to a Bachmann 3F and ‘C’ class. As the ‘C was more recent I thought it’d be interesting to see them side by side. As far as the prototype goes they were similar designs of similar sizes for similar work. Clearly this is not a true like for like, but interesting in looking at how the models differed.

IMG_3883

Paint finish is excellent on both as are the lettering and logos. Hornby has a matt finish and the Bachmann, satin. In terms of detail the Hornby model has the edge in terms of finesse, in general lamp irons and small details are finer from Hornby.

IMG_3873

The J15 tender chassis has brakes in line with the wheels where the ‘C’ class are integral with the outer frame. This doesn’t sound much but when seeing the two side by side there is a noticeable difference, but nothing a bit of old fashioned modelling can’t sort out for Bachmann’s ‘C’.

IMG_3865

The loco chassis is the most interesting though. Bachmann choosing a centre axle drive and an enclosed motor, the model runs well and with this prototype Bachmann haven’t encroached into the space underneath the boiler. With the J15 and the smaller firebox Hornby could also have taken this ‘easy’ route, but have come up with an excellent design keeping the motor and mechanism hidden. The running properties are slightly smoother than Bachmanns, no doubt aided by the double flywheel. Both models have similar connections between engine and tender, but no close couple option from Bachmann. The tidy wiring from Hornby also being of note in this context too. The Hornby configuration has a good number of possibilities for small prototypes, length reduction can be achieved with one flywheel removed and a shorter cardan shaft to the gearbox.

IMG_3912

For interest I placed a 14XX next to the J15 chassis. The current motor, gearbox and flywheel configuration would all work in a 14xx chassis with no cab encroachment. With quality cast superstructure like the J15 and a metal chassis with the metal boiler motor cradle, the possibilities for future development of detailed and well running smaller locomotive prototypes is intriguing indeed.

IMG_3888

Overall then, a very competent and pleasing representation of the J15, to a high standard of finish and detail. Being the follow on release after the K1 the J15 keeps the same standards and possibly with the chassis and motor engineering, exceeds them. If these standards for toy train sets are kept this high we’ll be thoroughly spoilt. And frankly, why not?

Hornby R3232 J15 DCC Ready
Product ref LOT01-P91569
R3232-03-078

_B6O4719.CR2

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IMG_9496

 

This week we shall have visitors, some image tomfoolery awaits!

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For the first time in well over a year the layout is up and a few of the newer items snapped on it. I’ve put Albion Yard and Bawdsey up together for the first time, and its very interesting to see the differences in approach by Chris Matthewman who built Bawdsey, and how I’ve done Albion Yard. Having said that I have used a very similar structure for Albion Yards supports based on Bawdseys’, after all why re-invent the wheel? The next few items to convert and shoot are the Hornby Gresley Suburbans, and with the Thompson Subs a week or so away (according to my sources) I’ll have a fully authentic coaching stock roster, ready for a photo shoot in the near future.

The reason for the assembling the layout is for a couple of people to see it, my good mate Paul Lunn is over tomorrow and the layout will be an example in the book project we’re working on, and the other visitor is for a potentially very interesting media project to run in the future.

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Its been while since I’ve updated Bawdsey’s blog, and thats because nothing much has been going on. Earlier this year I obtained one of the Bachmann Derby lightweight units and that has been sitting waiting for some attention in coupling the units closer. Recently whilst going through the ‘one day that’ll be useful’ pile I found some Slaters scissor corridor connection kits that were originally destined to tart up a Lima 117 unit back in the late 80’s …

Anyway a quick look at them reveals a simple soldered construction which should look far better than the supplied version. The units have been brought closer together using a shortened Bachmann BR Mk1 ‘hose coupling’, so fitting the bellows unit above will massively improve the appearance. It has now been EM’ed swapping out the Branchlines wheeset from my 108, meaning the 108 is now back to OO and that suits another project for Railway Modeller just fine.

The other kit in the image is one of the Craftsman 02 Diesel kits. Its early 80’s vintage in terms of design, but is an excellent starter kit for those who want to try making something. I have changed the drive system on mine to accomodate a ‘High Level’ drive, but have yet to decide OO or EM gauge. The prototype is the sort of thing that could have been used by an industrial line but introduced in 1960 they may be a bit too modern for plausibility, so it’s looking more OO at the moment.

Theres curently no shows for Bawdsey this year, however I have a provisional booking for next year of which more closer to the date. By that time I may have an entirely diesel fleet for the show sequence, all appropriate to the region and era. Steam however isn’t forgotton, with a J15 and J69 kits in the workshop, with a Bachmann Ivatt 4MT 2-6-0 under conversion to EM, which I’ll return to in the future.

http://www.highlevelkits.co.uk/
http://branchlines.blogspot.co.uk/2007/01/bachmann-108-wheels.html

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In the time honoured ready to run tradition of ‘we never ad it so good’ Heljans Waggon und Maschinenbau railbus has arrived. The unit is packed in Haljans standard sturdy blue box with foam insert and a vacuum formed cradle. The cradle is a one way fit due to the chassis moldings so take care when re-packing it. First impressions are that a) its heavy, and b) it looks like one. Mine runs quietly and well with smooth stopping and starting. I’ve not yet had the top off, not running DCC this isn’t a priority as I don’t need to chip it. The instructions advise that its a 21-pin DCC fitting.

HELJAN 8702 W&M RAILBUS E79963

The quality of the finish is excellent and no blemishes were found on my sample. The only problem with mine is I appear to have an Antipodean Export version.

Antipodean version

I’m hopefull that will be an easy fix to change it to Bawdsey. The glasing throughout the vehicle is clear and well defined, there is very little light refraction through any of the windows, the curved cab windows are exceptional in this regard. Internally the seating is well represented in a light grey molding that includes the cab interior and partition. The cab partition on mine shows a slight distortion on one of the vertical bars but I anticipate that too will be an easy solution. Painting of the seats will give a marked improvement to the overall appearance of the internal components.

As Bawdsey is EM my thoughts are how easy will it be to convert this model. I’m pleased to say that I think this will be one of the easiest conversions to EM and S4. The wheelsets drop out from a gearbox cover held in by three screws.

Heljan Railbus Gearbox Cover

Once the cover is removed the wheelsets drop out, the final drive gear wheel being offset on the axle. The washers hold the axle in its location restricting the lateral movement, and will need to be replaced once new wheels fitted, the gap in the chassis being a width of approx 22.5mm. The pick ups are four simple phosphor bronze wipers bearing on the top of the wheel tread. There may be some value in tweeking these to collect from the rear of the wheel faces reducing the potential of dirt contamination from the wheel treads.

Heljan Railbus Gearbox Cover Removed

I’m sorely tempted to put the layout up and convert this straight away, it just looks right. You’ll note theres no mounting for a tension lock coupling, Heljan noting that as these vehicles ran as single units rather than in trains or with ‘tail traffic’ they’ve supplied the scale screw coupling as standard, which I think is a good touch myself. Also the running lights only show ‘white’ in the forward direction of travel. Theres no red tail light showing, the units were not fitted as such relying on the traditional red oil lamp. Also supplied as extras are a set of steps to fit underneath the doors for low platform or halt access for passengers and crew. If you want to model an East Anglian branch line in the late fifties and early sixties, particularly with diesel motive power, then this really is a golden era.

Heljans Waggon und Maschinenbau Railbus

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It’s come to my attention that there are unauthorised images being used from this blog to advertise an exhibition this year. I will not comment extensively on this at the moment, however I can assure readers that there are no showings of the layout booked for this year Jan -Dec 2012.

This is annoying for several reasons,

A/ It’s copyright theft for starters, and in ‘About’ there is a bit of a clue on my feeling towards this, so the perps must be spectacularly daft, and with a healthy PR image budget. If they haven’t got one, they’re going to need one.

B/ It shows an image of a layout, Bawdsey, that isn’t even going to be there, and no discussions have ever taken place between me about exhibiting at this show. This, gives potential visitors a misleading impression of the quality of the show, and if someone went on the basis of the ad, they’re being misled, or to put it another way, lied to. It speaks volumes for the organisers lack of respect for their customers.

C/ It isn’t even a show on my ‘radar’, except for very rare occaisions we dont do those types of events.
I will update this posting in due course.(edited: see 16th Jan copyright posting)

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