Posts Tagged ‘unit conversion’

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.


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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.


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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Bachmann Derby Lightweight

Its been a while since there been a modelling update on here, simply because I’ve been working on other projects and Bawdsey has been placed into storage as there no booked shows for it at the moment. In the next few weeks I’ll be returning to work on some of the new releases which are just arriving in the shops. To date I have one of the Hornby Gresley suburban composites, and am awaiting a couple of others when I’ll work on them together, the biggest change being the conversion to EM gauge. At the end of this month I’m looking forward to the Heljan Waggon und Maschinenbau railbus, these worked in East Anglia and under ‘It’s my train set’ rules I’ll be running one on Bawdsey, though I’ve yet to come across a specific shot of an W&M railbus in the Ipswich area.

However what turned up yesterday was one of the latest releases from Bachmann, the Derby Lightweight DMU suitable for east anglian branchline use. Overall I’m very pleased with the look and finish of the unit. Conversion to EM gauge looks simple enough and I’ll swap the wheel set from the Class 108 DMU currently in use. These are the Branchlines conversion set and are well engineered easy to use and hence well worth the money, the 108 will then be redeployed in OO to work on my current project layout ‘East Dursley’.

There are one or two quick fixes that I’ll make in addition to the EM conversion, the first being to disguise the circuit board visible in the vestibule area. Bawdsey is displayed at normal viewing height so it can be seen relatively easily.

The second change is to look at the way the units are coupled. Both the 105 and 108 units have sprung buffers, this has made it easy to run the DMU’s close coupled and with the corridor connections touching. With the DLW the buffers are fixed so theres no easy way to run the unit close coupled, whilst a litle dissapointing, its not the end of the world. What I will be doing is looking at what after market buffer heads there are available and suitable corridor connections. The outer parts of the buffer stocks are I have already discovered, plastic. This may make it easier to fix sprung buffers, but I won’t know for definite until I get them apart. Overall though its another really good addition for my stock to give an accurate representation of an east anglian branchline in the transition era.


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