First of all before going anywhere near modelling can I wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year.

One of the most useful tools I’ve ever purchased is the GW tools wheel puller, a classic case of a cottage industry coming up with something which is indispensible to the finescale modeller. Since most RTR manufacturers, and especially Bachman’s wheels are of a standard and profile which enables them to run on EM track it makes converting the loco stock for New Hey to EM a real doddle, and no extra expense for new wheels. Which appeals to the bit of my personality that was born near the Yorkshire border with a trace of Scottish ancestry.

The wheel puller is a really nicely cleverly designed and engineered piece of kit, not rocket science but just good sound engineering principles. Which (and please correct me if I’m wrong here Mr Kohler) makes a bit of a mockery of Hornby’s latest spin “Design Clever” which in actual fact appears to be legitimising a return to the bad old days of moulded handrails and detail et al. To my eyes the only thing that seems remotely clever about it is it enables Hornby to retain their Return On Capital Expenditure without putting up their prices. I may be wrong, I hope so, but lets wait and see on that.

Anyway back to the real clever stuff, the puller is designed for loco wheels, the 2mm spigot on the end of the screw thread going on the axle boss, the two grips behind the wheel rims, then gently turn the screw and Bobs’ yer Uncle.  However you can’t use it on coach wheels, now that’s never been a problem in the past because I normally replace all RTR coach and waggon wheels with Gibson EM wheelsets. OK till you come to Bachman DMU wheels on the non motorised bogies where because they operate on a very clever (take note Hornby) split axle system to ensure pick up on all wheels you cannot use the insulated Gibson wheels. The first few I did were no problem, the interference fit of the wheel on the axle was  eased off and the wheels pulled into gauge by hand. With the Power Twin 105 however they had been put on with sterner stuff (Loctite?) and refused to budge. I ended up gently drifting them out but in the process managed to slightly blunt some of the pinpoints on the axles, and ended up re-turning the pinpoints.

Enter stage right last month my new blue 6 coach DMU set – a quick look at the wheelsets showed that the wheels were on the axles with the same force as the 105! There had to be a better way (particularly given the amount of dosh parted with for the BP, and I’m by no way squeamish when it comes to invalidating loco warranties) – and there is.  Basically two pieces of brass tube, one with an internal dia of 2mm, the other with an external dia of 2mm. Both were cut to size, then the 2mm external tube (after being cleaned up first with a scratch brush, the principle rule of successful soldering) having flux applied and telescoped into the larger tube with approx 1.5 mm showing. Solder was applied to the join, the work cleaned up, and then the hole in the tube coned using a rat tailed file so the axle end fits snug in the tube with the actual pin point in the void to protect it. As a picture paints a thousand words here’s the sequence of events:

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Simples! Cost me bugger all apart from 5 minutes time, its useful, practical and I will safely convert my Blue Pullman this week with no worries of having to re-turn axle pinpoints.