The last post with its talk of converting the Blue Pullman to EM (which is now half done) made me remember I still had two locos converted just prior to Christmas to finish off, A Fairburn 2-6-4 tank and a Standard 4, both Bachmann – the Standard 4 being an absolute bargain obtained at Ally Pally off the Bachmann returns stand just as they were offloading the stock they didn’t want to take back.

For both locos the wheelpuller was used, but first it is necessary to unbolt the middle crankpin retaining nut to disconnect the connecting rod and take the wheelsets out. Once that done, take the keeper plate off, usually 4 screws, and pull the wheelsets out as a still coupled unit, easy with the standard 4, a juggle with the Fairburn. Once they are out, pulling the wheels is easy, as is putting them back, it’s the fine tuning to get it to run faultlessly that’s the fun bit.

Fairburn 2-6-4 conversion

Fairburn 2-6-4 conversion

Standard 4

Standard 4

The as the photos show, there not a lot of room to spare behind the slidebars, and its that which requires the work. First of all I reduce the sideplay in the leading driving axle to virtually none – Using replacement wheelsets this is easily done by packing both sides equidistant with spacing washers. When you have pulled the wheels though this is not an option, so I pack behind the leading wheels with a dummy sideframe made from black plasticard to about 1mm either side. Once the wheels are on its not noticeable and it effectively reduces the slideplay to the proverbial midges dick. On both locos this is still a job to do although I’ve a feeling it may not be needed with the Standard 4, when I put it on the test track it didn’t have any issues apart from an occasional catch and I think that can be remedied by filing some meat off the front crankpin nut to give extra clearance, and also if you clock the photos on both the tank and the Standard , on the crankpin between the connecting rod boss and the middle coupling rods there’s an acre of space and the con rod can slide about on it. I’m going to reduce this sideplay to nothing by putting some spacing washers in. The other thing of note is the actual con rod thickness itself. Bachman make these very meaty – compare this against a Hornby offering (a Duchess currently awaiting conversion) in the third picture, which, to use a Monty Pythonism, is “waffer thin”.

Duchess 4-6-2

Duchess 4-6-2

This means I can also file off some of the metal on the Standard’s con rod which will also give extra clearance. To be honest I’m not overly impressed by the Hornby rods, they might as well be made out of fag paper they are so thin, and consequently very fragile. In most etched kits you get a two piece laminate to give something of the right thickness and some strength but the Hornby gear is just to thin. I’ve had problems with my Hornby Brit during the conversion process because of this.

Anyway the only remaining job then is to sort out the bogie / Pony Truck, tender wheels out – this is where I don’t cost cut, I usually buy new Alan Gibson wheels for these – the profiles look so much better than the RTR wheels and also the front bogie wheels are very noticeable, so benefit from the finer wheels.

If anybody is wondering what the loco cradles are – I understand they come off the bottom of new garage doors where they are used as protection in storage and transit. A brilliantly good recycling idea and they are one of the most useful freebies I’ve ever had.

Loco cradles

Loco cradles

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