Todays modelling session by the lever frame saw a move away from buildings, and to a bit of work on stock. Like the village hall, it was one of those jobs that you can leave just before you get train entering section, and go back to once the train has been dealt with.

A few weeks ago I took delivery of one of Dapol’s new 122 units, with a view to it providing a branch service for Kinlochleven. It looks a pretty fine model actually, but of course there are always those who find fault, probably only because its Dapol in this case, a much maligned manufacturer who don’t really deserve it, especially as they got rid of the root of their problems a few years back. Todays task was to convert it to EM gauge.

As I balk at buying new wheels until I’ve tried regauging the existing wheels, and all my Bachman units run very well using this simple expedient it was a no brainer to try it on the 122. Getting the unit out of the box I was at first a bit offput by the lack of a diagram / illustration of parts that you usually get with Bachman and Hornby models, but turning the model upside down and having a look underneath showed how easy it would be to remove the keeper plate/ side frames from under the bogie.

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Its kept in place by two lugs on the bogie body fitting into rectangular holes on the front and back. Now certainly with Bachman these can be a pig to get off, but in this case someone from Dapol is thinking ahead of the game, and they have put a hole in at the point the bogie stretcher meets the keeper plate which means you can get a pair of fine nosed pliers in and gently prize away the plate from the lugs. It took seconds and there was no danger of damaging anything. The only other tools needed for the job are visible in the photo, the trusty GW wheel puller, and an EM back to back gauge.

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The wheels just pull out of the frame, the brass bearings in the photo just clip in – they also provide the pick ups to the split axles via the strips down the outer side of the frame – again just visible in the photo.

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It’s then just a case of pulling the wheels out to a back to back of 16.5 milimetres and slotting the wheels back into place, remembering that because of the way the gear meshing is, there is a right and a wrong way round! Before the keeper plate goes back on though, there is a further job to do to ensure there is enough clearance between the dummy side frames and the wheels. A scalpel is required to snip out the strip of plastic which connects the brake shoes. Now another plaudit to Dapol, you need to do exactly the same with Bachman units but inevitable you lose a brake shoe or two, they are a bit flimsily attached. No such problems with the 122 though, they are robustly attached and I removed all 8 strips with no loss, and no sign of loss either.

And that was that – the job was actually completed in the period between 11:07 and 11:58 according to the train register and that included pulling lever 20  – making a brew 😉

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