October has been a busy month…
Rc3 1027 has received some more work and investigation.
- It has been fitted with Märklin pantographs of the correct LLXJE-235 type. Unlike the ones fitted to this Editions Atlas model, the new ones can be raised and lowered. There is a minor problem with the rest of the roof detailing, however, in that when lowered, the pantograph at the ‘B’ end rests on an insulator, but that is a job for another day!
- As with our Heljan models, things just fall off this model regardless of how delicately it is handled. We have also found that handrails and suchlike are very brittle, so we might look into buying a Roco handrail accessory pack (if still available) and refit this model accordingly. Obviously, the extra handrails and steps for the Radio Control facility will need to be scratch-built!
- Other work pending includes replacement wheels (conforming to NEM standards), extra weight, and couplings so that this loco can be used for double-heading! Symoba couplings look most likely.
A great sense of achievement occurred on October 6th; T21 64 ran under its own power! Two days later, it was run-in on a test track at another location. It sounded a little ‘rough’ and more work has been be necessary, but the light is in sight!
- There are many electrical problems, soldered contacts just breaking off, for example; and random short circuits. But as October came to close, the loco was ready for testing and running in.
- The buffer-beam ‘arch’ at the ‘A’ end prohibited the NEM coupling mechanism from functioning properly, so that has now been filed to a wider profile and the paint touched up.
- More attachments have fallen off at the slightest touch, so they are being progressively put back on with reinforcement. The hooter now fits into a hole and is more secure, but although the handrails have been refitted, we’re not convinced they’re going to stay (each one has two pin-size fixings), so another idea needs to be thought up!
- A little more white metal has been ground off the interior of the upper chassis, and off the end of the gear; our test with black paint proved that they were making contact, but not any more.
- T21 64 with handrails refitted – at the time of publishing, one had come off already, but a new design of handrail and fitting is being developed.
T45 328 also received some more attention.
- Plexiglass blocks were mounted to the cab insides, and holes drilled; these will be the primary fitting pieces for the body to the chassis.
- Jeco hooters (for another loco) were acquired and fitted to the model, also.
- The running plate was painted a very dark blue (in accordance with the instructions) and with a ‘dirty black’ under-chassis, this doesn’t look bad at all. The buffer beams, stocks and buffers have been painted, also.
- We have fitted so-called ‘accommodation bogies’ to this model so that we can get a better perception of how it should look.
- The body has needed opening out a little, so reinforcing beams have been fitted inside; these will come out when the eventual motor goes in.
- Symoba couplings have been fitted (mechanism 111 and pocket 110—if you’re familiar with the range) and with the loco standing on the track, it does look ready to roll, but of course it isn’t!
F 1207 has been the recipient of a lot of work, and as October drew to a close, progress was quite apparent! There is much to write about, but we are providing a summary here, and will do a more thorough account for a special feature, in due course!
- Loco and tender were easily separated; the mechanical coupling (a loop over a pin), the electrical coupling (a seven-pin plug and socket, a bit fiddly), and the cardan shaft (sleeved so that it comes apart (and goes back together) easily).
- With the coal bunker removed from the tender, we found that it was DCC fitted(!)
- On a test track, analogue control produced the usual disappointing results; digital produced better results, but still far from ideal. (This curious running property is explained by the fact that DCC uses Pulse Width Modulation where the frequency of the power supply is varied, not the voltage.) The test was concluded with the DCC chip being replaced by a blanking chip as we have no intention to continue with DCC.
- Back to the tender where the motor is, there is a cardan shaft to drive the centre and trailing driving wheels on the loco, and a direct drive to the two axles in the leading bogie on the tender! We removed the poorly glued-on bulkhead and de-soldered four cables, and with little effort, the motor was now accessible.
- The motor was found to be faulty. It is (or was) a sealed unit and it offered resistance at 60° increments; which suggested that it was brushless with no ‘escape’ for the back-EMF. The motor is the same shape and size as the one from the T21 diesel, but with different attachments, so as the one removed from the T21 was not working anyway, we decided to investigate with that before working on the F motor. We found two brushes and three poles! Although made by a third party for Heljan, we found that after soldering the cables back on, the actual contacts just broke off, so a completely new motor looks on the cards!
- Then we investigated the loco. We were bothered by the fact that everything seems so loose and that there seems to be no safe way to handle the model. We were also annoyed that it does not have a top headlamp. Removing the pony-truck and bogie were simple enough; loosening the front of the boiler (via screw concealed by the bogie) was also easy. We had to be mindful of cables at the front, between the boiler and the running plate for the lighting. These were the reason that we wanted to get the loco apart in the first place, so that we could fit and wire in a top headlamp! But we noticed that the boiler was in two parts, where the grey meets the black, and that the smoke-box door was glued on. With the smoke-box off, and a gentle bit of prising with a screwdriver, we managed to separate the two parts of the boiler and get to the PCB within. It is more like a boiler with cladding, than two halves!
- During this investigation, however, we did establish the ‘fitting’ locations for the side running plates, and these have now been secured. This is more significant than could be realised; we now have a means of handling the loco without the fear of it falling apart.
- Like their T21 diesel loco, this has flimsy plastic steps on the tender, so these have also been reinforced with brass strip, and painted. We have removed the handrails on the back of the tender; not all locos had them all the time, and on this model they’re just another source of trouble.
- With whatever spare time has been available, with the locomotive dismantled, we have painted the boiler bulkhead with all its fittings, and in the cab, the wooden floor and the roof and walls.
We Have done a little work on our new Hilding Carlsson Yd 343.
- It was taken apart so that we could re-stick a counter weight inside the body. The model has two weights, one underneath the floor, and one to counterbalance the motor. The latter was loose.
- We reassembled the model with the motor correctly at the ‘A’ end, though the A-end markers are missing! (However, with the ‘A’ end leading the fuel intake is on the right, so we were able to identify it!) The model has a rubber-band drive; simple yet effective.
- We also adjusted one of the end luggage racks because it was coming loose.
- Also, following the study of the few colour photographs that are available, we have painted the cow-catchers red (they’re not really snow ploughs)!
- Yd 343 taken apart, shewing its simple-yet-effective means of power and assembly.
Y1 1308 and YF1 1331 have been fitted with Roco close-couplings into their NEM pockets. Fitting of things like mirrors has wisely been postponed until we are ready to start running them on a new layout.
- A curious problem was identified by an AJF Friend with the tail lights not working, but the LED did light up under test. It was found that the fibre optics can work a little loose and not put the light in the right place. Worth investigating if you have this problem with yours.
Project FM4 has been rekindled, and whilst actual work has been minimal, a more sensible way forward has been identified.
- The carriage is a UGJ F4 body with an X10 cab at one end!
- The body has been sanded down a little, ready for new primer and then it will be painted in SJ Orange as if a Mätvagn. We will use some decals that have been found in the box about, but need to research the numbers available to see what is most likely (an ex-F4, now scrapped, would be viable).
Project R5 has also been rekindled, even though it is not so necessary now. We have been converting a Heljan URB2 catering carriage to a loco-hauled carriage in protest at the complete absence of catering vehicles in H0 for SJ. Now, of course, we have the NMJ RB1 available, and the HNoll R4 arriving soon! Our R5 is being completed as we have come so far with it.
- It has been painted 1980s brown, but retaining the black band at window height. The roof and chassis are a much darker grey, and the ends are black.
- Roco ASEA bogies have been retrofitted. The holes for the original Heljan bogies were too near the ends (because the Heljan bogies’ pivot was not in the centre), so they were unsuitable. Instead, we drilled new holes wide enough for the Roco bogies to be a loose fit, and then mounted a plate beneath the chassis with a smaller hole to retain the catches. For strength, these have been ‘gorilla-glued’ into place!
- Symoba couplings seem the obvious choice for this model.
Having mentioned Symoba couplings; we have acquired a Height Gauge to comply with NEM-362, and this has been very useful for this purpose—especially with the modifications that have been made to the T21. It will be particularly useful also, on the Rc3 1027, T45 328, and R5 carriage, all of which are likely to receive this brand of coupling. We have put a link to the German-language Symoba website from this website.
We are considering the possibility of buying back the K24 steam loco (and doing some work on it to make it more authentic—see our recently updated guide to steam locos); there is a faint possibility of it receiving its earlier identity of NOJ number 29, but we’re not certain how easy that would be to do.