Marsh Lane Workshops - Mk1 Overhauls

Discussion in 'Workbenches, including workshop techniques.' started by Marsh Lane, 31 January 2019.

  1. Marsh Lane

    Marsh Lane Member

    Afternoon all,
    I've 'lurked' on this forum for a while, but have held back from actually creating a thread, feeling that in the spirit of the forum, I actually needed to be progressing with some modelling. I do have a thread over on rmWeb which I shall continue to update, but thought it may be useful/interesting to those on here.

    I am an O gauge modeller who has built up a reasonable collection of mostly 1980s Heljan vehicles over the past 10-12 years, some of which have been professionally repainted as I never had the courage to attempt to repaint or detail a £500 model! However, I am start to feel more adventurous this past few months, and having made the big decision to move my modelling period to the late 1950s/early 1960s (some 20 odd years before I was born!) I was faced with selling a sizeable amount of stock that was in the wrong liveries.

    Instead, I've decided to start with a small achievable project and start doing some repaints and detailing. I have a 10-coach Heljan Mk1 rake, and yes I know there is the argument for the shape of the body shells, but they look decent to me. Hence the first one, a Royal Mail red-liveried Mk1 has entered the workshops (my comical name for the kitchen table) for repaint and improvement.

    Current plan is a five-point approach:
    1) Strip the vehicle down to its bare sections, and undertake a repaint into all over Maroon, using Fox lining transfers, with Railtec numbering and detailing transfers. Finally weather the chassis.
    2) The bogies are to be changed to Easybuild ones to allow better running, and fit with pick-ups.
    3) The awkward screw couplings will be replaced. Im unsure at the moment whether to go Kadee, or look at the AJ Coupings, which look far better, but im not sure if they are suitable to 7mm.
    4) Internally, paint the guards area. Fit something resembling the normal cages - im sure I've seen an etched brass detailing kit somewhere.
    5) Fit lighting to the guards compartment, fit a oil tail lamp, and wire back to a small function only decoder.

    That is the grand plan! I only get a day or so each week to work on things, so progress is unlikely to be quick, added to which it needs to be warmer to deal with the respray anyway, so those five tasks may well get dealt with in a different order! If all goes to plan, then I'll move onto the next BG which will be outcropped in Crimson & Cream. Next after that will be to create a full 'Crimson & Cream' passenger set, with the FK, SO, RBB and BSK all being fitted with full lighting and passengers as well.

    If anyone has any thoughts or advice please do shout and let me know! All help and advice is gratefully appreciated.
  2. Marsh Lane

    Marsh Lane Member

    So the first task was to start stripping the coach down. Bogies have come off and then it took some working out about how to disassemble the coach! A quick call to Howes revealed that the Heljan roofs are held on with five plastic clips that just 'pop' off with a little encouragement. This they did, but removing the body shell from the chassis has proved more troublesome.


    I spoke with a friend of mine who has an involvement with Heljan, who looked things up and advised that the Mk1 ends and chassis are all one unit, with the roof and bodysides being separate. That confirmed the worst suspicions that the sides are actually glued to the ends, I suspect with a quick 'blast' from a hot glue gun.


    Having had an attempt with a screwdriver and knife, I decided that the glue was not going to come away easily, so it looks like I may need to invest in some form of glue remover. Getting the whole thing back together again afterwards could be another interesting job, possibly aided by Araldite!



    Len Cattley, Peter Cross and chrisb like this.
  3. richard carr

    richard carr Western Thunderer

    I would say that is a good one to start with.

    Why though do you think you will get better running with Easy Build bogies, I doubt you will the Heljan bogies run very well.

  4. Marsh Lane

    Marsh Lane Member

    Thanks Richard,
    I was fortunate to enjoy an afternoon with the chap that owns the 'West Kirby Town' layout (I think he has a Layout Thread on here, but certainly does on rmWeb) last summer, and Rod (the owner) has upgraded all the bogies of his five Mk1s to Easybuild. While the running quality is smooth as the Heljan's, the free-running of the Easybuild was definitely far better. For example, we hand pushed a set of five Mk1s for perhaps two or three foot, and they were still had some speed when we had to stop them at the other end of the layout ... some 30-40 foot away!

    As my layout will have grades (the hidden sidings will be below the main layout) and should allow me to run seven or eight coach length trains, I am keen to keep the rolling stock as easy running as possible, hence the change. What I may well do is convert one, and then do some tests and comparisons and see what the actual 'in-service' difference is. If there isn't that much difference, I may well leave them, as they could always be changed later if I decided to - the only issue with keeping the Heljan's is working out how to fit the pick-ups for the onboard lighting.

  5. Marsh Lane

    Marsh Lane Member

    Afternoon all,
    Well I am a bit further forward. A suggestion to use the freeze the disintegrate the glue helped in part, in that I was able the flex the sides enough to get the internals out. So next task is the IPA.

    However, I suspect the door hinges however will succumb to being lost under the primer, so I am now on the look out for the following detailing parts, if anyone can point me in the right direction:
    - Internal BG detailing - wire cages, guards area detailing
    - External door handles/door hinges, end footsteps, vacuum pipes.

  6. Dog Star

    Dog Star Western Thunderer

    Easybuild is your friend for all that you require, a telephone call to Shaun is better than trying to decide what to order from the web-site.

    If - and that two letter word has a huge potential for disappointment - you can speak to Laurie Lynch of MM1 Models then you may be able to extract the ex-JLTRT Guard's compartment detailing kit which is a more complete than the Easybuild version.

    IMHO the Easybuild wire cage etches are probably the best out there, more useful/adaptable than the JLTRT product.
    Last edited: 2 February 2019
    Marsh Lane likes this.
  7. Marsh Lane

    Marsh Lane Member

    Lol! Thanks for that, I'll give Shaun a call next week and find out. Have spoken to Laurie a few times at MM1 and perhaps I shouldn't say this, but always got through first time! Oops, have I just given that the kiss of death now :)

  8. Marsh Lane

    Marsh Lane Member

    Spoken to Shawn at Easybuild this afternoon. The various hinges, door stops, handles etc.. are heading my way. Do people suggest wet and dry or sandpaper to rub the coach sides down, seen as I need to remove the moulded detailed? Conscious I don't want to do anything that would affect the paint finish, although it will be covered in primer first.
  9. Dog Star

    Dog Star Western Thunderer

    If this was an Easybuild carriage - where the sides are extruded ABS - then I rub down with wet-and-dry used wet... starting at 240 grit and then progressing through 400 / 600 / 800 / 1000 grits.
    Marsh Lane likes this.
  10. Marsh Lane

    Marsh Lane Member

    Thanks Dog Star!

    Wet and dry has arrived, various parts from Shawn at Easybuild have arrived, so hopefully Wednesday or Thursday on my days off, I'll get some work done on the coach. Final stage will be to acquire some transfers for the lining and lettering, but I'll cross that bridge once I've progressed things on and actually got the paint something!