Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

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Jonathan Hughes
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Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:31 pm

Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby Jonathan Hughes » Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:00 pm

Introduction
I have no real genuinely strong rationale for wanting to model a Class 26 other than some idealistic memories based on a couple of trips on the highland lines from Crianlarich to Oban and Mallaig in the late 70s and that I think the class look good. There’s something purposeful about them when equipped with the 3-piece mini-ploughs and their almost “friendly face” compared to the faceless 27s or the surprised look to the 24s and early 25s, and the expressionless stare of the later 25s; whatever the reason I thought that it would make a nice easy project to work on. As with my previous projects, I was wrong with the perception that this would be a simple project.

A couple of years ago, I picked up a pair of Heljan OO gauge Class 26s (Blue 26031s) for a bargain from a well known Liverpudlian box shifter. One of these was for my youngest son to run on his and his brother’s layout; I thought the solid model would give good pulling power that would be useful for the steep gradient I’d built in, and he loved it and it served well. By simply replacing the tensionlock couplings and adding the snowploughs, indicator discs and pipework, he was delighted and played with it often.

Whilst fitting the details I did find myself pondering what could be done to improve the model, it did after all look very nice and crisp.
I'd heard comment mentioned previously regarding the bodyside window frames that needed adjustment but not much else was mentioned. On inspection it was clearly a neat model, with fine details and a very weighty and balanced chassis, as in all the Heljan models I've seen.
Initial discussions with "Uncle Brian" identified improved offerings for the roof fan and grill, some new flush glazing and etch indicator discs... all of which were purchased for the "bits box" whilst some planning was considered and an order for some P4 wheels from Ultrascale awaited.
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In 2014 we were fortunate enough to have 26038 visit the Spa Valley Railway, which is quite local to me, presenting me with the possibility of a few opportunities to get closer to a member of the class; numerous photos were gathered during the Spa Valley diesel gala in August (and I had a quick drive of it too), and I popped back to Eridge one Saturday in September to acquire some further detail photos (and measurements) whilst she was stabled between duties. Whilst the day's kettle got on with hauling duties, the diesel’s crew were very helpful and a full tour of the loco followed; I was disappointed to have to turn down the cab ride to Tunbridge Wells, but I'd been out all morning and “Dad duties” beckoned. That second visit provided me with some detail photos and measurements, including that of the radiator grills, which were one item that I felt could, or should, be looked at.
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On the model, the moulded items provided by Heljan are very fine and nice, but because I'd been looking at the loco for a while it was clear that the grill “face” was very open, with the inner bracing and a radiator face that was clearly visible behind the framework and open mesh. I was going to have to model that. I’ve seen it modelled in 7mm, so including it at 4mm scale should be feasible, with a little help, but clearly a plan would be needed.
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Having stripped the model of its multiple layers of factory paint using superstrip, an old toothbrush and patience, I looked at initial "easy" ways to get in to this project.

Work begins:
The project was conducted in a similar manner to that of previous work, where I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do, but not necessarily any real idea as to how it was all going to be achieved; yes I had to make it up as I went along, drawing on support from other modellers’ work or ideas or just trying to see what would work in each case as it was found. This was very much a case of finding new items to modify as I went along; tackling one error would highlight another; but I’ve become accustomed to that.

Roof fan grill:
To get my eye in, I decided to tackle an easy job and remove the moulded roof fan grill and check the opening for one of Brian’s etched items. Ahem, once the moulding is removed, the opening is too large. Whilst wondering whether this was a bit of a portent of things to come, I set about addressing the problem. Firstly, I tried to fill the recessed lip with “white putty”, but this is quite brittle so the edges did not stand much handling; I was not going to get crisp edges this way.
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A rethink suggested a plasticard liner around the inside edge of the hole (which would double as a fan shroud). I added this first, sticking it in place with one of my usual glues of choice “zap-a-gap”. Once this was secure, I back-filled the recess with white putty and then filed the whole thing flush to match the roof profile (easier said than done)... and then with a roll of sandpaper, sanded out the opening until the plasticard liner was very thin and matched the desired diameter.
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Radiator grill openings
Whilst I was at the No.1 end and cutting holes, I decided to remove those lovely moulded radiator grills. A careful check of the model’s moulding and a scaling of measurements taken from 26038 told me that the Heljan model was slightly wrong; the grill is about 0.75mm too deep, with the lower edge needing to move up a little and the whole grill needing to move away from the cab by about 0.5mm. A check on my son’s Lima 26 (he had an old one of these too) identified that actually, the grill was more accurately sized on that than Heljan’s model. Does this matter? Well normally I’d admit that it doesn’t at all, but as I was looking for scale replacements, I though I should start to aim to be accurate at least.

Having learnt from previous projects, I set about drilling out the mesh area having sanded the surround flush first; using a broach to cut between the drill holes speeds the process and eventually the centre part can drop out and the hole edges filed and sanded away as squarely as possible, with use being made of a sharp swann-morten blade to cut into the four corners squarely. Accuracy does not need to be paramount as these are the edges of the opening that will (hopefully) be hidden by the grill surround; but it’s nice to try to keep it square as the project progresses.
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A small plasticard template was cut out to what appeared to be the correct dimensions of the opening so as to get both sides equal. A tight fit was aimed for in each case.
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The same process was followed for the other side and a check made across the body to check for equality. For now, the holes would remain this way; further cutting work was needed elsewhere.

Front ends

A careful look at the front end of the model compared to prototype ph otographs reveals a few errors that need a bit of work to rectify. Firstly, and perhaps the most evident, is the undersized central windscreen. After some pondering and examination of prototype photos, I decided to file-out the opening to what appeared to be the correct size. In essence this meant opening the hole out to remove the moulded beading and then slightly reshaping. Photos show that the beading on the central window is not as pronounced as the left and right main screens so I thought I could forego this on the model. Whilst the window is essentially a lozenge shape, its lower edge is not straight but curved upwards and the metalwork it sits in is not curved but flat; it’s perhaps unsurprising that the OO gauge model manufacturers’ got this wrong as it is a small detail.
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Once the window was opened out, I set about adding the small inner lip that sits below the rain strip over the central window. To achieve this, I added a short piece of 0.5mm x 1.0mm microstrip attached on the 0.5mm side underneath the rain strip.
Two further pieces were glued in to cover the holes for the plastic windscreen wiper that broke the line of the rain strip; these were back filled with zap-a-gap and cleaned up. New holes for etched wipers would be re-drilled, above the rain strip per the prototype, later on.
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A further small task was to remove the web of material that sat underneath the horn baffle. I used a small drill bit at each end of the web to open this out and then a sharp blade to drag the material away and leave an elongated slot. I considered adding the horns, but they would be practically invisible so it seemed pointless. I also left off the inner grill piece, but again this is very difficult to see behind the baffle plate, so leaving the long hole above the cab now looked sufficient.

The above-window strip was then cut back using a series of files, fine sanding and dragging away with the end of a swann-morten blade. The result is far from perfect, but it’s possibly close enough and, to be absolutely honest, it’s as accurate as my eyesight would permit.
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Another aspect addressed in this picture is the reshaping of the middle section of the nose lower lip. Oddly enough, I’ve examined many photos of models of 26s in 4mm and 7mm scales and the curved original shape is evident in just about all of them. Looking at photos of 26s though and it’s evident that this area was very prone to damage, presumably from coupling links only a few have had the curved down shape knocked back in to them. Class 27s seem to retain the lower curve, so I don’t know why 26s didn’t but they mostly seem to be “knocked straight”... and my reshaping here was an attempt to make the model closer. Some refined dents might be added later once a prototype has been chosen to model, but for now the reshaping is enough.

The next change was one of those observations which as soon as it was seen screamed out as “wrong”. A check of 7mm models shows the same error on the Heljan model, but it looks right on the JLRT kit. I refer to the upper indicator lamp position; it’s too high. The lamp should sit in line with the lower edge of the main windscreen panels rather than above it. Thus, when the indicator disc is fitted, it sits a little way below the upper edge of the nose, not almost in line with it as it would unless modified.
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With apologies to the poorly focussed photo, the existing lamp was drilled out and the hole elongated below the existing position.

The hole was then filed square with the sharpest-edged swiss file I had. I filled the upper section of the new hole with “white putty” and then filed again to leave a slightly rectangular opening, now in the right place.
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I then cut an appropriate width of plasticard to the right height and inserted this into the hole (a loose fit) to represent the lamp. The lamp light was then drilled-out with progressively larger drills until reaching about 1mm (checked against the holes of the other lamps). Whether this can be illuminated once the model goes back together will remain to be seen...
The moulded (short) windscreen washer jets were then removed and 0.4mm holes drilled to accept new wire “washer jet housings” that would protrude to the correct distance. For each, short wire pieces were cut square and then shaped with “flat” ends using the grinding tool in the mini-drill before being inserted and glued in place. Small microstrip pieces were used to fill the holes over the remaining lamps; these would not be needed when I fitted the etched plates.
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Roof
A quick job was carried out on the roof, whereby all of the moulded panel handles were cut off and small holes drilled to accept new handles made from thin wire pieces. For each of these, the end was sharpened on the mini-drill grinding tool and then bent over; a short length left in place to push home into the new hole and glued. A warning thought, the plastic of the model is quite thick, so drilling all those holes (16 of them) took a little patience and some good music to listen to.... mind you, so too did making all of those handles.
Another item noted as not quite right was the engine exhaust port. Rather than the simple straight port, photos showed a lipped port, so I cut the moulded opening to form a hole and then reduced the height of the existing port before adding a shaped plasticard plate with chamfered edges and an opening representative of the prototype. Archers rivets will be added once some paint has been applied (they don’t stick too well to plastic) to represent the correct pattern. Yes, I’ll be counting them..!

To-do list
Before I move on to the radiator grills, I need to add another item to the to-do list having had this (kindly?) pointed out to me recently... the cab roof vents. On the model, these are positioned either side of the cab roof centreline, but not in line with the vents on the boiler roof panel. A look at prototype photos shows that these should all be in line, so those on the cab roof are too far inboard. Another item that once seen is difficult to ignore.
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This will be a job to tackle once parts are available. An etched item should be quite straightforward, but I need to speak to a kindly manufacturer of these to see whether something can be knocked up simply. To be continued....

Radiator Grills
The final aspect of this instalment addresses the inner sections of the radiator grills. I am in no doubt that the grills themselves will need a fine etch for the open-weave mesh and outer and cross-piece frame. Whilst similar to those on the 33, they’re not identical, the mid piece being in a different place, but they’re similar.
As for the inners, I had a few attempts at sorting a means to represent what would be seen through the mesh. The main components are the vertical and diagonal frames, forming a sort of arrow shape behind the mesh. These are actually 4cm by 8 cm frames, so were fashioned from brass strip of 0.5mm by 1mm so as close as I could get to that needed). These were cut to length and positioned as accurately as possible with reference to drawings. The vertical piece is not in the middle of the opening so careful positioning is important. The angled pieces were also measured and their ends chamfered to sit flush with the sides of the plastic hole. All parts were glued in with Zap-a-gap superglue, using both the pink-thin and green-medium compounds.

With reference to measurements, I then set about deepening the opening to the correct depth of the grill (28cm) so doubling the depth to about 3.5mm using pieces of 0.28 x 1.68mm evergreen strip to form box sides, but with the lower piece angled to represent the lower sloping face of the opening on the loco. To get this to “slot” into the brass pieces, two slots were carefully notched in to it and the whole thing secured with zap-a-gap as before. A horizontal piece sat atop the angle piece was then cut to the right width once the glue had dried to give a square box section.
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To represent the radiator face, I then cut a square of plasticard to sit snugly in the back of the square opening; a larger piece was added behind this to enable the whole to “clip” in place. Microstrip was added to the outer edges to provide a “frame” and the cross-frame bracing added using two strips of microstrip, which will bend if you’re careful. The photo shows the first trial before I realised that the cross-frame bracing needed to stop short of the bottom (be higher) so was removed and a new one fitted.
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Next came a bit of a challenge. Behind the grill are two thin bracing pieces at approximately 1/3rd and 2/3rd height of the frame. In reality, these are 2.5cm deep and about 5mm thick. Modelling these requires a little license. Initially, I added two microstrip sections that then needed filing down to the right profile. These were too fragile so I had to think again. At this size, behind a grill, would the shape really be seen? I decided no. So I added two pieces of 33 swg nickel wire stretched straight and glued in place. To give these a little security, I cut notches in the plastic frame surrounding the opening at the correct points so the wire could recess into the plastic and be a little more secure than just “stuck”. The etched grill frame (if/when I manage to acquire one) will cover this, so it should eventually look ok. These were fiddly and stuck in place with the thin (pink label) zap-a-gap and so far seem to have stayed in place. I will possibly make a pair of plastic plates to sit over these openings whilst work continues just to prevent handling damage; it’d be shame to break it.
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The model will continue. Further details need to be added including new lamp brackets and sorting those cab roof vents but so far I think that reasonable progress has been made.

I hope that's all of interest.... it's certainly giving me something to occupy my mind as I recover from knee surgery.
That's all for now.

Jonathan

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Wizard of the Moor
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby Wizard of the Moor » Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:37 pm

Very nice, Jon :thumb

How much clearance is there between the body and the chassis block with your extra depth behind the radiator grills?

Hope your knee gets better soon.
Cheers,

James
TOERAG - Tees, Ouse, Esk & Rye Area Group

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Jonathan Hughes
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby Jonathan Hughes » Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:31 pm

Hi James, no that's something else to tackle. I'll need to remove the block and reduce its width behind the grills... But I'm going to spend some time looking at the chassis and bogies... and tanks, anyway so there's no rush. I found Ian Penberth's website today and enjoyed looking at the sprung bogie bits... so I might need to think about my plans there ;)

Jon.

Oh, and thanks... had a three for the price of two on the knee... Meaning that I'm on a 6 week rather than 2 week recovery plan now :shock: so yes, I've some time to keep working this a little more and work out how to keep up with work commitments. :|

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John Donnelly
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby John Donnelly » Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:24 pm

Looking good Jon. I was happy just changing the wheels and weathering my 26 which, despite being a great little runner has no place on the next layout albeit there will be lots of it's sister the 24s...

John

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iak
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby iak » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:39 am

Extreme wibbling and drbbling :thumb
This looks a wonderful project - bravo.
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But I may choose to serve perfection....
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mikeknowles
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby mikeknowles » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:34 am

Good to see this thread Jon.
I know you've seen my posts on another forum showing the modifications I've done on the chassis of 7mm Heljan 26s & 27s, I assume you've also seen the posts by Sean, aka "The Penguin of Doom", on the bodywork mods he's done.
One area I'm currently stuck on is the fuel tanks/boiler tanks/battery boxes. I've done some work on them but I'm lacking good detail photographs particularly of the pipework, brackets etc. Did you manage to get any on your visit to the Spa Valley Railway?

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Jonathan Hughes
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby Jonathan Hughes » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:53 am

Hi Mike, thanks for the comments and yes I'm well aware of Sean's work with his 26s and 33-27 project... some of that gave me the kick to get on with this one :thumb
Sorry to hear about the problems you're having with detail aspects, yes they are a class that seems to lack much detail coverage. I recently acquired the strathwood book and the In Profile book on these and the 27s but the photos are generic to say the least. I did take quite a few photos of 26038 including the under frame and I've posted these to my Flickr site. If I can work out how to paste a link using my iPad i'll add it here in a minute or two.
The problem with 26038 however is that it lacks the boiler and hence water tank and has the compressor for its dual brake operation,so the under frame is as several of the class were modified to with those under slung cylinders next to the fuel tank, but please feel free to use whatever you see.
There are several other 26s mooching about so I'm sure some photos will turn up; I know Sean has some... but of 26038 I think, there's some on Brian Daniels Flickr pages too... Which are always worth a look.
Here's a link to my album... I worked it out ;-) https://www.flickr.com/photos/nimbus20/ ... 299465299/

Cheers
Jonathan

mikeknowles
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby mikeknowles » Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:57 pm

Many thanks for the link to your Flickr site there is certainly some helpful photos on there. We’re planning a trip to the Barrow Hill diesel gala in April where 27066 (I think) will be amongst the line up so hopefully I’ll get some more photos there. Failing that I’ll just have to drag myself up to one of the Scottish preserved railways to have a look (it’s a hard life doing research)! I share your view about books, all they seem to show is standard front three quarters views, rarely do they show any good underframe detail as this area is usually under exposed as well.
I note some of your photos show one of the bogie steps as having holes in the main side frames. All my research seemed to suggest this type were only fitted to Class 27s, the ones on Class 26s being solid so maybe it was a replacement for a damaged one (the others seem quite battered)! If you’re thinking of fitting the Pete Harvey etched bogies steps note they only have the solid sides so for Sean’s 27025 I drilled them out accordingly as per the photos below. I drilled them after assembly as they were more rigid and less prone to distortion then and I made up a template made from a strip of plasticard to get them all(roughly!) the same.

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Jeremy Good
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby Jeremy Good » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:49 pm

Jonathan

Interesting thread and useful to see the results of your investigations of the differences between the Heljan body moulding and the real thing.

I've just dragged an untouched one out of my pile of "to do" projects to try out one of the newly available PenBits sprung chassis. I wasn't planning a major revision to the body but now there are one or two things you've mentioned that I might just have to reconsider!

It'll be good to see how your model progresses over the next little while.

Keep up the good work!

Jeremy

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Jonathan Hughes
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby Jonathan Hughes » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:53 pm

Hi again Mike, I'm glad you found some of the photos useful. I would not be at all surprised if the loco was a bit of a mish mash; it was lovely to see it down here but I was left with the feeling that a little more TLC would be welcomed. The bodywork looked a little careworn and when I got a tour around in September the crew did mention that the engine was running rough and not firing properly on all cylinders... still sounded good to me to be honest :thumb
There's a 26 over at the GWR so that one might be worth a look... its 26043 in pre-TOPS blue D6543. I popped in to Toddington one evening in July whilst I was nearby for a couple of days and saw it in the yard. It might be worth a look but this too looks to be dual brake fitted ... the best I could get https://www.flickr.com/photos/nimbus20/ ... 5371551220
The photos of your modified steps and jig are useful... I'll bare those in mind when planning my further work. Yes I will probably end up with the PHD steps although I find them trickier to assemble and not quite as robust as our other main EE etch supplier... but they still suit the purpose ;)

Hi Jeremy,
I'd be interested to see how you get on with Ian's Penbits... I bought a 47 set a while back but chickened out; I suppose a 26 set would be an easier way of starting out and the website photos are appealing. There are some easy mods to do to the body... and hopefully your appetite is now whetted ;) I note that you're not too far from me either... I work across the road from Gatwick although I'm currently off work (and unable to drive :| ) having had a little more surgery to my knee than I'd expected ... but it's giving me some time to exercise and catch up with a few projects whilst immobile. Maybe we should compare notes one day. :thumb

Thanks for your comments....

Jonathan
(New Member Support Officer)

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Lord Colnago
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby Lord Colnago » Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:01 pm

Excellent stuff Jonathan, a highly interesting read which has made me re-think one or two future diesel projects, so thanks for that! I shall be watching with interest.
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Jeremy Good
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby Jeremy Good » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:07 pm

Jon

The PenBits Class 26 chassis arrived last weekend but it's waiting its turn in the queue behind a Class 24. The 24 needs pick ups to complete and if that is successful I'll move on the the 26 - I'll keep you posted but don't want to hi-jack this thread!

The bogie steps problem could be solved by using the PHD version for the Class 33 which has the holes in the side - it would save drilling the holes, although at a cost.

When you are more mobile I'm sure we can find an opportunity to compare notes on these projects.

Jeremy

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Jonathan Hughes
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby Jonathan Hughes » Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:14 pm

Dear all, thanks for all the comments. Work has continued and the front end detailing is probably now almost complete (unless I see something else). I will post a full update later (maybe this week) but for now here's two teaser photos of the hacked body block (to make room for the radiator housings)... and which will be re-engineered thankfully with a Penbits kit (just ordered)... one end being mounted a little differently due to my enthusiastic use of the hacksaw :?
... and a close-in of some of the front end details.
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Jon

mikeknowles
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby mikeknowles » Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:26 am

From my experience of building the Penbits Class 25 & 37 bogies I'm sure you will enjoy building yours.

Jeremy Good
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby Jeremy Good » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:56 pm

Looking good.

The PenBits Class 26 chassis seems also to go together smoothly. I've been making good progress on mine - see the On My Workbench thread.

Jeremy

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ianpenberth
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby ianpenberth » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:49 am

Jon,

I can see what you've done there with the hacksaw ;)

The PenBits pivot frame will hopefully get you out of jail: it sits on the flat lands that you have left in the casting, and would have been a tight-ish fit between the sides that you have removed, being pinned in place by 3mm studs passing through the original pivot holes.

Without the studs, you could perhaps just glue it in place. Maybe roughen the casting a little and certainly ensure it is fully degreased beforehand. The bottom flanges of the frame have holes etched in them which will take a 14BA machine screw so, for a more secure job, you could drill and tap the casting to take two or four screws.

The frame is a nominal 25.2mm wide: will this leave enough room outside for your new grille detail? If not you could file the odd mm off the outer flanges.

HTH
Ian
PenBits Model Railways - Diesel bogie springing and detailing

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Jonathan Hughes
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby Jonathan Hughes » Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:22 pm

ianpenberth wrote:Jon,

I can see what you've done there with the hacksaw ;)

The PenBits pivot frame will hopefully get you out of jail: it sits on the flat lands that you have left in the casting, and would have been a tight-ish fit between the sides that you have removed, being pinned in place by 3mm studs passing through the original pivot holes.

Without the studs, you could perhaps just glue it in place. Maybe roughen the casting a little and certainly ensure it is fully degreased beforehand. The bottom flanges of the frame have holes etched in them which will take a 14BA machine screw so, for a more secure job, you could drill and tap the casting to take two or four screws.

The frame is a nominal 25.2mm wide: will this leave enough room outside for your new grille detail? If not you could file the odd mm off the outer flanges.

HTH

Thanks Ian... Yes the cutting was quite brutal.... I might have got away with a little less, but I can't put it back ;) There is still a bit of the side lip at the inner end of the mounting... near the block centre so that will help. I have pondered adding holes and screwing it in, but it's all in tension isn't it and I was concerned about weakening this part if the block further. What I have got is some stiff 2mm steel rod that I thought I might use... drill a 2mm hole in the upright of the block facing longitudinally inwards and then insert the rod to clamp the base of the pivot frame... I'll give it ago of look when it's all made up to determine the best ... or strong enough way. I've some epoxy now...deacon home 5 minute epoxy from Eileen's. Write ups had it as tough stuff so fingers crossed it'll do the trick.
Thanks for all the advice and support too...
Jon. :thumb

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Jonathan Hughes
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby Jonathan Hughes » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:39 pm

... and as you indicated Ian, a nicely padded envelope just arrived in the post; opened, wimpered a little and put it away until tomorrow when I hope it'll be raining so I'll be more inclined to fire up the soldering iron :D
Thank
Jon.

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Craig Warton
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby Craig Warton » Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:31 pm

Jon,

I am pretty much a steam person, and freely admit that diesels make my eyes glaze over - but having said that, this is just brilliant. It is one thing to stick wheels under something RTR and have a quick P4 model, but this is what it is all about!

Now I have another thing to watch on here and I look forward to your progress.

Craig W

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Jonathan Hughes
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby Jonathan Hughes » Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:55 pm

Craig Warton wrote:Jon,

I am pretty much a steam person, and freely admit that diesels make my eyes glaze over - but having said that, this is just brilliant. It is one thing to stick wheels under something RTR and have a quick P4 model, but this is what it is all about!

Now I have another thing to watch on here and I look forward to your progress.

Craig W

Thanks Craig... really kind of you to say so, and it sort of makes what I do feel worthwhile and not just a physical outlet for what is quite possibly a little pent up insanity ;)

Jon.

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Jonathan Hughes
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby Jonathan Hughes » Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:57 pm

Lord Colnago wrote:Excellent stuff Jonathan, a highly interesting read which has made me re-think one or two future diesel projects, so thanks for that! I shall be watching with interest.

Sorry John, I missed this comment earlier. Glad you're finding it interesting and if nothing else, if my work presents others with possible avenues to explore then it's all been worthwhile.
Jon

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Jonathan Hughes
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby Jonathan Hughes » Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:45 pm

PART 2 15th March

As promised above, here’s the proper update on progress on the Class 26 project. The main area of focus has continued to be the front end details. I started off with the lamp brackets, the moulded offerings being a little crude. I used some Shawplan/Extreme Etchings lamp bracket etch pieces which have to be bent to shape (obviously) and then a means of mounting devised. The etch bends to make a nice bracket, sized in comparison with photos taken last year. This one photo of 26038 should illustrate what I have added in this part.
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The bracket is attached to a stand-off item that is actually folded sheet, but I felt that this might push the boundaries of what I could achieve from scratch without an etch, so I resorted to a small piece of evergreen strip that I cut to length and width... and then chamfered the rear surface to match the loco nose vertical profile. To attach this securely I elected to drill a 0.3mm hole through both the metal etch and plastic base and a similar hole in the loco body in the corresponding location; through this I inserted a short length of .25mm wire all secured in place with zap-a-gap pink (thin).
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I secured these in place and then moved on to the next stage... this being the indicator disc clips. As can be seen in the loco photo, the clips are sprung, hinged, triangular clips with two slots that the semi-disc sections clip into. I attached an etched indicator disc (Shawplan/Extreme Etchings again) with blue-tak to the correct location (lined up on lamp hole) and marked out extreme top and bottom points, through which I drilled a 0.3mm hole; I then inserted a short length of 0.25mm wire that I’d added a shallow chamfer to the end of (to represent the triangular clip). I repeated this for all the clips before realising that these were too small.
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The main reason for realising that these were too small was a result of the next step... which was to add the handrail mounting bolts either side of each handrail attachment point. Looking at the size of these and at what I had, I realised that these bolt heads would need to be made from the 0.25mm wire (cut off and shaped) rendering the disc clips too small... which of course they were. So, the handrail bolts were made by drilling (again) 4 x 0.3mm holes for each handrail, 2 at each end... and as close to symmetrical as I could manage given that my eyes aren’t what they used to be. Once these were populated with short lengths of wire (about 1mm to 2mm protruding) I then attacked them (carefully) with a small sanding stick and sanded them down to a fraction of a mm protruding... just enough to “be there” and represent those small bolt heads.
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I then went back and enlarged all of the disc clip holes of 0.4mm to take (shaped) 0.4mm wire... which was more visible once shaped... these were inserted and glued in place (zap-a-gap green... and some pink dribbled in from behind to use the capillary action to wick it in to the mating faces)... handrails were then reshaped (they were a bit tight) and re-secured.
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I know that the larger wires meant that the disc was then a tight fit... but I have a plan and tried one here; by cutting a very small notch in the disc top and bottom, the disc now slides into the gap between the clips... and look like it’s secure in place by the clip sitting over the disc .... clever... if it works ;-)

The next job was to man-up and tackle the issue with getting the body to sit on the block, now that I’ve messed about with radiator enclosures. Ian Penberth has a superb website (Penbits) for his sprung bogies.... more of that to follow... and this details how to dismantle these locos including how to extract the bogies, which was something that I’d not been able to fathom only really working Bachmann and Hornby products before. So... with his website to hand, I stripped to body to the point where the loco was well and truly undone.
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On the metal body block (which I’d still to prise the plastic side pieces off) the area to be cut away is evident.
I’m usually a plastic basher, so my metalworking tools are, er, limited and old. But... I did manage to remove the aluminium sections without too much mess... and despite looking a little untidy, the body will now fit.
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Once this was completed, and having re-test fitted that cut-out disc it became evident that the multiple working mount was (a) in the wrong place, and (b) a bit crude. If you look back at the initial photo, you’ll see that the socket attaches to a small squared-off frame. I had two goes at this... both making use of etch fret cut-offs... the first using brass fret and was too thick with corners that just weren’t square enough, so I tried again with some nickel (is that what it is) fret (the silver stuff that most of Mr Hanson’s stuff is made from). I sanded down some fret to an approximate width and then carefully punched a hole using a needle... to take the revised mount for the socket. Once this was flattened out again, I carefully bent the two 90 Deg angles and cut them approximately to length. With a good grip with tweezers, the sides were then ground down on a grinding bit in the minidrill. It is at this stage that I lost at least 2 of these to the carpet monster... so I think I was getting good at these at the end ;-) Because the outer edge is quite visble... but the inner edge isn’t, to the inner edge inside I added about 4 sections of microstrip glued in with thin zap-a-gap. This served to fill the inside a little to provide a stronger mounting surface for the piece. The microstrip was cut to flush with the fret and then sanded slight recessed. The whole item was then secure to the loco nose with zap-a-gap (a little green to bond and pink to seem around the edges of the etch). A 0.3mm hole was drilled through the loco body to align with the mounting hole so that the revised socket and now “plug” in. I posted a photo of that previously. This photo probably illustrates the insanely small scratchbuilt item... it’s either my eyesight or sanity that needs testing; I’m not sure which it is.
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The body then went to one side. It’s not finished; it needs rad grills and new cab roof vent etches... which I’m patiently waiting on from a good friend and producer of such fine parts (as previously mentioned). His investigations have thrown up a few other errors with these models, such as the gap between the rad grill and those louvers is tight... the louvers are in the right place; the grill is about the right distance from the cab door (which I didn’t think it was... but there you go) but the cab side windows are too long... so the door is too far aft... the grill is too far aft and therefore close to the louvers. Hmmm. Once the etch arrives, it might be a case of fit and forget the rest. It’s nice to have someone to discuss these “issues” with, but I do wish the manufacturers could get these difficult to fix items right or have those same discussions in the first place... as I know some have. Anyway... the body is now on one side for a while.

Time to move on. As you can see the metal block has been cut in a way that will prevent mounting of the bogies... so an alternative was needed. In fact, a new way was needed to fit the replacement bogies too (my fault) but Ian Penberth has made the suggestion above, so a 14BA tap is on its way.
This is not the first time I’ve bought a penbits kit, but it’s the first time I’ve built one. The 47 bogies were too advanced last time for me to substitute all the workings for the new bits... that’s all in the drawer for the next 47... for when I have time to do another of these.
But... the new kit for the 26/27 is now available (well timed) and the mounts will enable a new fixing to the body... and of course full springing. Aren’t we so lucky to have so many options available to us these days. From just a few years ago marvelling at Justin’s sprung diesels... to now having Ian offering us kits to achieve this ... superb! Anyway, as I’ve previously mentioned, I’m primarily a plastic basher, but surely even I could have a go if I manned-up a little. Yes the kit looks complex, but the instructions are superb and clearly laid out; if I could follow these, anyone can. As recommended, I started with the pivot frames, which went together very nicely... and allowed me to practice my soldering which didn’t seem to be as bad as I recalled... even with my cheap Lidl soldering iron. Good use was made of a hold and fold tool... and all parts were successfully folded and soldered.
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I’ve had to by-pass the bearing carriers section as I’m still awaiting the blackbeetle wheels that I ordered last week from DC Kits... I need to chase them up again to see what’s happened; I'm guessing that Charlie might be away... but I could carry on with the rest of the construction as far as possible.
The carpet monster managed to devour one of the really tiny etch bolt heads... less than a mm in size... but I think a dob of solder will suffice for the underside of the hangar brackets. I did have one head scratching moment. The instructions allow the hangar brackets to be folded to represent inside hangar brackets or outside hangar brackets (see Ian’s instructions for details). As Ian states, most 26s and all 27s had the inside hangar brackets (where the outer faces of the verticals angle outwards – the angles forming the sides of a “V”) and only a few 26s had the outside hangar brackets... where the verticals are inside the edges of the brackets and the angles form the edges of a “/ \”. These are very difficult to see in contemporary photos... so when I looked at my photos of 26038 I was surprised to see them as “/ \”as outside hangars. That’s not right surely..? I then looked at Brian Daniels Flickr photos and here again I was surprised... outside hangars on the one photo visible. I know I thought, what about his O gauge models – JLTRT and Heljan... yes, all outside hangars. What’s going on I thought... and quite rightly so I thought. Out came the old 26 books for a closer look and yes... all locos with the dual coil spring have inside hangar brackets “V” whereas the ones with leaf springs (early) have outside hangar brackets “/ \”. Phew... so the preserved locos are “odd” and the O gauge models are all wrong unless modelling leaf springs. Thank goodness for Ian’s research to point this out.
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At this stage, I’m really quite happy with progress on these items... and relieved that they were as easy to put together as others had reassured. I’ve omitted a step-by-step, because that’s more that suitably covered on Ian’s website, and Jeremy Good has provided a good write up on his workbench thread.

Thanks for taking the time to read this... and any comments will be gratefully received.
Jonathan

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Jonathan Hughes
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby Jonathan Hughes » Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:56 am

I received a reply from Charlie at dc kits last night, that the wheels were posted last week and they duly turned up this morning. No excuse not to tackle those bearing carriers now :?
Jon.

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Jonathan Hughes
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby Jonathan Hughes » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:08 pm

A quick update... I've been working on how to fix the pivot frame at the no.1 end given that I distroyed the usual mounting by cutting away part of the chassis block. Per Ian's suggestion I acquired some strong epoxy and looked at using some 14BA screws. For this, I needed a tap ... remember I'm usually a plastic bashed not a metal worker, so I set about with two plastic wedges at the no.2 end to judge the gap and transfer that to the no.1 end to mark the position for the pivot frame, I marked out where the holes needed to be drilled in the block and set about with my meagre collection of drills and pin vices to provide the tap holes. I looked on line to check the size needed and found myself back using the CLAG S4 area group pages that provided the information... I managed to drill out 4 holes at 0.8mm with the drill bit snapping just after I'd finished the last hole. When I set about using the tap, I wondered whether a tapered tap was the right one to use.... hmmm .... in hind sight, I think not. I cleared the holes out a little more before starting... to about 0.85, and then started with the tap; I managed to get about half way through the first hole before the tap snapped :cry: Well, it was the tapered part that snapped leaving about 3mm of tap left, so I managed to use that to tap the remaining holes... Meaning that the cheesehead screws were shortened to fit what there was of the holes... But would it be enough? I thought not.

I wondered about the glue, so I stripped and roughened a part of the metal block and a bit of spare brass etch to glue to it... epoxy mixed, applied and allowed to set. Several hours later I tried this and it stood to pulling a little, but it did snap off.

I pondered options. The problem I had was that the frame would be attached using the short screws and glue, but that's all pushing against the load... nothing that would hold it locked in place.
The usual, well designed mount by Ian, holds the pivot frame in place using two plastic rod pieces locked in to the sides; maybe I could reproduce this!
My plan which seems to be working out is to drill a hole within the side of the body block in the recessed piece that sits under the pivot frame hole in the side piece... I drilled a 1mm hole in each side and in this I placed a test piece of 1mm wire bent at 90 degs, it this, I'd place another 90deg bend to lock it into the side of the pivot frame... maybe using a small plastic block to lock this into the pivot frame and spread the load...
That's where I've got to... with a plan, to try tomorrow, but I'm optimistic that with a combination of the three methods I should have a secure pivot mount.. so that I can move on to the fun bits and get those bearing carriers sorted.
Jon.

mikeknowles
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Re: Heljan Class 26 Superdetailing project

Postby mikeknowles » Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:37 am

Funnily enough I don't seem to be (too) bad at the engineering/soldering/metalwork type of thing (though at the moment building one of the Rumney Models wagon chassis kits is testing that idea to the max), but where I struggle is with working with plastic. I usually end up with glue all over the place, bits stuck to my fingers etc. Best to leave this sort of thing to the likes of yourself and the Penguin of Doom!
Very impressed with what you're doing to the 26 by the way.


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