Night Of The Long Knives

Long knives, and Haynes manuals. You know, when you got to the section when you were changing an oil filter in your Metro, that said, ‘remove engine’ and showed a contrasty, way too dark piccy of a bloke, (cheesy grin, clean hands), having sucessfully removed the engine, to replace the filter, helpfully designed and nestled against the firewall at the bottom rear part of the engine. (Clearly a Friday afternoon ‘designing’, having spent lunch time in the Royal Oak). He did this three chapters ago, and it had a four or five spanner rating. The first thing you wanted was a automotive design engineer/author in one hand, and a sharp instrument in the other.

Now you probably thought that those blokes have retired now. Well they haven’t, they’ve moved to Denmark and are now happily designing models, and writing instruction manuals for toy trains, fortunately, for the car market. Even better, they’ve learnt to follow Porsche Design philosophy, by writing instructions with the same energy efficiency as that expended by the sucessive teams ‘designing’ the 911 and ‘Boxster’ family. So, how do we know of this career change? Well, if you look at Heljans Class 17, 14 and now most recently, Class 15, their construction and maintenance access, its pretty clean where they sloped off to after that last happy hour in the boozer. Also on a parrallel with Haynes manuals the actual instructions are sucessively becoming more meaningless, and include less usefull information with each release.

Now then, the Class 15. If Heljan made instructions, these would probably be the worst instructions in the world, and have a four or five bottles of Carlsberg rating, if only to get on the same wavelength as the designer.

So the design, well see below, a classic. Four sets of vertical pins (red) and a horizontal clip (blue). For added entertainment the cab has been secured by glue, they’d have been better off inhaling.

Answers on how you remove the cab located by these two fixings, without breaking them on a postcard to Denmark please.

What you need is a long knife, with a flexible blade. Better still, rob your dentist, assuming you can find one, of a long bladed palette knife, like wot I did.

Insert it into the designer, sorry the slot between the cab floor and the cab side, gently levering upwards. You need to flex the cab wall enough to get the blade to slip between the cab side and the cab floor insert. Theoretically the two four fixings described above release as if by magic. What will happen is the cab wall will flex and creak, threatening to spilt wide open, as will your underpants as you do this on a ninety quid model… Having done this you can remove the cab by pulling gently upwards, in theory, to uncover the floor molding. This pulls off sideways, (again in theory).

Congratulations, you’ve now removed the cab allowing access to nothing in particular. I hope you haven’t been following this step by step, as in true British Leyland ‘design’ concept, the mounting to fit a DCC chip is at the other end of the chassis. So if thats where you want to be getting to, I wouldn’t be starting from here …

So do what you should have done in the first place. Remove the fuel tank, undo the two chassis screws. Get a thin bladed screwdriver and gently ease the body and chassis apart at the cab.
Then at the front (long bonnet) under the bogie are two slots A1

Gently lever outwards and the catches on the inner side of the body A, will release and the body can be gently removed upward.

Now when you come to replace it, theres a further bit of arsing about, and at this point you’re probably thinking I’d rather be watching a Lurpack ad, with bloke called Douglas doing a bit of tromboning. Well the lights on the 15 are housed in two plastic mounts that press fit into each end. They are slotted, (as I wish the designer had been),

and, if you don’t align them correctly with the lighting units seated properly you can’t get the body back on at all, which is nice. There you go, this service provided by a bloke now experiencing severe bouts of tourettes every time he see’s something Danish, or British Leyland …


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