Archive for heljan

Night Of The Long Knives

Posted in model railroad, model railway, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 28, 2010 by norvenmunky

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 …


Into Temptation

Posted in Bachmann, model railroad, model railway, modelling, rail, trainspotting, Uncategorized, vi-trains with tags , , , , on January 11, 2009 by norvenmunky


Since having posted about Auntie Vi’s efforts I’ve now received a second version, and I find the more I look at them the more I see.

For me this really is a way ahead of what we’ve had previously for class 47’s. I’m not one to knock manufacturers efforts, if they aren’t making what I want that doesn’t bother me much, if they do make what I want and balls it up, that’s life. I will look at what they’ve done to see if ‘I’ can live with it, or if I want to modify it, or if I’ll not bother. Hornby’s new 9F is such an item, it’s an improvement over what went before, but still not as good as Bachmanns version, so its a ‘ta, but no ta’ from me on that one.

Vi’s 47 however makes the Heljan version redundant for me as an option, and thats just in the chassis before looking at the body, which many in the hobby know to be too wide. Only a couple of mil, but enough to notice when placed against one thats correct. The detail on Heljans effort, good for its time, is now compared to the Vi effort, and by todays standard, ( set by Vi’s), is quite coarse. This will no doubt lead to much frothing and foaming, that a ‘Lima’ train can be so good. Only thing is its not Lima is it?, and frankly you’d need to be under the influence of Peruvian marching powder to think otherwise!

So looking at Vi’s chassis its much the same as the 37, in that it’s not exceptionally fast, but does run very smoothly. The simple drive to the two outer wheels on the motor bogie and the weight allows it to shift twelve Bachmann Mk1’s on a second radius train set loop on the conservatory floor. The only problem being ensuring that children had removed rabbit + rabbit pooh from the floor before track laying commenced, though I’m not sure we’ll see that covered. It’s one thing having ‘blood on your hands’ but rabbit pooh’s a different matter altogether.

An 'empty' rabbit, yesterday

An 'empty' rabbit, yesterday

Running the loco by itself will give a different result than under load, and this was done using DC. It’s always interesting to read that DCC will improve all running, especially slow running. I’ve yet to see an electrical system toy train or otherwise that overcomes mechanical deficiencies. I’ve not currently got any Heljan 47’s, but comparing against a Falcon (very similar drive), or two, shows no real discernable difference in running qualities with Vi’s chassis. When run back to back against the Bachmann 47/57 chassis, however there is a noticeable difference. The Bachmann variety ‘cogs’, almost like a 20p piece being rolled on its edge at low speed, whereas Vi’s just rolls smoothly. Once the Bachmann version is above a slow crawl then it runs as well as Vi’s. Put them both on a rolling road where there’s no real resistance, and the ‘cogging’ of the Bachmann chassis is largely masked …

However looking at the detail variants with Vi’s V2058, it’s modelled as preserved, and with one marker panel painted black. With nothing better to do for five minutes, inspection of each end reveals that the marker panel lights in fact have different prototypical light mounts molded. A quick squint at the Res version shows that the panels are the same each end, (correctly).

For the more anal, particular, amongst the modelling foamers, this means the body can’t be used for some locomotives as the light mounts won’t be the correct ones. We know where this is leading, at some time in the future poor Vi will be given a kicking because they’ve released a model with the incorrect marker light fixings, you heard it here first! Not only that but it may make 47401’s correct body molding, incorrect for anything else, unless there’s another 47 with different fixings at each end of the same type at the No1/2 ends respectively.

Here’s Bachmanns 47 which is work in progress at the moment, both this one for me, and allegedly in house at Bachmann. Well Aunties certainly thrown the gauntlett down with this one, and Bachmann have a bit of work to do to match her offering. I hope they do a good job of it. If they don’t, ‘Snake Milkers’ form an orderly que now, there’s ‘work’ to be done. You may start now, some probably have …