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Lima Shunter to Class 13 Conversion



Over the last few nights I've been knocking up the following Class 13 Slave unit out of an old Lima Class 09 shunter. Bought a copy of a special edition of Modelling British Railways about all the TOPS Diesels - really brilliant and haven't been able to put it down. When I saw the section about making a Class 13 out of a couple of Hornby Class 08s I started watering at the mouth! 'I have to have one, I have to have one' became my mantra around the house for a few days. Always on a budget, I can't afford to hack about with a pair of new locos worth £75 each so I had a go at an old Lima instead.


The result - I've put my Bachmann Class 08 with it for a few piccies. There is no way I'm going to start hacking away at my Bachmann though to complete the unit. The pics are just for example. I like the black and white ones personally.












The backing plate is cardboard and so is the cover box. I used the original back to the cab for the cab surround but had to make up the height with a piece of 3mm card - just carried the original wasp stripes up to the lip. I've used a cut down wooden coffee stirrer for the brake rods - crude, I know, but I figured that it was better to have something rather than nothing. To hide the clunky rods I've blackened them with metal black then painted 2/3's so it looks in proportion.


The lengthened buffers are just pieces of plastic cut from a Cracker Box and then painted yellow. Pipes and knuckles are from the spares box.


Cut off the molded hand rails and replaced them with wire - these look okay but could be better. The steps have been made from pieces off an old brass fret and the cab ones are off an old Airfix/Dapol Battle of Britain tender.


First time I've converted anything so pleased with result so far. Got to give it a bit more of a rub down with the glass fibre brush and also coat of matt varnish after the Overhead and Double arrow transfers go on. Ordering these from Fox transfers.


Now it's down to the Master - however, I need another Lima. If anyone has an old unloved one for sale please let me know. I had to remove the motor from the slave so have one spare. Just need it to be Blue and have original wasp stripes. Also need the rods.

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Nice one Mike.


Curious beasts these and you have certainly captured it well - I particularly like the last shot :good:

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Very good solution for the coupling rods too - I noticed they looked much finer than the originals, but would never have figured it out if I hadn't read what you'd done!

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  • RMweb Gold

Oh the poor thing! Just goes to show that slavery never did anyone any good.


But seriously, this is ingenious modelling as always from you, Mike. I agree with JDW about the coupling rod trick, I hadn't noticed either until you mentioned it.

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Nice conversion sir
I thought about this sometime back
but the Lima ones were still fetching more money than I wanted to pay

At the time the Lima 08's came out
I thought they were pretty damn good
and that shot alongside your Bachmann 08 shows how,
with a little bit of creative painting, the details still look good

I particularly like the way toning down the coupling rods has worked
They look pretty close to the Bachmann ones in terms of how fine they are

More piccies at the next stage please :)


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Thanks everyone for the very encouraging comments!  Very flattered given the modelling caliber of those making the comments. Painting the rods was a flash of inspiration after I noticed how blackening doesn't thicken up parts - putting the paint on after has actually made the line between paint and metal stand out more - made a dimensional difference that shows up well in the pictures. Because the blackening process also produces a very deep matt finish it hides well at close up viewing.


As far as the old Lima stuff is concerned, the molding of details is brilliant and not to be dismissed.  In fact, I go as far as saying that in a rush to get detailing to exact scale on modern stuff, the manufacturers have toned down the effect too much.  I like to see the rivets, hinges and shadows of the panel lines even if they are a little over scale.


I was a bit ham fisted in removing the molded handrails (as you can see from the marks caused by slipping with the blade on the bodywork) and will go a lot slower when I'm doing the master unit.  Also, I'll be using a ruler to position the drill bit for the holes next time and try and get them in a neater line.  I must say that Bill Bedford's handrail jig is a brilliant bit of kit and takes the work out of bending wire.


There's still a lot of mileage in these Lima models even if they are 30-40 years old and I'll certainly be looking around for more in the future.

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  • RMweb Gold

Funny you should say that about Bill Bedford's handrail jig, I was on his site the other day and noticed it. Good to know it works well.


I'm thinking maybe I should try some matt black paint on myself. I need to loose a bit of weight :-)

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