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Desert Sand , Dettol and some Extreme Plates

 

Heljan to my knowledge have produced three models of D1000 Western Enterprise painted in its experimental Desert Sand livery.  Heljan model number 5204 represented the prototype when it first emerged from Swindon Works in 1961 with no warning panels.  Heljan 5213 had small yellow warning panels as applied in November 1962.  Both 5204 and 5213 had a satin varnish finish.  Heljan 5221 also had small yellow panels but it had a gloss coated ‘ex works’ finish.

 

When the opportunity presented itself I would buy Heljan 5213 - D1000 Western Enterprise, with small yellow panel.

 

This would be my second Heljan 5213.  My first was purchased in 2010 when the model was introduced and subsequently replaced in 2012 with Heljan 5204 – with no yellow panels.

 

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Heljan 5213, 2012 sales listing

 

My 5213 models appear to have had a couple of manufacturing issues.  I think they would have been made around the time that Heljan was transferring production to China.  Firstly the body shell can be difficult to clip on to the chassis and secondly the shades of Desert Sand on the bodyshell, front valance and around the fuel tanks are all different.  Might this be why I parted so readily with my first model?  (A search for images of Heljan 5213 on the internet provides further confirmation of these issues.)

 

With the bodyshell removed it was evident that the plastic cover for the wiring to the front lights was not sitting flat.  This plate presses against the underside of the cab seating unit and hence keeps the bodyshell and chassis apart.  (The seating unit appears to be a clip fit to the cab side glazing.)

 

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Heljan 5213, raised plastic cover to front wiring

 

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Heljan 5213, seating unit

 

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Heljan 5213, excess glue to front wiring

 

The plastic cover can be prised off and in my case revealed surplus glue around the wiring.  My glue was soft and could be peeled away to allow the plastic cover a better fit.  I was not totally convinced that I had sorted this issue and so I also filed away some of the plastic from beneath the seating unit.  I had a better fit.

 

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Heljan 5213, underside of seating unit

 

My latest purchase seemed to have three different shades of Desert Sand, the front valance and around the fuel tanks. looking to have different amounts of red colouring compared to each other and to the bodyshell.  I don’t know what shade is correct – if any.  However since the fuel tank and valances are removable I set myself the challenge of recolouring those parts to match the bodyshell.  As a starting point I bought some Desert Sand from Phoenix Precision Paints. 

 

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Heljan 5213, as first out of the box on my layout with red shading on the lower parts

 

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Shades of Desert Sand, Heljan 5204 left, Heljan 5213 right, Phoenix Precision Paint front valance right

 

The Precision Paint was to my mind too light compared to the bodyshell and I set about making it darker.  I had pots of Phoenix GWR locomotive green, orange lining and black.  Over a period of a few days I mixed proportions of these colours and painted test strips on the old lids of cream cheese cartons and on an old CD case.

 

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Samples and Mixes

 

I thought I had a solution simply by adding black and went ahead and repainted all the offending parts.  I was particularly pleased to be able to expose the white battery box tabs with a cocktail stick whilst the paint was still drying.  However I was not convinced about the outcome!

 

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Heljan 5204 back, 5213 front , lower body repainted with Phoenix Precision Paints Desert Sand with added Black

 

The removable parts had now had two coats of paint with a third in the offing.  The moulded detail was fast disappearing.  I had previously researched removing enamel paint from plastic and had bought a bottle of Dettol.  I had spare front valances and I used these to trial the process.   Placing the painted plastic in a solution of one part Dettol and one part water for around one hour worked a ‘treat’.  The fresh paint disintegrated, the underlying old paint softened and was brushed off with a toothbrush under running water.  I took the plunge and placed the fuel tanks in a measuring cylinder of my Dettol solution and left them for an hour.

 

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Fuel tanks soaking in Dettol solution, one part Dettol, one part water, for one hour

 

Again the recent paint could be washed off whilst the underlying older paint needed some encouragement.  I did use some white spirit to remove the final traces of old paint and the underlying black plastic moulding whilst undamaged did develop some white patches.

 

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Detail items after soaking with Dettol and brushing in running water.  Paint residue on the fuel tanks was removed with a little  white spirit

 

Back to more paint samples and this time I made a mix of five parts Desert Sand, two parts orange lining and two parts GWR green.  In certain lights it was nearly very good!

 

Now what about the white tabs on the battery boxes?

 

Plan A involved purchasing a white fine liner.  I sourced a Uni Posca white paint marker with a 0.7mm tip.  It was nearly very good and would draw a permanent fine white painted line on a painted or plastic surface.  The problem that I had was that the nib has to be pressed down at the start of drawing and this produces a rush of paint /small blob.  Perhaps in more skilled hands this could be controlled.  For writing and general art work it would not be an issue but for highlighting discrete items such as the battery box tabs the pen did not appear suitable.  I noted that the white paint whilst ‘permanent’ could be removed using white spirit before it had completely dried.

 

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uni POSCA fineliner, 0.7mm tip

 

Plan B, I had some surplus Railtec water slide transfers for smoke box numbers.  The number ‘1s’ were a perfect match for the white tabs.  I don’t have much success at fixing water slide transfers and in this instance I finished off by applying a coat of slightly thinned Humbrol Satin Cote.  I must have been lucky as nothing moved!

 

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Smoke box door ‘1s’ used for the white battery box tabs

 

Something else that Heljan got wrong was the size of the Western Enterprise name plates.  The Heljan printed plates are too small.  In myBlog Post in November 2019 https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blogs/entry/22891-enterprising-plates-–Heljan-westerns/ I described fitting correct size C.G.W. plates and Crests to Heljan model 5204 – with no yellow panel.  This time around I went to ‘Shawplan’, and their range of ‘Extreme Etchings’.  (Interestingly Brian at Extreme Etchings tells me that he owns the C.G.W. range.)

 

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D1000 Western Enterprise (Heljan 5213) with plates and Crests from Extreme Etchings

 

Brian also said that Extreme Etchings use a two stage process which results in a three dimensional etch.  I was impressed.  I think the crests from Extreme Etchings are in a higher league compared to the earlier two dimensional offering from C.G.W.

 

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A comparison, C.G.W crest to the fore, Extreme Etchings at the rear

 

I have not acheived a perfect colour match.   The various body parts seem to change colour with different lighting conditions (and monitors).  The body shell is moulded in red plastic whilst the removeable parts are black plastic.  I think that could be part of the problem.

 

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Heljan 5213 etched crests and plates from Extreme Etchings, lower body repainted

 

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Heljan 5213 etched crests and plates from Extreme Etchings, lower body repainted

 

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Heljan 5213 etched crests and plates from Extreme Etchings, lower body repainted

 

I still think a good outcome and the Heljan model does run superbly.  There is a video on YouTube prior to adding white to the battery boxes.

 

 

And another on Flickr

 

https://flic.kr/p/2jbu88L

 

 

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I've been following this on Flickr and am minded that: "details make perfection, and perfection is not a detail".  Remarkable persistence and an end result more than worth the effort.

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Like YK50A, I've been following the saga on Flickr. What a nightmare any paint matching is, however I think you've got very close indeed. It's a bit like Einstein, if you painted another coat of the same mix on top of the existing colour it would probably change again, as the base was further obliterated - whatever we touch is changed by the touch itself (or something like that).

 

It was interesting to see that Heljan themselves had different shades on 5204 and 5213, not to mention the components of the latter. One can understand why some folk go in for weathering!

 

Doesn't the loco look marvellous on those chocolate and cream mark 1's.

 

Best wishes,

 

John.

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Another thought on the liner pen. I've tried these for window frames, and also found it to be quite a difficult process. The only answer I came up with was to get the nib damp by pressing down before going to the work, and then using the paint/ ink already on the nib whilst hardly pressing at all. I also used nib angled to the side rather than held straight on. It really isn't easy at all, and I had a lot of wiping off with tissue and a soft brush with just a trace of white spirit in the bristles.

 

John.

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2 hours ago, YK 50A said:

I've been following this on Flickr and am minded that: "details make perfection, and perfection is not a detail".  Remarkable persistence and an end result more than worth the effort.

 

2 hours ago, John Tomlinson said:

Doesn't the loco look marvellous on those chocolate and cream mark 1's.

 

 

Thank you Alun and John

 

Good literary comments to boost my morale.

 

Yes there has been a lot of discussion here about shades of brown  Some people very close to the project have been very supportive but are still not sure about the suitability of the colour.  Desert Sand was a very adventurous colour for 1961.  It would be 1973 before British Leyland felt confident enough to entice the public with 'Tobacco' and other such brown colours on their Triumph / Rover 2000 ranges.   Western Enterprise came from Swindon the cradle of all things Great Western.  I don't know for sure but I am guessing that Swindon forced the hand of the British Railways Board to let them paint some of their Mk1s chocolate and cream rather than blood and custard.  I am suspecting that by 1961 when D1000 appeared that Swindon might have been forced back into line and would be turning out Mk1s in the corporate BR maroon livery.

 

Back to the garden

 

Cheers Ray

Edited by Silver Sidelines
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2 hours ago, John Tomlinson said:

Another thought on the liner pen. I've tried these for window frames, and also found it to be quite a difficult process. The only answer I came up with was to get the nib damp by pressing down before going to the work, and then using the paint/ ink already on the nib whilst hardly pressing at all. I also used nib angled to the side rather than held straight on. It really isn't easy at all, and I had a lot of wiping off with tissue and a soft brush with just a trace of white spirit in the bristles.

 

A very good summary I would say.  Starting off is the big challenge.

 

Cheers

 

Ray

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