A very long time ago, in my teens, I tried to build a layout. It was my first diesel layout and it was definitely modern image : not only was it BR Blue , it was contemporary. For some reason I decided I wanted some parcels vans and I duly bought a pair of Lima BGs and a pair of Lima CCTs. These things have been lurking in boxes ever since the half built layout was abandoned and dismantled (Several years in Australia, followed by university , didn't exactly help progress)
Several decades later, there is still no alternative model in 4mm for the BR CCT. So far as I'm aware there has never even been a kit. Blacklade is small so small vehicles are attractive, and the idea of a CCT as a "swinger" - DMU tail traffic - seemed worth pursuing. When the layout was started I bought one of the Hornby re-releases, but although the body finish and the wheel profile is much better nothing else has changed since the Lima model first appeared 35 years ago.
I had a little time for modelling a couple of months back, and I finally managed to tackle the long intended rework of one of the CCTs - bits had been in stock for a couple of years
Firstly , some shots of the real thing, rather folorn, at the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway this Easter:
And here is a shot of an unmodified Lima vehicle:
(To be strictly accurate, this has an unmodified Lima body with a Hornby underframe swapped under it. I have 3 CCTs, and I decided in the latter stages of upgrading the first one that as I had castings and etched brake gear for only two, and as repainting the body and transfers was a major job, I was only ever going to do 2 CCTs, the Hornby body would save me a job, and the spare components could be assembled into a complete vehicle and sold on second hand)
There are a number of problems with the original Lima models.
The self-coloured plastic bodies do not look good . The windows are not flush , and the recessed effect with slab sides is bad.The internal window bars are just scratches on the glazing
The wheels are badly wrong - something which should be obvious from the prototype shots. They should be 3'6" wheels (14mm) but Lima fitted 12mm pizza-cutters.
The underframe is fairly approximate: the buffers are too small and wrong , the brake lever's not much good, the axleboxes and springs are pretty representational, and the brake shoes are an extension of what passes for J hangers
The roof vents are hopelessly inadequete.
The massive tension locks are a problem if like me you are using Kadees. No NEM pockets here.
I've probably overlooked several second-order problems in that list , but there's quite enough to be getting on with.
The first step was to tackle the body. The roof was removed - it is a one piece clear moulding, with the glazing on both sides as an integral part, so you have to push in the windows to release it. Then the body was released from the chassis (push in the 4 lugs from the chassis and try not to break them) , and the body sprayed with 2 coats of Railmatch blue . At which point the can expired, but the Lima lettering was virtually invisible by then. Once dry I used a packet of SE Finecast flushglazing which has been in stock for years for this job, stuck in place with UHU - the improvement is huge. Glazing bars were concocted from the spare elements in the Roxey Van B/CCT etch, cut down to fit
The side glazing was cut away from the roof moulding with a razor saw, leaving a small strip about 2mm deep below the guttering to locate the roof . (I had to file this down in places to clear the flushglaze inserts). The very perfunctory roof vents were removed with a file, and I just about managed to avoid damaging the roof ribs in the process. I fitted whitemetal torpedo vents, as a man at Warley sold me some as he believed they were correct for a CCT . Neither the photos in Parkin's book, or on Paul Barlett's site are conclusive, but I've a nagging feeling the real vehicles may have shell vents.
The big problems lie with the underframe. The undersized wheels cannot be readily replaced because not only are them on Lima's 24.5mm European axles, but the bearing holes in the plastic axle guards were set too low, to compensate and adjust the ride height. Not that Lima's representations of axleboxes, springs and W irons are much good anyway
There are 3 possible approaches at this point.
- I know Captain Kernow devised a tool to bore out new bearing holes in the Lima axle guards , and set them at the correct height, and this was written up in an article in an early Hornby Magazine. I couldn't identify the issue in question, and it's probably out of print so this route was closed. I think he left most of the underframe largely "as is"
- I believe Bill Bedford has produced an etched brass kit for a CCT underframe. However I also understand that he doesn't provide any instructions with his products on the grounds that anyone who needs instructions is unfit to build them. My etched kit experience is strictly limited - while I might well be able to build a well designed kit with good instructions , I stand no chance with a naked etch to a complex design which may or may not cater for OO and which may require unspecified modifications in unspecified areas to do so . So that route was not an option, and 15 quid stayed in my bank account
- The third route is to cut away the Lima W irons and springs , and replace the lot with whitemetal castings from ABS. As I didn't fancy my chances of assembling whitemetal axleguards dead square, especially on such a long wheelbase 4 wheeler, this also meant etched brass W irons - which automatically results in a compensated underframe: highly desirable here. This was the route I took.
This shot of the underframe as modified should show the work involved:
The whole of the central spine of the underframe has to come out, and so does the floor of the underframe in order to recess the W irons suffiently - I glued a large piece of 40 thou across the area to provide a new false floor. This means you have to discard the long iron plate that Lima use as a ballast weight, since it will no longer fit. I aradited lead sheet into the centre section of the underframe , sufficent to bring the total weight of the CCT up to 75g . All the components and subassemblies were put into the pan of a set of kitchen scales and lead added to make up the weight (Health and Safety note - this is all my scales are ever used for , so there is no risk of heavy metal contamination of food)
Chopping the whitemetal W irons and locating areas away from the axlebox/spring was a very awkward job - every single J hanger broke from the casting in the process and all had to be stuck back with cyano at least 3 times. In retrospect this was unnecessary trouble on the fixed axle - they should just have been stuck in place on the solebar - a scrap of microstrip needs to be slipped underneath as packing . This should be omitted on the rocking axle else it won't rock - and there you really do have to stick the darn things back on the whitemetal spikes at the ends of the spring
I chickened out on thinning down the whitemetal castings before sticking them to the W irons with cyano, so the model is probably a little chunky around the axleboxes . However the overall improvement in appearance is so great I can live with this The W irons are MJT BR heavy duty plate , which are probably correct. The etch supplies coupling hooks - which Lima omitted, though I seem to have used ABS whitemetal ones
One or two bits of struts were lost in the process of attacking the underframe with a cutting disc - my el-cheapo fixed speed mini drill runs at a nominal 18,000 rpm which may be too slow (t's hardly ever been used - which doesn't encourage me to splash out on a more sophisticated one).
These were reinstated with microstrip and damage where I had to thin the solebars from behind to get the compensation units in patched as best I could. I tried to save the brake levers but eventually concluded they had to go anyway. I drew reference lines across the plasticard floor sections with a set square to enable me to locate the compensation units but I'm still not 100% sure they are absolutely square : all you see is through a small hole in the etch , and to compound the uncertainty my lens prescription does interesting fish-eye things to plane surfaces (think Esscher's goldfishbowl-world engraving, only very very slightly) . However the underframe seems to run okay. Wheels are Hornby 14 mm carriage wheels .
I didn't have an exact match to the buffers fitted - the nearest I could find were a packet of InterCity Models wagon buffers. The fabricated lower-door stops were represented by gluing a cube of 40 thou plasticard to the casting with cyano. Whatever their imperfections they look the part - and a good deal better than Lima's efforts
Brake levers came from a Mainly Trains etched fret drawn by Ian Rice which just happened to have 2 sets of long CCT levers on it (It was at this point I decided I was only ever going to do 2 CCTs). Perhaps they are a bit heavily cranked in order to clear the castings but again they are a big improvement
The tension locks were chopped off with Xurons, 40 thou plasticard glued underneith and the hole made good with scraps of plasticard and liberal quantities of solvent (not filler , as it needs to take the fixing screw for the Kadees, which are long centreset , to cope with the buffers - I think they are no 46)
Lettering is from the HMRS pressfix sheet for BR coaches. I gather Express Parcels is a rare branding but it appears on a 1980s reference photo so is in period and the CCT looked a bit bare without it. I had some trouble with the data lettering - one panel broke up , one was slightly damaged by weathering washes and that meant I used up all the CCT lettering on the sheet - another reason for using the ready finished Hornby body for the next one and stopping there... I had already cannibalised CCT lettering for the PMV I built some time ago . End electrification flashes are old Woodhead transfers, held on with varnish - the CCT and the Van B have used up my last old style electrification flashes and I must get some more (from Fox?
The underframe was painted Railmatch Roof dirt, and weathering featured washes mixed from frame dirt and roof dirt , partly taken off with a cotten bud soaked in whitespirit
The roof was a bit of a nightmare with at least 4 coats with various mixes and washes needed before I got something which was roughly the right shade and reasonably even , not streaky. A coat of enamel matt varish over the lot finally killed the sheen and blended it in.
The whole thing recieved a final coat of Railmatch matt varish from a can (along with the Van B and some 2mm containers) . At which point the can expired...
Here's the finished result:
And if anyone knows how to delete the duplicate large version of the underframe phot I'd be grateful . It's not showing up on the posting text