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Dapol/Airfix rolling stock kits


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I wonder if anybody can advise about fitting top hat bearings to these kits? Is it really necessary ?as if you drill out the solebars for the bearings and glue the solebars squarely to the underframe you cannot fit the wheels as they will not rotate if you deepen the holes for the top hat bearings they will break out of the solebars! Any suggestions or ideas much appreciated

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I've not had problems with drilling thorough the axle-box. The original wheels have a very small pinpoint to fit in the bearing slot*, which must be enlarged. There is a rectangular raised section around the axle hole. This needs to be filed flat to allow clearance for the wheels. I remove sufficient plastic to set the inside faces of the axleguards at 24mm apart**. use 2mm drill in a pin vice to deepen the slot taking care to drill at the top of the slot, just enough to take the bearing. Then enlarge the hole to take the flange with a 1/8" drill so that it fits flush. There should be enough 'meat' to accept a top hat bearing, but using the waisted type will help. The plastic of the axleguards is very thick, so I chamfer the edges to disguise this.

Dapol versions of the kits are modified for pin-point axles, but it is still advisable to fit brass bearings. Polystyrene is not a good bearing material.

 

* I think this was done to provide equalisation, but it doesn't work. (Physics will explain why!)

** This is the correct setting for 26mm axles using standard bearings. Use of non-standard axles (e.g. Bachmann) or bearings (e.g. Romford) will require a different spacing and/or fiddling with the bearing depth.

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Quite a few years ago I fitted some Hornby wheels to some old rather old Presflo and mineral wagons.

Fortunately the old polystyrene glue had given up so I could get them apart !

I seem to remember the mineral wagon wasn't too difficult but the solebars of the Presflo were closer together.

It took a fair amount of filing, fiddling and drilling but I did manage it.

 

I also used the waisted bearings as recommended above.

 

I reduced the depth of the bearings by filing a bit of the point off.  That helped a lot.

I drilled a hole in a strip of metal to take the bearing (but plastic would do) and then placed it face down on my worktop.  By holding the strip in one hand I could easily file a bit off the bearing with the other hand.

 

Drilling the axle hole is best achieved slowly with the drill in a pin chuck.  It is possible to accidentally drill right through and ruin the axlebox but by going slowly and keep trying the bearing and wheels it can be done.

 

As I said, it was a fiddle though and best done when you are in the right frame of mind !
Rodney

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I think the answer is H0 axles.  They must be around 24mm, I have some Wrenn pin points which look like 24mm, definitely less than 26mm. 

I am selling some 50 year old Airfix kits on eBay for a friend at the moment and they have brass bearings and pin point axles fitted. We are selling because the flanges are too small and the treads too narrow for reliable running on Peco code 100 track, they are and were fine on Farish Formoway and Liveway track.  We beleve they went in the loft in the early 1960s when his layout moved from bedroom to workshop, along with a lot of fibre base track, Ratio wooden kits, unbuilt Kitmaster stuff, Matchbox cars etc, which we found and and have been selling to discerning enthusiasts and other gullible mugs. 

They are very well wrapped or I would dig them out but I am sure the wheels are H0 not 00 and look like the top hat is just pushed into the Airfix axle hole.   I have  photo from the eBay advert  (brbr3384) attached.

image_2021-02-27_122913.png

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I have never had a problem with fitting brass pinpoint bearings to Airfix mineral wagons. I just trim the excess plastic on the inside . Then using a 2mm drill in a pin chuck and open out the holes .  I like the flange of the bearing to sit flush with the W iron, so I have an end mill the correct dia  and twiddle it with my fingers. 

It works every time, and I get beautifully smooth running wagons. 

 

Rob

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On 27/02/2021 at 13:29, DavidCBroad said:

I think the answer is H0 axles.  They must be around 24mm, I have some Wrenn pin points which look like 24mm, definitely less than 26mm. 

I am selling some 50 year old Airfix kits on eBay for a friend at the moment and they have brass bearings and pin point axles fitted. We are selling because the flanges are too small and the treads too narrow for reliable running on Peco code 100 track, they are and were fine on Farish Formoway and Liveway track.  We beleve they went in the loft in the early 1960s when his layout moved from bedroom to workshop, along with a lot of fibre base track, Ratio wooden kits, unbuilt Kitmaster stuff, Matchbox cars etc, which we found and and have been selling to discerning enthusiasts and other gullible mugs. 

They are very well wrapped or I would dig them out but I am sure the wheels are H0 not 00 and look like the top hat is just pushed into the Airfix axle hole.   I have  photo from the eBay advert  (brbr3384) attached.

image_2021-02-27_122913.png

 

The wheels look like Nucro/Jackson/Romford to me (no doubt with the spoked ones on the cattle truck). These are 00 (BRMSB) . They  did not come with pin-point axles, so, if pin-pointed, either they have replacement axles or the originals have been pin-pointed - not difficult to do, apart from getting the overall length correct. This not a problem if the axleguards have to be modified for the bearings of course.

The NMRA H0 wheel is similar, but has a thicker flange. The standard 00 axle is 26mm over pin-points, NMRA 25.4mm* and the NEM H0 axle is 24.5mm. I forget the length of the Wrenn axle and don't have one to hand to measure

* 1 inch - what else would you expect in the States?

The Airfix bearing is a narrow slot and won't take proper* wheels without being drilled out or the axle ends being severely reduced in diameter, which really requires a lathe.

 

*The Airfix kit wheel is awful - a ghastly tyre profile and moulded in two halves which are supposed to press fit together, but are so sloppy that it is almost impossible to make them run true, unlike the KItmaster equivalent which are a good fit and impossible to assemble incorrectly. The fit is so good that they do not require cement. Unfortunately they are plastic, but you couldn't expect everything for 6/6d.

Peco code 100 was designed as a 'one size fits all' universal track and as a result nothing really runs properly. (This is true of any track with filled in flangeways so I'm not getting at them!) The nearest is the then 'middle of the road' Dublo wheel (as later adopted by Hornby and others).

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16 minutes ago, Il Grifone said:

... moulded in two halves which are supposed to press fit together, but are so sloppy that it is almost impossible to make them run true ...

 

Years ago, I discovered that one of the aluminium tubes in the K&S metals display is an exact fit over the Airfix half-axles. So it is possible to get them to run true, and they did run acceptably on three-rail Hornby Dublo track.

 

John Isherwood.

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1 hour ago, Il Grifone said:

 

The wheels look like Nucro/Jackson/Romford to me (no doubt with the spoked ones on the cattle truck). These are 00 (BRMSB) . They  did not come with pin-point axles, so, if pin-pointed, either they have replacement axles or the originals have been pin-pointed - not difficult to do, apart from getting the overall length correct. This not a problem if the axleguards have to be modified for the bearings of course.

 

 

The owner is a watch and clock maker, he doesn't actually remember buying or building them but he's had them over 40 years and putting an accurate concentric dead length pin point on a plain axle would have been something he could do very quickly and easily.  He probably cut and profiled his axles to length. I will look at some unbuilt 1960s kits we have later this evening and check whether they have holes or slots.

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My first railway kit from Airfix was coal wagon with opening doors followed by meat van also with opening doors. Looked good then and still looks good  today in a far corner of the layout, with men still trying to load them. They were bloody useless to run behind a loco, wobbled and derailed on every bend and point. Peco then brought out simple brass pressed out cups to make real bearings. 
My fathers white coat was brought home on Friday night for mother to wash, complete with all sorts of goodies in the pockets. Nuts, bolts, small springs, tool bits and unidentifiable oddments , plus small drills. I soon discovered a drill that fitted INSIDE the cups . When heated with dads Ronson lighter I found that I could press into side frames till level with the inside of the frames. Result - it worked and I could run them with the tool bits etc from his pockets as ballast.

Last week I found 7 left in one of my containers with original Triang brushes.

Lateral thinking for a 12 year old.

keep taking the vitB tablets

pete

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The metal tube is certainly an answer, but the rest of the wheel is not up to much and they are plastic. I think I did try it once in the distant past.

Metal tyred wheels run much better and pin point bearings are well worth the effort. I have pin-pointed axles in a drill with a file, but the proper tools would produce a better result with less effort.

 

All the Airfix kits I've built have slots as bearings, but Dapol now have modified the tools for proper pin-points (at least on the one I built).

 

9 minutes ago, Pete smith said:

My first railway kit from Airfix was coal wagon with opening doors followed by meat van also with opening doors. Looked good then and still looks good  today in a far corner of the layout, with men still trying to load them. They were bloody useless to run behind a loco, wobbled and derailed on every bend and point. Peco then brought out simple brass pressed out cups to make real bearings. 
My fathers white coat was brought home on Friday night for mother to wash, complete with all sorts of goodies in the pockets. Nuts, bolts, small springs, tool bits and unidentifiable oddments , plus small drills. I soon discovered a drill that fitted INSIDE the cups . When heated with dads Ronson lighter I found that I could press into side frames till level with the inside of the frames. Result - it worked and I could run them with the tool bits etc from his pockets as ballast.

Last week I found 7 left in one of my containers with original Triang brushes.

Lateral thinking for a 12 year old.

keep taking the vitB tablets

pete

 

I  recall resorting to this method in the distant past. Not have the Peco bearing shift sideways when melting it in was the problem. Peco bearing cups don't have a very good pin point, but, if you don't want the free running of proper pinpoints (on passenger stock for example), they are quite acceptable. I have a quantity of Kitmaster coaches which will be fitted with them and nice metal wheels eventually.

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1 hour ago, Il Grifone said:

The metal tube is certainly an answer, but the rest of the wheel is not up to much and they are plastic.

 

I wouldn't argue with that nowadays - but, teenaged and impecunious, it was an acceptable compromise; (many, many years ago, alas)!

 

John Isherwood.

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16 hours ago, cctransuk said:

 

I wouldn't argue with that nowadays - but, teenaged and impecunious, it was an acceptable compromise; (many, many years ago, alas)!

 

John Isherwood.

 

I remember the feeling (I fitted Dublo wheels, as they were cheaper than Peco or Jackson!). Unfortunately it has never really gone away. (Neither the UK nor Italian pensions are particularly generous and don't get me started on taxes!)

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My unbuilt 40 plus year old Airfix cattle wagon has slightly elongated holes for the pin point bearings.  There isn't much clearance between the frames and the wheel treads of the standard wheels though the contemporary Airfix wheels I have left from the re wheeled wagons of 40 years ago do fit together very nicely.  If does seem the answer is to shorten the pin point axles on replacement wheels to suit the Airfix side frame spacing rather than drill the side frames excessively to bury the top hat bush.   The wagons we sold could easily have had their wheels pushed out to EM or even P4 gauge as the treads were so (ridiculously in my view) narrow.   The old Airfix minerals did tend to ride badly due to light weight and short wheelbase but so did and do the equally short H/D Prestflow wagons.  However the prototype also rose badly, the action of a train of minerals in full flight at 30 MPH down the Midland Main line being described as "Frightening."    This is probably why H/D went for a 12 ft wheelbase for their wagons, correct for the vans, but stretched the Minerals to suit.  Triang went the other way, 10ft wheelbase opens, vans and even brakes.

 

 

DSCN3850.JPG

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  • 5 months later...

The Dublo wagon underframe is 10 foot wheelbase and 17' 6" over headstocks. Most of the original wagons they put on top of it were of this wheelbase. The 7 plank minerals (and possibly the tank wagons?) should have been 9'. Post war they produced a steel mineral wagon (no shortage of weight with this one's die-cast body). Again it should have had a 9' underframe.

 

Tri-ang on the other hand bought in a 9' 6", 16' over headstocks underframe from Pyramid/Trackmaster. (Why they chose these dimensions I don't know - both wagons should have had a 9' wheelbase. 9' 6" was very rare - something to do with wagon turntables I understand). A variety of wagons followed during Tri-ang days.

 

The Peco bearing cups long pre-dated the Airfix kits (1954 with the Wonderful Wagons?), but I use 'top hat' pin point bearings. I drill the top of the slot 2mm and then open out the hole to 1/8" so that the bearing fits flush. A 26mm axle will then fit. tapering the edges of the W-iron to disguise the thickness. For the mineral wagons, I break out the framing so that a piece of lead sheet* fits between the brakes. (Most of these wagons had single sided Morton brakes - probably why Airfix got it wrong and their brakes would be released by pressing the lever down).

 

* Flashing as used to make roofs watertight (acquired on eBay - builders merchants will sell you several lifetime's supply as a minimum.

 

Sorry if I've waffled on before here with all this. I've just rediscovered this thread - looking for something else of course!

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