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Pixie

Pixie's Workbench - 2mm/ft Diesels and a 305mm/ft Cavalier

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What a great post Pix.

Bit scary you were born in 1988, that makes you a year younger than my eldest son!

Can I put you down for our Warminster show next June then - details to appear in Exhibitions soon!

 

Jerry

 

I know how you feel Jerry. One of my friends had a Wyvern and we replaced the engine with one out of a Cresta this was well before the Cavalier

 

Don

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I passed my car test in April 1976 in a 1969 Vauxhall Viva HB so I have a lasting affection for that car. We'd inherited it from my Grandad and it replaced a somewhat unwieldy Morris Oxford. The Viva felt a lot more sprightly to drive.

 

It did have one foible though. To engage reverse, you had to lift the gear stick and the retaining plate had an endearing habit of coming undone, leaving you holding a disconnected gear stick at a somewhat awkward moment, fortunately not on my driving test!

 

Eventually, rust killed it, like so many cars of that era.

 

I always felt the British motor industry never got full credit for that remarkable innovation, the sunshine floor.

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I had a blue HB90 at Uni in 1978. Its main foible was that it would not start when the engine was warm (such as after stopping to fill up with petrol). The only way to start it when warm was to pop the bonnet, unscrew and remove the damper from the top of the Stromberg carburettor, start the engine and then slowly screw the damper back in again.

 

It also broke a valve spring during the short time I had it. I sold it when my uncle offered me his Hillman Avenger GLS at a bargain price.

 

Ian Morgan

Hampshire

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Had Viva !800 which had a mind of its own when cornering,

I worked for a Vauxhall supplier so had a talk with their competitions Dept.

I knew that an approved Anti-tramp unit could be fitted to the Viva1200 version, and was fitted as standard to the Viva2300 version.

Could I fit one to the 1800, I asked....They knew of the 1800's handling problems, but said the Anti-tramp unit would make it worse! ...Didn't keep the car long after that!

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Hello Steve, nice to meet you at the AGM.

 

Likewise Alex, it's been far too long.

 

Bit scary you were born in 1988, that makes you a year younger than my eldest son!

 

I struggle with kids who were born in the 2000's are now in secondary school. Come to think of it; some will be getting ready for their GCSE!

 

Unfortunately my Vauxhall days seem to be numbered since the main dealer moved to the wrong side of town, became totally cr*p (probably due to the debt on their shiny new premises) and also bought out and closed down the town's independent Vx dealer.

 

Glad it's of interest! My folks recently moved back to Vauxhall's after a run of Fiats; having picked up an Agila a while back. I didn't hold much hope for the Hungarian engineering but it's great. If my ageing Punto, with its Inbetweener's style non-matching door, ever goes I may go for an newish Astra. I shouldn't tempt fate; the Punto's MOT is tomorrow.

 

Thanks for the weathering tips

John

 

Any time, John.

 

That's a very interesting idea of mixing the weathering powders with paints. I haven't gotten on too well with powders in the past but this seems worth trying.

 

To be honest, I never managed to get powders to really stick to a model and found that varnishing over them lost the dusty effect they gave. Mixing with enamels certainly gives a deep, matt colour.

 

Hello pixie, can I sak where you get your double ended coreless motors from for remotoring the diesels?

All the best

Guy

Evening Guy - I've only fitted one coreless lump to a Dapol 22, which was a little Faulhaber driving to only one bogie. I'm not aware of any double ended coreless motors off the top of my head. The end results were silky smooth and it managed to shuffle 15 etched minerals around fine by the cost was excessive. All of the more recent locos are fitted with these - https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/121463278485 . I can't rate them highly enough - not only are they a fraction of the cost of a Swiss coreless, they transform Dapol models into incredibly surefooted, reliable runners. So far I've fitted the to all my Hymeks, NBLs and the first Western is on the workbench at the moment - only takes about 30 minutes per loco. I've dropped one into a Farish Warship too, but they're not a great fit into the chassis block. If there's interested, I can do a write up. Here's an early prototype of the Hymek.

 

 

Cheers,

 

Pix

Edited by Pixie
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Cavalier Chronicles - Part 2 - Not Quite Meeting Your Heroes.

Allow me to introduce 'That Cavalier'. When said aloud there has to be a heavy, laboured emphasis on 'that' as if you've heard me wobble on about this car periodically for the last few years. It's a Luton-built 1600L Cavalier in Orange Tan with a brown plaid interior. Sound familiar?

74210A62-1E58-42AA-9E18-207AB2F75FA0_zps

This car has taunted me for the last 6 years - a one ton steel temptress. It first appeared when I was a scruffy doss student, idly browsing eBay in an attempt to avoid doing any coursework. Located in Kent and listed as a barn-find, in reality it'd been locked away in a garage for the preceding decade or so. It boasted a relatively low mileage and was in seemingly sound condition. Although it was in need of a little love and reconditioning, it would be an ideal basis for a project. I dropped the owner an email who filled in a bit of the background history - his dad was the owner from new, stopped driving due to old age, eventually meeting his maker and now part of his estate his son had to try and move on. The story checked out, and concurred with the DVLA check I did with a rush of blood to the head.

I mulled it over but my loving, yet bemused girlfriend who casually pointed out that I was missing a place to put it, a driving licence to drive it with and any money to buy it with. She had a point. Being practical, I made sure I was nowhere near a computer when the auction ended. I hoped it'd gone to a good home, as opposed to being broken for spares.

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I was thrilled to see It resurface some months later on one of the car forums. It looked ace - it had clearly gone to a good, loving home. The winning bidder had been a chap called Steve, who'd transported her across the border to his home in Bonny Scotland. He'd spent some time getting it back in the road - all new rear wheel arches, new sills, an engine rebuild and decent respray to original colours. This was the dream - an ex-works, immaculate DJB 181V replica.

Anytime I needed a nostalgia fix, I dipped into the thread to see what the car was up to. It became a fairly regular attraction at classic car shows around southern Scotland. Whoever it went, or whenever photos would appears, it seemed to attract comments of "I used to have one of those!" or "I've not seen one of these for years!"

A1E56AA3-EAE0-42B2-85BA-95FB6D2420F8_zps

One morning, I had a quick check in and the author had posted an update...

After much thought, this may be up for sale mot'd Jan til 2014 taxed end of October . It's as nice as it is in the pictures looking for £2500ish.

!

The dream was for sale - this was my chance. I wasn't sure how practical it would be, but, nonetheless, it was my chance. I informed some friends of this development and asked for their opinions over a few beers.

"Do it. Just do it."
"But where do I ke..."
"You've talked about this for years. Do it."

After a prolonged session, it was a done-deal. I would buy the dream car!

Next morning, with a mild hang over, I composed myself and then a polite email to express my interest. Within minutes I had a reply, I expected it to congratulate me on my purchase and excellent choice of motor vehicle.

"Sorry - gone."

Wait, what?! It's gone?! You sold my dream car! And where's the compassion in the email?! I hope he lets his lovers down in a softer fashion. Bah!

The Cavalier disappeared into the ether and I shelved my classic car plans. It was true that I'd talked about this a lot, but in the cold light of day, I wasn't sure it was a feasible move. Yes, I had a driving licence by now, but where would I have kept it? What if it needed loads of work doing? Besides, I'd never bought a classic car before, how the hell do you go about this kind of thing? And I should really be focusing on trying to save up for a deposit for a flat. This could be a retirement project perhaps, or maybe if I have a house with a garage someday? I convinced myself that it was an impossibility. Not that it mattered, the dream car had gone.

Fast forward to last May. A spontaneous lunchtime trawl of Cars and Classics threw up an advert that immediately caught my attention.

E0625125-AB1E-40CE-AC2F-31BA91361D18.png

It couldn't be? Could it?

It was. Several minutes and €5 later I had a car check report from the Irish DVLA. In the intervening years, "that Cavalier" had crossed the Irish Sea and been reregistered with a new set of 'plates. It looked a little odd with its Irish registration, but it was still immaculate. The reasons that I'd rationalised to myself not to buy it were instantly forgotten and plans were rapidly being formed. I forwarded the link to my beer-drinking friends, all I received back was a link to Stena Line's website and the cover of Danny Wallace's 'Yes Man'. I think that said it all.

"So, how about it?" I asked Dad that evening over dinner. We had had similar conversations before, but I was usually met with a list of practicalities that needed to be dealt with. This time it was different - it was less focused on the reasons not to, but the means to work around them. Mum seemed enthusiastic too. Somehow, having them on board seemed to validate the idea, even if it was just moral support.

I awoke the next morning with mojo raging. During the morning at work I drew up a list of items that needed to be attended to. I had no real idea what was involved in bringing a car back to the UK from Ireland, but I planned to start making phone calls and see where that got me.

At the stroke of noon, I claimed my lunch break. The first port of call was the DVLA - A short chat with a cute sounding Welsh girl advised me of the process and popped an Import Pack in the post. The process sounded fairly involved, but made easier as the car had been registered in the UK for 34 years of its life. Next up, the Council's garage division. A cursory look at their website hinted they had spaces in most areas in Bracknell. Having advised her of the situation, the lady advised me I would have to go on a waiting list but it was a formality, availability was good and she'd be able to sort me out in next to no time. Another form was on its way. I kept ploughing through my list of things to clear up. Before I knew it I had quotes for classic insurance, enquiries about getting it inspected, a rough route planned out of how to get there and even an application to the Cavalier and Chevette club was filled out and posted. Things were rapidly moving.

That night I called the final person on my list - the seller. I wanted to have a rough plan before speaking to them to try and mask the fact I didn't know what I was doing. The phone rang and a thick Irish accent answered. Dave and I spent about 20 minutes going over some more details of the car. He'd had it for around 18 months, having bought it from a dealer in Northern Ireland, who had bought it 'from a chap in Scotland'. It all tallied, which was reassuring. Dave kindly agreed to email me a few more details and would allow the car to be inspected if I could find a willing third party.

I had my plan - have the inspection, confirm it's a gem, travel out there, drive back to its newly rented council garage, do the DVLA paperwork, watch it sail through its MOT and retire for tea and medals in a thatched pub, with a spotless orange Cavalier sat in the car park. Perhaps Akiko, a cute Japanese intern working the bar, and I would instantly fall in love with one another and drive off into the sunset? We'd later marry, get a place in the country and her successful career in marketing with the local brewery would allow me to retire in my late twenties, becoming a man of leisure and greyhound-walking.

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Having started off is well, the grand plan soon began to fall apart. Three of the four inspection companies I contacted decided the Cavalier was too old and the fourth decided just not to reply. Red tape instantly shot down ideas to heroically drive the car back - as a UK citizen, the only journey I could do in an un-MOTed car would be to a pre-booked appointment and would have to be done within the same day. Even if we got within inches of the Northern Irish border for the stroke of midnight, getting the car on a ferry, back to Bracknell and in a Test Centre by closing time was bordering impossible. Freighting the car back was the obvious answer, but how do you pay for it? If I hand over the cash, I have to trust him to ship it. If he lets it go without payment, he has to trust me to give him the money when it arrives. The Council were being increasingly vague about my garage application - despite allegedly having many available spaces, I couldn't have one. Without a garage I'd have major issues - the Cavalier was not MOTed; without an MOT I can't buy road tax; without road tax can't keep it in a public street, so where the hell do I put it?! This was starting to become a ball ache. Focus shifted solely to finding someone to inspect the Cavalier. After all, if it turned out to be a lemon then everything else is irrelevant. If I could get this one element sorted, then at least the first step, on this ever increasing path, would be done. Surely, it could be done?

7FAE506A-F1AD-49DF-9DAC-425E300F005E_zps

Nope, seemingly not. After endless phone calls, emails and leads I was left fruitless. With the resources and experience I had at my disposal, it proved not to be. With a heavy heart but an overruling head; I called it a day on trying to bring 'That Cavalier' back to the UK. There were so many pitfalls and unknowns that the dream could very easily turn into a nightmare. This was meant to be a hobby; the last thing I wanted was grief. I let Dave, the seller, down gently.

---------

The dust was allowed to settle on the Cavalier idea for some time - the saga of the Irish Example had consumed a huge amount of time, money and energy and the only tangible result was a Haynes Manuel I'd bought on eBay for a few quid. I didn’t even have the promised garage from Council and the silence from the Cavalier Club was deafening. Bah. The idea was filed back away in the ‘One Day’ drawer and I focussed devising an alibi for the office work I’d not done and running up a phone bill which would bankrupt a small country in the preceding weeks.

Sometime later I found myself on the Isle of Man and, whilst I’m not a religious man, I was presented with what can only be described as a Divine Experience. Sat in the car park at Ramsay was a Manta B 400 – the cosmopolitan, athletic European version of the Cavalier.

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This chance sighting was the first Cavalier-shaped car I’d sighted in the wild for almost two decades. It was a sign, a sign from above to get back on the wagon. Mojo was rejuvenated – if only slightly, but enough to restarting the hunt for a new DJB 181V.

I didn’t have much time to restart the hunt upon my return from Douglas – work needed someone to go out to Slovenia to look at some empty paint tubes and I was more than happy it oblige, if nothing else it would put off explaining to the IT team why ‘Bracknell Garages for Rent’ and other spurious Google searches were relevant to company business.

I quite enjoy my own company – Billy Connolly once stated that being alone was not about the absence of others but the presence of you. For the trip I was staying in a small town called Kranj – about 20 minutes outside of the capital, Ljubljana. Not much happens in Kranj but in a peaceful, mountainous way. Most evenings I grabbed a couple of beers and some food in the warm evening sunlight and just minded my own business. On the final night, in the midst of thinking about everything and nothing simultaneously, my phone buzzed.

Inbox: New Mail
Subject: vCC SUMMER NEWSLETTER
Sender: KEvIN

Who on earth was Kevin and what’s his problem with capital Vs? Opening the attachment it all clicked into place – the VCC was the Vauxhall Cavalier Club and Kevin was the chap I’d sent my membership form to. Evidently, I was now a fully fledged member.
Scanning through the Newsletter it seems like the usual club fare, one sentence lept off the page however...

“Here are the latest survival figures for our models, the rate of attrition of all models is cause for concern...”

That’s not very upbeat.

“...however, can we look on it as a challenge and not a cause for despair?”

Fair point and a good outlook. But what did this translate to in the real world? Exact figures vary, but it’s generally accepted that 334,000 Mk.1 Cavalier were built. Even if - let’s go wild here - 99% were scrapped, that’d leave around 3000 out there. Just how many Mk.1 Cavaliers were left? Turning the page I had my answer.

“Mk.1 Cavaliers Currently Registered – 144 examples (Source: DVLA)”

Blimey. I wasn’t expecting it to be that few. That’s a 0.043% survival rate, for every 1 that had survived another 2318 had bitten the dust. Applying the same survival rate to every man, woman and child in Britain in the wake of similar devastation would mean that only 275,200 people would live out of the 64 million who currently dwell here. Somewhat poetically, this also happens to be the population of Luton, so at least the survivors may have inkling to start rebuilding Cavaliers.

I ordered another beer and chewed this fact over for a while. How many DBJ 181V replicas were among the 144? How many were 1600L Saloons, beige plaid interior, manual fully MOT’ed and in immaculate condition were out there somewhere? Applying some broad statistics – half were probably Sports Hatches or Coupes, so we’re down to 72 candidate cars. There were 3 trim levels so that cuts it back to 24. Oh, and there were 8 different colours offers leaving 3 potential vehicle. Of the 3 remaining vehicles that theoretically fitted the bill, let’s assume one is an automatic, one held together by the paintwork and one is a recent export to Ireland. My chances were not looking good.

Time to readjust sights – with a pool of possible cars being so small, limiting yourself to even fewer examples was a bad move. What if a pristine example in Jamaica Yellow with a Black Vynide trim came up, or a tidy 2000GLS Sportshatch in Hazel Brown Metallic came onto the market; would I turn them down in the hope of the Holy Grail appearing? What if one that ticks all the right boxes comes up but was a complete wreck and I end up buying the Cavalier equivalent of Peak 45015, just because it has some elements that would probably need replacing anyway?

Head started to overrule heart once again – the goal should be to preserve an Mk.1 Cavalier for being an Mk.1 Cavalier, not because it looks a bit like a long-scrapped brother. Hell, not many others were – it was proving to be the car that everyone had but nobody kept. This was an epiphany. I had a righteous path to follow. I settled my bar tab and headed for bed – tomorrow the hunt restarted.

To be continued.

Edited by Pixie
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What a great post Pix.

Bit scary you were born in 1988, that makes you a year younger than my eldest son!

Can I put you down for our Warminster show next June then - details to appear in Exhibitions soon!

 

Jerry

Hi

 

It also makes him the same age as my daughter.

 

Cheers

 

Paul

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Glad it's of interest! My folks recently moved back to Vauxhall's after a run of Fiats; having picked up an Agila a while back. I didn't hold much hope for the Hungarian engineering but it's great. If my ageing Punto, with its Inbetweener's style non-matching door, ever goes I may go for an newish Astra. I shouldn't tempt fate; the Punto's MOT is tomorrow.

Hi

 

I have one of the new Astras and it's a lovely car to drive full of toys. I've owned Astras for the last twenty years so may be biased.

 

Cheers

 

Paul

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Thanks all for your comments.

 

 

 

Thanks Nick! It's a shame we didn't get a chance to say hello in person a the AGM.

 

was very much that sort of day lots of people and lots to see but hopefully catch you next time

 

as to the Cavalier had one once £300 went for three years I hated it  just never ask me about FIAT 2 seaters  :maninlove:  :maninlove:  :maninlove:

 

Nick

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Evening Guy - I've only fitted one coreless lump to a Dapol 22, which was a little Faulhaber driving to only one bogie. I'm not aware of any double ended coreless motors off the top of my head. The end results were silky smooth and it managed to shuffle 15 etched minerals around fine by the cost was excessive. All of the more recent locos are fitted with these - https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/121463278485 . I can't rate them highly enough - not only are they a fraction of the cost of a Swiss coreless, they transform Dapol models into incredibly surefooted, reliable runners. So far I've fitted the to all my Hymeks, NBLs and the first Western is on the workbench at the moment - only takes about 30 minutes per loco. I've dropped one into a Farish Warship too, but they're not a great fit into the chassis block. If there's interested, I can do a write up. Here's an early prototype of the Hymek.

Cheers,

Pix

I for one would be very interested in a piece on here about your re motoring of Dapol diesels. I have just ordered some of those motors - at that price it would be daft not to.

Love the latest update in the Vauxhall tales by the way. Your obvious love and affection for the everyday and ordinary is infectious, great reading.

 

Jerry

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Great thread. Railways and cars......nice. Just need to sort out the birds and bikes.......

 

 

Seriously, 2mm is not my thing but quality modelling is. Great stuff and the Cavalier tales draw you in. Excellent.

 

What happened to Roath, Pixie? That layout really captured the Splott area like no other. Any updates or have I missed something ?

 

Rob

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Likewise Alex, it's been far too long.

 

 

 

I struggle with kids who were born in the 2000's are now in secondary school. Come to think of it; some will be getting ready for their GCSE!

 

 

 

Glad it's of interest! My folks recently moved back to Vauxhall's after a run of Fiats; having picked up an Agila a while back. I didn't hold much hope for the Hungarian engineering but it's great. If my ageing Punto, with its Inbetweener's style non-matching door, ever goes I may go for an newish Astra. I shouldn't tempt fate; the Punto's MOT is tomorrow.

 

 

 

Any time, John.

 

 

 

To be honest, I never managed to get powders to really stick to a model and found that varnishing over them lost the dusty effect they gave. Mixing with enamels certainly gives a deep, matt colour.

 

 

Evening Guy - I've only fitted one coreless lump to a Dapol 22, which was a little Faulhaber driving to only one bogie. I'm not aware of any double ended coreless motors off the top of my head. The end results were silky smooth and it managed to shuffle 15 etched minerals around fine by the cost was excessive. All of the more recent locos are fitted with these - https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/121463278485 . I can't rate them highly enough - not only are they a fraction of the cost of a Swiss coreless, they transform Dapol models into incredibly surefooted, reliable runners. So far I've fitted the to all my Hymeks, NBLs and the first Western is on the workbench at the moment - only takes about 30 minutes per loco. I've dropped one into a Farish Warship too, but they're not a great fit into the chassis block. If there's interested, I can do a write up. Here's an early prototype of the Hymek.

 

 

Cheers,

 

Pix

I'm very interested in this, my Hymek is about to get it's third chassis….

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Pix - I'd be interested in hearing more about your diesel remotoring please. I've just bought some of those motors in anticipation.

Not a problem; I realised tonight I've got another Dapol NBL that is as new so I'll take some photographs as I go. I'm off to Japan this weekend for a fortnight but I'll post it when I return; I promise it won't take a year for me to get it done! In the mean time, I'd advise getting a set of motors on order as they can take a wee while to turn up.

 

Just one point Pix, (and to prove I'm reading and enjoying the Cavalier Chronicles), but you've decimated the British population by 90%!

 

D'oh!

 

Great thread. Railways and cars......nice. Just need to sort out the birds and bikes.......

 

What happened to Roath, Pixie? That layout really captured the Splott area like no other. Any updates or have I missed something

Well, I'm more than happy to welcome content involving Felicity Jones or Audrey Tautou, particularly as Amélie.

 

Roath lives on - it's currently crated up in the garage, quietly minding its own business. To be honest it's not seen the light of day since its first outing to the first Stormex show back in 2010. Around that time I graduated, got distracted by this 2mm-lark (it's all Bryn's fault) and decided to build Parkend as it was a little easier to me around in my car. I could also have it set up at home in full; Roath I could on yo ever set up two boards at a time. Much to the disbelief of my friends, I will finish Roath eventually. One day.

 

Cheers,

Pix

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Not a problem; I realised tonight I've got another Dapol NBL that is as new so I'll take some photographs as I go. I'm off to Japan this weekend for a fortnight but I'll post it when I return; I promise it won't take a year for me to get it done! In the mean time, I'd advise getting a set of motors on order as they can take a wee while to turn up.

 

 

 

D'oh!

 

 

Well, I'm more than happy to welcome content involving Felicity Jones or Audrey Tautou, particularly as Amélie.

 

Roath lives on - it's currently crated up in the garage, quietly minding its own business. To be honest it's not seen the light of day since its first outing to the first Stormex show back in 2010. Around that time I graduated, got distracted by this 2mm-lark (it's all Bryn's fault) and decided to build Parkend as it was a little easier to me around in my car. I could also have it set up at home in full; Roath I could on yo ever set up two boards at a time. Much to the disbelief of my friends, I will finish Roath eventually. One day.

 

Cheers,

Pix

 

An interesting project Roath there is that photo of  hundreds of wagons in the sidings. Would keep you busy for a while building that lot. I stayed in digs there and as was my practice had taken a kit to build the householder was interested as he was a draughtsman at Powell Duffryn. Which gained me a visit to the works.

Don

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Your Cavalier exploits make great reading, have you ever thought about writing a book?

 

As for the 'blue' train, shall we just call it 'Beaky MacBeakface'?  :jester:

 

And yes, we would very much like a description of how you re-motor Dapol locos.

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