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ex North British J88 conversion.

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i have got my camera here i will take some snaps of the loco dismantled and try to explain, i wish that i had taken photos of the loco during the conversion but this i didnt do, although i am going to do another as it is - i think - a cheap and easy conversion. provided i can get another terrier chassis that is.


anyway the 'ingredients' for the conversion are;


1 x terrier chassis - i got hold of a Hornby one but i think the older Dapol chassis would work also.

1 x mainline/Bachmann j72 body (this does not necessarily have to be complete as most of the parts will be removed anyway.

1 x set of Hornby a3/a4 valve gear, the set i used (because it was what i had to hand) was the older tender drive valvegear as it is stronger and will withstand cutting these being Hornby part number X1707 / X1708.

brass/nickel silver handrail wire.

4 x short handrail pillars.


the main thing to do to the body is to shorten it by around half a centimetre and lengthen the tanks by 4mm and heihgten them by 3mm and give them a curved edge. to shorten the body i first cut of everything infront of the tanks and above the running plate using a hacksaw and put to one side. i then took a ruler and measured the correct length and gently scribed a line across the running plate with a sharpe knife. i then used a good razor saw to gently cut through and then re-attatched the bufferbeam after removing the excess material. this gave me the right length of running plate, then i used thick plastikard glued together to make the saddle for the smokebox to sit on. the smokebox/boiler section was the re-attatched to the rest of the body. the dome had to be moved back by around 1.5cm and i did think about sourcing a new dome but managed to re-use the original one but cutting carefully around the base and then attatching to the boiler in the approximate place it is meant to be (i may be slighlty out on measurements as the drawings that i have are only weight drawings and do not show much detail) i had removed the j72 safety valve bonnet etc and i then raided my spares bow and found a moulding from an old gem glen kit and used this for the s/valves, they may be too big for the prototype but they will do for me. after that it was all simple jobs really. i made dumb buffers using strong thick plastikard and used square-tube plastikard for the sand boxes topped with bufferheads to represent the fillers, buffer heads are also used for the tank fillers. i then used photos in various books for the location of the handrails etc and these were shaped and attatched. i did not bother replacing the chimney as this again was near enough the correct shape to my eyes, it may be sligtly too high but agin its ok to my eyes and is easilly changed.


the only modifcation to the chassis was to shave around 2 - 3mm off the front of the chassis to allow it to fit inside the body at the correct height. to attatch the body and chassis together i used a pin drill and 2.5mm bit and drilled a small hole in throughthe front coupling mount and up into the made up smokebox saddle and used a small brass screw to attach the front end. for the rear i used the second last hole in the chassis next to the gear that pretrudes, to attatch the rear end. i took some of the afore mentioned stiff plastikard and used plastic-weld to attatch this to the inside of the body and used a longer screw to attach the chassis at the rear.


to make the motion i simply used the connecting rods from the a3 valvegear and the slidebars. the c/rod was cut short to around 2.5cm in total (i use guesstimation quite a lot and my measurements at the time of writing are rough as i do not have a ruler to hand at the moment. the link at the bottom of the piston rod was cut off and the slidebar cut in half. the cylinders are from a piece of round plastic tubing that is near enough the correct size and set at a slight angle (guesstimation again). the half slidebar was then melted into the top of the cylinder and there it stayed i find this method more dangerous but if done carefully it is a far better way of fixing than superglue is. the connecting rod was then attatched to the centre driving wheel on both sides and the crosshead slots into the remaining slidebar . the body must be attached to the chassis first as the cylinders are fixed to the body.


and thats it really, i am not all that good at explaining things as you can probably tell.

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some photos of the loco which i hope show, in some way how it goes together.


the chassis is simply mounted to the body by two small screws which, screw up into the smokebox saddle and into a piece of plastikard inside the cab.




a couple of snaps of the motion used in the conversion, the original and the result.





a quick snap which has appeared before showing the first assembly of the chassis/motion together whci worked first time - and that IS a first.




and a broadside of the loco.




the loco does still need to have cab detail added as the worm, gear and motor are visible.






and finally the near-finished model still requiring a few details but bascically complete.







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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

I for one am very glad you did as I had somehow completely missed this one. What a superb little loco and a brilliant conversion. Thanks for the thread.

i must admit to being very pleased with the outcome with the j88 and another is one the way, incorporating the lessons learned on the first one. then once this is complete im going to have a go at a ex NB D51 4-4-0t and see what i can conjure up.



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A man after my own heart. I'm just starting a small Scotish branch and will need about 3 or 4 Caledonian loco's and plan to convertt RTR as well. I'm no chassis builder but am quite happy round a sheet of plasticard, keep up the good work. Steve

    ps I noticed you used a Terrier chassis I could do with a Terrier body so if you get or have one let me know what you want for it if you want to sell it

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  • 4 months later...


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