Reply To: Bachmann 64xx conversion

Members Forum RTR Conversions Locos Bachmann 64xx conversion Reply To: Bachmann 64xx conversion

Duncan McGowan

    Hi Andrew

    Sorry, a bit late in the day, but as I’ve just finished a Bachmann 64xx, I thought I’d add my tuppence worth.

    Possibly the easiest approach would be to keep the Bachmann wheels and fit a set of the Society’s 3mm shoulder axles. You would have to forego the finer wheel profile of ‘proper’ EM wheels, but the saving in time would be significant. The Bachmann wheels look quite convincing in profile, and are at least the correct diameter.

    I started my conversion with the EMGS Pannier conversion kit, actually a set of Alan Gibson Workshop (AGW) bits and pieces. This is a cheap option, but one I didn’t enjoy. The issues I had with this kit were having to drill my own crankpin holes, hours (seemingly) trying to clean the tarnishing that these wheels are apparently prone to, and then managing to fuse the crankpin nuts to the rods with Loctite 601 because there was too much slop in the threads.

    Having carefully and safely stowed the AGW items in the bin, I then tried a set of Ultrascale wheels which had just arrived (having been ordered 9 months earlier).

    These went on easily and have a very pleasing finescale look, but when the body was replaced it just looked completely wrong! It took a while to figure it out – the brake rods were too low to the ground, caused by the wheels being significantly too small (image attached).

    I then tried Markits wheels. These are very high quality, all metal (apart from a plastic bush) and nicely finished. The benefits are that thread locking is unnecessary as slotted nuts are used to secure the rods and, as the axle ends are square, the wheels can be quartered with ease. The downsides are the the wheel profile is not EM, you need to find a way to cover the wheel nuts (I used plasticard discs cut with a 1/8″ punch) and you also need special screwdrivers for the crankpin and wheel nuts (although you could make them from old screwdrivers).

    I haven’t had any issues with running because I’m fully DCC and have managed to fit an ESU sound decoder, stay-alive capacitor (and a firebox glow) by removing some of the metal weight inside the panniers (picture attached). It’s not obvious how to do this, but if you put the body in the freezer overnight it will come apart quite easily in the morning, enabling you to remove the cab and extract the weight, which I then reduced in size with a hacksaw. This approach also lets you remove the unconvincing coal load from the bunker, file that down and replace with real Welsh steam coal using the “clingfilm technique”.

    Hope this is some way helpful. It’s a great little model and I’m very pleased with the results.



    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Duncan McGowan.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Duncan McGowan.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Duncan McGowan.