Reply To: Bachmann 64xx conversion

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Duncan McGowan

    I confess when I was thinking about the tools I would need, a deep freeze hadn’t occurred to me!

    Yes it does seem a little odd doesn’t it?!

    When I got hold of the model I was puzzled as to why Bachmann had made it so hard to improve, especially given the cost (it’s not exactly cheap). I had read the article by Gerry Beale and Jerry Clifford in MRJ 276 about converting the Bachmann 64XX to a 54XX using a High Level chassis kit and, on page 24, Gerry talks about removing the cab – but I couldn’t see how it could be done, given that it’s glued to the back of the tanks.

    Then I stumbled across an article on a plastic kit website, about disassembling aeroplanes that had been botched during assembly. Someone mentioned the freezer trick, so I thought I’d give it a go.

    Before I did, I did visit the Bachmann website and bought a spare body in case it all went horribly wrong. I put both bodies in the freezer, inside a bag, and was delighted when, the following day, they both came apart quite easily – just a small amount of force was needed to break the adhesive bond.

    Even better, a gentle nudge with a screwdriver extracted the metal weights from the tanks of both bodies, freeing up plenty of space for electronics!

    The spare body I got from Bachmann was the black 64XX; the actual model was the green 6412, from the South Devon Railway. My idea was to use the spare body as a test bed and put the original green body on a High Level chassis, which is waiting to be put together. I made a few changes to the replacement body, replacing the moulded buffers with sprung versions, cutting off the moulded safety valve bonnet and adding a polished brass item (not exactly prototypical but I like the look!), painting the buffer beams (the brownish red used by Bachmann seemed a bit wrong), but nothing major – just a few mods to make the model a little better, in my opinion.

    I still have the Modelu crew to add, and also need to weather it a little if only to tone down the crankpin nuts and the rods.

    The wheels are Markits, as explained above. These are incredibly easy to install but sadly don’t have the correct EM profile (they are too thick). If I had a lathe I would be tempted to grind down the original wheels and use those, with the Society’s shoulder axles. I’m keeping the Ultrascale wheels for the High Level chassis, which I’ll tackle this winter.

    Here’s a better picture of the Markits wheels;

    Anyway, I would highly recommend the freezer trick for any plastic body disassembly – it works like a charm.

    All the best