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Members Forum RTR Conversions Locos A conversation starter

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    • #239591
      Alan Durham
      Participant

        Thought I would post a few pictures of some modern(?) image conversions that I have done as a conversation starter and possibly as inspiration for those who have yet to dip their toe in the water of converting rtr stock.  The attached pictures are of conversions of the Lima 33, 73 and bubble car, so far I have converted 2 33s and one of each of the other.  They are relatively simple to do and are ideal places to start, I have also converted a couple of steam locos and have sort of started on a 3rd.  The conversions that I have done are all relatively straightforward and are covered in the technical sheets provided by the EMGS.  I am by no means any sort of clever engineer, I would consider myself an average modeller, as per one of the railway publications old strap lines.  I am sure that others have made much more expert conversions but this seems to me to be a great place to start.

      • #239607
        pcarrick59
        Participant

          Hi Alan,

          What steam locos have you converted?

          I have yet to attempt a conversion, I have bought a Bachmann USA tank 0-6-0 with the intention to convert. Kinda hoping that someone on the forum will have done one.

          Paul

          • #239619
            Alan Durham
            Participant

              Hi Paul,

              My first conversion was the Hornby Austerity which was not overly difficult because there is no valve gear which is what scares me most.  It runs reasonably well for a while and then decides to run irrationally, last time this happened I stripped it down and started again, I am not sure that I am having issues with either wear in the solder bearings in the rods or the wheel quartering slipping out.  I will have another go at it, it won’t beat me.  I have also done a Wrenn/HD R1, but that is on the original chassis so it’s not the greatest of runners.  I am currently working on a Bachmann N, but that has just had work done on the tender including detailing preparation.  I have had more success with Romford wheels on a G6 and M7 SEF kits that are WIP.

              Are you a member of the virtual group over on fb https://www.facebook.com/groups/758743031220426/?ref=share_group_link

              it might be worth asking there if you’re interested as one of the admims I’ll look out for your application.  There are a few EMGS members over there.

              • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by Alan Durham.
          • #239623
            Nigel Burbidge
            Participant

              I have now completed a number of RTR conversions of steam outline models from OO to EM and would echo Alan’s comment about starting off with an inside cylinder model first, simply because it is an easier introduction to the world of conversion, with one less complication to worry about.  When I first started converting locos, I followed the Pete Hill blow by blow accounts, some of which have been on EMGS websites but most of which are accessible from the Alan Gibson website.  They are very clear and well illustrated; once you have mastered the first couple of conversions it becomes much easier to spot potential issues on future ones.

              In terms of outside cylinder locos with outside valve gear, be aware that tolerances around the leading driving axle are very tight (due in large part to the wheels being pushed out to an extent not envisaged by the manufacturer). That means to have any real chance of success, the leading wheels need to have sufficient washers so lateral slop is almost eliminated (but still allowing the wheels to turn freely) and frequently the crank pin arrangement will need filing down to avoid hitting the back of the valve gear (assuming you want to retain the proprietary valve gear). Again, Pete Hill covers this very well in his conversions of outside valve gear locos.

              I hope this is of some help.

              Nigel

            • #239624
              pcarrick59
              Participant

                Hi Alan and Nigel,

                Thank you for the wise words, some useful information there. You’re right, it makes sense to start off with something a little less taxing. Just unfortunate that the two loco I have for the Southampton dock have outside cylinders, although the E1 was used so I could attempt one of those. Unfortunately, nothing in the EMGS manual sheet for the E1

                I would like something so I can test my track laying before I progress too far with it.

                Alternatively, I could attempt a South Eastern Fine cast USA tank, initially just a rolling chassis would suffice, a useful gauge to test track quality. Yes, ultimately, I would want to keep as much detail as possible, my lack of skill would be the limiting factor!!

                Paul

              • #239627
                Stuart Firth
                Participant

                  Hi Paul – go for the USA tank, kits are more fun!

                • #239628
                  Trade Officer
                  Keymaster

                    Hi
                    I would fully support Nigel’s comments about the the front set of drivers.
                    The other item I always seem to find problematic is getting the fabricated return crank to sit at just the right angle. I am sure there is a knack to it but I find that I end up have numerous attempts to get it just right. I often end up over filing and it goes past the correct angle. Probably impatience on my part. You do have to ensure that it is well tightened though otherwise it unscrews itself when running. How do I know that…..?!

                    John

                  • #239636
                    Nigel Burbidge
                    Participant

                      Hi Paul and Stuart

                      I agree kits are more satisfying, especially when they cover a prototype not available any other way, but sometimes RTR conversions help fill the layout and are a useful short cut.
                      I received an email from Rapido saying they were looking for comments on a model of the E1 they are looking to produce, so you may wish to take a look at their website.  My only concern about Rapido, from converting their J70 last year, was that it employed stub axles, so conversion to EM (unless I wanted to scratch build a chassis) relied upon the very old method of pushing the wheels out on the axles as far as they would go.  Not ideal, but I think I got away with it!

                    • #239638
                      Alan Durham
                      Participant

                        I can feel the start of another topic coming on! Kit building anybody on one of the other forums?  Watch this space or should that be that space over there? 😉

                      • #239775
                        Alastair Speer

                          Good Afternoon,

                          I am a new member and after being in oo gauge for ages decided to look at building a new layout in EM.

                          Mainly modernish,so diesel conversions to EM looks fairly straightforward as does rolling stock,courtesy of Ultrascale etc,but steam looks to be not so easy.Looking to have an original Merchant Navy together with other similar size engines.

                          Any help or ideas from anyone who has done similar would be most appreciated…..many thanks in advance.

                          Alastair.

                        • #239776
                          Trade Officer
                          Keymaster

                            Hi Alastair

                            Welcome to the forum and to the EMGS

                            There is a manual sheet on the EMGS site,. If you look under Members Area>Manual Sheets. You will find in section 3  a sheet for the Hornby Bulleild pacific. it contains notes on both thee original and rebuilt versions.

                            There are plenty of conversion sheets for many other locomotives. Have a browse

                            You will also find a lot of advice on specifics on the forum as well

                             

                            john

                            • #239784
                              Andrew Avis
                              Participant

                                Hi Alistair,

                                the Hornby model used the same chassis design for all of its Bullied pacifics. The chassis having a clever little plate that gets reversed depending on which wheelbase is required.

                                The manual sheet 3.2.3(4) is the sheet that you want. After Douglas wrote it, I was the second guinea pig to try out the conversion following the instructions.  My only failure was in the quartering of the wheels. But the possession of a GW wheel press fixes that problem.

                                The only other thing to note is that the special crank pins are no longer available from the society stores. But this can be overcome by fitting the Gibson crankpin nut upside down and recessing it into the coupling rod.

                                The manual sheet is in 2 parts as Douglas found on his second conversion that the chassis had been “improved” with the rear pony cast in.

                                I have recently acquired a model of United States Line for conversion. This seems to have chassis that is between the two versions.

                                Andy

                            • #239778
                              Alan Durham
                              Participant

                                Hello again guys,

                                Welcome to the world of EM gauge for those of you new to it.  With regard to diesel conversions, yes thanks to Ultrascale they are really straight forward conversions.  The Ultrascale products are great imo although there is sometimes an extended wait before delivery as they are made specifically to order by one man.  Ultrascale do declare the wait times and they hide nothing, in 3 words “worth the wait”.  There are other manufacturers available but I have not used them, so can make no observations.  Steam locos are a little more involved and my first with valve gear to be converted is a Bachmann N, but so far I have only undertaken some work on the tender.  I will post my progress here.  As well as the Manual sheets from the Society for guidance, it is probably worth seeking out you local area group, I am sure that they should be able to give you plenty of support.

                                As I have previously said and will continue to,  my modelling and engineering skills are best described as average, that said if I can have some success then I am sure others should be able to have some  I may only be average but I am persistent and patient.  To demonstrate this I plan to soon share some of my rolling stock conversions on the rolling stock forum, to show what I have achieved and how I did it.

                              • #239918
                                Patrick Hunt
                                Participant

                                  Hi Alan,

                                  New to model railway after a lengthy gap so a steep leaning curve om occasions.  Concur with Ultrascale fitted diesel conversions although having waited for my Dapol class 52 wheelsets to arrive, I found my model has the later 1.7mm stub axles, not the original 2mm which the Ultrascale wheelsets are designed for.  Luckily, original gear wheels are still available but I did manage to drill one the new style gear wheel back out to 2mm.  On Ultrascale lead time, now 8 months..!

                                  Once I have converted all my diesel stock, several Ultrascale orders in the pipeline, I will begin in earnest on the steam stock.  My approach will be to leave the original motion gear in place and adapt  Alan Gibson wheels to take the original RTR motion gear.

                                  I did partially convert a Bachman 5MT quite quickly in order to test a British Finescale B7 prototype turnout.  Alan Gibson wheels on tender/pony and original RTR drivers with adjusted back to back; AG drivers will be fitted at a later date.   Not a brilliant runner but it tested the turnout..!  Video on RMWeb and on EMGS virtual show demo; https://emgs.org/virtual-show-2021-welcome-closed/virtual-show-2021-demonstrations-point-kits/.

                                  I am also part way through converting a spares/repair split chassis 4MT to EM and DCC.  Tried the EMGS worksheet route but too many issues as a few parts have changed since the note was first published so I have a plan B.

                                  The key point is you never know what you can do until you try..!  Good luck.

                                  • #240230
                                    Bill Eaton
                                    Participant

                                      Hi Patrick

                                      Referring to your conversion of the Bachmann 5MT, can you please clarify what you mean by “original RTR drivers with adjusted back to back”? I have “adjusted” a lot of rolling stock with pin point axles using a wheel puller and back to back gauge but cannot see how you can do this with a steam loco, unless outside framed. Presumably you must substitute new axles, or am I missing something?

                                    • #240231
                                      Patrick Hunt
                                      Participant

                                        Hi Bill,

                                        A bit of background.  I was testing the prototype of the British Finescale B7 EM gauge point for Wayne Kinney in early 2021.   The split chassis 4MT I was converting using Alan Gibson wheels, and following the EMGS fact sheet, was not going to plan for a number of reasons which I will cover in a separate fact sheet or forum upload.  I had an Alan Gibson wheel set for a later model 5MT but, given the issues with the 4MT conversion, I decided to replace the tender and pony truck wheels and see if I could replace the axles on the RTR drivers in the interim thinking the axles were 2mm.  No such luck, they were 3mm to 2mm stepped and I had none in my spares box.  So I simply eased out the existing wheels on the existing axles to 16.4mm (because of the large wheel profile), the goal being to get s steam loco running through the prototype turnout.  It worked but is not the final product.  I will be fitting the Alan Gibson driving wheels, but not in the usual manner, and using the existing motion gear.  Ditto the split chassis 4MT which I am starting again.  I’ll write a note on the method later as I am currently converting my diesel fleet to EM gauge.  So, it was a fiddle to get over a time constrained hurdle to provide a demo.  You can see the 5MT in action at the link https://emgs.org/virtual-show-2021-welcome-closed/virtual-show-2021-demonstrations-point-kits/

                                        Kind regards.

                                        Patrick

                                      • #240233
                                        Bill Eaton
                                        Participant

                                          Thanks Patrick. You and I are in a similar position, I have converted two diesels using Ultrascale drop in wheelsets and have some more wheelsets on order from them but I have yet to tackle a steam loco. I have been following the British Finescale thread on RMWeb for some time and have seen your video previously, in fact it caught my eye as I have a 4MT 4-6-0 and a 4MT 2-6-4 (both Bachmann) and the appropriate Alan Gibson wheels for both, all ready to go. It was interesting to learn that you could ease out the existing wheels on the existing axles and I see on looking again at the video that you cannot see the ends of the axles! I need to crack on and have a go at one of my locos and see how I get on. I look forward with interest to the further postings you mention.

                                          BTW, the British Finescale thread is very interesting for both 4mm and 2mm scales and Wayne deserves to do well.

                                        • #240235
                                          Patrick Hunt
                                          Participant

                                            Hi Bill,

                                            My solution for the Alan Gibson wheelsets is to use the existing motion gear and use slightly larger screws inserted from the front of the wheel, not the back.  There is also a need to replicate the half stubs on the RTR wheel face.  For pickups on the split chassis variant, I also have a solution.  Yes, I too have a lot of orders in with Ultrascale.

                                            Ill keep the forum posted or maybe write an  article.

                                             

                                            Patrick

                                        • #240111
                                          daryll hunt-davies

                                            Having just embarked down the EM route , the only loco I own is a hornby Q1 (r3559) , which will need converting t0 EM , I belive I can obtain the correct wheels ( driving and tender) from Alan gibson , has anybody attempted this , did you have problems , in the future I wish to get the Hornby 2 BIL/2 HAL , these will need EM wheelsets as well

                                             

                                            Cheers

                                             

                                            Daryll

                                          • #240114
                                            Nigel Burbidge
                                            Participant

                                              Hi Daryll,

                                              Whilst I haven’t converted a Q1, I have converted a number of Hornby locos and the principles are pretty much the same for all.  Firstly check on the axle diameter.  Most are 3mm but some, such as the J15, are 2mm and Alan Gibson generally provides wheels with the correct diameter centre hole.  Then apply the basic rules Pete Hill sets out in his conversion sheets (I think some are on this website and some can be found on the Alan Gibson website) and you are unlikely to go far wrong.  If using Gibson wheels, note they are not self quartering as the Markits wheels are, so you would be well advised to invest in a wheel quartering tool such as the one made by GW Models.

                                              regards and good luck

                                              Nigel

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