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· Registered
2,783 Posts
Lima was the 'in thing' through the 1980's, particularly the mid 80's as by this time, they were flooding the market with models in every contemporary livery possible.

Generally, I would say that the later models were better than the earlier models, for example, the 47, 31 and HST were pretty good, but all were let down by a noisy 'pancake' motor which was all the rage in the 1970's. The 20 came about at a time when the demand for better mechanisms was starting to gain momentum (I was part of the original team who started DOGA who were lobbying manufacturers about this). Had it eventuated, Lima's promised class 45 would probably have been similar to its 40. The only other option for that at the time was the former Mainline/Replica class 45 which had an equally rubbish motor, but a very good body!

Lima mechanisms are widely misunderstood. The reason why they were considered poor runners was because the models were forever loosing electrical continuity. This was caused by the huge amount of vibration which the motor created, which contributed, along with uneven traction tyres, to constant wobbling and loss of electrical contact between wheel and rail which in turn created a never-ending dirty wheel problem.
Some people fitted alternative motors which fixed this - I fitted a Modeltorque to a 47. Didn't fix the noise problem, but the running was better.

I found that when fitted with a decent decoder, Lima motors could be tamed and would actually run really well. I wrote about this years ago when I demonstrated this on mu class 117 DMU: Lima Pancake Motor Performance - Model Railways On-Line

I also wrote articles about fitting modern Hornby chassis to replace the Lima chassis, then fitting DCC sound:
Lima class 117 DMU: Fitting DCC Sound to a Lima Class 117 DMU - Model Railways On-Line
Lima HST: Fitting DCC Sound to a Lima HST - Model Railways On-Line

And more recently, I upgraded some of Lima's mark 2 coaches: Lima Mk2 Improvements - Model Railways On-Line

I am advised by Hornby that the moulds have been lost for these, so Hornby won't be reproducing them.

Regarding wheels and flanges, older stock is a problem on code 75 track but most stock from the late 1980's onwards is OK:

· Administrator
10,744 Posts
I found my old Lima Deltic and got it out for a photo comparison with a Bachmann model.
It was one of the first production runs and I repainted and renumbered it.

You can see that the nose shaped is very square and flat.

And now a top view where the Lima is at least 5mm shorter.

Turning the model over I can see the pancake motor through one bogie and the remains of one traction tyre. I can't remember whether there were additional pickups on the trailing bogie or not.

My other memories of Lima diesels is that the wheels seemed to tarnish and need cleaning a lot more often than other brands.

This model has gone back in the box as it will never be run again. The Bachmann may find itself redundant by the end of the month too.

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· In depth idiot
8,794 Posts
...This model has gone back in the box as it will never be run again. The Bachmann may find itself redundant by the end of the month too...
Good comparison, and bear in mind the Bachmann Deltic/TOPS class 55 was one of their earlier attempts in OO and now probably the weakest model in the current range. It can use a lot of owner improvement to external appearance, but the drive on the current version is of Bachmann's usual very competent standard.

Unfortunately the expected Accurascale model is deeply flawed by design with underscale wheel diameter, a nasty compromise which typically has knock on effects which make achieving correct appearance problematic. So there's room for a fourth RTR OO model, hopefully from a manufacturer that takes 'accurate' seriously.
...I have never seen a real Deltic...
Living and working near the ECML most of my life, makes me 'picky' about rendering the appearance decently.

· Registered
Railway modeller with 40+ years experience.
23 Posts
Grew up with Lima diesels, cheap and cheerful, easily detailed up. Gradually replaced over the years with centre motor models. However, in recent years some have crept back in some form or another, either as super detailed Hornby ex Lima such as the class 20, 31, 40 and 47, or Lima bodies on other chassis, class 27, 33 on Heljan, class 31 on Hornby chassis that had Mazak rot where the cab floors fall off. I also have 2 Lima 31s that have the original pancake motors and the later silver wheels that run remarkably well with DCC sound TTS decoders once I had reprogrammed the motor settings, added extra lead and a stay alive cap. Both my Railroad 40s have twin motor bogies, it is a quick mod because the dummy ones are an identical fit, you just unclip the dummy, clip in the motor bogie and wire it up, job done and it will pull a house down.
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