Whilst it is great that we are now getting models with superb detail, manufacturers seem to give little regard these days to making it easy to remove a loco body from the chassis. I suspect this is due to a very large proportion of locomotive sales being made to collectors who simply place the loco on a shelf for the loco to never to see any track action. The proportion of modellers who operate models relative to those who don't is therefore probably lower than it has been for a long time and because there is little evidence offered to manufacturers of customers having difficulties removing bodies then this aspect of design gets little attention. And this is a surprise considering the number of locomotives that are now DCC ready. I have suffered damage to several locomotives this year and I am one who normally takes care when removing and refitting a loco body.
With Hornby DCC just around the corner and Bachmann EZ-Command proving relatively popular, more and more loco bodies are being removed, or will be removed in the future, to fit decoder chips.
Now I personally find that the models of one of the top manufacturers are more difficult to separate than those of the other.
Please participate in the poll and send a message to the manufacturers that we would prefer loco bodies that are more easily removed from the loco chassis. We will forward the results of our poll to Hornby and Bachmann in due course.
An "I don't remove my loco bodies" option has been included so that all visitors are able to participate in the poll.
Back in the day of Margate made Hornby this topic would have been a waste of time but now it does make you think a little bit. The new A4 for example, if you remove the screw under the front bogie & remove the body you'll break the speedo & lubricator drives (if you have Golden Plover that is) so now you have to remove 3 screws, still it's not difficult, try fitting a decoder to a Bachmann split frame chassis, thats a little more challenging.
i do not buy any more Bachmann locos as I run my locos a lot and need maintainance friendly ones. I am not a skilled modeller so no Bachmann for me. I hope Hornby will go on producing its 9F as I will not buy the Bachmann one (if the Bachmann loco is constructed in the usual Bachmann way). Some of the older Hornby models with Ringfield drive (9F, 28xx,Castle,....) may lack in detail but I find them stronger on my gradients. I like the fact that these models survive running outdoors and my children. In my experience Hornby after sales service is better then Bachmann,too
I haven't had my lily white little paws on any recent examples from either of these two manufacturers, so no point in my voting. From the very limited feedback and my own observation of increasing detail, it would seem that there are probably problems with both. Probably near unavoidable to some extent, given that extra detailing. A very difficult dilemma!
I have just removed the body from my new Hornby A3. First a 2.5mm wrench or socket is needed to remove the speedo drive attachment. The front bogie can be turned sufficiently to allow access to the screw beneath, I had to shave down a screwdriver as the slot in the screwhead is narrower than normal for the size of screw. After that the process is fairly simple. One word of warning, handle with extreme care, the model is festooned with delicate detailed items (I have already broke the door behind the drivers seat). There appears to be room for a small chipset directly under the chimney stack, good for heat dissipation too, it has to be the small type of chip, my spare 32 X 16 mm hasn't got a cat in hells chance. As the loco has a DCC socket life should be easy from here on.
Will let you know how it all works out eventually.
Hornby supply their agents with a suitable tool for removing speedo nuts.....
The Flaman recorder on the early A4 is extremely delicate! You also need to be very careful of the additional body-mounted slidebar brackets (non valenced versions) when replacing the body and, having now chipped several of this class, there is a wide variation in the quality of fixing of the cab doors - some are well attached, others just drop off!
I refer to the Bachman 158 DMU two coach set - a self tapper screw at each end, remove, and careful pressing out body (in middle) from chassis, plastic body removes easily. Care has to be taken however, as a cable runs the full length of the coach and cable could easily break at soldered lamps connection.
I have requested in the past many spare items from Hornby and mostly received parts free of charge. Compared to Bachman, they charge an amount for spares and request a S.A.E.
just a quick note to help those removing valve gear from new Hornby loco's. Instead of trying to find a 2.5mm spanner, I have found that a 4mm grub scew with a 2.5mm hex type (allen key) head the best solution to the spanner problem.
It's also much easier to control than a spanner and less likely to damage the screw.
Hope this is of some help to someone.
NZPaul, (are you from the antipodes by any chance)? Good tip, I shall have a rummage in my gash box for an allen screw of the right dimensions and attach an extension to it.
Can I change my opinion? Having gained further but limited experience I find that Bachmann locos are easier to dismantle (disassemble is the current technical term) than hornby. My A3 White Knight has been pulled apart so many times now that I am constructing a holding jig to protect it from my banana fingers, each time a new part gets distorted or falls off, enough is enough.
I find the hornby ones the worst as they tend to have more fiddly detail especially the steam locos which is poorly glued in place and falls off even if you stare at it too hard, the Q1 is especially bad with the cab doors and "copper" piping both favourites for the drop.
Diesel wise they are both pretty easy but the lighting if the new hornby class 31 is a real pain in the butt to get located right first time at both ends, i also dislike the recommended location for the dcc chips in it (under the main pcb).
I haven't stripped one of bachmanns newer steam locos yet so wouldn't like to comment on them but i've read that the crab is particularly bad.
Just found the easiest of the newer diesel offerings and it has to be the bachmann class 20 with just one screw at each end. Would've gone for the heljan 47 but the tanks fall off on mine leaving nothing to pull against.
I bought the Bachmann 66 which had the well known problem of the top coming off (or not coming off). I sent that back, then bought a Class 08, which also proved a bit of a struggle and the breakage of one NEM coupling. Then there was hardly anyu rom for a Lenz Gold decoder...
With the Hornby loco's I've got (Classes 58 and 37), you have to lever the bogie away from the body using a screwdriver - it's really easy and fast
For an informed opinion on new technology i'd suggest talking to your local garage owner. New technology is harder to fix and more expensive when it does go wrong. I am currently going through a phase with my loco's of trying to enjoy them for a while before i try to dismantle them. The Q1 experience has made me a bit wary.
For re-attaching small parts and fixing nameplates i'd recommend superglue gel as it doesn't go everywhere and doesn't set quite as instantly as the liquid stuff. However it is no use on the waxy plastic that heljan like to use on their bogies.
They are both at times difficult,with increasing detail(as we requested,increased features again at our request ) comes increasing complexity and less easy access to the interior.You pays your money.....
Incidentally think of the pleasures yet to come with built in sound and DCC decoders.
I noticed that bachmann now tells if not actually shows where the screws to remove the bodies from all their production models are located. I have so far resisted the urge to remove many of my steam fleets' bodies yet to fit decoders but hopefully i will be doing one or 2 soon. I think the worst thing is having to undo the speedo drive cable. Does anyone know what the correct size of spanner or socket is for the hornby ones?
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