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... believe me, if I get a chance to knock Heljan - I take it!
Here's a question then John, what's the opinion of Heljan's steam / rod coupled models in HO world? I have never seen an appraisal of such.

Edited to add what I forgot to put in when first posting.

In terms of RTR OO, I would assess Heljan as having been a positive contributor. Their centre motor twin bogie mechanism is a good solid performer, and when they get the body mouldings right* the models look very well, and coverage of both prototypes and 'pilot scheme failure' classes has been very welcome. But that's in large part because RTR OO started from a much lower standard than RTR HO stood at, back in 2001 when Heljan started in the UK market, and is still in catch up mode.

My opinion is definitely influenced by the fact that the four diesel classes that looked right and fitted my KX area late BR steam period modelling interest (TOPS 15, 16, 23, 26/0) have been trouble free, the class 128 has a useful mechanism for simple modification to power LNER full brakes, and despite the weird mechanism construction my two O2 2-8-0's cannot be faulted in operation. It's all been good for me... (I ducked out of buying a class 47, it was clearly the wrong shape, not even as good as Lima's bodyshell - which model I didn't buy either because neither the traction tyre nor the cheapo ringpiece power bogie are welcome on any layout I build..)

* I have speculated elsewhere in the past from what could then be observed on their UK diesel models, there was a near 50:50 split between well captured body shapes and 'sadly a blooper'. Could it be that there were two designers or design teams in Heljan, one very capable, the other not so much. I was told with great sternness: final warning, one more comment like that and you will be banned. Which suggests to me that I was probably right...
 

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Dear Graham,
One of the problems with the Heljan/Hattons class 14 is that it is essentially an 0-8-0 chassis, length wise - it’s due to the jackshaft drive being within the main wheelbase.
If the prototype had the drive at the end like a class 03 for example, us modellers would have had less problems!
I had one of these when they were first released, I ran it in well on 00 track with analog control and all was well. Later I fitted my pre-ordered set of P4 wheels from Ultrascale, I had to wait some time for these.
Having read up numerous times how to go about it, I was very, very careful - one of the first things I did was to remove the cab steps for example! Yes, I had trouble fitting a decoder but I managed it okay. I spent time, money and effort finding something small enough that could actually power it but I did it because I wanted it to work! Not a problem now though, it’s easy to get such powerful but tiny decoders.
I actually wrote up how I did it all for my club magazine, the MMRS “Link”, no idea now what issue, sorry. My friend and colleague from that time, Craig Welsh, was going to etch a P4 chassis but I don’t know if he ever did.
All I’m saying is that I don’t think this model is quite as bad as you are indicating and believe me, if I get a chance to knock Heljan - I take it!
John E.
Thanks John.

I agree that the class 14 is essentially an 0-8-0, however, I'm not sure that makes any difference when compared with the 03 because that also has 4 axles and is essentially in an 0-8-0. The only thing that makes the two different is that the position of the jackshaft of the 14 causes the coupled wheelbase to be longer. Irrespective of that, the principals of how the coupling rods are aligned and the level of side-play apply equally to both types on all axles, jack or wheel.

I approached my class 14 with a completely open mind. I knew it had excessive axle side-play that was causing it to 'waddle'. I had an idea that some kind of washer or padding was going to be necessary. I also knew that it had jerky motion in one direction. It also seemed to 'lift' a bit on one corner. I figured that this may either be decoder related or mechanical and quickly realised it was more likely to be the latter as decoder issues usually occur in both directions.

I approached it methodically and carefully - I've hand built dozens of locos in my time (4mm and 7mm), so I'm probably a bit of a first time starter.

To be able to fix the side-play, I had to find a way to remove the wheels. I didn't want to remove wheels from their axles as I didn't want to mess up the quartering. This meant I was either into e clips or some kind of padding out of the chassis facia. I chose the latter and quickly found the chassis facia was made of an awful type of plastic that can't be glued and it is actually 'hot melted' to attach it to the metal inner chassis block. I persevered and 3D printed some extra 'horn guides'. These solved the side-play issue.
The jackshaft needed an 'e clip' type solution for which I made up plastic washers and this also worked fine. It was at that point that I found that the coupling rods are not all in line because the jackshaft is not the same length as the wheel axles. Problem #1 which I couldn't solve, but I could put up with it as it wasn't going to cause a physical problem no that I had the new horn guides in place.
I then started looking for the cause of the jerkiness. Initial thoughts were to change the decoder, but that didn't work because the model is extremely (and unnecessarily) tight on space, meaning that only certain decoders would fit. OK fair enough. The motor in this loco appears to be very good, so I decided to stay with it and the decoder. It was at this point that I discovered that the rotation of the wheels was binding at one point (when hand operated) and it wasn't because of my horn guides. So I started dismantling the model. And it was at this point that I really began to realise what a hell-hole this model is for dismantling. When you try to dismantle something and bits won't come off because they have been designed as a one way fit, one can no longer relate the problem to my ability are care in dismantling it. Things are inaccessible, footplates need bending to get them off over the motor because there are clips under it to stop it going the other way, wires which are too short to release things, non-use of plugs, so any wires that do break have to be resoldered...so long as they are accessible. Drive gears which can't be removed unless you bend the chassis facias (which can't be removed as they are hot-melt fitted). Wires running in channels which directly line up with the slot such that when you refit the cab, it damages the wires. Screws in the top of the hood against the cab - what about the other end ? Nothing to hold it down, so it doesn't sit straight above the buffers and can appear twisted.

I finally found the cause of the jerking - a malformed gear with uneven tooth spacing. I approached Ultrascale for a replacement, but at £50 startup costs and an 8 month delivery, I respectfully declined. But one thing Ultrascale did point out is that the gear in question is fixed to another gear which the motor worm drives, yet that gear is not properly manufactured with 'helical' teeth to match the motor worm thread.

I'm afraid I have to say that this model is as bad as I indicate. The more you work on it, the more you observe that it is riddled with cheap-skate short cuts, very poor design and some poor manufacture. In 40+ years of modelling, I've never seen a loco this bad although one or two lag some way behind.

Don't get me wrong, I actually like the loco. The body looks superb. It's a shame the mechanism doesn't match the appearance!

It should have a solid block chassis, same as Bach and Hornby do it, but it hasn't because it is using the chassis construction method used by Heljan on their Diesel bogies...and it doesn't work on this type of loco because all the weight ends up above the footplate (no gap between bogies to under-sling weight), contributing to a top heavy model and a 'waddle' and leaving no space for decoders or speakers.
 

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Thanks for your replies, Graham and Paul!

Here's a question then John, what's the opinion of Heljan's steam / rod coupled models in HO world? I have never seen an appraisal of such.
I’ve only seen online opinion about the HJ “V65”, which is a Genuine 0-8-0 diesel centre cab. This was a model that I desired very much when I modelled Danish outline.
Opinion on “Stummis“ forum seemed very negative towards it and therefore I wasn’t prepared to spend nearly £300 to find out for myself. Steam locomotives, I don’t know anything about, sorry.
John E.

PS sorry, my iPad is ready playing up at the moment
 

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Thanks John.

I agree that the class 14 is essentially an 0-8-0, however, I'm not sure that makes any difference when compared with the 03 because that also has 4 axles and is essentially in an 0-8-0. The only thing that makes the two different is that the position of the jackshaft of the 14 causes the coupled wheelbase to be longer. Irrespective of that, the principals of how the coupling rods are aligned and the level of side-play apply equally to both types on all axles, jack or wheel.

I approached my class 14 with a completely open mind. I knew it had excessive axle side-play that was causing it to 'waddle'. I had an idea that some kind of washer or padding was going to be necessary. I also knew that it had jerky motion in one direction. It also seemed to 'lift' a bit on one corner. I figured that this may either be decoder related or mechanical and quickly realised it was more likely to be the latter as decoder issues usually occur in both directions.

I approached it methodically and carefully - I've hand built dozens of locos in my time (4mm and 7mm), so I'm probably a bit of a first time starter.

To be able to fix the side-play, I had to find a way to remove the wheels. I didn't want to remove wheels from their axles as I didn't want to mess up the quartering. This meant I was either into e clips or some kind of padding out of the chassis facia. I chose the latter and quickly found the chassis facia was made of an awful type of plastic that can't be glued and it is actually 'hot melted' to attach it to the metal inner chassis block. I persevered and 3D printed some extra 'horn guides'. These solved the side-play issue.
The jackshaft needed an 'e clip' type solution for which I made up plastic washers and this also worked fine. It was at that point that I found that the coupling rods are not all in line because the jackshaft is not the same length as the wheel axles. Problem #1 which I couldn't solve, but I could put up with it as it wasn't going to cause a physical problem no that I had the new horn guides in place.
I then started looking for the cause of the jerkiness. Initial thoughts were to change the decoder, but that didn't work because the model is extremely (and unnecessarily) tight on space, meaning that only certain decoders would fit. OK fair enough. The motor in this loco appears to be very good, so I decided to stay with it and the decoder. It was at this point that I discovered that the rotation of the wheels was binding at one point (when hand operated) and it wasn't because of my horn guides. So I started dismantling the model. And it was at this point that I really began to realise what a hell-hole this model is for dismantling. When you try to dismantle something and bits won't come off because they have been designed as a one way fit, one can no longer relate the problem to my ability are care in dismantling it. Things are inaccessible, footplates need bending to get them off over the motor because there are clips under it to stop it going the other way, wires which are too short to release things, non-use of plugs, so any wires that do break have to be resoldered...so long as they are accessible. Drive gears which can't be removed unless you bend the chassis facias (which can't be removed as they are hot-melt fitted). Wires running in channels which directly line up with the slot such that when you refit the cab, it damages the wires. Screws in the top of the hood against the cab - what about the other end ? Nothing to hold it down, so it doesn't sit straight above the buffers and can appear twisted.

I finally found the cause of the jerking - a malformed gear with uneven tooth spacing. I approached Ultrascale for a replacement, but at £50 startup costs and an 8 month delivery, I respectfully declined. But one thing Ultrascale did point out is that the gear in question is fixed to another gear which the motor worm drives, yet that gear is not properly manufactured with 'helical' teeth to match the motor worm thread.

I'm afraid I have to say that this model is as bad as I indicate. The more you work on it, the more you observe that it is riddled with cheap-skate short cuts, very poor design and some poor manufacture. In 40+ years of modelling, I've never seen a loco this bad although one or two lag some way behind.

Don't get me wrong, I actually like the loco. The body looks superb. It's a shame the mechanism doesn't match the appearance!

It should have a solid block chassis, same as Bach and Hornby do it, but it hasn't because it is using the chassis construction method used by Heljan on their Diesel bogies...and it doesn't work on this type of loco because all the weight ends up above the footplate (no gap between bogies to under-sling weight), contributing to a top heavy model and a 'waddle' and leaving no space for decoders or speakers.
Hi Graham,
Thanks for your detailed reply, I appreciate it.
I see! You clearly went much deeper into the model than I did - fair enough!
I am beginning to suspect that my replacement of the wheels and jackshaft by the Ultrascale kit, made a vast improvement to the model. It certainly ran well for me and as you say, the body is lovely.
I too was working on improving the buffer beam for appearance sake but then I sold it when I disposed of my P4 stuff.

I do agree with you that so many British outline models have cheap shortcuts built in and it all ends up with disappointing models that need work and/or cash being spent on them before they perform as intend.
Cheers,
John E.
 

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...I approached my class 14 with a completely open mind....

It should have a solid block chassis, same as Bach and Hornby do it, but it hasn't because it is using the chassis construction method used by Heljan on their Diesel bogies...and it doesn't work on this type of loco because all the weight ends up above the footplate (no gap between bogies to under-sling weight), contributing to a top heavy model and a 'waddle' and leaving no space for decoders or speakers.
As I understand it, Heljan are injection moulding tooling and production specialists, and don't design mechanisms at all, but contract that out to their manufacturing partner ('Regal Way' at last report, but that's years ago). Whatever manufacturing partner is used, they are on very dated technique when it comes to rod coupled rigid chassis mechanisms.

The best bet for the future is that with the pool of BR diesel classes now exhausted, another manufacturer will have a go at the 14. Of course it may finish up as the situation I have with the Brush type 2, TOPS 30: superior accuracy old bodyshells on current Hornby mechanisms, because the current Hornby model body shape is significantly flawed...
 

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I have a class 14 but have never got round to fitting a decoder. Perhaps I should just put on the shelf for display only.

David
 

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I have a class 14 but have never got round to fitting a decoder. Perhaps I should just put on the shelf for display only.

David
Certainly, it would seem worth using a suitable decoder from a good working Loco, to put into the class 14 to see how it might perform. A few adjustments might be made, to the CVs, having recorded the original values, so as to be able to restore them, when returning the Decoder after the experiment.

Regards
Julian
 

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I have a class 14 but have never got round to fitting a decoder. Perhaps I should just put on the shelf for display only.

David
This model appears to have a good motor so as long as a reasonable decoder is used, I don't think you'll have a problem with it.

It's more about finding a decoder which will physically fit and then going through the fight of taking this model apart, fitting the decoder and then getting it back together properly - that's the fun part!
 

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Thanks for the additional information. I'll give it a go when I get back to the layout in the loft.

David
 

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This model (Class 14) ... It's more about finding a decoder which will physically fit and then going through the fight of taking this model apart, fitting the decoder and then getting it back together properly - that's the fun part!
Not ever having seen this model apart, is there any prospect of positioning the decoder in the cab? I have the class 15 and 16 models from Heljan, and on both the treatment of the cab interior below the window line eats into available interior space, a thick moulding positioned well above the mechanism parts. On the class 16 this was visually intrusive, and I replaced it with a folded piece of black paper which concealed the mechanism and took up much less space and was thus 'invisible'. Had it been necessary to find space for a decoder on this model that would have made a suitable location.
 

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I had a look back through this thread and could see no reference to a locomotive that has long been on my wish list, albeit somewhat niche ............ the B17/5.

Two members of the Sandringham class were outfitted in A4 streamlining in 1937, specifically to haul the accelerated Liverpool Street <> Norwich service, dubbed "The East Anglian".

YouTube video of streamlined B17's.

The locos chosen were 2859 and 2870 (BR 61659 & 61670) and they were streamlined from September 1937 up to April 1951. The locos carried a variety of numbers, names and liveries throughout their lifetimes (at least 4 liveries and 3 different numbers whilst streamlined).

A streamlined 4-6-0 at the head of The East Anglian rake, turned out in Gresley teak (even into BR days) would look magnificent.

Best regards ................... Greyvoices (alias John)
 

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Not ever having seen this model apart, is there any prospect of positioning the decoder in the cab? I have the class 15 and 16 models from Heljan, and on both the treatment of the cab interior below the window line eats into available interior space, a thick moulding positioned well above the mechanism parts. On the class 16 this was visually intrusive, and I replaced it with a folded piece of black paper which concealed the mechanism and took up much less space and was thus 'invisible'. Had it been necessary to find space for a decoder on this model that would have made a suitable location.
Afraid not. The cab detail is moulded as part of the upper metal chassis block and also forms part of the motor housing as can be seen in the middle left of this picture:

http://www.mrol.com.au/Media/00 Gauge Articles/Locomotives/IMG_1326.jpg

The cab is an obvious place, but unfortunately, the poor design of this model didn't consider it.
 

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Not ever having seen this model apart, is there any prospect of positioning the decoder in the cab? I have the class 15 and 16 models from Heljan, and on both the treatment of the cab interior below the window line eats into available interior space, a thick moulding positioned well above the mechanism parts. On the class 16 this was visually intrusive, and I replaced it with a folded piece of black paper which concealed the mechanism and took up much less space and was thus 'invisible'. Had it been necessary to find space for a decoder on this model that would have made a suitable location.
Bromsgove Models kindly left their Heljan decoder installs up after closing down, maybe of some use Heljan Class 14 DCC Installation The Class 14 was the first one I did on receipt and thought it was just me that couldnt fit a decoder in.
 

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...A streamlined 4-6-0 at the head of The East Anglian rake, turned out in Gresley teak (even into BR days) would look magnificent...
Only two, and their time in service was brief. It's not too difficult to graft on modified A4 body and tender shells...

There were also only two of these and they lasted rather longer, and you can put one on teak passenger stock (test run when the P2 design was being developed). OVSB thought them the most handsome of Gresley's locos.

I anticipate Hornby having a go...

Would still much prefer the ex-GN J6 0-6-0 to either of the above, so very useful.
 

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It's the GE v GN divide 34C.

If it didn't work on the GE section then for me it's of less interest. The exceptions of course were GN diversions via Peterborough East/March/Ely/Cambridge/Hitchin ...... and of course the Cambridge <> King's Cross buffet expresses and Top Shed runnng in turns.

Would the P1 have been allowed on GE metals; probably not though there was an O1 diagram March/Norwich/Ipswich and return.

Originating from Suffolk I cannot escape from being a swede. If only I had been born in Sandy (best of both worlds).

Best regards ................... Greyvoices (alias John)
 

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...Would the P1 have been allowed on GE metals; probably not though there was an O1 diagram March/Norwich/Ipswich ...
March to London would have been possible I believe, but they were pretty much confined to the ECML, and even there a problem for economic employment. What they needed was dedicated trains of braked high capacity bogie wagons to make more efficient use of the power to integrate with the faster traffic and thus make non-stop trips. Imagine that large grate burning through the coal when laid by, which could be half the time on the road for unbraked mineral traffic...
 

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The obvious place for the P and the P2 locos was the GCR as it was built to heavier standards than all the others and way more than the GER, also they had more advanced handling techniques and had invented the windcutters of fast unfitted trains between Annesley and Woodford and on top of that the railway had no level crossings, in WW2 when loads got really heavy they would have handled the vast loads very well indeed.
 

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There are three loco's on my wish list, the first of which has already been mentioned on this thread, namely the Brighton Mogul K Class 2-6-0. The others are the C2X 0-6-0 and Maunsell's W Class 2-6-4T. Although the C2X's never strayed far from their home turf, the others got about a bit - the K's were regulars on inter-regional trains once the Brighton Atlantics had been withdrawn, while the W's worked transfer freights around London, so they could appeal to Southern and non-Southern modellers alike.
 

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All of them the workaday classes so essential to give a full portrait of steam traction. My feeling, there has never been a large SR group tank engine model available, the W is a handsome brute, and I have heard happy retailers on the 'eye candy' sales readily achieved by 2-6-4T... (The tank access steps probably provided as 'user optional' parts as the Walschaerts gear might well foul on set track curves.)
 
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