Lima Mark 2 Improvements

The Lima OO gauge Mark 2B coaches first made an appearance in the 1970's and were one of Lima's earliest products. Over time, they were upgraded, adding more reallistic bogies and a better paint finish.
By today's standards, they lack a little detail and suffer from very deep-set windows, a feature which was very common at the time with several manufacturers.

In the late 1980's, Lima introduced their Mark 2E coaches. By this time, the Mark 2B coaches were made to the same standard, although both continued to suffer from deep-set windows and 'pizza-cutter' wheels on non-standard 24.5mm long axles.

On comparing the Lima models with more modern Bachmann Mark 2A and Airfix/Hornby Mark 2D coaches, the Lima models are of the same length. Prototype Mark 2B coaches were 64'0 3/4" long over headstocks (256.25mm in 4mm scale) as compared with 63'5" (253.66mm in 4mm scale) of the Mark 2Z and 2A. The Bachmann Mark 2Z/2A is approximately 253.5mm over headstocks as is the Lima MK2B. This makes the Lima Mark 2B model approximately 2.59mm too short. While this is incorrect, I don't propose to correct it as to me, it is not noticeable.

Some might say 'why bother with these coaches, wait for the Accurascale Mark 2B coaches next year ?'. I will probably purchase some of those when the time comes, but at the moment, I have an immediate coaching stock shortage issue which needs a solution. And I fancy the challenge of some of that rapidly disappearing ancient art called "modelling" !

Deepset Windows

This is probably the most noticeable problem with Lima coaches, for which there are three common solutions:

  • If one is up for a complete livery repaint, then replacement brass window frames are available from Shawplan and Brassmasters
  • If one is not up for a complete livery repaint, then 'Flushglaze' from SE-Finecast is an option
  • Shawplan flush glazing (non top-light (air con) coaches only)

I first came across the SE Finecast product way back in the early 1990's when everyone used it on their Lima coaches, particularly Mark 1's since there were no alternatives at that time. I also used it on a rake of Lima 7mm scale Mark 1 coaches and a Hornby Big Big Train Hymek, for which there were no other options.

SE Finecast Flushglaze is made from thin transparent plastic sheet which has been vacuum formed to the shape of the window appertures on our models. They are typically a push fit, usually secured with a non-plastic-attacking glue - I used neat PVA if needed, but more often than not, the windows are a tight fit and don't need glue. One just has to be careful when handling so as not to push them in. Mind you, that's no different to present day Bachmann Mark 1 and 2 coaches!
It is usually a good idea to darken the edges of the window appertures to hide the thickness of the bodyside plastic, thereby enhancing the 'flush' appearance of the windows. Black, grey or silver were used by different modellers. Ather option was to file the existing paint off - which was normally necessary anyway to get the glazing to fit.

The Shawplan 'Laserglaze' is an altogether different product, being separate 'panels' of transparent plastic which have been laser cut to push fit into the window apertures from the inside. At £9.00 per coach, they are considerably more expensive than the SE Finecast product. Enough to double the purchase price of my coaches and to make upgrading a rake of coaches a very expensive proposition. But the superior appearance is worth the money if one is only doing this on a small number of coaches. The Laserglaze product does not provide for top-light windows. If these are required, one must use Shawplan's brass window frames to overlay the glazing. This will of course, require a coach repaint. If brass windows frames are not used, 'Laserglaze' is only suitable for coaches with no top-light windows - essentially air-con stock. I have actually suggested to Shawplan that they have a look at how Bachmann and Hornby do it: they mould the top light frames into the glazing, then pick out the raised edges for the framing. It looks really good.

Bogies and Wheels

Following my Lima Mark 3 Improvements work, I abandoned the idea of trying to prolonging the life of Lima bogies. They look crude and because they are manufactured to use 24.5mm axles, the are too narrow width-wise, exagerating th issue of the positing of the equipment boxes being too far 'ou-board'. I found previously, that 24.5mm axles and their replacements don't fit properly anyway. Lima also incorrectly fitted their bogies the wrong way around - the traction rod (ringed in red) incorrectly points towards the end of the coach instead of the centre.
As an experiment, I removed the bogies and sat the coach on a pair of Dapol B4 bogies found in the 'Ashprington Road Spares Department' (spares box). I purchased these back in the early 1990's when Dapol had the former Airfix MK2D coaches, prior to their sale to Hornby. The intention at the time was that they would be fitted to Lima Mark 1 coaches, but since I replaced the Lima coaches with Bachmann Mark 1 coaches in the late 90's, that modification was never done and the Lima coaches were relegated to the 'Dump Sidings' (their boxes). Excusing the slight difference in height, which can be easily adjusted, this already makes quite an improvement:

I actually have three Lima Mark 2B coaches and two Mark 2E coaches to modify, but only two pairs of Dapol B4 bogies. I decided that I would hold the Dapol bogies over for use on the Mark 2E's and purchase Replica B4 bogies for the Mark 2B's. Depending on my experience with the Replica bogies, I may purchase 2 more pairs for the 2E's. The Replica bogies come in kit form and accept 26mm axles. They really look the part:

Once fitted, I attached thin plastic strips to the underside of the bodies above the bogies to add a little packing and thereby increase the running height of the bodies. This was done in close consultation with diagrams and measurements from the Harris book and comparisons with other rolling stock such as Airfix, Bachmann and Hornby Mark 1's and 2's. The prototype are all the same height. My Lima mark 2's are now all the correct height too.

Gangway Connections

Lima's gangway connections aren't too bad, but they have a ficticious European-style fold-down footplate which I duly removed. To do this, the gangway connections need to be removed from the coach ends. The connections also have protruding 'rivets' which I filed down. The gangway folding doors were also painted the correct colour for this type of coach:


The buffers on the Lima Mark 2's are moulded in the non-retracted position and consequently, protrude further than the gangway connection. This prevents close coupling and the gangway connections touching. To resolve this, I purchased replacement MJT retracted buffers from Dart castings. These can be fitted as direct replacements on the Mark 2B's, but on the Mark 2E's, the buffers are mounted too high and need lowering with the provision of a lowe buffer beam:


The various underchassis equipment boxes on Lima Mark 2's are located too far outboard and need moving inboard to be in line with the bogies:

The process of moving the equipment boxes is not a task for the faint-hearted as it involves cutting all the boxes off with a thin saw and then refitting. Fortunately, Lima have used a polystyrene plastic for the chassis and it glues well with 'Plastic Magic' from Deluxe Materials. The following pictures show a Mark 2E being worked on:

The following images show the completed modifications on a Mark 2B and a 2E:

More to follow.

Related Articles

Lima Mark 3 Improvements
Index of Articles

Graham Plowman (Created 23/10/2021, Modified 5/12/2021 1:17:16 PM +11:00)

Flush Glaze supplied by:
SE Finecast

Laser Glaze supplied by:

MJT Buffers supplied by:

Dart Castings

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