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 2F 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" !
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. Another option was to file the existing paint off - which was normally necessary anyway to get the glazing to fit.
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 outside. 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.
The following images show Shawplan Flushglazing being fitted to a Lima Mark 2F FO:
As can be seen in the last picture above, Shawplan glazing makes a very significant improvement the Lima Mark 2F's.
In order to fit the roof once the Shawplan glazing is fitted, the Lima 'glazing' must be sawn off from the roof. I left above 2mm in order to provide a 'guide' for the sides. During the cutting process, unfortunately, I marked the previous roof paint which I have done about 25 years ago using Humbrol 67 Matt Tank Grey. Since I had a tin of this colour, I commenced repainting the roof. Unfortunately, the tin I had came from a period where I think Humbrol were messing around with the formulation of the paint, probably to meet EU regulations, but in the process, it completely destroyed the paint and it just does not go 'matt'. I abandoned Matt Black 33 years ago for the same reason. I therefore, visited my local model shop, Woodpecker Model Railways, at Pendle Hill, who were able to supply more no 67.
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, they are too narrow width-wise, exagerating the issue of the positioning of the equipment boxes being too far 'out-board'. Previously, I found 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 custodianship of 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 2F 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 2F'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 2F'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.
Lima's gangway connections aren't too bad, but they have a few issues which are easily resolved:
- They have a ficticious European-style fold-down footplate
- They have protruding 'rivets' which in practice, would cause severe binding on the prototype!
- The folding end doors need painting the correct colour
- They don't protrude enough from the end of the coach and consequently, look 'stubby'
The fold-down footplate is easily removed once the gangway connections are unclipped and removed from the coach ends. Likewise, the protruding 'rivets' are easily filed down. The gangway folding doors were also painted the correct colour for this type of coach:
The 'stubby' gangway connections are more obvious when compared with a Bachmann Mark 2A:
A can be clearly seen, the Lima gangway appears to be 'missing' the second 'layer'. There are a few possible options here:
- Purchase ready-made Mark 2 connections from Bachmann (I wasn't able to get them)
- Make up a complete replacement gangway from plastic card (this would probably require two laminations)
- Make up a spacer from plastic card to fit behind the Lima gangway
I chose the last option and made a template spacer from 1mm thick plastic card. I then asked my wife to measure it up and convert it to a CAD model using her jewellery design software so that I could then 3D print as many copies as I needed - 10 for 5 coaches:
Comparison with a Bachmann Mark 2A (left coach) once the spacer is fitted to the Lima Mark 2B (right coach) - the spacer actually isn't visible on the Liam model, but it coaches the gangway to protrude outwards an extra 1mm to match the Bachmann offering:
For those who wish to do their own 3D printing, you can download the 3D Print STL file of the spacer that I created. This file contains four spacers, per the Flashforge image above.
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 2F being worked on:
The following images show the completed equipment box modifications on a Mark 2B and a 2F:
Roof End Domes
The topic the roof domes above the gangway connections on the ends of earlier mark 2 coaches is an interesting one as there are differing views on what colour that actually were. I had always understood that they were roof colour from 2B onwards. Many mark 2B's were withdrawn early from BR and sent to CIE in Ireland, consequently, most photographic evidence of mark 2B's is black and white. That which is colour appears to be impacted by lighting effects caused by unusual locations and directions which lead to inconclusive results.
What is known is that mark 2Z and 2A had their roof end domes painted in body colour blue. Mark 2C's and onwards all had theirs painted in roof colour. 2B's have more in common with 2C's than their predecessors and to that extent, 2B's exhibited the same roof edge guttering around the ends as 2C's and later. It appears that the provisioning of this guttering on the 2B design was the start of the end domes being painted in roof colour, however, because they were made of GRP instead of the steel used for the main roofs, their appearance was different, even when painted the same colour and this probably contributes to why viewers of black and white photos conclude that because it appears different, it must therefore be blue.
I have not been able to find colour photos of 2B's which conclusively show blue end domes. But I found numerous pictures which showed them to be the same as 2C's. If they were blue, they had so much dirt on them that they appeared the same as the roof.
I also checked the upcoming Accurascale 2B models and their livery samples show roof colour domes. Accurascale advised that they had done a large amount of research, including the Harris book, which I also have, and were confident that they had got it right. Given that my own research largely yielded roof colour end domes on, nothing conclusively blue and that Accurscale are adopting roof colour, I have decided to concur with roof colour on 2B's. The Lima 2F in blue/grey livery was always incorrect with blue end domes. I have therefore painted the end domes of both my 2B's and 2F's in roof colour:
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 2F's, the buffers are mounted too high and need lowering with the provision of a lower buffer beam:
More to follow.
Graham Plowman (Created 23/10/2021, Modified 14/01/2022 2:31:07 PM +11:00)