Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Slow Progress on 47

A super-detailed Lima body on a ViTrains chassis makes a good combination and gives a new lease of life to older Lima models (this 47 body is about 20 years old!).

Some projects go through 'the system' quickly, with barely a pause for breath. Others make steady progress over a number of weeks, with a few hours spent every other day tweaking, masking, spraying and finishing. And yet, some modelling tasks can take years to complete, regardless of complexity. 

The latter has certainly been the case with a couple of models that have been in and out of my 'in progress' box over the past 2 years. Most notably this Lima-ViTrains hybrid Class 47. The main detailing work was completed quite soon, then came a lull while I waited for a set of etched bogie footsteps (Reviewed in Model Rail issue 155 - out on March 24). Then the painting process began - into early Railfreight grey livery. But then came the grinding halt at one of the final hurdles: adding the black windscreen surrounds and red bufferbeams. Who'd have thought that it could take so long top get these piddling little jobs out of the way before varnishing, glazing, reassembly and weathering? But then, I've been hanging on to try some of the fabulous Laser Glazing from Shawplan/Extreme Etches that transform the look of the ViTrains models... So, this model may yet have to wait another few weeks before rolling out...

I still love detailing older bodyshells, such as this Lima 47. Drilling-out the radiator fan grilles can be done quickly with a mini power drill, switching to round sanding drums to create the desired aperture shape and size.

Shawplan offer countless parts for the 47, including a wide choice of headcode/marker light panels. I only had time for a brief chat with the Shawplan chaps at the Glasgow show, but I did see some lovely new parts. A full range of boiler roof parts are also available to suit the various differences among the large fleet.

The Lima model features solid moulded cab handrails which benefit from replacement with brass wire. However, the recessed cab side handrails can be tricky to cut away, but grinding the tip of a small flat-blade screwdriver to a sharp point will help. Draw the tip over an oilstone, working on both faces of the blade.

The screwdriver can then be used like a miniature chisel to pare away the waste material, leaving a smooth surface. Tidy up with strips of abrasive paper if necessary.

The painting stage has taken an eternity, working around so many other tasks that pay the bills! A white undercoat for the wrap-around yellow ends is essential.


  1. Hi George You once did an article on sanding tools. There was a pencil like tool that took a moveable sanding band. I have one but there is no makers name on it & I wanted replacement bands. Can you point me in the right direction?
    Kind regards
    Andy Small

    1. Hi Andy,
      Try Axminster Tools: www.axminster.co.uk
      I think they were called Detail Sanding Pens and the abrasive strips are available separately.
      All the best,