The venerable ex-Lima 31 has retained popular with modellers, with an overall appearance closer to the real thing than the more expensive, high-spec Hornby version. It does need a lot of detailing work, however, but that's part of the fun

It's been a while since I last super-detailed a Lima Class 31, but the recent release of this model under the Hornby Railroad banner has given me a good excuse to see if my skills have improved since the May 2005 issue of Model Rail (No.79). Now, though, there are far better detailing parts on the market than the old Craftsman and A1 Models bits and pieces to treat this model, which dates back to 1989 or so. Indeed, I remember buying one of the first Lima releases (31327 Phillips Imperial in red-stripe Railfreight livery) from the original Hatton's store in Liverpool.

For this 21st Century project, I've a number of Shawplan/Extreme Etchings products to try out, including an exquisite roof grille and fan, plus a pack of laser-cut flush glazing, which I'm excited about fitting at the end of the upgrade. It took me a while to settle on a prototype to copy and the Hornby issue has erroneously coupled a refurbished end with an un-refurbished body.

Finding a spare set of bufferbeam cowlings from the high-spec Hornby 31 helped make up my mind and these have been modified slightly to fit the Lima chassis, as well as many other bits of brass wire, plastic strip and piles of filler.... look out for more updates here and the entire project will feature in Model Rail 176 (December issue).

Extreme Etchings (from Shawplan) offer a great rendition of the radiator fan and grille, each being built-up from several individual layers.


  1. That's going to be gorgeous,I was ogling the NRM's gronk only yesterday. Love the etched fans, and the buffers do add something, don't they?


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