The fully rebuilt locomotive

Overview

Chris Ellis’ suggestions in his article, while interesting, lead to a range of issues that I had to either solve or live with. This completely rebuilt unit is the first step in modernising the industrial fleet, being cheaper than buying all new units. While the remaining three will represent locomotives in their original guise; that is, before a rebuild takes place.

Changes to the body

The most obvious issue for modellers of UK prototype practice is body height. The loco out of the box is a squat looking thing; the less kind might even say it was ugly. Raising the height, and in my case narrowing the cab totally changed the entire look of the unit. However, it consumed a great deal of the project time and required lots of Plasticard. And there were many missteps, experiments and adventures along the way.

Below I’ve included a gallery showing the differences between the original and the modified loco for your review.

While there is a fair bit of work to complete this build, don’t be afraid to tackle a similar modification. I have used, wherever possible, stock components from Evergreen or Slaters to simplify the build.

The next most important piece of bodywork concerns the style of the windows. These need to have the bars removed. This gives a more appealing look to the loco.

Finally, we will tackle the unit’s weight/motor block. The casting in the original model is invasive to the eye and needs to be hidden. Hiding it from view is done in two phases as part of the other construction:

  • Raising the height of the loco body, and
  • Painting the cast weight/motor housing a light grey, along with the interior of the cab. (This lowers its visibility to a minor nuisance. And I can live with that.)

My First Loco

I followed Chris Ellis’ directions pretty much to letter with the basic build of this first loco.

  1. I cut through the bonnet of the loco, 5mm aft of the radiator and added a 6.7-millimetre fillet to increase the overall length of the hood. While this minimizes the front porch of the loco, for the purposes of this project, and the uses intended for this loco, it is not an issue.
  2. I rebuilt the front end to remove the light and Plymouth name. I did this because I wanted to have an inherently Plymouth design, but, reflect the rebuild by the current owner. Also since this loco is bound for use on a private industrial line in the late 1970s, that headlight would have looked out of place.
  3. I rebuilt the cab backend to refocus the loco to a rearward-facing shunter rather than a hood first unit. I did this because I did not like the expanse of flat space on the rear of the loco inherent in the previous articles. By refocusing the loco’s layout to the rear, I also made the unit’s look much more aggressive. Something I felt was needed to have on a tough little industrial diesel. A full article will cover the design and fitting of the backend structural work and one piece skin.
  4. I narrowed the cab by sawing through the front and rear windows. Removing about 1.5mm.
  5. I also shortened the footplate by 10mm at the rear in the process removing the air-tank. This was suggested by the articles and I decided to follow this design for the first loco and see if I liked it. I found that in practice cutting 10mm from the length makes the loco look short. By leaving more of the loco you give the unit a more balanced, substantial, appearance.
  6. Rebuilt the cab roof profile to a more angular profile. Replaced the loco roof with one of my own design. Updates the Loco looks to a more contemporary diesel design.

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