During the late 1990’s when Bachmann brought out their superb Mk1 and Mk2 coaches I wondered what to do with my two dozen or so Lima models. Some were repainted into various liveries that were not available in the Lima or Bachmann range, these were sought after and sold. This left about ten that were standard Lima and to be honest, not worth a lot at the time.
I decided that if I took some and ‘cut and shut’ them I could turn them into Department and Test coaches. As well as cutting them about, I filled in windows, made roller shutter doors, re-profiled the roofs and remodel the ends. I also purchased some Replica Railways bogies of various types. I have to say at this stage I did not replace the roof vents that were left as the prototype. I really wish I had and have to say this was a missed opportunity.
The best part of this project was the research, this was the time that SERCO had most track testing contracts for Railtrack and later Network Rail. There was many great websites that helped a great deal, books were a little thin on the ground, but some were available. I drew up a wish list of ones I would like. I did rough drawings of each carriage, both sides, the ends and the roof where possible, not many photographs of the roofs exist for obvious reasons. I did amend some of the under floor boxes etc., but not all. Again I wish I had done a bit more to the underfloor bits.
Now a note of caution, a lot of the coaches in departmental service ‘evolved’ in service, some had extra windows added, vents and grills added and some went the other way and had things ‘filled in’.
As I say above, I did regret not doing more to the roof and under frame, my excuse at the time was a limited budget and time. I also thought that at exhibitions, most people just see a train go round without stopping and little notice is taken of the underframe, although the roof is very noticeable.
I have to say that the plastic that Lima coaches were made from was very soft and easy to cut and re-glue in different positions, it fills well and sanding is easy, gluing plastic card to it was also easy. It also takes enamel paints very well.
After doing this exercise, I then turned my attention to Dapol Mk2D’s and even a Lima Mk3. All were cheap purchases and went through my modification process.
Although not perfect – they are better than nothing!
I later also took a Lima Class 101 and turned that into ‘IRIS 2’
All stock to be weathered later.