Tag Archives: Craftsman

BR Class 04 Diesel Tram at Speed: Day 4

On Sunday I completed my Drewery Class 04 tram. I sanded down some of the filler applied previously and fitted some loop couplings to the buffer beams. I also made up some three-link couplings and fitted a protection plate to the front and rear cowcatchers.

The original Bachmann whistle was filed down And fitted onto the front of the cab. Later versions of these trams had double horns fitted.

I fitted hand rails to the cab using split pins, which was quite a fiddly job. The original placement of the hand rails on the brass cab sides did not appear to be correct, so I adjusted them by filling in the previous holes and drilling new ones.

The final task was to create a mounting for the chassis. To do this I used some long bolts and drilled pilot holes into the plastic supports that are glued into the body.

Finally I sent the 04 on a test run of Brewery Pit. The body is a little low, as it bottoms out in a a few places, so I’ll adjust the height and then send the loco off to the paint shop.

The final part of ‘Modelling at Speed’ will be uploaded when the paint job is completed.

Please follow the link below for video of the Class 04 conversion so far:

BR Class 04 Diesel Tram at Speed: Day 3

So where were we? Oh yes, I remember… I was converting a Drewry Diesel Tram while filming the results (using time lapse recording). Here are the links to days 1 and 2.


Here is the video:

Day 3 consisted of replacing the rather small buffers on the Bachmann Class 04 with the slightly larger versions used on the tram version. The donor for these buffers was a disused set of buffer beams from my Heljan Falcon (blink and you will miss it in the first few seconds of the video). I then added some brake pipes and hand rails. I firstly fitted the plastic versions that came with the Bachmann model, but decided they were horridly over sized. I decided to cut them off so I could replace them with wire versions instead.

I also fitted the small exhaust on the bonnet. The 1950s tram I am building has an exhaust pipe that is barely visible. As I have not seen any aerial shots of the bonnet I have made a guess as to what this might have looked like. A taller cylinder was attached to the exhaust in the later part of the 1950s, and I did find a pipe in my ‘bits box’ that matched this perfectly, but I forced myself to refrain and stick to my plan for a tram without a full chimney.


I also noticed that the Bachmann version of the 04 has a step either side of the bonnet front that doesn’t appear to be present on the earlier tram types. I cut this off and added hand rails.

I finished off by filling in some of the gaps with model putty.

More to come in day 4….

BR Class 04 Diesel Tram at Speed: Day 1

Today we answer the question: ‘How much modelling can be done in a day?’

At the Doncaster show a nice chap told me that one of Craftsman Models conversion kits includes the older style cab for an 04 shunter. So a quick purchase of a Bachmann 04 (and said conversion kit) and I was off. I decided to see how far I could get through the conversion in a weekend.


Below is a time-lapse video of the first day of the conversion, enjoy!

Converting a Bachmann BR 03 Shunter chassis to fit inside a Craftsman BR 07 Shunter (Pt2)

IMG_7184 (lowres)

Over the past week I have tried to answer three niggling questions regarding this conversion:

  1. How can I fix the Bachmann chassis into the brass kit body?
  2. How can I fill the open space from the cut-away chassis at the front of the loco (see the top image)?
  3. Can I refit any of the little details from the original brass chassis to the Bachmann one (sand boxes and the lubricator arm)?

As most of my time in this hobby is spent thinking about how to solve such problems (rather than actually doing anything) I decided, in the mean time, to see if I could deconstruct the old chassis.

The old brass chassis

I knew I wanted to retrieve the lubricator arm assembly and maybe the brake rigging from the old brass chassis, but I had foolishly soldered all the parts (including the axle bolts) into place. I also wanted to see if I could get the wheels off intact (for use in the future).

IMG_4961 (lowres)

After a bit of soldering-iron wrestling, I managed to get all the wheels, gears and motor away from the chassis. I could now strip the brass chassis back to bare metal.

Paint stripping

I have a range of chemicals (normally used for other household or DIY applications) that I use for paint stripping. For metals and brass, there is a chemical I use that can remove paint in a matter of minutes…Nitromors!

‘All Purpose Nitromors’ is a paint and varnish remover which I bought from Homebase or B&Q. This is one of those chemicals where you heed the warnings on the tin! This is vicious stuff! On my first trial with Nitromors (stripping white metal figures) the chemical ate through my rubber gloves and burnt my hands!

It will eat plastic, so if you have any plastic detail on a model, it is very important to remove it. It will also eat any glue joints, so unless you have soldered your model together, expect it to fall apart too (such qualities can also be quite useful).

I have a small metal pie-tin than I fill with Nitromors and then drop my models in (I think plastic containers are too risky).

As expected, after a few scrubs with a toothbrush, the brass chassis was back to bare metal. After a good rinse and scrub with soda crystals I dropped the chassis into my sonic cleaner, which removed any remaining residue.


I noticed after this step that the solder joints had become quite brittle, which makes me wonder whether the sonic cleaner was the cause (I hope not).


Bachmann Chassis

As the chassis appeared a bit more fragile after the ‘purge’, I decided to cut off the brake rigging (deciding that I wasn’t that precious about including it on the new chassis).

I then noticed that the Bachmann chassis was actually thin enough to sit inside part of the old brass chassis frame. I decided to cut the front end of the brass chassis off and change the position of the spacers, which miraculously allowed me to refit the front end of the brass chassis around the Bachmann one, thus:

  1. filling the annoying gap at the front of the engine;
  2. creating a front mounting for the chassis; and
  3. retaining the front-end chassis detail

Result! Granted, the rear section will not be quite as simple, but I will tackle this next.