I had been on the lookout for a second hand IOM loco to convert for some time, I would have been happy with either a live steam or electric version, the loco that I purchased in April happened to be electric. The conversion will be a lot easier on the electric version as, apart from removing the rail pick ups and fitting a power socket, the work is mainly cosmetic; it would have been a bit more complex if a live steam boiler was involved.
The loco is beautifully made and includes plate frames like its live steam stablemate, I assume that many of the parts are common to both versions.
Taking the loco to pieces was quite a challenge but I managed it in the end. The model is held together with hex head metric screws, I had removed quite a few and could still not remove the body from the chassis, unscrewing the two screws fastening the backhead to the cab floor finally did the trick.
The main differences on the B&L locos compared to the IOM model are:
- Top of tank sides at same height as top of bunker (too much like hard work, I will live with this difference).
- Separate hand rails on front of smoke box and boiler.
- Early type of dome with Salter safety valves retained to the end (IOM loco was rebuilt with Ross safety valves and a plain dome).
- No numbers on chimney.
- No canvas side sheets on cab.
- No lubricators on smokebox sides.
- No mechanical lubricator on running plate.
- Toolbox on left hand side tank.
- Dart handles, not wheel on smokebox door.
- Lamp iron in front of chimney.
- Buffer beams lower than IOM version (buffer height 1ft 10 1/2 ins)
- Originally the sand boxes were mounted on the boiler as per the IOM locos, but later moved to the front of the side tanks; I will leave them where they are, in original condition.
I have obtained a Roundhouse Silver Lady dome, this will need a bit of turning down to the correct profile in a friend's lathe, the Salter levers are on order from DJB Engineering.
Once all the mods are completed, the loco will be repainted in satin black, I may keep the original Indian Red in the cab above the waistline.
So far, in addition to taking the loco to pieces, I have removed the electrical pick ups and most of the internal wiring (retaining a pair of leads connected to the motor), in addition, the Ross safety valves, canvas cab side sheets, dome and chimney numbers have been removed.
The motor will be wired to a plug which is compatible with my R/C power van No.3.