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HELJAN CLASS 16 CABSIDE WINDOWS   -   PAUL JAMES

 

During their years in service with BR, the Class 16 locos had very few modifications made to them. One was the removal of the side grilles on the external resistor cabinets in front of the cabs to prevent water ingress. The other was deepening the cabside sliding windows by a couple of inches. All members of the class except D8400/2/4, had this modification. Heljan have modeled the loco with the original size windows. This means for later in their lives you have to modify the Heljan model, unless you want to model one of the unmodified three. I already had a model of D8404, Kier had done D8402, and Greg was planning to do D8400 for Shenston Road. This meant that if i wanted to model another class 16, I would have to modify one. This is the story of how it was done.


The first task was to remove the body from the chassis. (2 long bolts behind the buffer beams at each end). With the body removed the cab is easily unclipped and put to one side for later. The grills on the resistor cabinet, just in front of the cab can now be removed with a knife and emery paper. When finished, a quick mask off of the rest of the body and the bare patch was given a quick coat of green.


Side grills on resistor cabints removed and awaiting a coat of paint.

Another modification made to these locos was the removal of some of the handrails/footsteps from the front of the bonnet at the fan end of the loco. Not all locos had this done, so it is best to check photos and dates of the particular loco you wish to model. After removing the Heljan fitted handrails/footsteps, I added some short 0.33mm wire to represent the stubs of the cut off handrails / footsteps.


Bonnet handrails / footsteps removed.

With the cab window mods there are no measurements as to how big the modified windows are, so it was a bit of a guessing game. I studied as many photos of class 16 as I could find, to get an idea as to the size. I came to the conclusion that the modified windows stopped just short of being as deep as the door handle on the cab door. After doing some trial measuring and marking on the cab, I decided on a depth of 10.5mm for the new window height. This was marked out on the cabside and a fine needle file was used to file gently down to the right height.


Filing out the new window depth.


Filing out the new window depth.

Once the base depth was achieved, the corners were filed round, care being taken to file back to the outer edge of the fine lip around the window, so that a match could be made with the new beading that would be added to form a new lip at the bottom of the window. Once I was happy with the new window opening it was time to add the new beading around the bottom and up the sides to meet up with original beading. I chose to use Evergreen Plastic strip to form the beading, the size being 0.25mm x 1.5mm. (No 104 or K3).This is a little thick, but reasonably robust for bending for the corners. It would be trimmed back when fitted. I found it best to pre curve the strip at the required points and then cut to roughly the right length. This was fitted in position and then glued to the bottom of the opening and then left to bond overnight. When happy with the bond, I then fitted the strip into the corners and then cut its length back level with the original beading and glueing in position. It is a bit fiddly but the finished product looks good. Once I was happy with the new beading, and it was glued in place, it was left overnight.


New window beading fitted.


New window beading fitted.


New window beading fitted.

With the new beading in position it was time to make it match the original beading on the model. Any excess inside the cab was trimmed back with a knife. I had managed to get the position accurate enough that it looked good for depth from the outside. The thickness of the plastic strip was very carefully reduced with a fine file until it looked a good match for the original, attention being taken to getting the joint between the original and the new looking right. Any discrepancies in the outside depth were also carefully corrected with a file. After a tidy-up the new beading was given a coat of green paint.


Finished beading.


Finished beading.

With the beading done and painted, it now came time to put in new glazing. As the original glazing would not now fit I would have to make my own. The prototype window was in two parts. The front window, as the driver looked forward from his seat, was fixed. The rear window, nearest the cab door was inset slightly, as this window slid behind the front pane. There was a vertical glazing bar, fixed to the front window between the two. The window as supplied with the model, did not show this up very well, although it did have the glazing bar. As the width of the window had not been altered, the original glazing was used to get some of the measurements for the width of the two sliding window panes. The new windows are made from of cuts of clear perspex that I had in that box of bits and pieces that collect over the years. I find the use of a good pair of verniers to measure and mark up the perspex, and a knife to cut out the resulting piece, gives me the best results, but you will all have your own ways of achieving the same effect. I had a length of ready painted thin plastic strip left over from another project, that made up the glazing strip, which was glued carefully onto the finished piece of glazing with "Glue n Glaze" from Deluxe Materials. This was left to dry before fitting into the appropriate position in the window opening.


Front window pane + glazing strip added.


Front window pane + glazing strip added.

The rear window was the same size as the front one, but required a bit of extra fettling to allow for the glazing bar being there. It was also a lot trickier to fit as it had to sit back in the opening to give it the right look. Once I was happy with the fit and the position of the glazing, it was held in place using some Johnson Klear.


The finished loco with altered cab window.


A not very flattering photo of the finished modified window.

With the windows fitted the loco was ready to put back together and weather. One job I did before doing that was to paint the middle part of the cab interior, which sticks up to cover the bogie gear tower, black, as this helps to hide it when looking into the cab. Once back together and with the headcode discs fitted to either end, the loco was then ready for weathering.


The weathered loco with altered cab window.


The modified nose steps.


Modified window all weathered up.


Modified window all weathered up.


D8407 stabled on shed on Hornsey Road MPD. Unmodified D8404 behind.

An interesting project and modification that was, apart from the glazing, a relatively quick and easy alteration to make, taking only a week to do. I may now be tempted to do another one?