It’s been a while since I posted a Fifteen Minute Hero, a couple of years at least! One of the things I want to do with Shelfie2 is to have it hands free operation, so with that in mind I’ve been assembling Dingham couplings. Shelfie2 will mainly be operated as a small north eastern drift Colliery disposal point, so lots of 21 ton style coal hoppers, and minerals.
I’ve got a few of Hornby’s excellent 21 ton hoppers, and to ring the changes a small batch of Accurascale 24.5 ton hoppers. So where’s the fifteen minutes? Well, as well as buying RTR wagons I’ve a few of the Parkside BR PC77 21 ton hoppers (dia1/146) to complete, these will be run as individual wagons rather than fixed rakes. The thing is, these kits are very light, the other hoppers aren’t exactly pie eaters either, but I do want to add weight to the kit versions.
I could put weight inside the hopper itself, meaning that they’d run partially loaded all the time, but preferred to find space underneath.
I’ve standardised on Trax self adhesive wheel balance weights, so I looked at how they might fit these wagons. The obvious location is in this valley between the two chutes, the weights are narrow enough that they fit with little lateral movement, however they do project underneath the hopper without any modifications, so I wanted to reduce that as far as possible.
So this is the fifteen minute bit! The nearest weight above is unmodified, the one at the back is adapted to fit as discretely as possible. Being a mild steel the weights file relatively easily so the first job is to remove the adhesive backing, this reduces their thickness as I’m using superglue to keep them in place instead.
Using a file I remove a section from each end of the weight, to about a 45 degree angle. This saves space at the joint between two weights and makes them less visible.
So, here they are test fitted, once filed back they are almost invisible from the side. The 45 degree chamfer makes better use of space at the depth of the hopper valley, and reduces the visible section protruding when the wagon is the right way up.
Basically that’s it! Arrange into a V shape and superglue in place.
A good use of fifteen minutes or so, it gives an unobtrusive weight gain (see above), and the wagons are now a little bit lighter than the Hornby models, but significantly heavier than they started, improving the running quality immensely. The Hornby hoppers are a bit crap with their running qualities, and I’ve found a fifteen minute improvement for those too, of which more later!
The Trax weights are very useful for kit builders too, I use them on almost every wagon I build, from conflats through to closed vans, they give a standard weight to a wagon, so none are either too light or too heavy! Improved running, Simples!