• Announcements

    • admin

      PLEASE UPDATE YOUR BOOKMARKS   03/21/2017

      I have now removed all files associated with our old forum and the new forum has now been relocated in the root of the OO Garden Railway website. In order to continue visiting the forum you should amend your bookmarks to www.oogardenrailway.co.uk as before.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
mick

HELJAN CLASS 47 CHASSIS DEFECTS

18 posts in this topic

You've probably read elsewhere about the problems affecting some of Heljan's models of their class 47 locomotives. I've been keeping an eye on the one I had in my collection because of the tightness of the plastic body on the metal chassis and the effort it required in order to separate them. I'll be adding a story soon as to how I came to obtain the two Heljan class 47 locomotives featured in this post but for now I'll just give an account of what the problems are.

It appears that some models of Heljan's class 47 locomotives (not sure if this affects any other models) have suffered from some kind of metal fatigue which causes the metal chassis to expand. If left unchecked then it can cause the plastic bodies to split under the pressure exerted on them. That's certainly been the case with what I am about to describe in this post.

The two locos affected here are Heljan 4661 Class 47145 Merddin Emrys in Tinsley Blue livery and Heljan 4678 class 47375 Tinsley Traction Depot in Railfreight Distribution livery. Upon opening the boxes concerned this is what greeted me:

3f8d1fbed5a1a4522b20632a8b823456.jpg

ef7503d38e312c995fc9551c57949769.jpg

Merddin Emryss has a split down the bodyside at one end just after the cab doors whilst the whole cab front of Tinsley Traction Depot has been split open and pushed outwards. The loco's have seen very little (if any) use and were stored in their boxes and within the plastic bags they were initially supplied in.

When taken out of their respective bags and boxes the damage is clear to see. The chassis are entirely useless, being 5-10mm longer than they should be, and the plastic bodies are almost irreparable.

738ea739a7485cb5dea533bba029711e.jpg

56a532a9a77f033d20a4812e5f32a6e4.jpg

I'm now growing increasingly concerned about other models in my collection. I have a large number of locomotives, many of them never removed from their boxes although granted the vast majority of them are not Heljan models. But what if this is something that could affect other manufacturer's models? Just how safe are our model locomotives, our investments? I've spent thousands of pound amassing my own collection - is it possible that I could open some of the boxes and find something resembling the ones featured here?

I've contacted Howes Models and received a reply back from Heljan UK who have offered to replace the chassis but I've been told that there are no spare bodies available to go with them. A nice gesture but one that's not the answer I'm afraid, after all, what good is a chassis without a body?

Has anyone else been affected by this defect with Heljan class 47 models? Are any other models affected that you know of?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nasty business that.

A quick Google shows that it's not an isolated problem, but it does appear to be limited to Haljan Class 47s.

It is a bit of a worry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, it's a well documented problem Chris, but that's little comfort when you've spent good money on 'collectable' items. It would seem there's some isolated reports about similar problems with some Hornby class 31's but I've not read anything definite about that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mick

Unfortunately, the Hornby Class 31 problem has been huge :shock:

It would appear that virtually a whole batch of the BR blue models (and possiby some green ones) had similar problems.

I had been thinking about buying a Hornby 31 for sometime. The Railfreight Red Stripe with sound or a BR blue version were what I had in mind. As I dont have too many blue locos, this was the version I preferred - having seen some photos of a particular class member that I am going to model - it was just slighly different 8-) . Having been aware of the chassis expansion / split bodies problem with this version, for some time, I was very wary of buying one. However, I recently bought one on EBay, from AC Models in Eastleigh. Described as very good condition, I was horrified :o when it arrived and low and behold, 3 corners had split and had been very badly patched up :x Upon contacting the retailer, they have been very good and replaced the model - the replacement has 2 very minor cracks in the bottom corners of one cab, but is otherwise ok. The retailer told me (believe as much of this as you want, but I think its probably true) they had 40 of this batch in their stockroom and when examined, every single one had some degree of damage due to this problem. Hornby replaced all the chassis, but not the bodies - hence why they were patching them up and selling them cheap in the shop (I had been sent a shop sale only example in error). If anyone else has got a Hornby 31 - especially in BR blue - keep an eye on it, unless you have already had a replacement chassis from Hornby.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ba14eagle said:

Mick

Unfortunately, the Hornby Class 31 problem has been huge.....

I can't decide whether that's good news or bad. On the one hand it makes me feel like my particular problem and desired solution isn't an isolated one but on the other it leaves me looking very closely at some of my own locomotives and wondering...... Fortunately I have only one Heljan 47 of my own, although I have inherited at least one other that doesn't show any sign of problems (yet), and I have only one Hornby class 31, a grey sound-fitted version. Looks like I'd better start taking a closer look at some of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought a green Class 31, Catalogue R2420, running number D5512, in February 2005 and did not attempt to run it until August 2011, when I took the body off to fit a decoder. Both ends of the chassis immediately collapsed but luckily the body had not been damaged. I returned the box of bits with the decoder to Hornby and the loco was returned with the chip fitted in under a week at no charge.

In view of the time which had elapsed, I was very pleasantly surprised with the speed of service. I imagine that Hornby are maintaining a stock of replacement chassis for this eventuality.

I also have a sound fitted, grey, BR sector livery 31233, catalogue R2803XS, bought in March 2010 and this shows no signs of there being any problem. I had originally intended putting its chassis in D5512 but the differences are too great.

Years ago I had a Lima ex-LMS Crab steam loco and the cast weight expanded so badly as to prevent the wheels turning. After removal and filing down it ran better than new.

I imagine that these problems are caused by impurities in the alloy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not aware of any problems with any of the later Hornby class 31 releases - ie 31247 in RF red stripe or 31233 in sub-sector grey. It only appears to be the early green and blue models.

I must say I am very surprised at the problems with Heljan models, but not surprised that youve received only a luke warm response from Howes of Oxford - I have often felt they "could do better" in the area of customer service ... Any chance they will give you a full refund?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ba14eagle said:

...but not surprised that youve received only a luke warm response from Howes of Oxford - I have often felt they "could do better" in the area of customer service ...

Well other than my first e-mail to Howes of Oxford when I received the offer of replacement chassis, I have since sent two further e-mails, one containing photographs of the two loco's, and not yet had any further response. I'll give them sufficient time before getting in touch again - perhaps it's just me feeling a little impatient.

On another subject, I've got a really amazing story to tell about another dealing I've recently had with one of the biggest brand names in the world. Can you believe that 2 months ago I placed an order, still haven't received the goods I ordered, and have received only a partial refund of the money I initially paid. Mind you, they have given me a 30% discount off my next order as a gesture of goodwill - but that doesn't alter the fact that they still owe me almost £90. It's in the hands of my bank at the moment but I'll be naming and shaming very soon!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just struggled for the best part of one hour in order to remove the plastic body from another Heljan class 47 loco. Thankfully I've managed to get it off in one piece but there's no way I'll be putting it back on that same chassis. It looks like I'll have to accept Howes offer of replacement chassis, which I am very grateful for, and then have to locate a couple of spare loco bodies in order to be able to make any use of them all. Three defective class 47 chassis are now being packaged together for return to Heljan and those promised replacements.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just thinking :? - Im gonna check my 33's and 58 - I would be gutted if anything happens to those...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jeeeesus.... Twelve flippin' quid to send three chassis back to Howes for replacement. I hope the replacements are worth it! Don't suppose there'll be any reimbursement for postage costs?

With the chassis removed from the plastic bodies it was clear to see where the problems were. The chassis were substantially longer than my unaffected models and with a very pronounced bulge on the base beneath the fuel tanks.

How's it gone Iain - did you manage to check your Heljan loco's? I haven't plucked up courage to look at my class 58's yet. Just hoping that they and my Hornby 31 are okay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Riddles said:

......I also have a sound fitted, grey, BR sector livery 31233, catalogue R2803XS, bought in March 2010 and this shows no signs of there being any problem.....

Sorry Riddles, I missed this reply amongst all the others. I too have that same sound-fitted loco and I checked it a few days ago. To my relief it was okay so hopefully we shouldn't have to worry about that one.

My three replacement Heljan class 47 chassis have now arrived back from Howes and the difference they make is clear to see. I've tried the one good body-shell I was left with and it slips on and off again quite easily whereas it took me ages simply to get it off before. The two shattered plastic bodies I am going to have to take a look at and see if anything can be done with them. I'm not sure if I'm capable of doing the necessary repairs to a satisfactory standard. I do tend to shy away from working on projects with fine detail these days because I get so frustrated when I can't see things properly but looking at the two bodies it would seem possible that they might be repairable to a degree. That would be great because they are both loco's that have a sentimental attachment with my partner and spare class 47 bodies in those particular liveries rarely come onto the market.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

My three replacement Heljan class 47 chassis have now arrived back from Howes and the difference they make is clear to see. I've tried the one good body-shell I was left with and it slips on and off again quite easily whereas it took me ages simply to get it off before. The two shattered plastic bodies I am going to have to take a look at and see if anything can be done with them. I'm not sure if I'm capable of doing the necessary repairs to a satisfactory standard. I do tend to shy away from working on projects with fine detail these days because I get so frustrated when I can't see things properly but looking at the two bodies it would seem possible that they might be repairable to a degree. That would be great because they are both loco's that have a sentimental attachment with my partner and spare class 47 bodies in those particular liveries rarely come onto the market.

 

Well if you get stuck Mick send them over and I'll see what I can do.

Ian.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
IanR said:

....Well if you get stuck Mick send them over and I'll see what I can do.

Ian.

Thanks for that Ian. I'll take a look at them and see what I think I'm capable of doing. I have actually ordered one of those illuminated headband magnifiers with a selection of glass inserts in the hope that it will make things easier for me to see. I'm desperate for something that will allow me to do some of the finer work on my models. Should be here tomorrow so I'm hoping it will be a help. If not then I will be delighted if you could take a look for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm, only just picked up on this. I have a Heljan 47 in blue and a Hornby 31 in blue too! Will have to check these out as they have not been out for a while. I hope they're ok!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dubmatix said:

Hmmm, only just picked up on this. I have a Heljan 47 in blue and a Hornby 31 in blue too! Will have to check these out as they have not been out for a while. I hope they're ok!

I hope so too. Worth checking them just to be sure. I think the problems can be narrowed down to certain models/batches - it certainly doesn't affect every model.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Old post ,

but I store ALL (25+)my Heljan 47's with the body shells off :o

After coming across a favorite loco of 47299 in BR blue with Tinsley un-official name "Ariadne" had suffered the dreaded chassis warp :x . apparently its all about the mix of alloys when they cast the chassis's.

RM web has lots of info about it.

I received a replacement chassis from Howes and was hit with postage but it's a small price to pay for a replacement chassis. Again no spare bodyshell so had to repair mine as best as possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0