Lima Siphon G – Improving An Old Classic

Lima Siphon G

Part of Lima’s standard UK range for many years, the GWR/BR Siphon G is a reasonably good body moulding, let down in a few areas, especially in true Lima style; the chassis department!

With the recent announcement of the forthcoming Accurascale model, these Lima models can now be found quite cheaply as they are discarded by collectors saving for the aforementioned model.

Built originally for perishables traffic, as this declined some were cascaded onto parcels or newspaper traffic. Some were drafted to the ‘Enparts’ division. This was BR’s way of moving components to and from various works and depots to facilitate repairs. As I am involved with several layouts within the group I am associated with, and with plans for a new home layout the ‘Enparts ‘ version appealed to me most.

Referring to photographs on Paul Bartlett’s excellent website a suitable example was found. One needs to be careful here as some examples had slight bodyside changes and many examples had the end doors removed and plated over.

Turning to the model, the incorrect and underscale MK1 style bogies were unclipped and discarded. Lima seemed to fit these bogies to everything, as a way of saving cost no doubt. The body was then separated from the chassis frame by unscrewing the two screws underneath, mindful that the weight may fall out on my foot ant any point!

The body shell is quite nice and surprisingly accurate, considering this is a 1970’s tooling it is still able to hold its own, albeit with a little work. The ‘under nourished’ gangway ends were then removed, to be replaced with something more suitable later on.

If you decide to model a non-gangwayed version at this point you need to plate over the door area with a suitable piece of thin plasticard.

Personally, I think the shade of BR blue on this model is not far out, and after weathering the slight difference is not noticeable. However, the Lima lettering and numbering is awful, overscale and fuzzy on many examples.

So, after removal of the lettering with T-Cut (my preferred method of factory numbering removal) I decided to give the body a blow over with Phoenix Rail blue, quite simply as I had some left over from something else I was spraying. One coat was sufficient and a coat of Humbrol tank grey for the roof. Once dried overnight, the body was given a spray over with gloss varnish before new transfers from the excellent Railtec range were applied. Gloss varnish makes an excellent adhesive “key” for waterslide and pressfix transfers. After the transfers were applied and left overnight to completely dry, a further light coat of gloss varnish was applied. Once properly dried, an even coat of matt varnish was applied to tone the whole thing down.

The chassis will benefit from a little more weight, and there is plenty of room inside to fix a piece or two of lead. New bogies came from a scrap Airfix Siphon wagon with a smashed end found at a local toyfair for a few quid. These are the clip in type and the fixing hole is a slightly different diameter to the Lima. A new thin plasticard spacer is cut to cover the existing hole and then a new smaller hole drilled suitable for the new fixing. To ensure the correct ride height is maintained, another shim of plasticard or a  thin washer may be needed. I always fit Kadee’ couplings as standard so it’s important to check there is enough swing clearance on the bogies for your layout’s curves.

Suitable buffers where sourced from the spares box as the original ones look too small. New and more convincingly sized gangway ends, again from the spares department in the form of an old kit built GWR coach again salvaged from a toyfair were fitted.

Once reassembled the coach was given the obligatory coat of weathering  grime and put into service.

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3 thoughts on “Lima Siphon G – Improving An Old Classic

    1. Hi Golightly these were off a scrap GWR coach picked up cheaply at a toyfair .l always check scrap rummage boxes at such events for parts like these, bogies, underframe parts etc

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