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Postby rogerabbit » Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:55 pm

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I've always fancied a couple of trams running around in the city area of my new layout. I looked into it and could find only extremely expensive models (way beyond my budget) or complicated instructions for motorising static models (way beyond my level of skill). Then I came across these. As the company which makes them is little known I thought I would share this with you. Mehano is based in Slovakia, formerly producing low quality models - equivalent perhaps to early Lima - but recently improving their range for the European market. I spotted a tram and dummy on an auction site and took a chance. The models I received were extremely interesting.

Firstly they run off 12v DC. I expected to have to search for proprietary track but found they ran perfectly well on Hornby rails, picking up power from the track. Had plenty of this so it was a pleasant surprise. Plugged in an old cheapo Hornby controller and off they went. The motor is 'Lima-like' - rugged, quite well made and, though pretty old, ran well at slow speed. I have pictured it because I'm sure there are those among you who, unlike me, are skilled in the area of electrics. It's a 'worm driven' affair - similar to earlyish Hornby in tanks and suchlike - so that I reckon if you acquired a non runner you could adapt a Hornby motor - if you had the know-how.
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At first sight this model looks like a toy. I've pictured the original. It is produced in 'My Little Pony' coloured plastics and Mehano has printed little black silhouetted figures in the windows - pretty dreadful. But when you look closely, the moulding is not bad at all and the model bears comparison with period trams in use all over Europe. I've pictured some. I looked at liveries and the most common city colour combination by far was yellow and white as illustrated. And this would contrast well with locos on my layout. So I repainted them, sprayed the roofs silver, replaced the glazing and fitted a few passengers and a driver. What appears to be two holes in the yellow sections of the tram sides are the primative clips which attach the body to the chassis. Fortunately they are perfectly placed to cover with advertising posters which will actually improve the model and which I'll add when I find some.
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Trams Europe.png
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Despite being inexpensive the drive car is lit - a nice little bonus. I find it difficult to understand why British manufacturers STILL don't give us lit locos as standard. Marklin have been doing it since the fifties. And new locos cost a fortune. But I digress. Because these models are cheaply produced the light shines through the plastic like a lampshade! But it was a fairly easy job to mask and seal off the driver with card and insulating tape - a technique I use in my buildings. I saw no point in lighting the motor in the drive-car!
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And that was about it. I bought these for less than twenty pounds and needed no extra kit to get them running. I shall bury the track in road to achieve the streetcar look. The scale is classified HO - but separated from rail track, locos, coaches and trucks, in my opinion, these would not look at all out of place on an OO layout.

Worth thinking about perhaps - if you have room for them.

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Postby Emettman » Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:40 pm

I saw a couple of (currently) cheap ones

But from other listings it does seem to be about being lucky

Another route might be for non-powered HO/OO models or kits finished as narrow gauge (9mm)
Good and economical motor units are available from Kato, and very nice embedded track from them and Tomix.

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Postby End2end » Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:50 pm

Bachmann also made one under the title of BRILL TROLLEY.
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Postby Bufferstop » Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:44 pm

The Brill Trolley sold by Bachmann almost exactly matches the style of the tram described here even down to the silhouettes on the windows, these regularly used to appear in shops for just under £20 but rarely in anyone's price lists. I was tempted, but resisted the urge to to buy one, just to see what the shadows o the windows were hiding inside. Now I know :) I did buy an Atlas diecast HO tram which I mounted on a Kato N gauge chassis which makes it somewhat underscale for a metre gauge tram but is an easy conversion. The long wheelbase 4 wheel chassis which is available from PLAZAJAPAN on ebay or in the UK, appears to be the one that hides in the coach of the Kato N gauge Thomas set.
Fitting the chassis into the Diecast body required a bit of butchery, but nothing too technically testing. Adapting an all plastic kit of an 00 prototype would be even easier. Whilst many UK tramway systems ran on 3'6" tracks so as to fit in our narrow streets, the 9mm track is quite a lot closer to that beneath the cut down versions on the Seaton Tramway.
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