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EASY/Cheap Loco Project!

From Keith Wandry, Wed, 13 Jan 1999 17:13:57

This picture show the shell as it looks after the side-skirts have been shortened and the paint wire-brushed off. For comarison, the engine behind it is my version of the Hayden/Frary Minitrix Fairbanks-Morse conversion. As you can see, they look great together.

Well, I had a few hours free time the other day and ran across the Life-Like SW1200 Switcher I had bought several months ago. I also found the “Mavis” deisel locomotive I had purchased from the Thomas The Tank Engine die-cast collection. Many months ago, Mr. Bauers mentioned this loco in one of his postings. I saw
them several days later and bought a couple. For those who haven’t seen them, they are PERFECT for using as a conversion. They are very similar in size to the brass kits being offered. The body shell is cast metal and provides great weight. A brief summary of what was done is as follows:

  • Dissect the Mavis locomotive.
  • There are 4 mounting posts inside the shell. I used a Dremel to cut into the base of each of these where they met the shell. I then used a pair of pliers to break away the posts. After this, I used a different Dremel bit to grind down the rest of the posts.
  • The sides of the locomotive shell extend down and and actually look like skirts. You could leave them that way and have an interesting locomotive, however, I used a cutting disk to raise them up so I could see the trucks. I filed these cuts and sanded them smooth.
  • Strip the paint from the shell if desired – I used a wire wheel on the Dremel…
  • Remove the cab from the SW1200. Leave the hood on the frame.
  • File down the stacks on the hood, the headlight fixture, and the handrails on the sides of the hood. (I did this with the Dremel).
  • That’s basically it, folks! The shell fits firmly onto the hood and the thing runs like a watch!!!
    I did forget to mention removing the plastic face, but that’s your option. I left the end sills with the couplers on the frame for now, but will be cutting them off and rebuilding them. I am also coming up with a radiator to cover the hole where the face was and adding a smoke jack, some headlights, and other miscellaneous details. This is a great and very easy conversion with just a Dremel tool and a few bits. I will try and finish it up this next week and then will post an image.

    As for the time spent on this? It took a little over an hour!I also purchased some other locos from the series and am looking at using them on somesteam loco chassis.Another project is to cut a Mavis down and use it on a Kato Pocket Line chassis.If you haven’t got motive power – this is a cheap and extremely easy project.
    Give it a try! Any questions – feel free to ask!



    From: TOM,
    Subject: Picture of Mavis and Friends
    Tue, 19 Jan 1999 18:10:42

    Mavis is here:


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