How To Improve Old Rolling Stock: Prologue – Cost

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Now we’ve come to the end of this project I want to briefly talk about cost. You might be wondering – Is it more economical to upgrade old stock or to simply buy replacements with modern tooling?

Let’s break down the cost per coach.

Item Cost per coach Notes
Symoba Coupling £7 This includes the spring mechanism and NEM pocket. This is by far the most expensive part of the process, as stockists of Symoba products in the UK are few and far between they can get away with charging highly for them. If you buy in bulk of 10+ units this price drops by £1.
Humbrol Sprat Paint circa 50p The can cost £5 and I easily resprayed 5 coaches. You’d definitely be able to get 10 coaches out of a can, if not 15 or 20.
General White Paint circa 10p I’ve got a big general use tin of white paint that I bought a long time ago so for me the cost is nearly negligible. If you were purpose buying soley for this project then you’d easily get 20 coaches out of a £2 pot.
Black Card circa 3p A big A2 sheet cost me about £1.50 and you’d definitely be able to get upwards of 50 coaches out of that if you really wanted to.
Evergreen Plastic circa 1p £2.50 gets you 3 sheets at 6cm x 12cm. You’d be able to make 50 + easily, the cost per coach here is negligible.
Tail Lamps: 80p. 5 for £4 from ebay.

Total:

Let’s for argument sake say I’m only ever going to convert these 5 coaches and I’m only ever going to use the materials bought on them…

   £7 x 5
+£5
+£2
+£1.50
+£2.50
+£4

= £50, making it £10 to convert a coach.

It’s unlikely I’m never going to use any leftover material again so this cost is more realistically around £8.50 per coach. Seeing as it’s somewhere between £25-£35 to buy a new version I’d say that’s worth it!

I’ve also been watching a few of these old LMS coaches on eBay and they are selling for as low as £8 including posting. You may even be able to pick them up for less than that in the 2nd hand bin of your local model shop or at an exhibition. It’s down to you whether you’re a purist and like your models to stay unadulterated as they were the day the rolled out the factory, or whether you’re happy to adapt them as I have. I’ve shown it’s definitely worth thinking about buying old stock and converting (and having some fun in the process!) rather than buying new…

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little project and found the tips useful. Please ReTweet and share if you did. Many thanks for reading and happy Improving!

– Andy Carter

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