I lived in Berlin for many years, and spend an awful lot of time near or passing through the station now known as "Hackescher Markt". It's one of a string of stations on Berlin's Stadtbahn, a 4-track brick-built viaduct running roughtly east-west through the city centre and was originally constructed as part of a scheme to link some of the terminus stations which had been built haphazardly by various private companies during the mid 19th century.
Originally I wasn't planning to do anything particularly German on my proposed layout, but a chance acquisition of some second-hand Faller viaduct sections during a visit to Berlin a while back got me thinking, and I realised I could sneak in a little viaduct station vaguely inspired by the Stadtbahn. The choice fell on Hackescher Markt because I'm familiar with it, moreover it has tramlines around it and I want trams on my layout anyway. However it won't be anything as grand as a proper model of the station - for a start there'll only be two tracks, not the two S-Bahn and 2 Fernbahn ones of the real version. The viaducts will be the relatively plain Faller ones, nothing like as fancy as the prototype, and I won't be attempting to model the rather handsome station hall either (partly as I want to actually see the trains and the layout behind the station).
I recently acquired this very fine Tomix E1 Shinkansen, albeit as a 3 car set as part of a trainset pack ("SD Max 90010").
Despite being around 20 years old, the set was in excellent condition - except one of the couplings on the power car was broken, and as it's an integral part of the bogie, not simple to repair.
Fortunately Tomix provide replacement bogies (part number 0494), so I hoped it would be a matter of removing the original bogie and installing the new one. Not being sure how the bogies were mounted I decided to strip it down as far as possible.
Step 1: remove body - it unclips fairly easily.
Step 2: remove grey undercarriage cover:
Step 3: remove interior/seating unit
This turned out not to be necessary, but we see the chassis is covered by a membrane strip (similar to MicroAce units) to protect the motor and electrically inslulate the monobloc chassis.
Having got this far, it became apparent that being a monobloc chassis, the bogies are designed to clip in place, and are held in position by the circular plastic "lip" at the top of the bogie tower. They can be removed with a bit of careful twiddling.
So far so good, but it turned out the the replacement bogie (lower left in the above picture) is of a subtly different design, presumably for a newer version of the tooling for the Tomix E1, and while it could be coerced into place, it didn't really fit and was clearly not suitable as an as-is replacement.
All was not lost, however - a bit of work with some nippers and a pin vise enabled me to bodge the new bogie's coupling attachment onto the old one, which looks ugly but isn't visible when the train is coupled.
Dan of The Farish Shed has, following a suggestion from my humble self, very kindly created a servicing guide for the Farish Poole-era class 25 (and class 33), an example of which I possess in a non-running state. I'm a bit stuck for time at the moment but I fully intend making use of it in the not too distant future. Meanwhile here's the locomotive in question:
Via the N Gauge Forum I was pleased to hear about a new website dedicated to "Poole-era" Graham Farish products, Thefarishshed.com. It's still very much work-in-progress but contains some useful background history on the company, which was based in the Dorset town of Poole until its takeover by Bachmann around 2001. While many of the Poole-era models were not the most detailed or reliable, they did represent a major part of the British N gauge market for many years and have a certain appeal for many.
As I have an interest in "historical" N gauge models, I have acquired a couple from the Poole era and hope to restore them to working order, and this site should certainly be very useful. Of particular interest to owners of past and more recent Farish models is the section on split gears, which helpfully lists useful sources of parts.
Recently I acquired a Lima N-Gauge Class 86, not to run as a serious locomotive but in part out of curiosity about older N-gauge motor mechanisms, and possibly to experimentially modify. It was sold as a non-runner with a missing coupling; the coupling was easy enough to replace with one from Kato, and the non-running was caused by the brush having come loose from the motor (luckily it was still held in place against the motor body by the spring, though I do have some spares).
It runs somewhat better (or less badly) than I expected and seems to cope with the Kato pointwork reasonably well. It definitely needs some maintenance, which I'll get round to some time. Here's a video of it running on my temporary layout:
The motor is the ancient pancake type and mounted directly on one bogie, which means there's not much space for it to turn inside the body, which gives it a tendency to derail on tighter curves. The electric pickups are from the non-motorized bogie only, which increases the risk of stalling, particularly across points.
Hornby has some great childhood memories for me - my "first" was admittedly Lima, but for a long time Hornby was the model railway company with its entrancing catalogues (the layout featured in the 1980 edition was the thing of a young boy's dreams, and their Zero 1 control system was something I had to have - but way outside the available financial capability...) Though I still have a few Hornby items, for me OO (aka 'Orribly Oversized) is history and it's hard to imagine any other way but the N-gauge way, so I wouldn't really want to go out of my way to look at Hornby. However this shop, the only Hornby dealer in Japan (and probably the only one in East Asia) is a few minutes away from my house by bike so it would be rude not to pay a visit:
On the left: a Modemo Hakone-Tozan Tetsudou MoHa 2 (モデモ 箱根登山鉄道 モハ２形 2輌セット, model number NT44). Built in 1927, 3 of these cars are still running on the Hakone Tozan line (link). This is a two-car set from a 2004 batch; while the bodies are identical, only one car is powered. Though second-hand, it was in mint condition (including the additional supplied parts, which were all present and unused) This is my first Modemo train; it's a very nice, fairly quiet runner and handles my steepest gradient just fine. As it should do for a mountain climber. It's evidently designed to be run as a two-car set; the headlight only works on one end of each car. It does have problems with some of my Kato #4 points, but that's not its fault.
On the right: a MicroAce JR 203 EMU (マイクロエース 「ありがとう203系」号 基本6両セット, model number A8280). These trains were built in the early 1980's for through-running from JR's Jōban Line to Tokyo Metro'sChiyoda Line and the last one was taken out of service in 2011. This model represents that final train and is decorated with a "Farewell 203 Series" headmark. It's a lovely model and runs very smoothly, though it has also taken a dislike to some of my Kato #4 points, albeit different ones to the Modemo.