Lima N Gauge Class 86 (220205G)


Model information
Scale Nominally British N scale (1:148, 9mm gauge / N gauge)
Manufacturer Lima
Running number E3185
Catalogue number 220205G
Produced n/a
Manufacturer page n/a
LIMA-N scale-LOCOMOTIVES 220205 ... B.R. E3185 (British) Class 81 (sic)

This model dating from 1967 was for a long time the only Class 86 available in N-gauge.

It has carried catalogue numbers 205, 220205 and 220205G. Running number is E3185. Note: this model was mislabelled in one or more catalogue editions as "Class 81". It is mainly available in BR's early "Electric Blue" livery (at which time it was still classed as an "AL6").

Lima Class 86 220205G (1980 Catalogue)

A later model (catalogue number 220249 or 220249G) was available in BR Blue with the running number, 86235, in large digits on the side and a misspelt nameplate ("Navelty", should be "Novelty").


Level of detail

At a glance, this appears to be a fairly realistic looking model of a Class 86. Obvious deficiencies are the pantograph and roof cabling, which look very toy-like, and the cab windows, which are deeply recessed. All glazing is translucent; there is no interior cab detail (and one cab is occupied by the motor - see below). Comparing it with a much more recent Dapol Class 86, the level of moulded detail on the body is actually pretty good. Unfortunately it seems to have been proportionately shortened by about 10% and is slightly wider, which emphasizes the "toy-like" look when placed next to the Dapol version.

I suspect the reason for this size discrepancy might be related to some sort of standard Lima chassis dimensions. In contrast to more modern designs, the chassis is a metal frame containing a weighted section in the centre (and leaving much more free space than in a modern model - ironically it would be easy to fit a DCC adapter) but cost reasons presumably prohibited model-specific variations.

Motor and mechanism

The motor is a classic Lima "pancake" motor mounted direcly above one bogie. Later versions apparently had a centre-mounted can motor, which however only drove one bogie. Electrical pickups are from the non-powered bogie; on the model in my possession, all wheels on the driving bogie appear to have traction tyres.


The model I acquired was (as advertised) missing a coupling. It was simple enough to replace this with a standard Kato Rapido-type coupling, by inserting the spring into the coupling pocket then pushing the coupling itself - rotated by 90 degrees - into the pocket then twisting it into position. Note the bogie frame can be easily removed by unscrewing the two small screws at the bottom.


The Class 86 locomotive with original running number E3185 was given TOPS number 86005, later 86405 and as of 2015 is still in service, now as 86605 operated by "Freightliner".

Currently the "Electric Blue" livery depicted by this model is carried on privately-owned 86259 "Les Ross".


Lima Class 86


There is also an N Gauge Society journal article from Nr. 2/2008 titled "Improving the Lima Class 86 - A First Attempt", though this is not available on-line. The October 1982 edition of Railway Modeller apparently contains an article detailing the conversion of this model to a Class 87.