New to letterpress.. and the Heidelberg!

I’ve been shopping around for a Press here in Australia for ages, and I’ve just purchased a Heidelberg on Ebay (sight unseen) as it seemed like an incredible deal. Now however, I’m more than a little daunted at the prospect of learning how to operate it!
I was initially looking for a C&P or similar, but had been unable to acquire one (after a whole 6 months of looking…)
Anyway - I’m going to see the press and it’s previous owner this weekend, and having it delivered a few days after that.
I was wondering if there are any specific questions I should ask him about the press? He said he would run through the basics with me, and has all the manuals etc. (My husband is an engineer, so I’m hoping he can give me a hand with the mechanical side of things.)

I also have another question with regards to press washes - it seems that California was is a letterpres favourite, but is unavailable here in Australia. What alternative water-miscible press washes are reccommended?

Thanks in advance for any advice you might have,

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WOW. A Heidelberg windmill on e-bay with all the manuals. You will want to know about the Impression strength, the Clutch strength, and the flexibility of the guide mechanism. Ink roller condition may interest you, if you are planning to use the windmill for letterpress printing. Good ink rollers are made of rubber, pliable, generally free of pits and slices, and of an even diameter from end to end. Worn ink rollers are pitted, hard as wood, and swelled on the ends.

Make sure you are buying the manuals, too, as they are worth in first print almost as much as the machine itself. If you can’t buy a manual, boxcar press has some excellent Heidelberg Windmill operator manuals free for download.

As for press washes, you can use most anything that dissolves the ink, and emulsifies it, to be taken up by the washup blade, leaving an oil free clean and shiny ink platen, and clean dry ink rollers. There are many discussions here on Briar Press as to the best washup method for letterpress, if you look around.

‘Strailia? If you’re in Melbourne, say hi to Ralph. He’s my brother.

Haha. thanks for that Jim - I will definitely have a good hard look at the rollers! I’m very excited about getting to understand the machine… they’re like miniature locomotives!
No, I’m not from Melbourne.. but it is a small world, who knows, I may bump into him some day.