In my Westhill Road Ramblings#1 post here, I discussed my thought process for selecting the style and type of signal box for my new little modelling venture Westhill Road. This post looks at my scratch build of the chosen ground level signal box based upon the LSWR Type 3B design.
As with many of my scratch-built buildings, even if they are not to be exact replicas of an original prototype, I like to use as much research as possible to ensure that the characteristics and proportions of such a building look correct. In this instance I wanted to make use of some nice proprietarily laser cut windows from Proses Hobby Shop, therefore using these fixed dimensions, and of course standard door sizes, I started by quickly drawing out the design, to scale, referring back to reference photographs at every stage.
The use of these laser cut windows and their dimensions are therefore a slight compromise but by adjusting the dimensions of the rest of the building to suit it maintains the proportions and the overall effect that I am wanting to achieve.
The construction of these LSWR signal boxes was basically a wooden frame and wooden clapperboard structure and I’ve replicated this using Wills 213 clapperboard for the main structure.
From my drawing I cut the wooden floor, from Wills 201 wood planking, to size to give a square base for the clapperboard walls to be built around it.
I mitred the edges of the walls before filing back the outside of the cemented corners at 45° and adding 2mm x 2mm triangular plastic strut upright, see picture left. The use of the triangular section on the building corners creates the corner framing and also completely hides any joint.
Additional plastic microstrip is then used to create the other wooden framework, both externally and internally, and to create the windowsills etc. (remember to include the thickness of windowsills, door frames etc when cutting out the apertures). Plastic microstrip and Plastrut square section was used to built up the framing across the tops of the walls, along with roof trusses.
The side porch is made from a mix of plasticard, planked plasticard and another Proses Hobby Shop laser cut window. It was made as a separate assemble to make paining easier.
The ground frame sites on a low brick-built foundation, that includes the opening for the point rodding and signals wires to exit with a small piece of microstrip added to represent the steel beam supporting the bricks above the opening.
As ground level signal boxes do not have an interlocking room under the floor, they used a ‘Knee Frame’ with short levers that was higher off the floor to allow interlocking directly beneath the levers. I have used a modified Ratio 224 signal box interior kit for the interior details. I mounted the lever frame base on a piece of plastic I beam and shortened every lever, to represent the 10 lever frame in accordance with the signal box diagram I have already created.
The hipped roof was made using Wills 203 Slates with thin card ridge tiles added. Guttering is added around the bottom edge using Ratio 300 gutters and downpipes. The stove pipe chimney has been fashioned from plastic rod and turned at the top to represent a cowl, and lead flashing asses from very thin plasticard.
The internal working lamp and its shade have been made using a suitable shaped plastic part, I think an old wagon kit, found in the scrap box, with a Layouts4u.net 0805 12v Nano SMD led (prewired) glued to it. It’s affixed to the ceiling truss and the fine wires passing down the wall behind the stove and its chimney.
The external paint colours are SR Buildings Cream and SR Middle Chrome Green from Precision Paints.
I will wait until Westhill Road is ready for its signal box to be planted before I weather it to tone the colours down to suit the tone of the rest of the layout.
- Wills Building sheets – 201 Wood planking (floor), 203 Slates, 213 Clapboarding,
- Proses Hobby Shop – 28x126mm 12 pane windows, 12/17mm 9 pane windows
- Layouts4u.nett 0805 12v Nano SMD led (prewired)
- Ratio – 553 signal box interior, 538 gutters and downpipes
- Micorstrip / Plastrut – various
- Precision Paints – SR Buildings Cream (P95) and SR Middle Chrome Green (P93)
Recommended reading: Signal Boxes of the London & South Western Railway: A study of Architectural Style by G.A.Pryer
I hope this post has shown that, whilst some similar kits might be available, scratch building is not a dark art and is enjoyable and rewarding.