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Improving the Hornby Signal Box - Buildings - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Fri Dec 21st, 2007 09:54 am
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Bob K
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As a small project for those spare evenings in Liberia. I brought with me a Hornby Signal Box and I thought it would be fun to try to improve upon it by adding detail. I also thought it would be possible to use plastikard to create a better appearance of the brickwork and roof.

So a look at the raw material. The Hornby item is a plastic shell, with some basic interior detail. Colouring is achieved by attaching sticky paper covering, with the option of depicting either a brick or stone version. Similarly the interior detail, such as levers and instruments are also stick on paper items. Here is a picture of the basic model:



Next is a picture of the model with all the stickers and plastic components.



The first task will be to design and prepare the brick embossed 'cladding' which I intend to lay over the basic model. This I will show in my next installment.

Bob(K)

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 Posted: Fri Dec 21st, 2007 11:15 am
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Bob (K)

I have a couple of 2nd hand Hornby signal boxes and have thought about refurbishing/improving them.

Can't wait to see the next instalment.

Bryan

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 Posted: Fri Dec 21st, 2007 12:34 pm
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Perry
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This is good stuff, Bob(K). :D

It's exactly the type of project needed for folk who aren't quite ready to start scratchbuilding.

Excellent. I'm looking forward to see how this progresses. I have a scratchbuilt signal box on my layout that is still waiting for the interior details to be built, :oops: so I'm hoping this will give me some pointers too. :?

Cheers,

Perry



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 Posted: Fri Dec 21st, 2007 12:37 pm
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Wayne Williams
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ALL RIGHT Another Novice Project!

I look forward to watching this with great interest.

Wayne



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 Posted: Fri Dec 21st, 2007 01:52 pm
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phill
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Ok i have one of those, i made it a while back but im watching this with interest as i may do mine now.
Phill

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 Posted: Fri Dec 21st, 2007 04:15 pm
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Gwent Rail
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Nice one Novice :!:
This is a project that we all can get something from. Look foward to seeing it take shape :!:

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 Posted: Fri Dec 21st, 2007 09:14 pm
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mikenencini
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Brilliant Novice - you've hit a rich vein with this one. I keep looking at a Hornby Station building received as a present and thinking about how to make it a worthwhile model. Also got the water tower which I did stick the paper on - it doesn't look good, even from a distance.

Look forward to seeing your ideas and progress. Like Perry says it would be a great starter for me to build up some confidence before getting into some scratchbuilding.



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 Posted: Sat Dec 22nd, 2007 09:36 am
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Bob K
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Having set the scene and started to prepare the embossed card for the cladding I sat down and thought about the aim of this project. I needed to decide exactly what I hoped to achieve and my first task was to determine whether the Hornby box is a generic item or whether it is based on a prototype box. After a lot of searching I have failed to find an exact match. I used the following site to search and despite looking at every photograph I conclude that the Hornby box is probably generic:

http://www.signalbox.org/gallery.shtml

Unless any member can help by providing evidence of a prototype I believe the best that can be achieved is to make the Hornby model look better, rather than like a replica of a real box.

The second issue is what to do with the inside. My initial thoughts were to remove the rather crude moulded detail, install a new floor and add scratch built detail. I also noted that the Hornby model places the lever frame at the rear of the box, whereas most real boxes have the frame at the front, behind the main window. There are many examples of frames at the rear, but again I cannot find an example of a box like the Hornby one, with the frame at the rear.

So where does this leave me. Well there are 2 options: 1. Major surgery, completely gut the box and rebuild, or 2. Make the model look better and accept it for what it is. Quite frankly with option 1, it would be simpler to scratch build from the start and so I am going for option 2. Hopefully I will end up with a signal box that looks ok, accepting that it does not represent accurately the real thing. With this in mind I set about measuring and cutting the embossed card cladding for the bottom half of the box:



Well what I thought was going to be an easy project has really got me thinking. Any views?

Bob(K)

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 Posted: Sat Dec 22nd, 2007 11:53 am
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Gwent Rail
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I think your approach is the right one Bob. It would be easy to get carried away with this and end up with more work than a scratchbuild.

It is also, probably, of more use to the rest of us if you use the box as a generic one and demonstrate how you deal with it. This way other generic buildings (Hornby or others) can be tackled by those of us with no Plasticard experiance.

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 Posted: Sat Dec 22nd, 2007 01:02 pm
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phill
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Also Bob why do you have to do it exact, this way its your own design, making better or what ever. Its a one off, look forward to your build.
Phill

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 Posted: Mon Dec 24th, 2007 10:45 am
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Bob K
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I have decided to crack on and have now fixed the 'cladding' to the base of the box. The first thing I did was to paint the door and window frames in a coat of green paint. Having cut out the cladding this was glued in place around the building:



In order to make the building more interesting, I have decided to put edging around the corners and top and bottom to give a recessed panel effect to the brickwork - I hope it works:



Having done this I noticed that the windows are set in the wall in such a way that they do not sit in the centre of the recessed areas, which i think would would be likely in reality. Another lesson learned, but again I am going to live with it. I have added some Wills arches above the window, cut down to size.

Next I gave the wood panels above the brickwork a wash of cream paint and I have painted the internal floor of the box in a dark brown colour, whilst the walls are a lighter shade:



The next task will be to determine to what extent and how I will detail the interior.

Bob(K)

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 Posted: Mon Dec 24th, 2007 04:25 pm
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Petermac
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Looking good Novice.

I'm really enjoying this thread. Whilst few of us can aspire to the mighty works of the likes of Perry, I'm sure we can all dabble a bit in "improving" a kit. Your ideas will be well received I'm sure.

Petermac

p.s. does the paint behave any differently out there & a very Happy Christmas to you.



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 Posted: Wed Dec 26th, 2007 07:01 am
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Bob K
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Petermac wrote:Looking good Novice.


p.s. does the paint behave any differently out there & a very Happy Christmas to you.


Hi Petermac - seasons greetings to you too. Not sure the heat and humidity has that much effect on paint, however, I am trying something new. Up until now I have always used enamels, but for my time here in Liberia I packed a box of acrylics, largely because I did not want any hassle taking inflammable products on the flight. I am using a mix of Tamyia, Warhammer and Railmatch paints - all water based acrylic. So far I have been quite impressed with them, although the application is different and it is taking a while to get used to them.

Bob(K)

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 Posted: Wed Dec 26th, 2007 12:49 pm
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Wayne Williams
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Novice, I went back and reread your post looking for the scale of this signal box, but either read too fast or it's not there. So what is the scale? OO?
Also what thickness did your use for the "cladding"?

Looks great so far, keep em coming!
Wayne :D



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 Posted: Wed Dec 26th, 2007 01:00 pm
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Bob K
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Wayne Williams wrote:Novice, I went back and reread your post looking for the scale of this signal box, but either read too fast or it's not there. So what is the scale? OO?
Also what thickness did your use for the "cladding"?

Looks great so far, keep em coming!
Wayne :D


Wayne

Sorry, should have made it clear at the outset. The signal box is 00 scale. As for thickness I am afraid I don't know exactly. I would guess that the plastic sheet is around 0.5mm and with the embossed effect it adds about 1mm to the thickness of the walls. The material is vacuformed plastic/styrene sheet. I hope that helps.

Bob(K)

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 Posted: Wed Dec 26th, 2007 01:16 pm
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Wayne Williams
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Thanks Novice! Yes it really help me. I have not seen vacuformed styrene sheets. Are they more flimsy because of vacuforming? Do they cut easier or about the same as Pasticard?

Wayne



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 Posted: Wed Dec 26th, 2007 01:17 pm
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phill
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I have the same signal box as Bob, mine came with a hornby train set. I fiind it is quite thick walls really but never the less i am going to have ago at altering mine as well, so following this with interest.
Phill

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 Posted: Wed Dec 26th, 2007 01:22 pm
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Bob K
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Over Christmas, with a little time to spare, I set about doing some of the interior detail. As discussed earlier I have decided to leave the moulded detail in place and concentrate on improving the levers and instruments. The model is provided with some coloured stickers to represent levers. These were discarded and I manufactured a new set by using some spare railings left over from the 'Georgian House'. I cut these to a suitable length and added the small handles to the top of each lever from spare material. The levers were then painted in appropriate colours. From my reserch the colours represent different functions such as: yellow distant signal, red home, black points etc. Once dry I glued this in place on the existing lever frame base depicted on the model:



Once dry I then painted the frame base black. The model also includes a plastic item to represent the block instruments. This is not a bad representation of the real thing and so I painted this and added some detail. I also used the track plan sticker provided with the model. This was fixed in place and with the levers looks quite effective:



The next task was to put in the glazing. I decided to use that provided with the model. You will note that I have given the brickwork a wash of mortar colour too.



Once it was in place I realised that it looked a little odd with green outer window frames and white framing around each pane of glass. Methinks I will need to paint the green areas in white. Having glued the glazing in with super glue this will present me with a bit of a challenge - doh :oops:

So next task is to repaint the window frames - I will let you know how I get on in the next installment.

Bob(K)

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 Posted: Wed Dec 26th, 2007 05:15 pm
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Bob K
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Wayne Williams wrote:Thanks Novice! Yes it really help me. I have not seen vacuformed styrene sheets. Are they more flimsy because of vacuforming? Do they cut easier or about the same as Pasticard?

Wayne


wayne

I have used both and there is little difference, in my view. Horizontal cutting is easy as the blade can run along one of the mortar lines. Vertical cuts need a bit more care, as it easy for the blade to jump into one of the mould lines.

Bob(K)

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 Posted: Wed Dec 26th, 2007 07:48 pm
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Wayne Williams
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Bob(K), well I have just made myself a liar, I said I had never seen a vacuum formed piece, not true. When I began my project (See Scratchbuilding) the asphalt shingle sheet was vacuum formed, and I didn't know it until I began cutting it.

Wayne



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