Improving the 7mm L Cut Creative Signal Box

Discussion in 'Line Side Buildings' started by Gary, Dec 15, 2020.

  1. Gary

    Gary Wants more time for modelling.... Staff Member Administrator

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    As some of you may remember, I purchased and assembled a ''L Cut Creative signal box for my O gauge layout River Dee Meats. This kit was built and painted over 18 months ago and the time has come for me to get back into my O gauge layout and fix a few models that are, as I would say, inadequate.

    The 'L Cut Creative' signal box can be found here : http://www.lcut.co.uk/index.php?product=B 70-25L&title=B 70-25L

    This is my model...


    I searched the web for a few pics of this type of signal box and I managed to find a few images. I also found a google image this style of box that is still in operation ! This pic here shows a very, very similar box to my model...


    As you can see, the stairs and landing are completely different to the L Cut model. This is where I'll start with improving the model.

    The Evergreen Styrene (ES) packs numbered 149 (1 x 6.3mm - step treads), 155 (1.5 x 2.5mm - deck and stair handrails), 157 (1.5 x 4mm - decking and decking supports), 158 (1.5 x 4.8mm - stair stringers) and 175 (2.5 x 2.5mm - handrail posts) were used in this conversion. I also used small pieces of #142 (1 x 1mm strip) as spacers between decking boards (not shown).


    The stairs that come in the L Cut kit are a little underwhelming, with each step having approximately 9mm rise between each other. In O gauge, that is a massive step, close to 16". This stands out quite clearly and I have decided that each step should be no more than 4mm - 4.5mm between the rise/treads.

    I have used the image above plus a few more (courtesy of google maps) to figure out what I needed to do to make this signal box that little more prototypical. First thing I noticed was the landing or deck (?) and the amount of stair treads leading down the stair case.

    Using the door on the model as a guide, I figured that the deck would be approximately 3' wide and about 2/3rds the length of the side wall. The measurements I came up with was 21mm x 48mm or 3' x 7'2" in scale.

    I decided to build this is a planked deck, utilising ES strip #157. Four 48mm strips for the decking and four 21mm strips were cut and used for the supports underneath. A small piece of 1mm styrene strip (#142) was used to gauge the planks.

    I glued all these pieces together and allowed to cure. During this time, I measured up the corner posts and the four posts that anchor the stairs. All up there are 7 posts, three measuring 21mm (3') and four measuring 26.5mm (approximately 3' 9"). ES #175 was used for all the posts, as 2.5mm is close to 4 scale inches.

    I had to make two notches in the deck and remove a little of the end support (rail side) for two of the taller stair posts to fit. This was done using a sharp scalpel and a file to make sure it fit snug. The three shorter posts were glued squarely onto the deck top.

    Next was to add the three rails between the posts. I used ES #155 for this. The two ends are identical so six x 14mm lengths were cut. I used a scrap piece of 1.5mm thick styrene as a spacer on the bottom rail between the deck and the rail. The top was glued in next, followed by the middle rail. I made sure I left enough styrene at the top so I could file these back once complete, prior to painting. Three 26mm lengths of ES #155 was used for the larger gap between the corner post and the stair post.

    These pics show the process clearly...

    Underside showing ES#157 used as supports for the planks.


    Top view showing the wall side (no hand rails) and the stair side.



    The next section is possibly the trickiest to build..., the stair case !

    Here I used ES #158 for the stair stringers (the angled lengths). Using the original L Cut stairs as a guide, I measured the stair stringer and transferred those measurements to the styrene, as well as the 45* angle cuts. Two of these were cut and set aside.

    To work out the stair tread width (not depth), I measured the opening between the two top stair posts and added an extra 1mm. The width of the treads is 16mm and I used ES #149 for this and cut 10 stair treads.

    Now the fun bit..., gluing on the treads. the key here is patience and good quality glue ! A smidgeon of superglue works well here, just need to apply a small amount to one end of a tread with a cocktail stick or tooth pick and fix to the stringer. remember the treads are set at a 45* angle to the stringer...

    This process was repeated with the remaining treads, using a small off-cut of 4mm styrene strip as a spacer. Being careful not to apply too much superglue as the spacer will become stuck ! Once this process is complete, I added the second stringer by applying a small amount of superglue to the top tread and the bottom tread and fixing the stringer in place. I do not apply glue to all treads just yet as I allowed this to cure then used a good styrene glue to fix the remaining treads in place. Care is needed here to get the treads level. I allowed this to cure then applied styrene glue to the first side and allowed that to cure.

    Once cured, I fitted the stairs to the landing...


    The stair handrails are next. There are two remaining 26.5mm posts that need to be added to the lower end of the stringers. Again, care is needed to get these vertical. Allow to cure.

    Once cured, measure the distance between the top stair posts and the bottom stair post and cut two lengths of ES #155. These two pieces have angled ends. Glue these pieces in place, setting the top end of the rail at the same height as the landing/decking hand rails. Allow to cure.

    Measure the distance between the stair stringer and the top stair handrails and cut two pieces of ES #155, again, there are angled ends. These two pieces fit at the midway point between the stair posts. Glue these in vertically. Allow to cure.

    The middle rail is now measured. There are four individual rails to cut. These four rails fit between the stair posts and the middle vertical brace that has just been added. Fit these so the top end of the rails match those of the middle horizontal rails on the decking. This can be tricky and I recommend doing one at a time and allow each rail to cure before proceeding onto the next.

    This is the final out come of the new landing and stairs...



    Certainly looks a lot better than the originals !


    All what is needed now is a lick of paint and fitting the new structure to the signal box. I cover that shortly...

    Cheers, Gary.
     
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  2. Kimbo

    Kimbo Staff Member Moderator

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    Excellent result Gary
     
  3. Gary

    Gary Wants more time for modelling.... Staff Member Administrator

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    Thanks Kimbo. :tophat:

    Next I'll add those small details to the brick work and that angular window sill. I think I can turn this average model into something a little better !

    You may be able to answer a question for me... I require and interior for the signal box. Do you have an idea of where to purchase one, or at least some components ??

    Cheers, Gary.
     
  4. Kimbo

    Kimbo Staff Member Moderator

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  5. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

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    Very nice! Looks the part!
     
  6. Gary

    Gary Wants more time for modelling.... Staff Member Administrator

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    Thanks Andy. :tophat:

    Cheers, Gary.
     
  7. Gary

    Gary Wants more time for modelling.... Staff Member Administrator

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    Now the next improvement to make on the signal box, the widow sill and the lintel, or is it a weather/rain strip ??

    Here is a photo of the prototype and what I'll be adding to the model...


    Both the sill and the 'lintel' will be made from Evergreen styrene Angle #291 (1.5mm angle).


    First up is to make the window sill from the angle and to do this, I glued both the top edge and the lower edge of the angle to a thin strip of styrene, like this...


    Once this was cured, it was measured up, 4mm longer than the actual width of the signal box. The ends were cut at a inward 45* angle and then glued to the current window sill on the model, with a flat side against the wall and the angle leading outward away from the window. Two more lengths were measured and cut to the length of the window frames and glued to the side walls. I used a steel rule to make sure this went on horizontally.

    The side that has the door located on it had a notch cut out so that the landing handrail post will fit in between.

    Using another length of #291 angle, I measured the front wall length, again 4mm longer than the wall and then cut the ends at an inward 45* angle. I referred to the prototype photo for placement of this lintel.

    This photo shows the piece in place on the front wall and the widow sills in place...



    The same angle was carried around the sides of the signal box, one side being straight forward.


    Whereas the opposite side (landing side) was measured in three separate lengths, to allow for the landing handrail posts.


    Small sections of angle were carried around the back of the signal box as per the prototype...



    I will be add extra framing to the corner of the current window frames to beef them up. Unfortunately I have no Evergreen Styrene Angle #294 (3.2mm angle). I'll pick a pack up after work tomorrow and carry on the build...

    Cheers, Gary.
     
  8. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

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    Lower one is probably the floor as can be seen on my model. Splits the operating floor from the lower locking room below.

    925E65C2-28B9-4463-A572-B173EB3846FE.jpeg
     
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  9. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

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    Oops wrong photo
    A720926B-58F4-4104-A08B-B120CA5423DC.jpeg

    your box looks very nice :thumbup:
     
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  10. Matt

    Matt Full Member

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    That's really nice Gary and the brickwork is excellent!

    Matt
     
  11. Gary

    Gary Wants more time for modelling.... Staff Member Administrator

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    Thank you Matt. I must get back onto this model ! Maybe do some more details tonight.

    Cheers, Gary.
     

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