Modelling a Signal Box


As supplied, the Hornby signal box kit is a fairly basic representation of a standard GWR Signal Box, however, with some careful modelling, this kit can actually be made up into a nice model. This article covers that process.


The Hornby product is actually a model of the now non-extant signal box at Hagley in England. I am advised that the signal box at Minehead (moved from Dunster) on the West Somerset Railway is of the same type:

I find that there is something fascinating about a signal box with an external stair case. I decided that I would modify the Hornby kit to represent one of the types of GWR signal box with an external stair case and to this end, the following picture of Bilson Junction signal box was chosen as the prototype to base the model on:

Photo Courtesy: W.Potter

The Model

The kit goes together fairly well with little flash, however, there are a number of injection moulding marks in prominent positions which need to be filled and filed so as not to spoil the appearance of the model.
Initially, the model was constructed:

It can be seen here that the end of the box has been modified to create a doorway. The step ladder is from an Airfix kit box. This ladder turned out to be of the wrong size and angle and a completely new step ladder was fabricated using a Plastruct pre-moulded ladder to which plastic card handrails were added.

The timber panels on this model are supplied separately to be fitted. It is a good idea to paint these cream and the brown timberwork on the box prior to fitting as this will give the neatest results.
The window frames are painted white and glazed from behind. Wire handrails have also been fitted across the windows.
A new floor was fabricated as the one supplied has a very large artificial representation of a panel moulded to it. The floor was also found to be too short.
The entire inside has been fitted out with a Wills signal box interior kit, complete with all telegraphic intrumentation and a full set of levers.

The roof has been completely rebuilt as the one supplied was found not to have the correct pitch (too low) and this can be seen by comparing the picture of Minehead signal box with that of Bilson Junction box and the initial model construction above. The replacement roof was build using Wills embossed plastic card fitted to a stiff card frame. Thin folded card was used to represent the ridge tiles.
Gutters and downpipes from Ratio were fitted upon completion.

The Finished Product

Here are a few pictures of the finished model:

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Graham Plowman

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