Before I start painting and ballasting the trackwork I want to tackle the point rodding. A number of years ago I made the mistake on a 4mm layout of ballasting first, I then spent hours digging up small patches of ballast so that I could install the rodding stools! Armed with a copy of GWR journal number 89, Steven Williams GWR modelling part 1 and some useful advice from Mike (Stationmaster) I made a start by drawing a schematic of where the runs needed to go. Once this had been completed I placed an order from Wizard models of MSE's rodding stools, etched brass cranks and 0.8mm Nickel Silver wire. The stools are made from white metal and can be cut quite easily to the required length with a sharp scalpel blade.
Model Signal Engineering stools
Stools cut to length
The stools need raising on blocks to make sure that the rodding isn't covered during ballasting. Spare sleepers were cut to suitable lengths and the white metal stools were glued in position using Cyanoacrylate.
Sleeps cut to form blocks
Stools glued in position on blocks
Cranks and compensators were built using components from MSE's etched brass fret. Bolt heads were pressed out on the bases, then Carrs 188 solder paste was used to assemble the components using a Miniflame torch.
Etched brass fret of cranks and pulleys from Model Signal Engineering
Etched brass components
The stools were glued in position onto the baseboard tops using cyanoacrylate. A scale 6 foot length of sleeper was used as a jig to maintain the spacing between the individual blocks. A length of 0.8mm Nickel Silver wire was used to ensure that the blocks and stools were in the right alignment with each other.
Stools and blocks glued in position
Once the stools had set in position the Nickel Silver wire was cut to length and installed in position on top of the stools. The ends of each run needed to be bent down to meet the cranks and compensators which are set at a lower height than the stools. Once i was happy with the alignment of the wire rodding, it was soldered to any etched brass components and glue onto the stools using cyanoacrylate.
Double slip and compensator
Double compensator and runs leading under overbridge
I was concerned that if I used Nickel Silver rodding where it crossed under the track it could lead to shorting if it touched the rails. With this in mind I chickened out and used plastic rod in these areas!
Plastic rodding running under trackwork.
I need to make a representation of the facing point lock that would have been situated under the bridge. I still need to make the detection bars and the cover, but the cranks and rodding runs have been installed.
Facing point lock
View towards bridge
Overall view of progress so far
Well that's the progress so far! Quite what the 517 in the last picture is doing shunting a coach into the goods shed remains a mystery, but I'm sure someone will have some explaining to do!
I'm planning on staining the sleepers and making a start on the ballasting as the next project on the layout. I also need to decide on a signal box, I'm wondering if I could get away with using this offering from Peco as starting point http://www.peco-uk.com/product.asp?strParents=3309,3316&CAT_ID=3317&P_ID=18185 or would that be a cop out!?