Jump to content



Recommended Posts

Working on that layout since quite a while I think it is time to start writing about it. 

It somehow happened that I have been asked about having a look about the wiring of our club layout. Well I did that and noticed that there has been some rather rough soldering which I do not like. So I decided to replace all drop wires and start from scratch... Here is the layout in 2017 - when I started to work on it. 




Where is it? Well Frimingham is a fictitious name, it is somewhere in the south - east, Cromer may be not far from it. We have to think of a preserved railway line, which gives us the freedom of using a wide selection of rolling stock and even signals.


But more about the layout a bit later. First I would like to concentrate on buildings and signals created for this layout. I was reading threads of John Fitness and Steve Hewitt with interest - I also met Steve at Warley a couple of years ago. I am very impressed of their work and thought I could give it a go myself. 7mm is big, so it shouldn't be difficult. I purchased a few kits from MSE and on we go. First choice is a lower quadrant signal with lattice post.  


The quality of the etched parts is very good, but this is compensated by the description and the quality of the drawings. The builder has to have a bit of phantasy to get all together in the right way. For me this was a first attempt with low melting point solder, which for some strange reasons doesn't come in a handy form of a thin wire but as big junks of metal as it is normally used for repairing the old style guttering...  so I tried to form it into smaller pieces, which leads of course to hardening of the material because of the deformation. But this doesn't matter, as the material has to melt it gets his original property back. 


Other than the RMWEB professionals I decided not to use an optical fiber for the lamp, as it is 7mm it is big enough to have a LED direct in it. 


Find here my first attempt just before painting. I have covered the lens of the lamp with some epdm rubber so I will not get any paint on it. 


48074856792_7513b63ccb_k.jpg20190616_202349 (2) 


48074794673_60d4d9fdf2_k.jpg20190616_202421 (2) 


48074752156_9d28f908a2_k.jpg20190616_202504 (2) 


I connected one wire of the LED to the structure and used a miniature insulated wire for the second connection. It is hard to see, and I think it will be even better after painting. 


At the moment the signal is drying as I washed it to get the remains of the flux off the metal. Will see how the painting goes tomorrow. 

Edited by Vecchio
  • Like 10
  • Craftsmanship/clever 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Spraying the structure white was not a problem - but when it comes to fine details I get into trouble. the transition from red to white is not as crisp as I want it … 


The signal stands now on a disc of ply, the idea is that it is easy to cut a round hole into the layout board using a hole saw. So the signal together with its servo will slip into the hole and will be fixed with two small screws from below. 


48079950106_b0278ae903_k.jpg20190617_160927 (2) 


48080049742_49507288c3_k.jpg20190617_160947 (2) 


As I thought, the wire for the LED is hardly visible. The glass in the picture looks pretty blue. It looked green when it was on the desk.... 





  • Like 9
  • Craftsmanship/clever 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

Before I go on with the signals I need to build them.... so I make a short brake and look at buildings. 

A station needs a signal box. I looked into the design of the area we are modelling and found a design at Lcut creative which would match our needs. Colouring is based on a signal box at Cromer. 

The Lcut kit went together very well, with the odd problem of the stairs - which for my taste were too far apart. I have written about that earlier - see here 


The reader may forgive me as I show some photos twice... 

See here the finished model. I tried to give my best with the painting. most of it is spray painted (airbrush) using acrylics. I painted the walls inside and outside, as this scale is the right one for some nice details. I also spray painted the window frames before gluing them into their position. The structure of the building is quite strong, but as I always do I reinforced the corners of the basement with square balsa profiles



I made the roof removable and added some lights (with a mini connector, made from old IC sockets, to allow separating the roof). The floor is not original, I used some 0.8mm ply (from my model aeroplane box) and engraved the floorboard structure into the wood. 

With some light dye the effect is reasonable. The lever frame and furniture is from Severn models (etched brass) . Not really cheap but very nice. 




On the next picture you see the stairs after modification. Originally only every second step was there. Now the distance between single steps is on the lower end, but still much more realistic then before




On these pictures you see the finials as they came with the kit - they are laser cut card. Lcut sent me some 3d printed finials, but the material was rather brittle, so I broke both when I tried to fix them to the roof. As the holes were already made I had to go for another solution. I made them on the lathe from aluminium. They will not easily brake... Picture of finials will follow - model is in the club room. 


So this was the first building made for the layout, and then we had long discussions how to go on. We need access to the platform, there is not much space for a footbridge. Looking into the literature we found a station building which may fit for our layout. This station building is far away from were our little layout should be found, we looked for the Great Central line at Brackley. This building is on a slope, access from the road is into the first floor, and from there a footbridge leads to the platform. This station has also another advantage - the building is still existing... So I grabbed my friend Stephen by the hand for a field trip bringing the proper camera and a measurement stick.  But more about that later. 




Edited by Vecchio
forgot a photo...
  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

As I said a picture of the aluminium finials - they will survive the building I suppose... 




And now to the station building. As said before, it is a strange building with the ground floor at platform level and the first floor at street level. Have a side view which explains it. 


DSC_0262 small.JPG


I also show you a rear view, there is a nasty extension on the left hand side wich I will not model. The beige wall in the first floor with the white facia board on the right of the picture is where once the footbridge was connected



DSC_0267 rear small.JPG




Finally a picture from the street level, showing one of the particular windows. Here you find also my "measuring stick" , 1m long, every 10 cm black painted. This helps a lot if it comes to photos and dimensions. Of course I use also the brick counting method, but where you have access the stick is easier. 

Windows small.JPG

Edited by Vecchio
moving photos
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

And this is what I think the rear view of the building was before the extension has been put on. Took me 2 days to draw this (mainly because of brick counting....  there is a fence and no direct access to the building) 

And there are still mistakes in the drawing... I am sure you can play "spot 5 errors" with this. I can see 4 immediately...




rear view scale.jpg

Edited by Vecchio
I see already 4 errors.... :-(
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Theses windows gave me a bit of headscratching - even I am quite fit in using my tools from saw to mill it is almost impossible to get something neat even in 7mm scale. So the idea was born to look for laser cut windows. The idea was discussed also at our club (as they had to pay for it....) and I got the green light to go ahead. 


By the way now you know also why I draw the whole building in cad. Actually it is made with QCAD - as the drawing format from this software works direct with the laser cutting companies software. So - how to find a company? Easy. read a bit in the forums and you will find the user BrushType4 who runs also a company doing laser cut services. The company is called Intentio. Prices are reasonable and Phil helped me to remove duplicate lines from the design (those are tricky as you do not see them at your drawing, but the laser would go over the same line several times and ruin it...) 

The outcome is this: 




I made every window from 2 parts, they are glued together and the larger, inner part gives me also an edge to allow gluing them into place. The "glass" will be glued on the inner part of the window.


As the original frames were all white I glued the frames together and gave them 5 light coatings of rattle can car filler. The result looks like this: 




So, the windows are perfect now, we just need a building. And I need to select a material. I had a complete sheet of 6mm light ply (poplar) spare which I use for this job. I love this material, it is much easier to work with than standard ply and stays reasonable straight. I just printed the drawings of the station in 1:1 scale on a paper and glued the paper to the ply. 




And you see already, the good old B&Q scroll saw comes into action. 




I put some effort into the openings for the windows, they are all made so accurate that I can put the window frames into the holes and they fit so well that they will not fall out.


The building is brick, so I use a few slaters 7mm brick sheets to cover the wood. As a glue I use 5 min epoxy. Of course you need to sand the back of the brick sheets with a coarse paper to take the glue well. In the area around the windows I put single bricks (cut from scraps from the sheets) on. This is a job which needs a bit of patience. But I am happy with the result. The next picture shows the progress until today.




Of course the bricks need painting but this comes in a later stage. Another view - a bit closer. Window sills are still missing, but Rome wasn't built in a day. 




That's it for today, now I am off to the club to show the progress to the other club members. 

  • Like 8
  • Craftsmanship/clever 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

A little progress made. The footbridge to the platform sits on a square brick construction, so I was going to put something similar together. 


I found an old photo in the internet (sorry I have no copyright info about it), which shows the station and the footbridge quite well.


48749863617_c03133ac84_b.jpgbrackley station old 2 


Starting with the structure, poplar ply 3mm. 




I have to cover everything with bricks, quite a fiddly job. 




And this is what it looks like now. As I am working on the building I took out the precious windows, not to rouin or stain them by accident. 


48749670491_0afbb46ac4_k.jpg20190917_160359 (2) 


Finally a side view, and that's it for today. 



  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...
  • 1 month later...

Now it is already March, and covid 19 makes us all kind of headaches. Business is running low so some time to go ahead with my models.


Any news at Frimingham? well the station saw some progress, a footbridge has been started. 






Made also the roof in the meantime, will make a photo later. 

Also on the signal front I am working. This time I attack a LNER ground signal. It is a kit from MSE, so it should be straight forward. Well, I want light in the thing, and the kit doesn't do it. So I looked at the lantern - drilled out the top and the lenses. For the lenses I used 5mm LED's, I turned down the front part to 2mm and pressed it into the drilled holes. The actual light is a tiny SMD led, about 1.3mm by 1.1mm. I use in average 3 until I have the wires soldered to it (those beasts jump away from the tweezers... :P). The original axle is 1mm in diameter, I replace it with a 1.5mm brass tube, which is wide enough to take the enamelled wires.  


Here you see one lantern with the hole for the LED and next to it another one, already with the LED inside, and the top of the lantern replaced by a brass part I made on the lathe. 

49673185862_1fa9ae39da_b.jpg20200318_141818 by Gerhard Novak, on Flickr 


The signal is a pole mounted type - so we need a pole... 

Found a 5mm square brass bar which was a cut-off from an overhead pole I produced for Donnersbachkogel. 

I checked with another type of ground signal and decided to make the pole 14mm high. 


Here you see the 2 poles, they will actually hold the signal as I gave them some M3 thread to do so. One of the white metal parts I have already drilled all holes and soldered it to the pole. 



And here the whole thing assembled. On this picture the green lens is clearly visible. 



Next step will be a baseplate which also holds the servo.

















Edited by Vecchio
spelling... :-(
  • Like 6
  • Agree 1
  • Craftsmanship/clever 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Some fiddly work - but finally the first one is ready. 


Have a look at the "green" side



and now the "red" side



and a quick movement shot. You need to click on the photo to get to the video.



So far so good, the signals twin is almost ready, but there are 2 different ground signals and 3 home signals waiting for me. Well - all restaurants and pubs closed, reduced public transport, so the best we can do is making models :)

Edited by Vecchio
  • Like 4
  • Craftsmanship/clever 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Well my wife had some DIY ideas and also there was some work for me (thanks god) so the progress is limited. Anyway. I finished the second ground signal, and as it was so nice a few more photos. 

To give you an idea how I make the lantern work - see here a lens, made from a 5mm LED. 



Now both lenses are in. #



And this is the SMD LED I am using. You don't see it? It is between one and pound....



A test run before I glue it in position. 



My next candidate is a wooden pole home signal. I already prepared the pole, the arm and some smaller parts like the lantern holder - when I came to the lantern. Like on the ground signal the lantern is a white metal casting. I tried my usual trick to drill out from the bottom and through the lens. But this time I got some stupid piece of casting. Must have cooled down too fast. there are zones where it is rock hard, so the drill bit went somewhere, but not where it should go. 



as I don't like dodgy lanterns (the second hole is even worse then the one on the photo) I decided to make a new lantern. This time out of brass.

First step is to turn down the body.



The lens cover is an extra part, soldered to the body. Sorry not totally in focus.



And finally a view from the bottom. 



Now I can go on as planned. More to follow later. 




  • Like 4
  • Craftsmanship/clever 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Well - should be. Took me 2 hours to make it... :)


In the meantime I went on with the build. First a quick mockup after fixing the lantern holder and the counterweight. The position of the lantern is as I like it...




Then I did my usual trick with the LED. Unfortunately I fried the first one. No problem, I have 20... 

Now it looks like this




and from the side



Of course there will be also a lens in the lantern. I decided for a yellow one. The spectacle glass is quite green-blue so a yellow lens will help to make it green. After that everything will be dismantled and the primer goes on it. 

Edited by Vecchio
  • Like 4
  • Craftsmanship/clever 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Well - it didn't go that fast as I had to make the ladder and the servo holder. The servo holder is just made from 3 pieces of ply, glued together, and screwed and glued to the base plate.  I put a small tube into the baseplate, which serves as a guide for the servo wire as well as it is the conductor for my lantern. Therefore a small piece of wire is soldered from the tube to the PCB, which I use as a terminal for the wires at the layout. the resistor (30kOhm, as I do not want it too shiny, is hidden under the shrink tube. 




and a second view


49728139447_fc0feb1dab_z.jpg20200402_153434 by Gerhard Novak, on Flickr


Now the whole thing is put together - including ladder and finial. The ladder is a bit of a pain, the safety ring (for the signal man to light and refill the lantern) jumped away and was never found. Of course I searched, also I hoovered the workshop this morning, so it should be easy to find. Probably it jumped rather far away as the brass is quite springy. After I lost my patience I took a bit of scrap sheet and used this instead. 




Now you can see that I keep things if they are good - the old vice has seen several removals and has actually been made before the German unification... 


And finally with a bit of white primer. Enough for today. 



  • Like 5
  • Craftsmanship/clever 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Finally some painting (not so difficult, only black and red) and fixing the spectacle lenses. I start with testing the servo. This is a video - if you click on the picture it gets you there. Unfortunately the background is a bit reflective (Z21 box...)



And here is the final front view



and the rear view. 

49731475357_1ff9d69d8f_z.jpg20200403_161021 by Gerhard Novak, on Flickr


  • Like 3
  • Craftsmanship/clever 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

And a few more are in the pipeline. 2 ground signals and 2 lattice post home signals. In one case a ground signal and a home signal go together.






Now with some primer on. 




And this comes out when a dyslexic person paints in the evening after a small scotch...



And off with the paint. Re-sprayed it, painted it, not happy. The red paint didn't flow well and made lines and stripes. probably too old. 

So: strip it again... spray it again...  I even made an additional arm for paint testing...

49770399857_832fd88f5e_z.jpg20200413_173314 by Gerhard Novak, on Flickr


While the paint is drying a look at the servo holder. As all my signals it should be serviceable from above. Means the signal goes in the layout from the top and can also be taken out if something is wrong. I experimented with a round platform before, but in many cases there is not enough space. So I went oblong. How to cut that precisely open? One of the multitools is the answer. I have one from Parkside (yes, Lidl, but it works a treat for little money) and I invested in 10 and 20mm wide blades. So the servos, cables and wires are not allowed to stick out otherwise installation is not possible. 


Here the solution for the double signal. The ground signal is already connected to one of the servos. The home signal is still waiting for a proper painted arm...



In the second view you see the light connections for the signals, there is a 30kOhm resistor for each LED on the little PCB. 



Back to the paint. I think I like red. I found 4 tins of red, I threw the one I had problems with in the bin and used what looked at the newest one...



And finally painted. Not perfect but better than nothing...


Enough for today. 



  • Like 5
  • Craftsmanship/clever 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

So whats new?


I finished all signal kits I had and put them on a test rack. 




anything else? Well I made a dust cover for the mimic board.




Problem is the mimic board is at the club and I have no access. But as I am using exactly the same size as for my home layout it was not a problem to make one. and of course I made a second one. 




here is the one for my own layout. 


  • Like 3
  • Craftsmanship/clever 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

After this sidestep into the world of fabric and naughty sewing machines back to the station building. There is some progress. Windows are all glazed now and glued into their position. Also a little more work on the footbridge took place. 



I also closed the rear of the low relief model, but in a way to have access later should we have the idea to put something in it. 

If the reader thinks it is wonky, well the roof is not 100% straight and level... :mellow:


  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 11 months later...
Posted (edited)

Well - more to come - this was a long time ago. Almost a year. In the meantime I finished the station, I cannot believe that I didn't take a single photo. I must have deleted them.

And I make a mistake - The building is in the club room. So next photo 17th of May 2021...


Hattons recently had a pre-owned loco I was interested in, and so another piece of rolling stock will be added to Frimingham.

Its a Dapol 58xx, and when it arrived I could see that this loco never run and is in absolute mint conditions. Well it will run in the future...




The cab is nicely detailed, and the cab roof is held by 2 magnets, so no excuse not to have a crew. Of course this loco never saw the alps, but this is my quick photo shot background for new entries....




I found some figures in my 0-scale box, but they need painting (or re-painting as the painting they have is too basic and not well done to say something nice). So some evening job for the near future.


The decoder is ordered, there shoud be space on their board which is accessible through the smoke chamber door. I didn't order a stay alive, I am sure I find some suitable capacitors in my selection and some space for them. As it is 0-scale it will run fine anyway, but I try to put one in into every sound fitted engine. I hate re-starting diesels ...


Next are the lamps, of course I could order some working ones from DCC concepts, but I have some pre-wired leds which will do the job. I am sure I also have some 3D printed lamps but so far I couldn't find them. Anyway, a sqare piece of brass and a bit of patience on the lathe will do as well.


I will also change the 3-link couplings to Kadee's, I know some 0-scale enthusiasts will scream in pain now, but I have Kadee's on all my 0-scale rolling stock, and they work perfect.

Edited by Vecchio
spelling as usual...
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Lucky me, I found these in my not very organised drawer...



Even I made a quick drawing of a brass version and even found useable material, it will be better to use the ready made ones. They are white metal, painted without removing the flush first. (Why do people do that?) But even with removing the flush and re-painting I am faster than making it from scratch. It will need a little surgery, taking off the lens, and drilling holes for the LED and the cable.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

And a little bit further. The surgery has been done, drilled 2.0mm almost through after removing the lens, drilled 2.5mm from the bottom until the holes meet. Lens glued back in, made some electrical insulation on the rear of the LEDs by a drop of epoxy glue, after this was set I glued the LEDs into the bottom hole and made a short test to see if the positioning is right.




last step: (of course after the glue has properly set) was painting. And I have to say the paint job wasn't great, this is what you see under magnification of the photo...


51143586519_30360c04b6_b.jpg20210427_204056 (2)


Enough for today. Next job is putting the lights into the loco, but I would like to do that only after the decoder has arrived. Anyway, I can paint the crew in the meantime...


Edited by Vecchio
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

The decoder arrived the following day but I was busy for the rest of the week. The hobby needs also to be financed...

So the job is now to prepare the connections for the light. I soldered the wires to the Dapol board which takes the decoder.

Even it looks small, it is comfortable and large in comparison to a next 18 connector...




The decoder can now be connected




There is enough space below the decoder to add 2x1000uF capacitors. There would be more space next to the motor, but then even more wires need to be "tamed". 2000uF should be enough, the loco is heavy and will not need a lot of help.




The rear lamp goes into position




and the front lamp




I went for a centre top position (passenger train).


Finally - after making the leads for the rear lamp longer - the whole thing goes together again.




And this is where I stop for today.

No - not really, there is now also a crew.


We have a fireman



and a driver



As this is an ex GWR loco the driver stands on the right hand side, which is also where the regulator and the reverser are on this loco.

Edited by Vecchio
wrong photo...
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...