Model Signal Engineering
4mm Steel Tube LMS/BR ‘Home’ Signal
In the early 1930’s the LMS was finding good quality timber for signal construction expensive and difficult to source. One of the alternatives chosen was steel tube, this subsequently became very common, lasting into BR days as a standard design and beyond, with some examples still in use today. There have been few ready to use signals available to modellers, those that have been available have tended to be very basic models, arguably toys, or expensive hand built bespoke signals. Model Signal Engineering (MSE) will be known to some readers as providers of scale signal components allowing a modeller to build individual signals, just like the real railway. Using those same scale components MSE has entered the market with ready to use signals. Their range is starting with four prototype signals, two in 4mm scale and two in 7mm scale, so, what do you get for your money?
The first signal released in this new range features an all metal construction working LMS/BR standard 20ft single post home signal in 4mm scale. The initial impressions are very favourable. Using etched components for the ladder stays, ladder, safety loop (ladder bow), signal arm and balance levers, the model captures the delicate structure of this simple signal.
The signal is self supporting, the tube and ladder being fixed to the base giving extra rigidity. The balance lever and signal arm are connected by 0.3mm brass wire which allows a smooth movement from the ‘ON’ to ‘OFF’ positions. The operating wire has a mid-point fixing on the tube behind the diamond plate helping keep the wire taught. There is enough resistance in the wire movement allowing the signal arm to stay at any position, this proving useful for those who wish to use them as static models. The cranks at the base of the tube for connecting cabling are featured, however they are cosmetic being fixed in position. The fixing of an operating mechanism is left to the purchaser to decide, the end of the balance lever being drilled for a 0.3mm actuating wire to the mechanism of choice. MSE can provide advice and electrical or manual solutions to operate and install the signals.
This signal has a Rule 55 exemption diamond plate fitted to the front of the pole. This indicates to a train crew that the trains position at the signal is automatically protected by track circuiting. The diamond is at the correct height of 12ft, for the majority of installations, the painted black band surrounding it also conforming to LMS/BR specifications
Painting follows LMS/BR Midland region practice, and the signal has an acceptable satin finish to it. The arm has clear spectacle plates and these are coloured with red and blue lenses as appropriate. Signal faces are clearly decorated with sharp, clean colour breaks between the red and white, this is repeated on the rear of the signal in white and black. The post is in white with the ladder and its stays in black. The base is a matt middle grey colour with a large enough footprint to help installation and integration into the layout scenery.
So is it value for money? At first glance the price may seem high, but using high quality components, hand built, its a good model for the price of a ready to run coach. The type chosen is a common signal and is suitable for the LMS from the 1930’s through British Rail, and up to the present day. Undoubtedly yes, and with one of Dapols freshly arrived signals on the workbench, they’ll make an interesting comparison.
The initial range is as follows
S4MH1 4mm Scale LMS/BR(M) Tubular Post Home Signal
S4SH1 4mm Scale SR 27ft Lattice Post Home Signal
S7MH1 7mm Scale LMS/BR(M) Tubular Post Home Signal
S7WH1 7mm Scale GWR 20ft Wooden Post Lower Quadrant Home Signal