I’m making no apologies for diving straight in to look at Geoff Forsters Off the beaten track blog for the motivation on this one Ground Frame Day and Levers and Rods. Recently Shelfie2 was visited for photos for a magazine to coincide, (ideally) with a future exhibition appearance. As part of that process I wanted to get the final overall details sorted. Knowing Geoff had recently been working on a similar ground frame requirement, I took a few minutes to read his work on the above links, for a bit of a heads up on what’s needed to capture the look effectively.
Like Geoff, I too cannot recommend highly enough Laurie Adam’s book on point rodding and signal wires.
What is one of the fascinating things about this book is that it’s written in an engaging manner, so what you’d imagine could be highly technical and potentially dull reading, is actually made really accessible.
From an earlier signal box magazine review project, I had the balance of the Severn Models detail etch remaining for the internal fittings. Looking at reference pictures in books in my library, I figured that I’d be able to use the etches to make the lever frame and the capture the look of a simple external uncovered ground frame.
Simple point throw levers were added to those switches where there was no requirement for any extended rodding. These are simple two part etchings from MSE, and after painting added to the track adjacent to the tie bars.
The point levers for the detail etch are intended to be used as single pieces. Inside a building this works, but both the reference images and Geoff’s modelling indicated that they’d look far better with some mass to them.
The key to this is starting with clean etched, to allow you to ‘tin’ one side of each pair of etches.
Positioning them carefully apply heat so the solder forms the filling of the sandwich, this melts binding them together.
Once the levers are assembled clean them up using a very fine file, this will give them clean faces and that look of a single casting or forging of the real thing. Next stage is the base of the lever frame. Using a small diameter rigid rod, gently roll the base of the lever frame to form a curve. The ratchets are on the outer face.
The levers are then threaded through the base frame and soldered in place.
Just tack them in place, too much heat could distort some of the etches.
Having completed this section I sat back admired my work and thought something isn’t right, and it took a while for the penny to drop. I’d modelled both levers in the pulled position. Nothing wrong as such with that, but it just looked odd, so I resoldered them in the static normal resting position.
Whilst doing this I added the actuation rods on the front of the lever from 0.3mm wire, with the bulk of the lever accentuated by sandwiching the etches, this form mushed them nicely. I’d also fixed them too far forwards, and subsequently resoldered them correctly. This is where tack soldering them has real benefits in making an easy adjustment.
The stand the levers were to go on was made from a few scraps of plasticard. Using a 4mm figure helped in getting the footprint the right size, and further sections of plasticard added to make the wooden structure the ground frame sits in.
The whole ground frame would set back into the base of the embankment so a small section of the scenery was removed to facilitate this.
Using Wizard models components the actuators for the rodding were built. You can get a good feel from Laurie’s book on which components you’ll need to make the rod runs effective.
The actuators were fixed to a section of planking directly in front of of the lever frame. One rod faces onto a point directly in front, and the other requires a run of rodding to be added.
I’m actually in two minds as to whether I will add the single point run rods. The section they pass along has heavy weeds and undergrowth depicted, so it’s not actually visible, it’s also view blocked for the greater part of its length.
More Monday motivation required for the rods then!
Signalling details including point rodding and their stands are available from the following quality suppliers.