I’ve had little to post about recently so have refrained from taking up precious bandwidth blathering about not much at all. However this I morning applied the final touches to a couple of Kerian Ryan Models semaphore signals which means I do finally have something worth writing about.
These brass and nickle silver kits come as a set of etches with a few small detail parts that appear to be cast in white metal. I was handed a couple by a friend quite a while ago who asked me to complete them for him. He’d already made a start on them but it took me quite a while to get around to working on them. The reason for this delay is that I tend to work on the models I need for the layout and signals tend to be well down the list of “needed” models. However since operations started on Morpeth I’ve decided to signal Queens Wharf as a test to see if I can institute a way of controlling train movements on the rest of the layout. I’m not sure I’ll be able to signal the entire layout in a prototypical fashion as the cost and time this would take would be prohibitive.
I sat with Ray Pilgrim who writes the Bylong blog and has a company called Signals Branch at a Forum not too long back and he counted the number of signals I’d need. He reached 17 signals and that didn’t include everything such as ground signals and signalling the entry to storage. I staggered away clutching my chest 🙂 I purchased one of his bracket signals online and this came in at well over $180 delivered and that was well before the Aussie dollar crashed through the floor this past fortnight. Signalling the whole layout might have to wait a little while but I’m going to run a few tests with the signals I have in hand, including the one I’ve been building along side the ones handed to me by my friend. More on that later but be warned: modellers who enjoy and know a great deal about signals and signalling will not like what I have planned. My suggestion would be turn away if you fall into this category and see any upcoming posts that have the word “signal” in the title. I will not care that what I’m doing isn’t exactly to prototype so don’t bother telling me so. You have been warned 🙂
The construction of the signals was relatively straightforward but I would not recommend this kit to anyone who isn’t experienced with a soldering iron. The kit is highly detailed, in fact I feel it’s over detailed. Working with such small detail parts might make you eel good but it can also be a one way trip to insanity and sore knees as you crawl around under the workbench trying to find something you’ve dropped. And we all drop things, don’t pretend otherwise! 🙂
I was making two of the signals operational and one that would be restricted to a static display model and I’ll be honest and say I departed quite significantly from the instructions. I cannot see the point of applying detail that no one will see, which isn’t robust (in my opinion) enough to stand up to the rigors of surviving on an operational layout or will be lost under a layer of solder, glue or paint or a combination of all three. I’m an experienced modeller with a lot of soldering, gluing and painting experience under my belt and I consider myself quite neat. In spite of this some of the detail was still lost from view. Don’t tell Keiran but I didn’t apply most of the really fiddly bits 🙂
Having said that the kits make up into an accurate and very pleasing NSWGR home signal and two of the ones I made operate and have LED lighting. I applied the coloured lenses this morning and while I’m quite happy with the red I feel the blue plastic is a bit too dark, significantly masking the LED. Also the colour of the lens appears to be shaded to provide a green light when the LED has a yellowish tinge, however the LEDs supplied with the kit are very white so the dim light showing through the lens remains very blue to my eye. This isn’t a huge issue as the semaphore arm will be the primary means of communication to drivers however if I build any more of these kits I’ll probably swap out the supplied blue lens with a small piece of green cellophane. The detail parts supplied with the kit are really quite beautiful and had very little flash and really look the part. Making the signal operate was only a small amount of extra work over building the model static and I really can’t see why you’d bother building such a kit unless you were going to place it in an operational form on a layout.