Jackson's Miniatures Signal Cabin - 10 years on...

Clive Tucker

Clive Tucker

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Hi all, as part of the on-going journey that is the resurrection of my line, I am encountering little individual 'project-lets' to amuse, not to say confound me. Just such a thing occurred yesterday when, rummaging through the undergrowth, I uncovered a Jackson's Miniatures signal cabin that I made back in February 2008. If I recall correctly, the kit was sent to me as a gift from Mr Ian Sharples, and very well received it was too. For those who have not heard of them, these are a very good range of building kits, typically formed from pieces of pre-cut MDF and optionally supplied with plastic windows and doors as appropriate.

This is how mine looked once built:



The roof covering is a couple of pieces from an off-cut of roofing felt.

All very nice, however the one thing these kits almost challenge you to do is to embellish them with whatever takes your fancy - embossed plasticard sheeting, coffee stirrers - added to which of course the possibilities for internal detailing - given the number of windows in the thing, it would almost be rude not to:





The interior cladding is coffee stirrers, the exterior cladding is strips of veneer in a kind of ship-lap arrangement with the corners reinforced with yet more coffee stirrers.

I then went ahead and added some battery powered LED lighting in the roof space:



In an attempt to keep the MDF off the ground, I made a plinth from Milliput, and scribed it to look like brickwork:



The interior floor was fashioned from ice-lolly sticks, while the other internal detail was a white-metal kit from Back 2 Bay 6. Of course I was unable to resist the chance to put a signalman figure in position:





A final lick of paint and some guttering, and it was more or less good to go:





In 2011 I added a station name board to the front of the cabin, which was showing a kind of 'lived-in' look and missing a few accoutrements but otherwise was holding up well in the face of our wonderful weather:



So, how did it fare in the subsequent 7 years?

Here's how:







The felt has more or less completely rotted and hanging on for grim death; the roof is badly warped possibly as a result of the felt failing the way it did. Aside from that, obviously a bit of a clean-up required to see what other damage it sustained:







The floor is completely rotted away, and some of the MDF adjacent to the doorway has swollen and distored a little, but I'm actually amazed at how well it stood up to 10 solid years of being out in all weathers! I need to look at it more closely to see what if anything of the original I can salvage, but at least I have an interior detailing kit and a figure that will go into the next incarnation of it!
 
G-force1

G-force1

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I like Jacksons kits. They are good (easy and enjoyable) to build and lend themselves nicely to modification if one is so inclined.

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This is a Welshpool Signal Box and severely modified Raven Square. At that stage they still required a little refinement. Two years later all the ABS skins had disintegrated with the sun and they now await (long) complete rebuilds. Not even the platform has survived our weather. It pays to coat the MDF with diluted PVA. At least a couple of coats and don't forget any holes that you drill, treat them as well. Excellent idea Clive to mount them on something to keep them off any surface that will hold water. For mine, I knocked panel pins in vertically, as short legs, and let the facings come below. That was fine for a while, and allowed adjustment to get the building level (my platform wasn't a flatform:giggle:) and alright 'til the pins rusted.
 
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Gizzy

Gizzy

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I had a Jacksons station on my last layout, which I won in a competition on the old GSM forum.

I painted it as per the instructions, and covered the roof with fibreglass and then strips of felt cut to resemble tiles (an idea I stole from Mel YB281). It can be seen in the photo below.

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I later brought a signal box. I also brought some Jacksons windows to make a low relief building for another station, using Corex board.

They lasted quite well but I had to dispose of them though when I had to take up the old layout before moving house. They had deteriorated but lasted 10 years.

I have one of their engine sheds which I've never built, but as I have a Pola one now, I doubt I'll ever use it....
 
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dunnyrail

dunnyrail

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To my mind the box has survived better than I would have expected being MDF with lots of lolly sticks, though lolly sticks are more robust than we sometimes give them credit for. I reckon a refurb to try to keep the distressed look as far as possible would work well. Perhaps the Jones method of slightly burning a new floor then painting with thinned external pva would be very long lasting if done both sides. The inside wood sticks could be just painted both sides with pva and you would almost be ready to go. Lead sheet for the roof will last forever.
 
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400Parker

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I've only just caught up with this thread. Good to see your signal cabin again Clive. We still use your images on our web site. Like the real thing, these buildings needed a bit of maintenance over time, so congratulations on yours making 10 years. It was obviously well constructed in the first place. We still sell the signal cabin/lineside building as a 'plan pack' (plan plus doors and windows - cut out your own material) but the demand for our building kits tailed off so much that we couldn't give them away! Our final offering was a signal box using 'foamed PVC' instead of moisture proof mdf. Totally waterproof and easier to construct but much more expensive to produce so I guess the price put people off. We have a few left. I used one on my railway. Glad to see people still like our building kits. Our doors and windows are still very popular with scratch builders.
Steve


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Paulus

Paulus

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Next time, place a little broom in it, so the signalman can make himself useful a bit ;-)

Sorry for the late reaction, just tuned in after 7 years...
I remember this signal box from (yet inactive) Continental Garden Trains forum, am I correct?
It did held up good for a MDF building indeed.
 
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Paul M

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I've only just caught up with this thread. Good to see your signal cabin again Clive. We still use your images on our web site. Like the real thing, these buildings needed a bit of maintenance over time, so congratulations on yours making 10 years. It was obviously well constructed in the first place. We still sell the signal cabin/lineside building as a 'plan pack' (plan plus doors and windows - cut out your own material) but the demand for our building kits tailed off so much that we couldn't give them away! Our final offering was a signal box using 'foamed PVC' instead of moisture proof mdf. Totally waterproof and easier to construct but much more expensive to produce so I guess the price put people off. We have a few left. I used one on my railway. Glad to see people still like our building kits. Our doors and windows are still very popular with scratch builders.
Steve


View attachment 243664
Steve, another one picking up this thread late! Any information about the plan packs? A Web site or something, (or is that against the forum's ethics?)
 
Gizzy

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Paul M

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Bill Barnwell

Bill Barnwell

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I found a solar pathway light shaped very much like a elevated switch tower, I added some styrene panels and styrene strips, paint it's been out side for about a year and 1 half and still doing great and still lights every night for about 5 hours, less that $25.00 in it plus a little time
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