Brutal Sunday

Ratio 554 ARP Signal Box

Well it’s a Sunday, and this is brutal. I’m putting together Ratio’s ARP signal box kit, and it’s brutal! Not the kit as such, though there are some ‘clunky’ elements to it, but the core prototype design, as a building it’s savage!

Ratio 554 ARP components

Just looking at the components hammers home the functionality of the prototype design. King Charles III, previously known as The Prince of Wales, referred to a proposal for the National Gallery as ‘What is proposed is like a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much loved and elegant friend’. And that was for a sympathetic, allegedly, makeover of the National Gallery.

Peco LK-201 Highland Signal Box

The previous signal box I built was the Peco Highland Signal box above, a lovely laser cut wooden box with plenty of natural charm.

When you place the two next to one another, you can see the pure utilitarian function of the ARP box, and whilst not a change to an existing building as the National Gallery proposal was, it’s hard not to perhaps consider these as carbuncles of signal box design!

Ratio 554 ARP Signal Box

It’s clear from the kit that Ratio have done two things, designed a simple kit to assemble, and used the utilitarian nature of the ARP design to reduce the number of components. The frustration of this kit for me is the windows, and in particular the framework. It’s way too thick. There’s some good illustrations here of ARP design signal boxes, and it’s easy to see the difference between the kit windows and the prototype. Clearly being able to mould the walks and windows as one piece is a good cost saver for Ratio, but is has compromised the authenticity and look of the model.

As you can see from the image above I’ve taken a brave pill and removed the framing, and will subsequently work a way to replace the frames with a finer looking framework. It’s a sort of modification that would suit an etched replacement really well. The other element which let’s the model down is the signal box name boards. Both are integral mouldings on the end walls, thus meaning removal for longer or shorter location names. The chimney position looks odd too being at the front of the box rather than at the back. That’s something I’ll look at prior to final fix.

Ratio 554 EP model

What is provided matches the engineering prototype really well, see above and as mentioned it’s a simple kit, seven components make up the core structure, and a further twenty or so complete it! Having been critical of a couple of areas, it’s worth mentioning that the overall capture is excellent, and the brickwork renditioning is second to none. This one will repay careful painting in due course.

Because this is a man cave build, I’ve obviously not followed the instructions. This is because the new windows will need quite a bit of fettling to get them right. And subtly changing the build sequence will accommodate that.

Putting this together in a way to gauge the volume and suitability for Shelfie 3, I’m struck by the physical size of this box, it’s actually quite a large structure.

So that’s the core structure loosely assembled and in less than an hour. The whole kit (unmodified), I reckon would be an evenings work, plus painting time, for a beginner, that’s a good start!

My hope is that taking inspiration from the likes of Geoff Taylor, and Geoff Kent with their undoubted abilities to capture all sorts of architecture, I might get a far better looking signal box at end of play. Microstrip and Limonene, game on!

This entry was posted in Airfix, architecture, Bachmann, blog, British Rail, Brutal, critic, Great Western, gwr, history, HO, ho scale, Hornby, Industrial, King Charles, King Charles III, Layout, layout design, LMS, LNER, man cave, model, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Modelling, n gauge, new release, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, peco, planning, Prince Charles, railway, Ratio, review, scale modelling, Scottish Region, shelfie, shelfie3, signal, signal box, signalling, Southern, toy train, Uncategorized, world war two. Bookmark the permalink.

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