Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Making My Point

So, unbelievably, here it is. My very first EM gauge point. The last point I made was in OO9 with copperclad sleepers and was a million miles away from this. Oh yes, and my eyesight was better in those days.

OK it looks untidy and I know there are a host of faults with it and a few things that I need to finish of but overall I'm quite proud of myself.

Underneath there somewhere is a C+L kit on a TimberTracks base, though built on a template from TRAX

I've learned an awful lot in building it, and discovered that some things I thought were going to be really difficult just fell into place. The real difficulties I faced have all got solutions. The one big question mark I have is around the tiebars. I didn't use the C+L versions  because they aren't right for the TVR and at the moment I just have a piece of copperclad doing the job. I have a practical answer to how to make a functional below baseboard tiebar involving the usual mix of dressmakers pin, tubing and fibreglass strip but it would be nice to have an option to build a surface mounted version that approximated to the GWR pattern

Since I'm writing this on Xmas day whilst the rest of the family watch Downton the finishing touches and the next round of thinking will have to wait for another time. I promise I will spill the beans (or superglue) on some of the things that I got wrong.

Big thanks are due  to Geoff for giving me the encouragement and practical advice to get started.


  1. That looks very good for a first effort or a second or third. I'm using SMP copper clad since returning to the hobby because that is what I know and it is cheap and easy to fix foul ups. I do fancy trying C & L products though.

    As for the eyesight thing I've got a helping hand with magnifier and light as well as a Modelcraft / Lightcraft headband magnifier with 4 lenses. The latter is about £15 from Amazon and a real help. Both in their own way really help with all sorts of fine modelling tasks.

  2. Hi Kane,

    The fear of not being able to fix foul ups with the C+L system gave me pause for thought. In reality though you can fix most of them (certainly using ply sleepers) by either flooding with more butane or by cutting off misplaced chairs and either flexing on a new one or cutting one into halves. You also get quite a bit of adjustment time. Speed is an issue though, I'm sure I could have built four decent copperclad points in the time it took to build this although things improved one I abandoned the C+L instructions.

    I use an optivisor for detail work but that lighcraft version looks a better option with the on board LED. I'm sure varifocals are part of my problem, especially when working at certain angles.

    1. Hi James

      The issue of having enough light is a real biggie for me. My 'Man Cave' is in our fourth bedroom, which is an attic conversion, with Velux rooflights. Fine in summer but the people who installed it only fitted one ceiling light unit. I have installed a multi spot setup but that really isn't enough for the space. Ironically my 'helping hand' with the built in light is the best aid. The lens is fairly crude yet I can position it's useable area, which is quite small, over the key area I am working on and the built in light works a treat. I still recommend the Lightcraft though as I use it whilst wearing reading specs, which is good as my close vision is shot to bits.

      The only issue is that it magnifies the rudimentary nature of some of my filing and other work to a cringeworthy degree.

      However when I look at mega close ups of the work of far more skilled modellers I wee all sorts of flaws not visible to the normal eye.

      It is good to know that there is room for recovery in C & L point construction and in my limited experience I have to agree with Geoff when he says that developing one's own system of workflow is really important.

      Not that my modelling is a patch on his mind you.

      Keep the faith.


    2. Unfortunately the only decent light from the window in my study rarely reaches as far as the workbench. I will invest in daylight bulbs at some point.

  3. Hello James,

    I am very pleased that everything turned out so well for you, a lot of would be track builders talk themselves out of the task but you have stuck with it and have been rewarded. You will find that your next point will be easier to build and the one after that easier still as you fine tune your construction methods and gain confidence. I think the instructions in the EMGS manual by Douglas Smith are very good but the best method is the one you find the easiest for yourself.

    Tie bars are a tricky subject and to be honest I prefer reliability over scale appearance which is why I stick to using thin fibre strip with pins for pivots, if it's good enough for the likes of Norman Solomon then it will do for me but there is no harm in looking for a neater and more realistic method.

  4. Geoff,

    Yes it really is very easy to talk yourself out of it! My next couple of posts will cover trying to find a way that hopefully will work for me in future.

    The EMGS manual is really worth its weight in gold to someone like me, and provides that missing link between the mainstream press and MRJ.

    Tiebars were the subject of my conversation with Norman at Warley this year and I've got a supply of fibre and pins. I've got an idea or two in mind for a cosmetic solution, especially if I change to using 1.6mm thick sleepers, as I think I might need to recreate the economical way the TVR seems to have been ballasted in parts.It is a pity there isn't a suitable part of the Wills point rodding mouldings to cannibalise.