Whitefield Junction Ball Signal

Publication: Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society Newsletter
Publication: Modelers Notes #120
Publication Date: May / June 2009

Each section of the kit is packaged in a separate plastic bag thus making following the step-by-step directions almost foolproof.

One of the hotly debated topics in the craftsman kit community is whether to brace wood siding to avoid warping. BEST has solved this question by creating a kit with inside walls which the wood siding is glued to. The inside walls have grain which runs in the opposite direction from the siding thus eliminating warping no matter whether one paints with a water based or petroleum based paint.

I found this feature extremely helpful in construction and saw no signs of warping from paint application. Here is a photo of the inside walls with the siding being applied to the signal house after being painted with Accu-paint primary which I used as the base and final gray coat for the walls.

Another unique feature of the kit is the construction of the hip roof using a cardstock pattern to be folded by the builder and the self-adhesive shingles which are applied using a supplied guide to insure straight application. This is a slow process no mater how you shingle a roof, but the self adhesive aspect of these shingles made it a lot less tedious than others I have used.

The most difficult part of the construction process on this kit is the signal. As can be seen from photo below, it is well worth the effort. It does require some patience to sting and attach the signal balls. I found it necessary to ACC the cable to one of the pulleys and let dry before stringing and gluing to the second. This made for an inoperable ball system, but the weight of the balls would preclude that in any case. Thus, one has to think through which railroad is going to get the right-of-way before completing assembly of the ball signal. As can be seen from my model, the MeC has the right of way.

However, a simple solution to this limitation is to not glue your signal mast to its base, but rather insert in a tight fitting hole. In this way, you can lift out the ball signal, turn the mast and reinsert and thus will reverse the ball signal mast and give the competing railroad the right of way.

Another unanticipated challenge was installing the chimney on the peak of the roof. One has to carefully cut out an appropriate size hole allowing the chimney to fit snugly so that it will not slide or fall through. This must be done prior to the sub roofing being applied to the building in order to avoid side splitting damage. I used a trial and error method of making an initial small cut, mounting the sub roof on the structure and slowly enlarging the hole with X-acto blade till the chimney fit. I applied the shingles next and then reinserted and glued the chimney allowing me to create an illusion of flashing at the base of the chimney.

The kit is designed so that it the individual building components can be configured as separate structures or combined to represent the Whitefield office and attached buildings..

Modifications that I undertook in construction of the kit included using rolled roofing (Builders in Scale part #274) on the shed portion of the structure as well as on the oil tank overhang. Instead of using acetate glazing, I used Micro-Mark Micro-Glaze Window glazing which I prefer as it gives a somewhat opaque and dirty feeling to windows (obviously. something you do not want to use on a building that youve labored over an interior for). I also used a short piece of 1/8 KS brass tubing for the stovepipe rather than a piece of doweling as this provides a more prototypical looking pipe.

I would have appreciated more explanation on how to string balls on signals and mast. Also, I would have appreciated a piece of 1/8 tubing in the kit for shed stove pipe rather than a suggestion in the directions to use a 1/8.

In spite of these minor issues, I found this to be an enjoyable kit to construct with the instruction sheets to be easy to follow and all parts cleanly cut and ready for construction. It is well worth the money for a prototypical structure that will fit right in on your layout.

I thank Roger Robar for his prototype information which was not only informative but also useful in the construction of the kit. Roger informed me that the Whitefield office is in fact 200 yards back from the signal tower, but few of us have that type of space on our layouts and thus we revert to compression. Further, Roger noted that the ball supplied for the kit are prototypically accurate for the years prior to the early 1960s and that the buildings had rolled roofing from the steam era into the transition period.


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