This month's Model Rail contains exclusive free kit

On sale this week, Model Rail issue 187 carries a number of articles on signal boxes and how to model them. Included is my re-cladding and detail upgrade of the Metcalfe Models kit previously mentioned on this Blog, along with a host of other features. Also, for every reader there is a free download of this print-your-own card kit of a BR Modernisation Plan era signal box. All you need to do is print off the electronic file from the Smart Models website and back the components with the correct grade of card. Full instructions are provided with the kit and Model Rail 187 also offers a number of tips for getting the best from card kits.

I built my kit over a number of evenings and it proved jolly good fun. Smart Models include some innovative design features, not least a fully detailed interior, but also in how the exterior corner joints are made. Instead of being faced with exposed white paper at the edges, like most card kits, the components provide wrap-around printed detail that renders the joints virtually invisible - great stuff indeed!

As with all card kits, they're easy to customise and you can make up your own name boards by typing in the desired location before printing out the sheets. For convenience and speed (including meeting press deadlines!), I omitted a few steps - literally... To avoid the need for painting, the access stairway is intended to be made up of individual strips of thick card, wrapped in printed paper overlays. But, this seemed to take an age, so I just added the bare card steps and, when the glue had set, painted them with acrylic paint. When this too had dried, some weathering powders gave them an authentic dusty concrete appearance.

The handrails are also designed into the kit to be cut from card, but strips of Evergreen 40x60thou' plastic strip seemed an easier option, with 20x80thou' for the bannisters. Again, these were painted and weathered to finish.

So, check out the latest Model Rail (on shelves from Thursday 5th September) for the full lowdown on this free kit and some handy tips on getting your signal boxes looking tip top...


  1. If it were a bit taller I'd say this smacks of the Tinsley control tower...

  2. Hi Chad,
    You're right! Although it's a copy of Low Gates (on the Middlesboro'-Northallerton line), this kit is ideal for many 1940-1950s signalbox structures, as found all over the BR network. And as with most printable card kits, it's very easy to modify.
    All the best,


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