Faking finescale

Champions of accuracy, look away now.

Faking finescale

I’ve spent a few entertaining evenings in front of the TV hacking away at an old Peco N gauge turnout to replace the plastic crossing vee and check rails with metal bits. As it’s for installation in a diorama making it actually work (electrically or mechanically) wasn’t important, but I’m aiming to have inlaid track and so I wanted to give it continuous check rails.

Starting at the crossing end was easy: I carved away at the moulded chairs and crossing and replaced with offcuts of rail stripped from flexible track. These pieces were superglued to the sleeper base butting up to the running rails, which holds everything in place and gives a satisfyingly close (less than 1mm) check rail gap. OO9 wheelsets with a correctly set back-to-back of 7.4mm will happily run through this.

The switch end was a little more complex. Early on I stripped out the Peco locking spring mechanism and tie-bar and glued down the switch rails set to the diverging route (it doesn’t need to work, remember!). For the check rails through this area I referred to some prototype photos: they should run right through to the sharp angle of the crossing vee, the blades then operate within the gap between them and the stock rails. The Peco switch rails are too long for this to actually work but it’s good to know.

Faking finescale

It’s hardly a work of art, but looks good enough from a distance and once rusted up a bit and surrounded with concrete ought to pass muster. And it’s given me a better understanding how inlaid turnouts are constructed, should I ever want to make a working one…

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