I have been putting this off since .. forever .. it seems. I need a ground throw for this switch .. so let’s put one in.
There isn’t much room as there is a drop-off into the harbor to the front and a road right behind so I have constraints to work with here. I will be using a modified Caboose 202S Ground Throw –
One of the problems I found in the past with using the Caboose 202S HO Ground Throw is that just connecting the ground throw to the Peco On30 throw bar works .. until you find that some On30 engines will hit the ground throw with the footboards. The fix for that is to move the ground throw out on extended ties. Heck .. it looks better too.
|A solid base|
Since most of my scenery is on top of Styrene foam insulation board I need a nice sturdy base for what follows.
I cut a piece of 3/4″ square dowel about 1-1/4″ long that I got from Lowes. The foam is easy enough to cut out for the dowel.
|Peco thowbar tie mod|
I first modify the Peco turnout ties. As I mentioned, if you mount the Caboose Ground Throw so so that it connects directly to the turnout throwbar you can have problems with the footboard of an On30 hitting the ground throw.
To fix this I move the ground throws out on longer throwbar ties. To get started I cut the ends of the plastic ties on either side of the throwbar off even with the detail. I FINALLY got a reason to use one of the little saws that fit in an X-Acto knife handle. I also sliced off the little nub on the end of the throwbar.
|I had to use some cardstock to level the top of the wood dowel with the surface. I smeared white glue all around .. and had to glue in some additional foam .. but all is good while the glue dries.|
I colored the ties with Black RIT dye and then glued them directly to the wooden dowel. Pieces of foam are built up around the plug to blend the ground into everything.
The RIT black dye is a true black .. not with the bluish tinge you can get from an AI wash or shoe dye. You don’t want to use RIT around metal .. such as the track since the salts (I believe) in the dye will cause rust.
|Paint, Stain and Rubble|
|I have a yellowish/beige latex that I got at Lowes which I use as a base for all my coloring. Once that dries I use powdered brown tempera sifted over the area and then washed into cracks and crevices with water from a spray bottle. A little AI wash here and there. Gravel, sand, dirt and derbies is a mix of sand and decomposed granite. Black RIT dye colors the ties with a few drops around everything to add shadow .. and finally cemented everything down with CAG (Concrete Acrylic Fortifier. I like using this much better than white glue and water)|
|Once the CAG set, I came back with a little dry-brushing across the rocks with a red/yellow mix of acrylics to tone the dark/shadow down. The various washes of AI, RIT black and such darken everything. By dry-brushing back the base colors you create shadows. Cool.|
This article slightly the 202S Caboose Groud Throw. This is used by many of us as it is reliable, sturdy and looks .. well .. ok. Interestingly .. there appears to me to be a prototype for the ground throw.
.. other then that the drum on the Caboose has a raised ridge that moves the throw-rod via a slot – and the Stoney drum had a pin in the throw=rod that followed a slot in the drum (I assume this is for reliablity) they are much the same.
|This is made for HO track but works fine for On30. In fact while (IMO) oversized fro HO it is pretty close to prototype size for On30. I don’t care for the giant holes in the flanges for screws and i also don’t need the bit of the throw-bar on the right.|
|Modifying the throw|
I cut through the flange just behind the hole. I actually would have preferred a bit more flange and would have cut through the center of the hole but the throw is made from Delrin (or something similar) and trying to fill the bit of hole left over sucks greatly.
I cut through the throw bar where shown – that bit will extend to the outside and is not used. That leaves the shorter throw-bar with the hole in the end which I will make use of.
That done I made a simple jig from some scrap polystyrene to drill two holes – 0.024″ dia .. to fit some map pins. These pins will act as anchor bolts. (you need to make sure that you use a drill that is appropriate for the pin you use .. they ARE different after all.)
|Test fit / Photo op|
|Here, the modified ground throw is test fitted. Really .. just a photo op for this article. I painted it with Ceramcoat® Red Iron Oxide acrylic .. mostly so it will show up in the photo. Once in place I will weather it darker with weathering powder. Be careful with the paint .. keep it out of the operating bits.|
|A closer look. For this photo I held a light above the throw to help the camera pick up the details. Again .. this is darker than it looks and will be weathered. Still .. I think just cutting off those excess flange bits helps a lot.|
|Drill anchor holes|
As I said, the throw will be secured to the wooden dowel with steel pins – replicating in miniature anchor bolts. That will secure the throw VERY well. When doing this I messed up my first ground throw .. recycled from another place and with gunk in the working parts. When i went to pull the pins it was more like pulling teeth!|
The throw is put in position on the ties and the holes in the flange act as guides for the drill bit.
|As I drilled each hole I slid a pin in place to keep everything aligned.|
Once the super glue set up I snipped off the pins so they extended just a bit above the flange. This would simulate the tops of the anchor bolts.
I used Vectorcut 2mm Washers & Nuts to finish off the anchor bolts. These are laser cut from .014″ laser card.
|A close-up with a dime for a size comparison. Heck .. you even get a couple of wrenches for free!|
|An even closer look. You can take the sizes shown with a grain of salt .. I managed to get the 0.070″ width across the flats with my dial calipers .. the other dimensions are simply scaled from that.|
Finally … some black weathering powder on the throw bar and a blackened piece of a paper clip and I am going to call this finished.
No .. this wasn’t a major work .. or masterful project. Just something really simple. The point being, IMO, that you don’t have to throw money at the layout .. sometimes by concentrating on a small area you can enjoy the process at little cost other than time spent.