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Welshpool Potteries Signal box

by Dai

Don't be fooled by the heading into thinking this article has anything to do with the W&L. Welshpool Potteries began by making lineside buildings in ceramics, soon realised that they had made an error of judgement and converted to making resin buildings. I have some of those and so does CB. They are robust but not things of great beauty. They ceased production many years ago. I saw a group of seven buildings put up as one lot on ebay and because they were so poorly finished, so many and in West Wales, few could be bothered to bid. I knew that one building, the Black Boy Hotel was a GRS resin kit and would have bought one to make in the fulness of time. I got all seven items for the cost of the Black Boy alone! You win some and lose some.

Stamped 'Welshpool Pottery 1993' on the cabin base.

One of the items was a very rum looking signal box and I had absolutely no need for it. As I picked it up, it became apparent that two elements of it were made of pottery and were rather crude. It was intact though and I figured i could have fun playing with it a bit then sell it at the Member to Member at the AGM, making the Black Boy an even greater bargain.

Imagine my thoughts when, carrying this white elephant into my house, the base fell onto the tiled entrance and smashed into a thousand pieces. Roger! However, you know me. In for a penny, infra dig. With the help of Zap-a-Gap, I re-assembled the broken piece, discovering as I did so, what a piece of rubbish it was, from a potter's point of view as well as from a scale model standpoint. Did I tell you I once threw pots? No, seriously, not like they do in Greek restaurants, but for real, on a wheel. Some of them are still in the house.

Pottery repaired with Waterproof Tile Cement and Grout

The upshot was that I now had an intact base unit but not a thing of beauty and fragile. The potter, you see, had failed to work the clay properly so it was like Filo pastry. Oh Yes! Therefore I decided to fall back on my all-time favourite medium; Waterproof Tile Cement and Grout. It;'s so nice, I often think I could eat it. Do some mischief to the guts, I'll be bound. It works a treat as a filler and to support the corners inside buildings. Indeed, I also use it in resin buildings to help stiffen them. It takes paint very well and you know that I use this stuff with a stencil to render buildings with brick or stone patterns, after which I further preserve against the elements with masonry paint.

I decided to on-lay a new stone pattern. The base wasn't really square enough and the corners not sharp enough for me to think a brick pattern would work well. Stone pattern would be much more forgiving, particularly the one from Bromley Crafts representing a mixed stone wall not slavishly coursed. So it proved. By the time I'd let the grout dry, undercoated the mortar and dry brushed to highlights with stone colours, I doubt if you'd guess it was supposed to look different.

Reasonably authentic looking stencilled stone pattern                              I left the light switch on the wall. I may fit lights

I've never seen a building like this and I search the internet in vain for images of anything remotely similar. I like it and intend to incorporate it into my line at St Edmonds where there are so many points you'd need a serious signal box. Searching the images taught me one thing which was the more or less universal painting of the upstairs a pale colour. 


The other thing I had an issue with was the roof. As I received the building the roof was plain but with an attempt to represent ridge tiles. I had run out of plastic tile sheet and Back2Bay6 seems to have abandoned us in our hour of need from a roof tile situation. I thought I'd try the Bromley 1:24 roof tile stencil and sent for one. Admittedly there is no overlap but actually, I have realised that when you look at a welsh tiled roof, the tiles are so thin that you can't really see that there is an overlap anyway. Most of our models are grotesquely over-scale. Roof tile sheets were always expensive to buy since they came from the States. With the £ in its present state, they'd be worse. The stencil does a fine job and that's the future for roofs for me now.

I'd really like to know what prototype the model designer at Welshpool Pottery had in mind and I wonder what other examples of the potter's art are out there, festering away. I would love to have as many quirky, even unique buildings on the DLR as possible. This one does have a footprint of seven inches square but I've already spotted a suitable site overlooking the entire yard at St Edmond's.