I’ve spent the past couple of days experimenting with different turnouts. The victims (shown below) were a Central Valley Ties #9 Turnout with a Details west Frog and Guardrail & a Peco #6 with Proto87 Stores Frog.

Central Valley Ties #9 Turnout Kit

I’ve tried the Proto87 Stores Superfine and Easy turnouts, which are essentially Central Valley Ties with Proto87 Stores Frogs and Point Rails. I ordered a CVT kit because I wanted to see how well the Central Valley points and throw-bars actually worked. I also ordered a Details West Frog kit because they look so damn awesome!

The CVT throw-bar and switch-stand were pretty easy to assemble and worked (for about 30 seconds) just long enough for me to take a couple of photos. After that things started falling apart. I used Tenax to glue the plastic parts together, but that really doesn’t work well. However, Tenax does an excellent job of sticking the tie strip to the coated cardboard backing that comes in the kit. I glued the rails to the ties with CA, but that doesn’t work very well, they come loose very easily and I’ve had to re-glue several times. I also decide to insert some PCB ties to hold the track together, as well as a PCB throw bar to replace the kit throw-bar. I like the look of the points, but the hinge is awkward and it’s hard to get the points to close against the stock rail without bending the points into awkward looking angles, and even then it still doesn’t work that great.

The Details West Manganese Frog and Guardrail Kit looks awesome. The bolt head detail on the frog is just spectacular. It’s a natural fit with the CVT ties and sticks easily with CA. One of the guard rails came with a gouge in it. The frogs are also an easy component replacement for other RTR turnouts

This combo is a natural fit. You get Central Valley Ties ease of assembly and detailed ties and points with Details west superbly detailed frog and guardrails.

Peco #6 Insulfrog with Proto87 Stores Frog

I ordered a Proto87 Stores #6 frog kit a while back to see how easy it was to convert an RTR turnout to Proto:87. The basic process is to cut out the old frog and replace it with the Proto:87 frog and move the guard rails closer to the stock rails. I have several Peco #6 switches floating around and this one is kind of the guinea pig. It was an Insulfrog and I thought it might be a pain to convert. But it turned out to be fairly easy.

I laid the replacement frog as a template over the Peco frog and drew lines on with a marker to determine where I would cut the old frog. I used a Dremel to cut the rails. Since part of the Peco frog assembly is plastic I figured the entire turnout was one solid mold, it isn’t, the plastic portions of the frog are a separate piece. They are glued very tightly, but with a moderate amount of scraping with a blade, they eventually separate fairly cleanly.

I glued the new frog to the turnout base using CA. The Proto87 frog was a little higher than the Peco track so I had to file a taper at each end to make for a smoother transition.

I used pliers to rock the guardrails loose. I filed the inside of the guardrails to remove the rail base. I scraped a couple of the bolt details from the turnout tie base to make room for the closer guard rails. I rest the guard rails using my new Proto:87 Check Rail Gauge and Flangeway Gauge.

It’s a great combo, you get the great looking Proto87 Stores frog and keep Peco’s great tie plate & spike head detail as well as the signature sprung throw-bar.

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Greg Amer

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