The society logo over a background of trackwork. For 4mm finescale railway modelling at its very best

The Protofour Manual

Note: The pages of this manual have been written up as web pages. Line drawings have where necessary been redrawn for clarity. Some diagrams have been omitted due to the poor quality of their reproduction in the scanning process.
This manual has been superceded by the Scalefour Handbook although there is still some very interesting material within these pages.


Section 2. Standard Dimensions

2.0 Protofour and Preferred Proto-Ratios.

The tables of standard dimensions for P4 and for P160, P120, P87, P64, P45 and P32.

Essential data but the choice of scales for some of the gauges was flawed, hence 2mm fine, 3mm and S7 have succeeded and not the P160, P120 and P45 suggested. P87 is now showing popular acceptance and there is at least one modeller in P45.


Section 4. Instruction Leaflets

4.0 What is Protofour A basic introductory sheet

Concept is still valid, although detail and references are out of date

4.1.1 Introduction to Layout Building Discussion on choice of scales, standards, prototypes etc. Bibliography of useful magazine articles

Good basic advice, the magazine articles from 1954 to 1972 would still be good reading but getting hard to find

4.1.2 Planning templates Use of 1/4 size templates for planning

This method could be duplicated with photocopies, although modern PC drawing programs now give better results

4.1.3 Construction templates and jigs Introduction to the use and adaptation of templates for track construction

The introduction to the classic Brook Smith method. As valid as ever, the methods have lasted more than thirty years and are still an excellent choice

4.1.4 Tools for Track Construction (Issue 2) Details, with photos of the press and tooling for the Brook Smith method.

Includes Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3 tools

4.1.5 Gauges for Track and Wheels (Issue 2) Full instructions with photos on the use of track construction and wheel gauges. Covers Mk1 and Mk2 types

4.1.6 Track Construction Still the definitive instructions on the Brook Smith method using ply and rivets, with soldered construction

4.1.7 Track Laying, Weathering and Detailing Covers underlay, ballasting, weathering and use of Mk1 TOU and switch blade gauges

The Mk1 TOU is no longer available but can be home made, and much other advice remains valid

4.1.8 Unit Wiring System Techniques for wiring connections worked. Diagrams are clear and a good guide to insulated joint positions. For traditional block control schemes care is needed as block sectioning is not indicated. For the use of DCC systems they are spot on

4.1.9 This section was expected to be on control systems and is referenced in 4.1.8 but is not known to have been issued

4.1.10 Baseboards and Baseboard Joiners Two page instruction sheet on use of pre-made board joiners

This includes specific instructions and is obsolete

4.1.11 Wire and Rail bending operations Two page instruction sheet on the use of the P4 bending tool

Good if you have the tool, which is especially useful for rail built buffer stops. It would be fairly simple to make a similar tool.

4.1.12 Rolling Stock Components A comprehensive guide of how to use wheels, W-irons, etc including various types of compensation systems.

Still useful information although the available parts have evolved subsequently.