Sunday, January 29, 2012

Building Berry Machine Co.

With the basic layout plan finally figured out, it’s time to resume the “Peninsula Campaign.” Like most peninsula campaigns throughout history, this one had bogged down.  I could keep planning, and planning but until I had some of the key structures complete I would never be able to move forward completing the scene. So, starting this weekend I turned my attention away from the layout proper and towards the modeling desk. I decided to start by building the BEST Trains Berry Machine Shop kit. This kit consists of three structures – a penstock, boiler house, and the machine shop itself.

These pictures are from the BEST trains web site, and show the kit and prototype:

This is a mockup of the machine shop building in the approximate location on the layout:

Here’s the obligatory photo of the kit parts spread out on the modeling desk:
 This weekend I managed to get a pretty good start at the boilerhouse and the penstock – and I’ve managed to prime most of the detail castings included in the kit. 
Here’s the penstock as it looks now. I still need to add the nut-bolt-washer castings and finish the roof. Since all three buildings have metal roofs I’m going to finish them all at once. I also need to add the stairs and platform to the penstock. 

The good news? The parts of the kit are well made, fit, and seem complete. If this kit has a weak link it’s the instructions – frankly to say “They leave a lot to be desired” is kind. They aren't wrong, just incomplete. One example? There’s a mention in the instructions of “add the stairwell and platform” to the penstock – but not drawings, photos, or even an indication of which parts to use other than a reference to a piece of 1/16th” scribed sheet “3/4” x 1-1/14”. That’s all well and good, but there’s no piece of scribed stock that size! And, although the laser cut parts have locating tabs and the like, they are not made so there’s only one way to put together the building. In other words, it’s really easy to assemble a wall backwards . . . don’t ask me how I know. 
Luckily, I have drawings of the prototype buildings from a different source (not included in the kit) that are proving invaluable at filling in the blanks left by the instructions. 
Despite the frustration with the instructions, the kit is going together and I’m enjoying a chance to finally build a model again. It’s been too long. 
I’ll post a follow up report once the boiler house and machine shop buildings are together. 

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