Saturday 25 August 2018

Lots of Pieces. Everywhere.

About 4 weeks ago, Brian Smith and Gary Crowther presented me with the opportunity to look through the model railroad estate items of Bob Bowes.  I didn't know Mr.Bowes, but from what I saw I'm quite sure he was a fine modeler and I'd be willing to bet that I would have seen him at train shows in the area.

I purchased a couple of items from the estate, one of which was this triangular-shaped kitbash of the Roberts Printing plant made by Walthers.  This is an excellent kit.  I have already kitbashed versions that I have done in two other locations on the JSSX.  Pictured here on my workbench is the one that Bob had put together when I first brought it home. After taking this photo I set it aside as I went about a couple of my other projects.

I didn't know if I could make the triangular shape work on my JSSX, but Mr.Bowes building looked so nicely done that I had to bring it home with me, even if I had to make a change to the shape. 

I'm a little unsure about the KenNor Toy Company sign.

Here are pictures of the two other kitbashes of the same building that are already on the layout.

Back to the story: Last Saturday I brought the building back over to the workbench to look it over again, and maybe try to figure out just how to fit it into the layout. On Sunday, Brian called to say he was in town, and wanted to stop over for a visit. Sounds great, so I started scrambling around to straighten things up a bit in the layout room before he arrived, and thought I'd set the building over in what is currently an empty corner of the layout.

Having something there would look better than having nothing there, right? Well... just hold on to that thought for a minute.

I picked the building up from the workbench, turned around with it, and then, in a heartbeat it all went wrong. Really, really wrong.

The factory hit the floor. Hard. I don't know how it happened. But there were pieces.

Lots of pieces.


And me standing there looking like Wile E. Coyote after his dynamite blew up in his face.

Here's the building, and it's associated parts, sitting on the workbench the next day.  I believe I found everything that was broken off, and I've got them separated into 3 piles of like parts.  By my count, there are 24 windows and doors, 14 rooftop details, and 8 pieces of fire escape to be re-attached.  Did I mention that the 2 roofs were also jarred loose on impact? Surprisingly though, the rooftop water tank remained firmly in place on it's roof section.

And so now, (sigh) the rebuild begins.  I'll get the windows and doors back in place.  That will be no problem.  Even if I've somehow lost one or two, I've got spares stashed away in my scraps box.  But it'll probably be a few days before I re-attach the roof details.  The roof is dusty and needs to be cleaned off anyway. However I think I'll probably trim off part of the roof and the right-hand end wall, as I've not been able to find a suitable triangular area on the layout. But, if I reconfigure the building to be square across the back, it could then sit flush against the backdrop.


  1. How did you model the broken windows (no pun intended) in the picture of the building already installed on your layout (third picture down)?

  2. HO scale ballast and an HO scale slingshot.

    Just kidding. It was actually a method that I dreamed up.

    It wasn't difficult, but it was certainly time consuming. Before the windows were installed, I poured a small puddle of white glue in the plastic from a blister pack for batteries or something. I let the white glue sit for a while, until it had begun to thicken and congeal. Then I brushed the glue on to the back of the window frames with a flat artist brush. Some of the windows filled in easily, but much of the time I had to "tease" the glue to fill in the individual windows. I did about 6 or 8 frames at a sitting, and then stood the frames on end in a small cardboard box and let the glue dry and set overnight. The next day, I used the tip an Xacto knife blade to break each of the windows. Sometimes the entire "glass" broke out, but I didn't care. Also, I first tried Microscale Klear, but it stayed kind of soft and didn't really break the way I wanted it to.

    Thanks for asking. I counted once, and there's something like 1800 broken windows on my model.

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  4. That sounds incredibly tedious, but the results definitely speak for themselves!