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Clinic - Old Kits...Junk or Forgotten Treasure?

     I have always enjoyed scratch built structures.  Over the years I have collected back issues of the various railroad magazines and I have seen kits that are no longer available that I would love to have on my layout.  If the picture of the kit can be enlarged you can “Guesstimate” the measurements.  By measuring a door and making the assumption that it is the standard height then you can get close enough to build a similar structure.  In some cases the kit can be obtained at a show or from some other source.  The problem with a lot of the older kits is that some of the castings are dimensionally incorrect.  In this case you have a couple of options.  You can build the kit and place it in the distance in hopes that the problem can’t be seen OR you can use the kit for the plans and dimensions and scratch build it.

     That is what I have done with the old Hienz Pickle Factory.  I liked the looks of the building but I didn’t like the fact that so much of it was out of scale.  I measured the parts and cut them out of strip woods to recreate the various parts of the building.  I didn’t create the roof exactly as it is in the kit and I roofed it with a different material.  Once you take on a project like this you can make the kit into how you think it should look.  I wanted a wooden shingled look so I created thousands of individually hand cut shingles.  I covered the add on portion with a sheet metal roof.  The tanks are made from scribed siding glued to cardboard tubes.   Simply use your imagination to create or recreate some wonderful old structures.

     Some of these older kits can be simply spruced up by replacing the window and door castings.   There are a lot of little things that can be done to these older kits.    Do not just overlook them.  As a last suggestion, go to the model railroad magazine search engine on Model Railroader Magazines web page and search on names like John Allen and E.L. Moore.  Both of these gentlemen did alot of scratch building and wrote many articles for the various magazines.  The link to Model Railroader is on the links page and I have included the link directly to the search engine here:       Model Train Magazine Index


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