Thursday, 7 January 2016

Cement Works Part Four

Adding the staircase and handrails to my cement plant was a project I had been putting off on my Faller model kit since discovering that the pieces just didn't seem to want to go together. As you can see in the above photo of my model sitting on top of the picture on the box, there was no room for the inside handrail to clear the roof line of the structure beneath the silo dock. So the manufacturer simply left if off for the official company photo. Look closer at the photo, and you will also see that the handrails don't meet on the left corner and a section is missing altogether beneath the discharge silos. So it was about time I did something to fix this.

Shaving the sprue marks from each piece of the kit made a lot of mess, but ensured each piece looked right.

I started by cutting each piece free from the sprue, and shaved each sprue mark and mould line from the handrails and steps by scraping it back with a sharp hobby knife.

The storage bins were the most straightforward of kits I've yet built. Floor, walls, simple as.

Next I cut all the pieces for the storage bins that hold the aggregate used in the production of concrete. This was the most straightforward part of the kit so far. A few wall panels held in place by some plastic channel beams glued to a floor base, that when complete will hold a pile of either white sand or crushed rock.

The door to nowhere. I think I can fix that.

Next I turned my attention to the one side of the building that really wasn't shown on the box or instructions. There is a door here that opens up onto a 12 foot drop below that simply wouldn't pass workplace health and safety regulations by today's standards. The instructions had a simple answer for this, a single piece of moulded rough-saw timber planking that would make the doorway look like it was boarded up. The kit is after all, FALLER 130951 - Old Conrete Mixing Plant. But after cutting the pieces I needed for the stairway that leads to the discharge silo platform, it seemed I had enough leftover pieces in the kit to construct a second stairway to address the lonely door issue.

I started work on the 2nd stairway using pieces of the kit that were strangely leftover.

All I can think of is that this kit also shared some common components with another kit from Faller's range. There were leftover windows, window frames, machinery wheels and tubing, and just enough steel walkway and handrails to complete the second stairway.

Unfortunately it wasn't long enough to reach the ground.

With the fake light already glued above the door, I tested the leftover stairway height and soon discovered it was about the height of a station platform too short. So for now I have put this aside until I think of how to built a raised section of platform to stand alongside the rail line. Maybe an inspector's vantage point for recording the numbers of incoming/outgoing cement hoppers?

The stairway and handrails built my way. Well, really the way the instructions intended it to look.

Turning my attention back to the discharge silo platform at the other end of the model, it didn't take long to figure out that following the instructions on the model was impossible. The photo on the box and those in the instruction booklet were two different things. Both the roof line and the edge of the platform section don't allow enough room for the inside handrail to fit, probably why it was left off altogether on the finished model that they show on the cover of the box. The only way to make the inside handrail fit, is to glue the handrail section to the top of the stairwell piece rather than beneath it. The only problem with that however, is that the handrails on the stairs now sit 3 mm higher that the handrails on the platform. Gluing the handrail sections underneath as instructed would have caused an awkward looking gap on the far left corner post. Perhaps that is why it had been cut away and simply photographed on an angle to make it look as though it joined for the cover shot on the box. I improved the handrails along the platform edge compared to the photo on the box, but there is only so much you can do with pieces that were strangely moulded with round ends. For the likes of me I cannot understand why, and they were simply too short for me to angle cut them for a neater fit.

My cement works finally set out in place along the No. 2 road. Only the final weathering and yard details await.

For an advanced kit whose construction has been a drawn out process lasting more than six months, this model has called for a lot of extra detailing, required a lot of modification and consumed a lot of my patience. In the end I feel that I have almost got it to a point of looking better than the example illustrated on the box. Then again, I guess that's all we modellers can ever ask for really. Now, let me see if I can get this second stairway platform built and then I can weather this baby up and call it finished!

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Thanks for taking the time to visit Philden. I hope you'll book a return ticket soon. Cheers, Phil