Monday, 4 July 2011

Factory 34

Gosh - the title of this chapter seems a bit Russian for Independence Day!

Factory 34 is actually the main building on the right hand board of Alderson and it's based on that old favourite the Heljan Superior Bakery. This is it in one of its many incarnations:-

and this is what it looks like when you open the box:-

A nice set of mouldings.

Now some 6 years ago I had a nice time in hospital having some real corrective surgery and my pal Tony Smith, who used to run the model shop in Shrewsbury, wandered in and gave me a copy of Art Currens "Kitbashing HO Model Railroad Structures". Well, it's like its owner a bit dog eared now but well worth it. For Factory 34 I studied the Hardly Abel Manufacturing Company and the Superior Sandwich Factory.

Now the N gauge Heljan basic factory is different to the HO one in that the N gauge one is 4 units long but the HO one is only 3 and also on one side the third bay has a personnel door while the fourth bay has a loading door.

So what to do first? I reduced the side with all 4 bays the same to 3 bays. Then the other side I split into two, and then I split the left side into two again. Now I wanted to keep the sloping roof line so I reduced one of the two left side units so that the windows were reduced by two panes vertically and then I found that if I cut the top of the unit at the same angle as the main roof and re-glued the triangle then I could extend nicely. Then I cut the remaining part so that the windows were full height but the arch was missing. Then I re-assembled the parts like this:-

I added a blank wall made from 3 layers of 20thou sheet plastic like this:-

and I added some interior bracing too like this:-

You can see that I made the right hand opening full height with a roll up door with the mechanism above it made from a piece of sprue. The "rain hood" is one of the roofs from the Bachmann Coaling Tower re-cycled! Now the recessed area makes a fine loading dock so I took a sheet of Ratio (UK) wooden walling and cut it to size and then added more as the walls underneath to raise the platform to the correct height. Then I cut up some Ratio (UK) blockwork to raise the whole building to match except for under the left front where I re-used the arch that I cut from that unit previously.

The roof is just one bakery roof but as I have shortened the roof by one bay by careful cutting and mating I managed to get the two chimney bases together and re-distribute the rooflights so I could built parts over them. The extension forward roof is a combination of all sorts of bits turned this way and that and the ventilator covers a big hole!

Although this picture shows the whole building the extension is in "mock-up" form and the roof "gubbins" is embryonic. Strangely the two chimneys in the kit are not matched in any way so I used some plastic tube I had which was about the right size to replace them. The cyclone is the tapered part of a retractable ballpoint - actually "The Shropshire Star" - and the blue bit is also part of the pen. The sand coloured cone on top comes from the similar creamery kit. The T vent is made from drilled out sprue and the red "blower" is mounted on a platform from Evergreen siding sheet. The grey kit ventilator covers a big hole as mentioned before. Since this picture was taken I've added supports and braces from 20 and 30 thou plastic rod.

So now we come to the corrugated material extension. This was all made from Ratio (UK) corrugated iron sheets. It's a bit coarse to be corrugated iron in 2mm/160th scale so I used it as a more "proper" building material. I had to join pieces together to get the width I wanted:-

Not quite Art Currens way but still. The windows come from the Heljan kit, roof lights, the little 2 pane one does not seem used at all.

You can see how very luckily the window exactly fits the sheet spacing. The hole is to accept the pipe from the blower and I've added a head and drain for the roof. The drain gets trimmed to fit the angled roof later.

And this is the front of the extension. A little door for people, a loading bay roller shutter door, another window fitting the sheet size exactly and a staircase lit by little windows. The sign came from those nice folks in the n_scale@yahoo.groups to who I am greatly indebted. So the box was assembled using a great deal of bracing and a full floor cut from a Wills (UK) roofing sheet. Being moulded I believe it is less prone to deforming. It's me, not you. My "hobbyhorse".

So I braced the extension like this:-

looking down on the inside and like this looking up where I have blanked off the loading bay using 40 thou black plastic card:-

and the roof looks like this:-

Now I don't know where the sheet material for the roof came from. I suppose I was at a show somewhere and bought a couple of sheets "just in case".

And now we come to the building as it is currently:-


Road loading bay


Original roadside loading end. I have some thinking about what to do here. Certainly when it comes to the windows the N scale Heljan ones have many more panes than the HO equivalent and it would be nice to change them back in the old building and some more vents etc.

Finally you may have noticed this lurking away on a roof:-

In fact this pressure vessel is made from two of the things you find in 1970's gondolas!

Happy Modelling,

Mike Beard.


  1. Nice Mike. It gives me food for thought with my planned US layout (which my wife blames on NGS-J 2/11 and Willow's Bridge!).

  2. Hi Mike. I absolutely love what you've done with that Heljan kit. I have one of these unassembled myself, and you now have me wondering how I can turn it into an engineering factory.

    And I recognise those "things" from the gondolas - cement containers.

  3. Norm Abrams shop looks just like this but you have detailed it out quite a bit.