Scratchbuilt factory

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by spitfire, Oct 1, 2007.

  1. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    My layout will be serving 2 primary industries: Massey Ferguson, and this one: John Inglis Co.

    During WWII Inglis converted to munitions production and made the famous Bren Gun and the Inglis Automatic pistol. Post-war they re-tooled to meet the demand for consumer products such as major appliances.

    The factory complex was massive, composed of many different buildings. Too large to create a scale model of the whole thing, rather, I'll be trying to capture a sense of the place and its architecture.

    Sadly, after selling out to Whirlpool in the 1970s, the Inglis plant was closed forever, and has since been torn down to make way for row upon row of townhouses, while our neutered historical board sat idly by.

    One of the pleasures of the hobby for me, is the chance to re-create these forgotten landmarks.

    This first photo is a relatively recent one of the prototype, just before demolition. The sign on the roof was advertising the "urban towns" going up in its place. :nope:


    Here's my rendition of the building so far. I have not yet put "glass" in the windows as I still have to build the sides.


    What's interesting about this structure is the difference in the windows from one storey to the next. I used City Classics windows for all, full size on the ground floor, and then cut as needed for the 2nd and 3rd floors. The real building is double the length of my model. I am considering extending my model to the full length.

    Here's a close-up of the weathering.


    I used DPM blank walls and dock riser walls and various sizes of strip styrene in the construction So far it has taken about 14 hours to build, mostly because of the windows, and having to build frames for them inside the structure. Anyway, I hope you like it! A little bit of history lives again.

  2. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Like it????? Wow - it's great. That'll really look great put together.
  3. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Looking great already Val! Way to bring it back to life in miniature!
  4. scottcn

    scottcn Member

    Looks like you're off to an excellent start! What is the length of your model? It looks like a rather large building, even if it is just half the length of the prototype. Is this going to be a low-profile building (i.e., tucked against the backdrop) or are you going to model all 4 sides of the structure?

    While I have never seen the prototype, I'm with you in spirit that it is a shame when historic buildings get torn down and replaced with townhouses. Of course, I also hate it when a farm or chunk of forest is replaced with townhouses. Perhaps I just have a problem with townhouses?!

    Anyway, the model is looking great. Can't wait to see what's next!
  5. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Thanks for the kind comments everyone!

    Scott, this will be sort of a background building. The sides of the prototype are only 2 sets of windows deep, so I will build those, but the back will not be modelled. As it is now, the length is 13-1/2".

    Agree with you on the townhouse thing too!

  6. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    That is looking really good! You guys always amaze me with the quality of your work. And you inspire me to improve on my modeling skills. Thanks for sharing with us!
  7. COX 47

    COX 47 Member

    Looks great! Can't wait to see more.....Cox 47
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Nice work Val,

    I agree on the point that modelling gives us a chance to correct those past "mistakes"... ;) :D I really like Andy Sperandeo's editorial comment from several years ago in MR:

    "Mine is the truest form of nostalgia - the fond memory of something never experienced..."

    ;) sign1

  9. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Neat quote Andrew! In my case however it's a fond memory of something I did experience and grew to love. I lived in that area during the 70s and 80s, and spent many Sunday afternoons wandering along the tracks. It wasn't so much the trains I wanted to experience, as that timeless feeling of tracks going off into the great beyond, and the deserted feeling of these vast factory complexes sitting idle on a Sunday. The oil on the tracks, the smell of creosote in the hot sun, red-wing blackbirds singing right downtown, drawn down the corridor from the countryside.

    Eventually, the factories became idle permanently, and that is when we artists started moving in. The accommodations were pretty rough, but I will never forget the sound of trains shunting late at night. The echoes of cars bumping together seemed to go on for miles, and was an altogether magical experience.

  10. ulf999

    ulf999 Member

    Excellent start! Can't wait to see the result!
  11. CNWman

    CNWman CNW Fan

    I like your model Val! I too have taken a destroyed landmark and gave it new life on my model railroad. In Bristol TN/VA (the prototype landmark was near the border of the two states, and I froget wich one it was supossed to be in), there once was a giant red sign that said 'Kay's Ice Cream' on it with a giant triple scoop cone on the side. I had liked that sign ever since I can remember. Sadly, Kay's was doomed, probably from poor management, and was closed up. A new sweet shop, 'State Street Sweet Shop' took it's place, and the sign was torn down. I didn't want to froget the sign, so my dad and I scratchbuilt a replica to serve our Kay's Ice Cream. The result was almost perfect, being my dad had painted the backdrop blue :O . Still, the sign now stands close to the Kay's in Riverside, in a layout close to how the actual sign stood by the real Kay's.
    I'll get a close up of my sign soon.
  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Great experiences! Must have been neat living down there while there was still some activity going on. In my case, I lived in a CPR town, but was too young or too distracted to watch the trains at that time. Now they're gone (sort of - a new short line runs what's left).

    But to take the quote to heart, I am modelling the 1920s and 1930s... ;)

  13. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    These are some of the reasons that continue to attract me to model railroading. It's a chance to connect to my past: growing up in Hamilton, Ontario, I spent my first years living across the street from the TH&B's coach yard, and throughout my childhood, and indeed, most of my life, trains were never far away. It also connects me to the past that I missed out on, allowing me to model the '30s tempered by the fact that I didn't have to live through them. I can recreate the world that I wish my parents could have lived in - not reality, but my interpretation of how it should have been.
    Hamilton, once the industrial heart of Canada, is a shell of its former self. While there are many abandonned industrial sites still standing, many more have been razed, leaving vacant lots and empty memories. Even the bland rows of townhouses avoid the area.

    Val, a great start on your factory and it's good to know that there are others who appreciate industrial architecture as much as I do. I think that I need to go catch some of this in pictures, before it's all gone. Thanks for the wake-up call.

  14. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Wayne, to a large extent it was architecture that drew me into model railroading, although I also love the old steam engines. Like you, I didn't pay much attention to trains as a child - beyond waving to the engineer on my mother's prompting, at the level crossing near our local plaza. Nor did I take nearly enough pictures on my weekend forays down the tracks when I was in my 30s and 40s. Too bad they didn't have digital cameras back then, and Google Earth!!!

    It's a very good idea to get out and document what's left while you still can. Cities seem to feel that heavy industry is a blight on the urban landscape and tend to replace it with townhouses and "galleria's" whenever they can. Hamilton and it's awesome steel mills is such a perfect subject!

  15. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Val : I remember watching that building, and all the others nearby, come down as we travelled in on the GO Train. I'm glad it will live in a small way.
  16. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    That must have been a very sad sight. I was only around for the demolition of Massey Ferguson, and found it heartbreaking. I missed the Inglis destruction, and I rarely go back to that part of town, which was once one of my favourite places. It's too upsetting.

  17. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    It looks like it will make a fine model.

    The only downside I many that a large industry dominates a layout.

    Hurray for prototype modeling! I love freelanced work, but do find myself to be mesmerized by the reproduction of long lost trains/buildings. I too love architecture. Your building is so cool because: A: it is neat...B: it is a recreation...C:it was from multiple different construction techniques. My BS in Civil Engineering approves.
  18. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Thanks nkp174. My degree in Engineering is also BS! sign1

    I agree that a large industry can certainly dominate a layout, but in this case it will be on a peninsula that is 8 ft long, surrounded by a 12 ft x 16 ft around-the-walls layout. With that kind of space, i'm not too worried, and of course I'll be compressing the prototype quite a bit.

  19. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Lookin sweet Val! I guess only some model rairoader types can appreciate the beauty of industrial settings. Back when industry was quite heavy in New Jersey, particularly along the norhtern stretches of the NJ Turnpike, I used to get odd looks from people in my car when I drove by the factories and talked about how beautiful they were. Of course most of these folks got to know me well enough not to be surprised, and it would be funny if a person I just met was travelling with a group of friends in my car and they would start talking about the beauty of the factories as we went by, getting the odd look themselves.
  20. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    This looks like the start to a very faithful reproduction. I guess I have always been hesitant to attempt such a reproduction of a recognizable building for fear of the person that would see it and tell me some detail is wrong. I guess that keeps me in the proto-lancing category, although I am considering a small expansion to my layout to incorporate a rather historic (but long since destroyed) company store. Some people do a good job with selective compresson to create an appropriate representation - but I worry I will stress over the details!


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