Brewery Pt. 1

I’ve been picking out bits from the big ol’ N Scale Architect Smelter box, turning them in my hands, fitting them together, trimming sprues, and cutting balsa for floors and walls.

This is all in preparation for construction of the main brewery building, which I’m simultaneously excited for and terrified of. Before I get into that, here are the buildings I’ve (mostly) completed. Roofs are on, docks are built:

I plan on adding a scratch-built boiler-shed on the left-hand side of the hoist house. This means I will be removing the ground-level loading door that I installed (and which doesn’t make sense, as I realized later, because the actual ground floor should be dock-height). Once that project is complete, and after I’ve built the ‘ore house’ and attached it, I will be extending the stone foundation around the perimeter of the hoist house with more strips of Plastruct.

Otherwise, what’s done is done, and I am pretty happy with these models. Now, on the the daunting stuff.

The N Scale Architect Smelter is not a kit for the faint of heart; the instructions are spartan, the diagrams are overwrought, and I’ve found several major mistakes in the design already. For starters, the tab-and-slot system is, apparently, not a system at all, but a suggestion. The tabs and slots simply don’t line up! At first, I was thinking I must have gotten things wrong, but the parts are so unique that it would be impossible to mix up one wall for another. Oh, well. I can trim tabs until the cows come home, but that will definitely add some hours to the kit.

Here, you can see what made me especially nervous. Not twenty minutes into my Tinker Toy session I realized that the tab-and-slot system doesn’t line up. In this picture alone, you can see a couple of examples. In the background, near the corner of the building, you can see a door. One of the tabs juts out beneath the door, but only halfway. I hope the door covers this completely, or I may have some back-filling to do. And on the brace that I am holding (along with two other braces), the tabs are ‘female’ instead of ‘male’ (see how they line up with the slots in the floor). As it turns out, I will be cutting these down anyway, as I am adding a partition and second-story floor.

I’ve been mocking up the structures with tape to make sure everything fits. You can see the partition that I’ve cut to obscure the interior of the ground floor, and I also cut a strip of balsa to create a floor on the second level (not shown). I will likely add some dowel bits and so forth to simulate mash tuns, fermentation chambers, etc. on the second floor, but I won’t paint them or add much detail because viewers will hardly be able to see them.

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