Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A packing shed for Shumala, Part 2

The principal industry located on my layout’s Shumala extension is a packing shed. The construction of the extension, and laying of the siding tracks, has been partly covered in prior posts, the most recent one being this: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-shumala-extension-part-2.html . The packing shed, a Showcase Miniatures kit based on a prototype structure, was introduced in the first post on this topic, available at: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2013/01/a-packing-shed-for-shumala.html . I received a communication about that post, asking what the packing shed was supposed to look like, a reasonable question since I had simply dived into the description of the construction process without providing a picture of the end product. Here is the kit box photo:

This photo shows the model painted white, which is the color I intend to use also. But I will not use the “Sunkist” sign, as this will be a packing facility for vegetables.
     In my first post about this structure, in the link provided above, I described only the initial construction phase. I continued with a similar approach to other components, and added more stiffening, as shown below. I have to mention that although this is a well-designed kit of an interesting prototype, and I have the greatest respect for Joe Warren at Showcase Miniatures, it has at best vestigial directions. In fact, aside from a very helpful parts identification drawing, and an exploded view of the structure, there really are no directions. Accordingly I will say a little more than I might otherwise about the methods and sequence of assembling a kit.
     After attaching the two end walls, including corner strengtheners of scale 8 x 14-inch stripwood (not supplied in the kit), to the front wall, as shown in the first post about this packing shed, I assembled a number of component parts, such as doors (one freight door is shown here) and the stairway.

The surrounding trim for both freight doors is at top. The stairway is in the center, and the two remaining pieces are some of the windows and their frames. I will prime and paint the windows after separating them from their frames.
     With the laser-cut plywood front wall having its end walls attached, I next attached the subordinate side walls of the upper parts of the structure, and also began to glue the various doors into place. For each wall corner, I attached a piece of the 8 x 14 stripwood to straighten the corner, and also the outer edge.
     The kit supplies a pair of braces that go across the length of the back of the structure and not only stiffen it but help square it up. Here is the upper one in place, with the two short upper walls keyed into it. As you can see, I used yellow carpenter’s glue for this work. One freight door remains to be glued in place.

     Completing the main structure with all back bracing and stiffening parts makes a solid structure, with all walls flat and all corners square. Here is another view of the rear side to show this. The lower main wall stiffener is a strip of quarter-inch square balsa.

With all door and window trim installed, this is an almost top-down view of the outer main wall of the structure. Window sills and corner trim remain to be added.

     While the main structure assembly was continuing, I also assembled the clerestory and began to add the fascia boards to each of the sub-roofs. I determined that on my layout, the only roof section for which rafter ends behind the fascia boards might be visible was the slanting roof at the left end of the building (see the kit photo at the top of this post), which is called Subroof A in the kit. Thus I added only these rafter boards (a simple job).
     One point to watch with assembling fascia boards to subroofs: use of a water-base glue like carpenter’s glue can gently warp the subroof. I clamped each one flat as I went along, to avoid this development, using a length of my square balsa strip. On the right is Subroof A with its rafter boards, and Subroof D is at left.

     One of the last assembly jobs on the main structure and clerestory was the door and window trim strips, all of which are the correct size and backed with double-stick tape, thus easy to apply. For the windows in the lower sections, I added a horizontal piece of 2 x 2-inch scale strip (not in the kit) to represent a window sill projection.
     Finally, I added the corner trim at all outside corners. For this trim, I decided to use my own stripwood, although there are pieces provided in the kit for this; the kit pieces looked a little too thick to me. I chose 1 x 6-inch scale stripwood.

     At that point, the main task of any complexity remaining is the loading platform, and I will show that in the next post. Then the following step will be to prime the main structure, the underside of all the roof sections, and the window pieces; that too will be covered in the next post, as will final painting. The structure is coming along nicely, and I look forward to completing it.
Tony Thompson


  1. Tony,
    The packing plant was developed and designed by Bruce Petty for the SP layout the LA&SFV. For the full background behind the facility please see:

  2. Well, the Bruce Petty site says nothing whatever about this packing house, just about his layout design of the San Fernando area. He has a link on his page about the Jim Lancaster site on packing houses, but it is to Jim's old Earthlink site, which Jim has moved. His current site is at this link: http://coastdaylight.com/ljames1/scph.html

    Jim also has this Showcase Miniatures kit as a packing house on his layout. You can see it in his 2010 layout photos; go to this link and scroll down:

    Tony Thompson