Thursday, November 25, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving all.   After rebuilding all the trackage in the port area of my layout, I now have an actual siding for the R&H Chemical Plant.  This company, actually in the era of my layout, a division of DuPont, was a manufacturer of a variety of chemicals for many years, with their plant located a few blocks from the Perth Amboy waterfront, near the Lehigh Valley coal docks.  So fittingly, I have saved a block of land just under the coal dock to represent this prototype facility.  In the 1980s, the plant was still standing and I think I might have taken a photo or two but I can't find any.  I have a vague recollection of what it looked like - similar to the historic photo I've posted on here, with the addition of some more modern process equipment, piping, and tankage.  As with many of America's early chemical industries, this company was founded by German immigrants and thus the European look of many of these early chemical plants.  R&H was unique in that it was built, and largely confined to a two block lot in a fully developed city.   The lot was so tight and lacking of expansion room that there was not enough room for the railroad street trackage to make a turn into the plant.  A type of turntable was used to move cars into the plant on a spur perpendicular to the street track.   This would make an interesting modeling challenge but I didn't have the room, and I actually had enough room for a curved spur.  Since this plant is located against the backdrop I once again have the benefit of only modeling a portion of the plant to represent the whole.    
In looking for brick building kits to represent the buildings in this plant I had looked at a few Kibri structures but in the end choose the Walther's Greatland Sugar Refining kit as the closest for what I needed.  This kit comes with three buildings - a brick storehouse (R&H had a bunch of these), a small boilerhouse, and a main manufacturing building.  This kit, by the way, appears to have been discontinued.  I found one on ebay for $20 less than the list price, but they are sure to go up once it becomes clear they aren't available.   
I am using the two smaller buildings as is, with relatively little modification, however, the larger structure needs to be extensively kitbashed.   The main production building had a taller section in the front, dropping a story for the rest of the building.  Additionally there was an even taller attached tower structure with a water tank ontop.  I am modeling the tower using DPM modular parts.  For the main building I took the kit side walls and cut off two sections for the taller front - you can't just lop off on side due to the extension wall at the top so you actually have to take a piece from each end and join them.   Once you do this for both sides, taking care to reverse the cut side on the pilasters so you are left with opposite building sides for the rest of the structure, you can assemble the front four walls and tow roof panels.  For the lower rear section of the building you need to again cut off two sides and join them - first take off the foundation and then cut the remaining panel off so the window will line up with the front section.  Rejoin the side pieces and then install them on the kit base behind the front section using the non-pilaster edge to join to the front.      

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