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Building an Auto Assembly Plant from Scratch

Photos by Glenn Koproske February -- June, 2004
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The area for the automobile assembly plant on the Augusta Station layout is over 16 feet long. I drew the track plan on a roll of brown parcel wrapping paper. Then I took it home and laid it on my basement floor.

Using the Mark IV Eyeball Method, I cut pieces out of sheets of fomecore board that would fit the area available between the track and the backdrop.

The large structures are mocked up using a low temp hot melt glue gun to assemble the walls. These structures will be relief facades.

Here is a stand alone building that is no more than a box of fomecore walls and roof. This unit is separate because there is space on the layout that needs to be filled.

Some upper level structures were added to the roofs, and here is what the whole complex looks like. The backs of the structures will be butted up against the wall of the Augusta Station layout room. Each one of these buildings are separate just because the scale of them is so large.

This is the complex at the left end of the auto plant area.

I used sheets of corrugated Evergreen plastic siding purchased at Schaefer's in Sunset Hills, Missouri. I used spray cans of Testors enamel to paint them the color of the upper half of the prototype structure as well as a metallic medium green for the window area. I took a chance on painting first then cutting to size afterwards.

I used a can of plain old spray paint from Wal-Mart in primer gray to add some character to the tops of these stark white structures.

A can of beige spray paint provided the color for the concrete lower portion of the auto plant. The sheet styrene is scribed in 1/2" sections.

Here the silver metal siding is being applied to the fomecore structure. I used spray adhesive, applied to the back of the styrene sheet only. This is because it would have been difficult to limit the overspray if applied to the structure as well.

The styrene sheets were cut apart using a straight edge and a utility knife, then snapped apart.

This is a stack of styrene cut apart and ready to be glued to the building fronts.

The front facade is being assembled. A concrete section is on the bottom, then a 1 inch tall section of window material.

Silver corrugated siding has been glued on, as well as 90 degree angle styrene stock to dress up the edges.

The spray adhesive did not hold. The styrene started to buckle and come off of the fomecore. This product that I found at Lowe's is fantastic. It is white and dries white. It grabs immediately and does not let go, yet can be worked. Now I always make sure I have this adhesive on hand in my toolbox.

I applied a bead to the area and spread it out with a popsicle stick.

Here is a completed structure. Looks pretty cool. And it is all an illusion, to be viewed from a distance as part of a very much larger whole.

Jerry Smith provided roof detail parts and I bought metal tubing from Schaefer's. Rooftop detail is crucial in modelling.

All the roof vents were glued together and then mounted on a piece of scrap foam using double sided tape. Then they were spray painted silver all at once.

The piping is harder to control for spray painting. I had the idea of stringing them out on string, then spray painting them. This gives you access to all sides, they pieces don't go anywhere when hit with the force of the spray, and they don't touch anything while drying.

Plastruct makes large piping pieces that plug into one another. I am creating a shape that navigates across a building around various obstacles.

Roof vents have been glued in place. You have to use a strong enough adhesive so that these skinny pieces survive a bit of bumping around during handling.

More vents and pipes are mounted. The prototype Fenton Chrysler plant has a virtual forest of these chimney pipes all over the roofs of its buildings.

The entire auto assembly plant complex has been moved and installed at Augusta Station. A Walthers HO water tower fits in nicely. Jerry Smith is never hesitant to use HO kits on N scale layouts.

This is a straight on view of the middle of the complex. That serpentine large pipe sits atop one of the structures.

This is the left side of the complex with the outbuildings. Oversize holes were cut and trimmed out where train tracks enter the buildings. They have to accomodate the height of autoracks.

This is the right-most end of the complex. A track enters a door opening, and there are plenty of pipes and vents on the roof. The available area tapers down to about 2 inches by the time it gets to this end of the complex.

The view from a distance. Notice how uniformity of material and color adds to the overall visual effect.

Overhead view of the auto plant complex.

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