Thursday, July 9, 2015

And now for something completely different: Saybrook Tower Kit

At this point, you may feel like me - you'd like a break from benchwork and tracklaying. So, since I'm focusing on Old Saybrook and I have on-hand the only commercially available kit for an Old Saybrook structure, I figured it was time to get it out and look it over.

Introducing the Old Saybrook Interlocking Tower kit from Hodgdon Scale Models.

I, like many of you I suspect, am great about buying kits but not so great about building kits as quickly as I get them. Consequently, I don't even recall when/where I got this kit. All I know is that it's been sitting on my shelf for a long time, so I was pretty excited at the prospect of Actually Building It.

One of my favorite steps in building a new kit hasn't anything at all to do with the actual building of it - it's that first opening to see all the cool stuff in the box. At this point, there's nothing but the promise of a wonderful looking contest quality structure. With craftsman type kits though, it's a mixed feeling - great to see the cool stuff, intimidating seeing lots of sticks that are supposed to make up a believable structure.

Here's what comes with this kit:

Wall sections & metal castings (the main "meat" of the kit), stripwood, shingles, acetate & cardstock.

The first step after opening the box is to confirm that all the parts are there. In this particular kit - likely due to the size of the box compared to the amount of kit material - there were a LOT of those little foam packing peanuts taking up space. I promptly pitched those into the garbage to see the cool stuff in the box.

Maybe I shouldn't have been too hasty since I read in the instructions later on something about checking the packing peanuts for any small parts that may have stuck to them. Then I discovered that the kit was missing one of the triangular roof gable ends and the roof material for the staircase(!) And the box contained 8 1x4s rather than the 6 1x6s it was supposed to have.

So I did a little dumpster diving, trying to find the parts. Thankfully, this is my train room wastebasket and all the trash is "clean." But it was still quite the archaeological dig. And no parts were found.

It looks like the kit either shipped without the needed parts or they somehow disappeared before I got the kit. I can use some of my on-hand 1x6 stripwood and can probably scratchbuild the gable end and staircase roof if I have to, but I have an email out to the manufacturer to see if they'd be willing/able to supply the missing parts.

In the meantime, I'm researching what color I ought to paint the tower. It ended its life in blue with white trim - but that's long after my era. Best I can tell is that it was a two-tone tan/brown in the late 40s - though I've seen other NHRR structures from that era in the more-aesthetically-pleasing cream with brown trim/wainscoting.

So color research continues as I figure out what to do about the missing parts. If you have any suggestions about proper color, and especially if you have any tips about how to build this kit (it'll be my first wood craftsman structure build), be sure to let me know!

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