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Publication: Model Rail International
Publication Date: January 2008
Craftsmen structure kits are a feature of US modeling. Chris Leigh builds an inexpensive new kit of an old building.
The 'false front' building was a feature of North American towns from the earliest days. True false fronts were exactly as the name suggests, a wooden front, often with nothing more substantial than a large tent behind it. Usually used for shops and business premises, false front has become a more universal description for those structures with a rectangular facade hiding a simple gable-roofed structure. The building material was almost invariable wood, which in the western USA and Canada was in plentiful supply.
I've long been fascinated by historic buildings whether at home or abroad. In Carcross last year I photographed Matthew Watson's general Store, the oldest store in the Yukon Territories. One end of this timber structure is a two-story false front building with an interesting but by no means unique history. Built as part of the gold rush town of Bennett, British Columbia, when the gold prospectors deserted Bennett, the building was put onto a barge and floated 27 miles down Lake Bennett to Carcross.
I love the American craftsman kits for structures, such as the wharf scene I built in Model Rail International 2. When offered the chance to build and review a kit from the Bollinger Edgerly scale Trains (BEST) range, I wasn't likely to say no! BEST kits feature historic structures from the USA but though these are craftsman kits containing wood, card, cast metal and plastic parts, they are not the large kits laden with hundreds of casting which tends to think of when the 'craftsman kit' phrase is used.
The sample sent for review was Ogden's Bookstore. The kit consist of laser-cut wood walls, stripwood, moulded plastic windows, corbels and doors, card roof, self-adhesive shingles, cast metal chimney, barrels and crates, plaster 'stone' base, and a 1929 Ford pick-up.
Construction is straightforward. Stripwood is added to the vertical edges of the front and back walls, and the sides are glued to form a rectangle. The window and door mouldings are high quality and fit precisely in the openings
Glazing must be fitted after painting but before roof or base are added. The fascia is assembled from stripwood and the moulded corbels added.
A printed spacing guide is provided for the roof shingles. These can be fitted after the card roof sections are glued to the walls. Applying the self-adhesive strips is probably the longest part of the job and care in getting the lines straight is rewarded. The ridge is completed with a strip of self-adhesive copper tape. Front and rear loading platforms are assembled from timber and the cast plaster 'stone' base requires painting before the loading platforms are glued in place. The kit includes comprehensive instructions with colour illustrations and suggested weathering methods.
The Ford pick-up is a complete kit from the Jordan range, exquisitely moulded in plastic with some of the tiniest parts I've ever seen. I'm afraid that fitting the separate handbrake, and tank filler cap eluded me, but this makes up into a pretty little kit reminiscent of the Waltons era!
This is a first-rate kit with all parts fitting perfectly, and careful construction us rewarded with a great little structure for your layout. The BEST range includes small stations, barns, sheds, shops and houses all based on real structures. The full range can be viewed on www.besttrains.com
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