When Jimmy first posted pictures of Boilermakers on a thread, I was thinking I really wanted to build the structure. Then I recieved an email from Jimmy asking if I would be interested in building Boilermakers and do a build thread and take lots and lots of pictures. I was honored and very happy to assist! However, the bad news is that he wanted the structure built and RETURNED
to him for use as either a diorama or for a spot on the Pennsy Middle Division. A few days later the kit came in the mail.
Here is a compendium of my thoughts on the kit and the build.
As with all kits, I opened the box like a school boy on Christmas morning. I noticed that the box contents were packed very neatly. The instruction sheet consisted of nine and a half pages. In addition, there were six pages of diagrams and templates. If you followed the thread here, you will note the changes I made in relation to the diagrams and templates. I do believe Jimmy changed these but if not, just review the thread for the changes. Other than a few minor spelling and grammatical errors, the instructions were well written and easy to follow. I can't remember any sections of the instructions that weren't clear and unambiguous. The instructions were originally written by Pete Willstein and edited for updates by Jimmy in January of 2011. I made a few suggestions concerning the spelling and grammer and I believe the changes were made. Keep in mind the instructions for Boilermakers were first written in the early 90's. With this in mind, the instructions mention the use of Floquil Driftwood, Maple and Oak stains. Of course, these are no longer available and are no longer made.
In reviewing the parts, as in the scribed siding and the board and batton, I found these parts to be square and laser cut very neatly. Aside from a couple of opening and width issues, which Jimmy corrected with the laser, the wood was all square and fit together very well. No tweaking was necessary for the walls to fit together. I also made a few suggestions on the bracing of the board and batton walls and Jimmy made these changes as well.
Boilermakers is made up of five subassemblies. They are the Office, the little Office Shed, the Brewery, the Warehouse and the little Pump House. The Office, Brewery and the Warehouse subassemblies make up the main structure. The Office Shed, located on the rear of the office, can be used here or placed elsewhere; however, if you don't attach it to the rear of the office, you will need to place it in the area as it will only fit on the rear of the office. If you do use it elsewhere, you will need to add a rear wall to the shed. The pump house can be placed anywhere you desire.
The instructions call for the builder to build each subassembly seperately, including the roof panels, shingles, platform frames and decking. I chose to paint all the walls in one sitting. I stained the wood and trim in one sitting as well.
I found it best to build all the subassemblies together, meaning I built the office, brewery and warehouse prior to any roof or platform decking being built. When the three assemblies were finished, I then added the roof, roof shingles (Campbells) and the long and short rafters. After all these were done on the three main build sections of the brewery, I then built the decking and platorms around the office, brewery and the warehouse. I started with the office, moved to the brewery and finished with the paltforms on the warehouse.
This next bit of info is personal preference only. I didn't do any roof details until the three sections were built in order as described above.
In reference to the roof details, I felt the three sections had entirely to many vent stacks. I felt this detracted from the over all appearance of the structure so I made the decision to add them as if the structure was real. As an example, the warehouse had vents that made no sense. I mean it's a warehouse so I only added two bathroom vents and one possible heater vent. If you look at my warehouse and the pictures on the first page of the thread, you will see what I mean.
As you all are now aware, I changed the roof hoist to be more practical by moving it over the area of the open upper platform, I lengthened the hoist beam to extend beyond the lift area, I added scale lumber to the sides and painted them gunmetal to represnet iron supports and added nut and bolt casting to the hoist. Also, I added a Campbell chain to the hoist instead of just leaving the hoist with no rope or chain. Jimmy stated he was going to add these changes to the build and add the chain and N&B casting to the kit. I changed the height of the main stack on the brewery as well. A stack this large would at least be as tall as the cupola and would need guide wires. I added these as well.
Jimmy has included in the kit two different Boilermaker signs. One is the black and white one Jim used on his model and the one I used with the 1888 sign with the two beer mugs in yellow and the brown circle. Also included in the kit are several small brewery and beer/ale signs. These signs were two new for this structure so I only used the colored 1888 sign. If you'll notice I had no signs on any of the building except the warehouse roof sign. Add signs as you desire.
The kit comes with 20 wooden(plastic) barrels that you glue together and paint a wood brown. If you want real wood barrels like the ones seen on the pilot model, Campbell makes real wooden barrels.
Now comes the plastic wooden crates by Tichy. I had a bad experience with these and didn't use them. They are great little details but at the time I built the kit, I couldn't figure out the numbering system in how they all fit together. So instead of maybe 7-8 crates I only got 4 1/2 out of the batch. If you want to use the crates, Tichy has the numbering system on their site so you will be able to glue them together.
As you read the instructions, you'll note Pete gives a little narrative of the changes through the years of how boilermakers came to be. This was a nice little touch and enjoyable to follow.
The one thing I forgot to mention to Jimmy with regards to the instructions is the section on the Cellar Door. The cellar door is now a cast resin "bulkhead", for those up North and a cellar door for guys like me in the south. You can totally disregard this section and the resin casting is the way to go!
This kit is not for the beginner but if a beginner wants to build it, I suggest you go slow and keep reading the instructions. This isn't a weekend project. Don't start the build and be anxious to finish. Many of the sections of the build are boring and tedious. These would be the Campbell shingles, the long and short rafters, the platform frames and the decking. In taking your time with this build, you will be very pleased with the end results of your work.
On a scale of 1-10 this kit is an 11! For the price, this is a quality kit for your money and you will have lots of fun building it. I would give this kit an A+ for overall curbside and trackside appeal. Jimmy has a real winner here.
I appreciate the opportunity to build Boilermakers and work out the kinks so it will be a better build for the public. I want to thank all of you who posted comments and offered your support. Mostly, thank you Jimmy for taking the time and effort in putting such a great kit on the market for us kit junkies!