Monday, August 31, 2020


After a month's break, work resumed on the Neste Resins (Chembond) wood chemicals plant in Springfield, served off the Marcola Branch.  My first post described the history and significance of the wood chemicals industry, with two such plants represented on my railroad.
That first post described construction of the refinery core of the industry using a Walthers oil refinery as the basis.  My next step involved adding piping and tanks--lots of tanks.

I began this phase by assembling more of the piping spine that runs through the facility.  This major pipe run is elevated and shows prominently in both satellite and street views of the facility.  A Walthers refinery piping set (933-3114) provides a suitable selection of four-wide pipe runs with various 90-degree bend sections and vertical supports for the overhead run.  Using the satellite view as a guide, I assembled two pipe runs to bracket the intercooler pipe set that is part of the central refining facility.  

Looking down the central pipe run spine for Neste Resins.

Surrounding the pipe run and grouped off the ends of the two runs are several tank farms.  I needed to scratch-build these tanks, as nothing suitable was seen in model railroad catalogs.  I needed narrower diameter tanks.  Taking a cue from the Plastruct tanks I built as part of the refinery core (described in the first post), I built my tanks from sections of PVC pipe.  I used two diameters, roughly 1-inch and 1.5-inch.  I cut suitable lengths for 16, 20 and 22 scale-feet tall tanks.  I capped both ends, just as done with the earlier Plastruct tanks.  I scribed weld lines, just as I had done with those Plastruct tanks.  The several tank farms of the facility consumed close to sixty scratch built tanks.

Painting the tanks silver and then a subsequent coat of flat finish revealed the printing on the PVC pipes bleeding through the paint.  Ooops!  Fortunately, I had attached the tanks with rubber cement to the tank farm bases, so I could pull them up easily.  A fresh coat of automotive primer and then silver and finally flat finish yielded properly finished tanks.  

I mounted the tanks on sheets of styrene edged with 0.125 x 0.250-inch strip representing retention berms.  I needed to adjust my plan for tank placement several times based on limited space at one end of my model facility.  Indeed, one of my tank farm pads saw three rounds of surgery as I wrestled with creating a suitable scene that included space for an access road to the tight end of the facility.

The "tight end" of the Neste Resins facility.  I had to adjust my tank farm arrangements of the three major groupings at this end of the facility compared to the satellite view.  The end effect remains--a lot of tanks to support the process.

At the broad end of the facility, I added the first of several buildings seen in the satellite and street views.  I used a Pikestuff Yard Office (541-16) as a representation of a building alongside one of the tank clusters at the south end of the facility.  More Pikestuff buildings are planned, but I grew weary of cutting window and door openings in the soft plastic used for the building sides.  I will just keep working on it over time.

Neste Resins seen from the south end of the facility.

My model of Neste Resins is a work in process.  It is a large, sprawling facility with many different parts.  As such it will take time to build the component pieces.  Still, enough of the facility has been built now that it is very recognizable as a major chemical industry served by the railroad.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bill- I've just joined your Followers. I really admire your SP Layout- it is huge and built for Operation with many Friends. I'm just starting out in HO -determined to make a small HO 'Rio Grande' 4ft x 11ft Layout - within my funds. Regards. KEV. (Sydney-Australia).