One of the challenges with any layout is finding appropriate buildings be they stations, goods sheds, residential housing or industrial buildings. For those that model British, European or American railways/railroads, there are quite a few manufacturers that cater for the various styles of buildings found in these locations, however for those modelling Australian locations, the availability is not so great, especially when it comes to the more out of the ordinary buildings.
And (yes I’m starting a sentence with a conjunction but apparently it’s okay) so it is with Gunnedah and its sizeable abattoir located on its own siding as the main line continues northwards. From the information and pictures I have gathered, modelling the Gunnedah abattoir to scale would require a massive amount of space as it is a sizeable piece of industry, so it is a matter of finding something that fits with the scale of the layout, but still has that “abattoir” look about it, or is at least something that when you are told this is the abattoir, your mind quite happily accepts that it indeed “looks” like an abattoir.
To some extent it is kind of lucky that there is no real specific look to an abattoir, they tend to be not particularly architectural, don’t really follow any particular style or even size, which definitely makes the job of finding something appropriate somewhat easier, but not totally.
As part of my research into finding a suitable building to represent the abattoir, apart from looking at the real thing, I have also looked at other layouts that feature an abattoir of some sort to see what they have used for ideas and inspiration. One of the best looking abattoir complexes I have seen is located on Ray Pilgrims high-quality NSWGR based layout Bylong (http://bylong.blogspot.com.au/ ), which features a collection of structures that make up the abattoir buildings, as well as an adjoining cattle yard. I have borrowed a couple of photos from Rays blog site to illustrate how good it looks. I’m not sure if this is modelled on a particular location or building type, but in its setting is perfectly believable as an abattoir.
American company Walthers are prolific manufacturer of railway related products, and have a large variety of industrial style buildings, however none of the ones I have seen looked to be totally suitable for use as an Australian style abattoir. Casting my search a little wider I came across a website specialising in HO scale structures, one in particular catching my eye as something that maybe suitable.
The website is http://www.custommodelrailroads.com/judysjamsandjellies-HO.aspx and the actual structure is called Judys Jams and Jellies. What I initially liked about this building is that it appears to feature a red brick and concrete main structure, which whilst not identical, is not massively dissimilar to the actual abattoir at Gunnedah if you squint really hard. Photographs of Gunnedah abattoir were given to me some years ago by Marcus Ammann who also has a spectacular NSWGR based layout The Main North, http://mainnorth.blogspot.com.au/
The other appealing factor of this building is the footprint, at 16.5” long x 5” deep x 9.75” high (including roof details) or 419mm x 127mm x 248mm for those metrically minded. When we did a rough layout of the abattoir siding the other week (which will be in a forthcoming blog post) I had placed the track roughly a tissue box width from the back scene, which is somewhere around 4.75”, so this structure at around 5” deep would suit perfectly well.
Being slightly more picky, it would be good if the platform side of the building did not have a section at the end which juts out, effectively cutting down the length of the loading platform (which will need to be extended anyway to the whole length of the building), and if it was 50% longer overall it would be even better, but, as an off the shelf proposition it is definitely one of the better ones I have seen so far.
Being a kit will obviously cause some challenges, my daughter however is very accomplished at building some of the more complicated Lego kits, so I wonder if with a bit of patience making the step to styrene model railway kits is not too much of a stretch!
In the meantime I will continue to search and see what other structures may be useful for Gunnedah’s abattoir, and I also welcome any suggestions that anybody might have for structures that will fit the scene, ideally around 5” deep and anywhere up to 36” long will do the job nicely.