Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Visiting Bar Mills Scale Model Works - Part Two.

This Bar Mills logo is prominently displayed on one of the side walls of the "Strong station" facility.  You can definitely see the connection with the artwork displayed in the photo in George's earlier Bar Mills post. Mar. 31, 2016.

Commentary by Peter Mumby........Photos by George Dutka and Peter Mumby.

As you may have surmised from a number of George's April posts, we recently returned from a seven day jaunt that took us from Southwestern Ontario into the states of New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine.  George is a veteran of many such forays into New England, so he knew exactly where he wanted to go.  He planned the route and the itinerary, made the reservations, and did all the driving - all I had to do was keep the accounts and keep my camera at the ready.  My kind of vacation!  The main pretext for the trip was a visit to the Fine Scale Model Railroader Expo at Danvers, Massachusetts.  However, our time at this event was scheduled to be only a little more than one full day, so there was lots of additional time to plan layout tours, hobby shop visits, and railfanning.

The first two days were devoted to covering the distance between home and our Danvers-area hotel.  This left lots of time for railfanning, so we followed the blue skies ( and George's GPS ) into rail sites at Syracuse, Utica, East Deerfield, Greenfield, and Bellows Falls.  Day three started early for us, as George had booked us in for a 9:00 tour of the Bar Mills facility at Bar Mills/Buxton Maine, a location due west of Portland, and at least a two hour drive from our hotel.  Bar Mills was not setting up this year in the vendors section of the show, and was offering these tours as an alternative.

The Bar Mills facility is located in a structure in the front yard of the property belonging to proprietor Art Fahie.  Not just any structure, mind you - this is a 1:1 scale replica of the former SRRL railway station at Strong, Me.  Of course, there is a small scale replica of this replica on display inside.  As soon as you enter the building you take in Art's remarkable Sn2 Wharf St. layout.  As we were the only participants in this particular tour, we were allowed ample time to take photographs.  As well as the layout, nearby shelves were filled with dioramas featuring many of the Bar Mills kits, past and present, in several scales.  These would have been featured in show displays.

Bar Mills fencing completed on large sheets. This project is one of the most time consuming sheeting to laser cut.
Once we had dragged ourselves away from the layout, we were taken on a conducted tour of the manufacturing facilities.  Art quickly turned us over to Lenny, a younger employee ( also a modeller ) who showed us the laser cutter in action, and demonstrated how the metal castings are reproduced.  We were then taken to the second floor where the various kits are packaged and readied for shipment.  Bar Mills kits have been produced in N, HO, S, and O scales.  In addition, kits are being produced at this facility for other manufacturers.

Our two-person tour group never felt rushed while we were there, and George was able to get a "factory direct" price on a BM kit from his wish list.  On the way out the door we were provided with clear directions on how to find the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum, our next port of call.  Altogether, this had been a very pleasant experience.

In this view, Lenny is cleaning the laser cutting machine prior to its next use.  Lots of scale wood is available on the shelves at the rear.

Here Lenny is removing castings from the metal sprue produced from the mould.  None of this excess metal will be wasted.  It will be re-melted for use in the next castings.  We each were given half of these castings to take home as souvenirs.  Now we just have to build a structure that needs five chimneys!

Upstairs the kits parts are assembled, boxed and sealed.

Perhaps your next Bar Mills kit will be packaged up here later in the day!

Another sheet with parts laid out for a kit.
Here George and Lenny are discussing the intricacies of kit construction (or was it Red Sox vs. Jays?) in the loft area.  The room behind the photographer is used to produce the "instructional videos" available on the Bar Mills website.

Here we see some of the dioramas featuring built-up versions of O scale BM kits.

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