Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A bit of a set back at Olin-Chlor

So far the Olin-Chlor build has been kind of taxing for me.
I have never really studied any kind of chemical plant before so I'm flying by the seat of my pants here.
First it sits in a corner and there is not as much room as I have envision, but when is there ever enough room?

I've made lots of changes throughout the planning stages of the Olin-Chlor plant. I've added things here and decided against this or that. I've done away with the idea of using the Walther's big storage tanks as they are just too big and not really what you'd see at a chemical plant. Instead, I've always loved piping so I decided to try my hand at building the North Island refinery kit. 

So I dug out the kit, read all of the instructions, studied it carefully and began the build.  Well the first thing I noticed about this kit was the lack of instructions, or the lack of any written instructions!  I started with the burn house or burn unit and got it together with a one small problem but got past it. Next came the piping cage.  Well this was turned out harder than it looked but again I persisted and got it together reasonably close to the picture on the box.

I managed to get the both portions built, painted and ready to set in place.  Then I started on the towers.

The towers themselves were OK, I also got the railings assembled to the platforms just fine and then got them painted.  I thought to myself, "Hmmm, even with the lack of instructions this was going to be OK.  Slow, but OK".

Well then came the moment of truth.  I started to attach the platforms to the towers.  Trying to decipher the actual locations for each of them turned out to be like ready a foreign language!  The instructions (or the lack of) just showed one view with lines pointing to where they should go in an exploded view.  To compound the problem,  there were a lot of platforms each with their own lines. Some of the lines themselves were dotted or dashed and in some places the lines overlaid each other!

So I started at the bottom and tried to work my way up, so far so good.  I got the obvious ones done first and added some of the small caps and valves as I went so I didn't have to reach in around the platforms later.

One of the first things I noticed was there wasn't enough of the caps and or valves for all the holes on the towers.  WTF?  I figured oh well, you'll probably won't see most of them anyway and proceeded.

I had about five of the platforms attached using a new tool I picked up recently that has a small needle for applying liquid glue that worked fantastic, you can apply just a drop at at a time.  I also had picked up some of the MEK which also works great.  When the time came to attach a platform that would be glued to three of the towers is where things went south.

Nothing really lined up as I had hoped or like the instructions shown.  Several of them I had to actually enlarge the inner diameter so as to fit the towers.  Once I got them to fit reasonably well, I located them and applied the MEK.  In the process of  holding and gluing the platforms in place, things slipped out of my hand! When I went to catch it before it made the plunge to floor, I crushed it against the bench and pieces went flying everywhere!

Sitting there trying to contemplate what just happened and uttering some profane syllables to myself, I looked at the instructions and what was left of the towers and platforms and decided at that time, Walther's kits are not very good kits like I had always thought they were.

In the next split second, what was left of the towers and platforms met Mr. Trash can!  Then, I calmly picked up the misc pieces and placed them in the trash as well.  I cleaned up the workbench, shut the lights off and made my way upstairs.  I jumped on the computer, called up my old friend Google,  and started looking for something else I could use in place of the now crushed pieces that made up the towers.

What I came across were the Distillation towers that are made by Tomytec.  I have seen these before and thought about getting a few for Olin-Chlor but since I had the North Island refinery kit I'd just use these.  I also had thoughts about picking up the entire Tomytec plant, but just couldn't see paying around $175.00 for the kit?  The two towers are on the way from Japan as I type this.

Now I have always thought that Walthers made some pretty good kits.  I had good results with the Vulcan Mfg kit, along with several others that I've build over the years but this refinery kit just blew dogs!  The instructions were very poor, the pieces didn't fit together very well at all and the fact that there wasn't enough pieces to use just pissed me off.

I've seen lots of modelers that have built this kit, so my hats off to them for getting through it.  I'm no slouch when it comes to models,  I've built tons of model cars and military vehicles through out my life, but this one juuuuust sucked!

I have a pile of these Walther's kits stacked up for the layout that I've picked up over the years and I sure hope they go better than this one did.
Maybe this one of the reasons that a lot of guys scratch build what they need?   

OK, my blood pressure is back down to normal and my rant is over.  I'm waiting for the Tomytec towers to arrive.  The two little cooling towers are from the same chemical plant and those went together very easy, so I'm hoping that these distillation towers will be much the same.

Edit: Click here to jump to "Let's try this again, shall we?"


  1. The HO version wasn't much better. I have found over the years that many of the kits have issues. Some are really good, but I would say majority of them don't go together very nicely.

  2. Well this one won't go together any longer, LOL!