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ACME Machine Company

Ameri-Towne 1/48 ACME Machine Company Kit First Look

By Mark Nickelson

Date of Review April 2017 Manufacturer Ameri-Towne
Subject ACME Machine Company Scale 1/48
Kit Number 0442 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice details, simple construction Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $34.95

First Look

An industrial building meant for use on a train layout? What has that to do with me, even if it is in my scale? Will the Acme Machine Co. ever find its way onto a 1/48 aviation diorama. It's hard to imagine, but never say never. Modelers with a certain taste for variety will find the best of the styrene structure kits to be a worthwhile outlet for our skillset.

(Best of the styrene structures means (to me) the other big Ameri-Towne urban buildings: factories, a large store, an art-deco theater, a nice fire station, etc.; certain kits by Atlas and Lionel; and maybe one or two Bachmann Plasticville kits.) 

Ameri-Towne is probably unique among plastic kit lines in that it is a subsidiary of a magazine publishing company. Most of the old fellows on the masthead of O Gauge Railroading make their own sidelines of various 1/48 scenic details, and many of them could make their way onto your airfield diorama: fencing, traffic signs, commercial signage, fire hydrants, etc. Among their buildings, the ones most likely for you and me to use are some little garages and maintenance sheds that sell for $12 and have 6 parts.

Acme Machine Co., probably the smallest footprint among their main line of building kits, occupies 6 x 6 in. and stands 7.71 in. high. Put it together and stand it up and it'll be bigger than it sounds. It has 12 styrene parts, two dissimilar metal roof vents, and some clear sheets for the glazing.

The kit features classical early 20th century architectural details, a firefighting water reservoir on its roof, and a loading dock. For my purposes, the loading dock will be cloned for the back and the other side, since all three sides have big 8-ft. doors for moving large machinery in and out.

Assembly obviously is not what this structure is about, but finishing is. The brick texture is deeply engraved. Apply a quick rub of some gray acrylic into the mortar grooves and you'll have a very realistic looking surface. You could, as the instructions suggest, leave the walls the brick red color in which they were cast.

Original red, that is, except for the cut stone foundation. The foundation needs to be some sort of gray and here again, a contrasting wipe-on application of a weathering color will bring out the texture.

The large castings are fairly straight and the most you may need to do to dress the corner seams is to lay in a strip of stretched sprue here and there.

We plastic modelers will approach this kind of project with a convenience many railroaders lack: an airbrush. Masking and shooting will make quick work of window frames, and thank goodness. Window frames in 1/48 are as tedious as the ones on a real house.

Truly, if you're reading this, you already have all the skills, tools and techniques for this kind of project.

Still, if you let yourself be led into this kind of modelmaking, you expose yourself to a serious risk. You could find yourself seized by an urge to knock together some benchwork and start laying track. And that could be the onset of a condition for which there's no known cure.

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