Sunday, October 25, 2015

HOJPOJ Reno: Looking

I figured that the best place to start with repairing the HOJPOJ Mfg. Co. was simply by looking it over and noting what needed to be done. My philosophy with this project will be to do as little as possible. I don't want it to be a J. D. Lowe project built on an E. L. Moore base, but an E. L. Moore project with a few repairs by J. D. Lowe.
The half built from all the little boxes is the part that will need the work. The brick main building can be used more-or-less as is. The box complex has a few spots with small-scale damage that'll need repair after it's carefully dusted off. In the lower left of the above photo you can see a small area where the roof has been slightly crushed. That'll need to be pushed out. There's also the loose small smokestack that will need to be reattached to the leftmost green box.
Over on the right side the two loose dust collectors need to be reinstalled and the piping glued back into place. One of the pipe elbows is missing and will need to be rebuilt. Also, the little roof over the right-most door is missing and needs to be remade.
Mr. Moore didn't finish covering this end with his tried-and-true paper metal siding method, but simply glued on what he had and painted the whole thing one colour. This side was never seen in the article photos, so this was probably done to meet a publication deadline. I'm not going to finish the papering. It'll be left as is.
This side goes flush up against one wall of the brick building. When the two buildings are put beside each other, a little strip of raw balsa is visible above the brick building's roof line. 
Again, careful photography meant this was never seen in the article. I will try to colour-match the grey and paint the exposed portion. I think if it's painted to match the grey end-wall it won't be as noticeable. As well, you can see the top-most dust collector is bent and needs a little straightening.
"None of these units have floors, although after installing some light bulbs I did seal the bottom with a sheet of construction paper" is E. L. Moore's description from the article on how the bottom was finished off. You can see a large piece of the paper has been ripped off, and there are no lights remaining inside. The interior is painted black - I assume to prevent light from glowing through the walls. I'll add some lights in there, but won't reseal the floor - I can imagine a little more might need to be removed to get the lights in.
[A few weeks ago Debra and I saw a diorama of several small buildings in the China, South Asia and Southeast Asia collection at the British Museum. In this photo we see the main building.The card attached to the artifacts read, Pottery model of a Ming dynasty court-yard house, including an entrance gate, a screen wall and various buildings; Ming dynasty, 15th or 16th century AD. More information can be found here.]

Ever since I was given the HOJPOJ I've been thinking about what approach I should take to fixing it. Should I 'properly' finish that partially papered end wall? Add some more pieces to the top wall of the box complex to make it more realistic in order to fix up the raw, exposed balsa pieces? I eventually settled on the minimalist approach. It is what it is. It's an E. L. Moore project and that's what people should see - that's what I want to see. All this got underlined in my mind when Debra and I visited the British Museum a few weeks ago. While I was looking at that Ming house model a member of the museum staff came up to me and asked if I'd fill out a survey about the exhibits.
It was a questionnaire called 'Coming Clean' - if you're on the museum staff and reading this, sorry about identifying myself (also, this survey is a good thing you're doing) - and contained a number of questions about the state of the visual appearance of the artifacts and asked my thoughts on what that state should be. 
[Here's the overall view of the diorama]

Basically I think the objects, and by extension the HOJPOJ, shouldn't be left in the state they were found, but cleaned and restored to get them as close as possible to their original condition, but with care not to damage. Our current level of technology might not allow complete restoration and that's fine; something might be developed in the future that would do the trick. Try to restore it, and keep it clean and in that condition, but be cautious and minimalist.
[This is one of the surrounding buildings in the courtyard]

BTW, I think the Ming buildings might be 1/24, or maybe 1/18 scale :-) Anyway, I want to place the HOJPOJ in a diorama similar to the one used in the article.
After studying the article's photos, I laid things out on a piece of paper and tried to place the main features and leave space for the missing buildings. Those guy wires that stay the main smoke stack - made from black thread on this model - define the size of this scene. Half of the threads are frayed and broken and will need to be replaced. There's a fence that encloses the grounds and a small building across the tracks with overhead pipes that go into the main brick building. All that is missing and needs to be rebuilt. 
There's a water tower that goes with this diorama and it's missing too. It moves around in the photos :-) but one shows it beside the brick building, so I'll put it there. There's a few other nondescript background buildings in some photos, but those won't be included. The only additional buildings will be the trackside shack with the pipes going into the main building, a horizontal tank that's beside it, and the water tower. I think a 20 inch by 20 inch base will be suitable.

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