This “Office Barrack” model has been released by NOCH as an accessory building to accompany their big new Gravel Plant kit, but could of course be used on its own in a variety of contexts; “barrack” in English normally has military connotations, and I think the description “Site Office” gives a better indication of what it is like.
What you get
NOCH’s standard top opening box is as usual wrapped around with a colour photograph of the completed model among other NOCH products, notably with some of the Quarry Rock Wall in the background. With the exception of a sheet of clear plastic for glazing the windows, the kit parts are entirely made from high quality cardboard of various colours and gauges, and these are all packed flat within a polythene bag. As usual with these kits a tube of quality white PVA type glue is included (vastly more than will be needed to put this model together) as well as a multi-page black and white instruction booklet. It is possible to view the instructions in colour by downloading a PDF from the NOCH website here
; some example pages are included here.
Close up photos of the parts while still on their card “sprues” should give an idea of the extreme precision with which the laser process cuts and engraves the card. Observe especially the window grilles, the bars of which are considerably deeper than they are thick. As can be seen from the number and size of the parts, this is a small and simple building.
A quick tip on using the glue is to have a jar of water handy to dump the brush in after each glue application to prevent the glue setting on the brush while the parts are being assembled.
Each of the parts is attached to the card sprue at three or four very small points of only about 1mm thick, each attachment point requiring a tiny cut with a sharp modelling knife in order to free the component completely from the card.
Construction begins by taking the front and rear walls and adding in the window glazing, which is cut from the small sheet supplied and then glued into place.
The rear and one side wall are then attached to the base and to each other, with some glue applied to the joins first, and then around the join after assembly. The opposite two walls are then attached in the same way.
The roof is in two layers - the first thick layer has a plain finish and location holes, and this is followed by the thinner top layer which is etched to represent roofing panels. The model is strong enough at this point to be turned upside down and a weight applied to the base to ensure that the top layer is fixed nice and flat.
With the structure done, details are added. Each of the four walls is laminated with a well textured grey card layer, representing corrugated metal. Diamond pattern bars are attached over the two rear windows, and a window sill is attached under the front windows.
The only remotely tricky part of the kit is the assembly of the chimney, which is made up of four card sides which are butted together, and it is really necessary to have all four pieces glued at the same time to ensure a good fit. The coping on the top of the chimney is implied in the instructions as resting on top of the chimney, when in reality it sits around the top like a square collar. Without any location mark on the roof it is up the builder to decide where the chimney goes, but of course it could just be left off completely. Not sure about other countries, but in the UK it would probably be more normal for a building such as this to be without one.
Two final touches remain: a tiny black handle needs to be glued to the front door (which itself is already in place, being part of the front wall) and the “Buro” sign can go over the door if one wishes.
This was a very quick and easy build, taking about one hour to complete. In contrast to injection moulded plastic kits, there was no significant filing, sanding or filling necessary, apart from the removal of a few of the tiny card stubs left from the attachment points.
Due to the precision of the laser process none of the parts were attached at any unintended point, so that cutting through the attachment points was all that was ever need to free the parts. None of the parts were damaged, bent or distorted in any way that one might expect from a piece of cardboard.
Overall I think this building looks good in its finished state, and somehow it even looks a little worn and quite realistic without any paint or effects having been applied.
The diamond shaped grilles over the rear windows are a nice example of the very accurate and intricate cutting achievable with the laser process, and the door and window details look particularly good on this kit. Perhaps the only weakness in detail terms is the roof edging which does look somewhat “cardboardy”, something that could I suppose be finished off better with a little card or styrene strip, and the chimney, which has the look of being made up of interlocking parts.
This is an HO scale kit (1/87) and although models in this scale can sometimes appear compatible with 1/76 or 1/72, the door on this building may seem a little too low for those larger scales, although enlarging it a little would be possible.
Finally, in the photos, we see this office building alongside its slightly larger companion piece, the Corrugated Iron Shed (item 66107) and the comparatively giant Gravel Plant (item 66304), both of which have also been reviewed here on RailRoad Modeling (see links below).