Walther’s Power Plant…Part 1

First up is the build of the Walther’s Power plant and power substation (walthers.com) that I received for Christmas. I know that I said that I would do a ” review ” of the kits, but this is more of how I did it and my impression of the kits and problems/faults of the kits.

I started with the substation. The kit is pretty straight forward in its build. For as simple as it is, it does have a tremendous visual impact. I started by identifying how it would go together and need to be painted. The only real problem in painting it is that the transformer could not be painted as a whole, I like to assemble things as much as possible. This makes glueing and seam clean up a lot easier, which then results in a better finished product. Most of it can be put together and then painted, but the cooling fins on the transformer ( at least what I assume are cooling fins, I probably didn’t do enough research on transformers to know for sure ) are to closely spaced to attach before painting. So I assembled them as sub-assemblies. I then mounted them to painting sticks, which are nothing more then a couple of 1X3’s and 1X4’s with double sided foam mounting tape grouped by color.

Subassemblies mounted on painting boards waiting their turn in the spray booth.
Subassemblies mounted on painting boards waiting their turn in the spray booth.
More subassemblies waiting their turn.
More subassemblies waiting their turn.

I first primed all of the pieces and then let them dry for as least 24 hours to let the paint completely dry and harden. I then painted the different parts in their respective colors. For small detail parts such as the insulators, I brushed painted after the base color had dried.

The base was spray painted a flat tan color, so that when I put ground cover on it, if there were any thin spots it would just look like dirt. Ah yes the base, this is my first “problem” with the kit. One has to decide how the substation will be used. The box art shows the substation sitting along side the power plant and I assumed that it could be used this way. Turns out there are two different types of substations. Probably an over simplification. There is an up converting substation and a down converting substation. The kit as a whole is a down converting substation, the type you would find in a residential or light industrial setting. Power is sent through power lines at around 300,000 volts. A little high for your home. Electricity comes in off from the high tension lines and is dropped to something a little more friendly for your house.

An up converting substation would be part off the power plant and would do the opposite. You only use about 2/3 off the base ( there is a cut line on the back side of the base where to cut it ).The instructions say that you can use it for this purpose with “some added detail”, but there is nothing noted as to what that detail is. I looked online, but as of yet to find a good explanation or picture of such an installation. I possibly have not used the right key words, but it has been a pain in the you know where.

My second problem with the instructions is that they don’t show how it would be wired up. There is some hint as to how it is done, but they are incomplete. Meaning that they show some of the wiring but not all of it. Plus the instructions kind off look like a copy of a copy of a copy. There are a few substations within driving distance and I will have to head out to get a few photos of one so that I know what I’m doing. But I picture myself out there with my camera with a telephoto lens ( as you can’t get really close to one ) and have Homeland Security show up wondering why the sudden interest in the local power infrastructure.

Anyway, I got everything painted and assembled but did not permanently mounted it to the base. Also I did not put the fence in place as this will all be done when I put the piece in place and get the ground cover on first.

Below is a picture of the “completed” substation.

Substation assembled and painted. Waiting for installation on layout to do ground cover, fence and wiring.
Substation assembled and painted. Waiting for installation on layout to do ground cover, fence and wiring.

Next the power station.

Until then, Happy Railroading.



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