A Part of B.T.S.

Kit Assembly

We know you get excited about these new kits, and cannot wait to get them into your hands. However, many of you may not be aware of all the things that go into getting these kits to you. Here we will try to show you some of the steps required in the actual kit production.

Laser Room

Our laser room is constantly in operation. There the computer-controlled laser burns the sheets of plywood and Basswood to form the parts of the kits. The entire kit is developed on a Pentium-powered PC using AutoCad software. Each part must be drawn to scale. Here one of the lasers is cutting the L sheets for Donovan's Transfer Company. Lots of nail heads to burn in! Be glad we are high-tech; we save you lots of hours!

Parts Department

There are several hundred white-metal and brass detail parts in our line. The white-metal parts we cast here in our shop. We have already cast over 1,000 pounds of metal in just the last six months! We also do urethane and plaster casting inhouse.

The brass parts are lost-wax details made for us by one of the best masters of the art in Korea. Constant reorders keep him and his factory busy.

Parts Processing

Once the parts are cast, they must be desprued and packaged. The brass details arrive from Korea in bulk, so imagine the excitement of facing 800 HO scale brass rats that must be packaged five to a bag and sealed shut!

In the case of a super kit, such as Donovan's Transfer, we must cast and package 90 different details castings for each kit. Yep, old-fashioned manual counting goes on in this room! Need lots of coffee here.


But assuming we can stay awake, the resulting nice, neat bags of details are ready to go into your kit. We separate the details based upon use in the kit. The building details are in one bag, people in another, hoist parts in still another, etc. The pilings-four different lengths-are packaged in segmented bags.

And before some of this can be done, there is additional hand work to be done. Bill must cut the dowels-about 900 36"-dowels were used in Donovan's Transfer Co.- to the correct length, measure and trim correct lengths of string, cord, and magnet wire, and process it for packing.

The Kit Box

Nothing about the process is simple. We had to develop the box artwork on our computer and send it off for the printing and die-cutting of the boxes. The flat boxes for Donovan's Transfer weighted right at 350 lbs.

Yep, these boxes are flat. Before Di can put your kit into the box, she has to build the dang thing! She wears gloves to keep finger prints off the glossy finish. Extra work goes into cutting the foam and bubble wrap used to pad the kit.

Packaging the Kit

Once the laser has cut the pieces, and the various sub-assemblies are made, all are moved to the processing table. This table is 22-feet long, and parts for Donovan's Transfer covers all of one side, and even around the corner!

By the time we finish the Donovan's Transfer kit, Di will have walked over 1.6 miles around that table!

The Assembly Line

Di starts at one end, picks up the correct amount of each sub-assembly, and neatly puts it in your box. She has devised the correct order to insure that no part will damage another.

It takes about 25 minutes to assemble each kit.

Shrink Wrapping

All the parts are now in the box. The instruction manual, which we print and collate inhouse, is added last, then the lid is slid into place. Matching serial numbers have been placed on the box label and instruction manual.

A layer of shrink wrap is placed around the kit and heat sealed.


One end of our facility is used for completed inventory storage. You will note that there are no black boxes of Donovan's Transfer here. Most of the run is pre-sold, and by the time we finish packing in a few weeks, the rest will probably be gone! Ordered your kit yet?

As soon as Di finishes with each kit, she places it and the shipping documents on the shipping table. When about ten kits are assembled, she packs them for shipping.

Unless you request special handling, all kits are shipped via U.S. Mail and insured. This means you will have to sign for the kit; it will not be left on your doorstep. The reservation status is mailed separately as an audit trail.

We hope that this brief look at the some of the process has been enjoyable and informative. We will be adding more information about kit design and production - that is where Bill does most of his work - as time permits.

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Last Changed on: June 18, 2003
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