MODELING: Swift Meat Plant


One of my favorite modelers, Jim Zwernemann, created a model of a Swift meat processing plant that once existed in Austin, TX close to the Southern Pacific depot.  The lead photo was taken by Jim Hickey and came from the Frank Peacock collection. Fortunately Jim Zwernemann obtained a copy after Frank’s passing.

In it’s prime Swift & Company had regional plants all over the country in small to medium cities.  Another example of the smaller facilities shows up on the photo below. It was taken in Sacramento, CA very close the SP passenger station.  The timeframe of this picture is in the the 1958 period.  SP 1744 was likely in town for a excursion out of Davis to Knight Landing.

Here is Jim’s model of the Austin plant.  It was built with minimal depth to allow it to occupy space in the back of the scene.  The principal material used is styrene. The wall has a plastic brick laminated to the styrene.  Jim found the brick material and thought it might work for the Swift plant.

The overall effect is eye-catching based on the colors and basic design.  Other Swift structure that I have seen were a deep red but I must say I like the white and contrasting red band.

Jim’s work is impeccable craftsman which is visible in this image.   The windows were built from individual pieces of styrene.  The curved frame was difficult to fit into the opening according to Jim. The addition of the downspouts and vent pipe create interest in the wall.

The lettering and color band are the key feature.  Jim created the lettering using a hand-cut stencil.  It was a tedious process.  Jim managed to capture the lettering style of the original building.  It is a different font than used on their classic reefers.

The blanked out the windows are a nice feature of the prototype building. Jim captured the look of bricked over window openings.

Jim needs to build a classic Swift reefer.

Thank you Jim for sharing your work.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.