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 1930s Texaco Station Diorama Build Book

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Posts : 1697
Join date : 2013-02-26
Age : 77
Location : Utah

PostSubject: 1930s Texaco Station Diorama Build Book   Thu 25 Apr 2013, 11:33 pm

I hope you guys don't mind looking at this again. I'm entering the diorama in the GSL Championship in Salt Lake City next week and have to prepare a "build book." I lost all of my photos in a computer disaster a few months ago and the only way I can think to access them is to steal them off a couple of sites where they were posted. Can anybody say BACK THEM UP DUMMY???? Anyway, this will be posted here for anybody that wants to wade through it.

This book covers the construction of my 1930s TEXACO STATION DIORAMA. It is a nearly complete scratch build. It is meant to be located in the Arizona desert during the late 1930s. The station is located in Brenda, Arizona. I was built about 1928 and has had little if any maintenance. It clearly shows the effects of surviving in the Arizona desert. The owner was able to buy a new tow truck in 1934, but it too is beginning to show the stress of a desert environment. It is now 1938 and the country is in the depths of the Great Depression. There is little chance the owner will be able to do any real improvements to the station at present, but he is managing to survive.

When building a diorama such as this I start with line drawings demensioning the exterior walls.

The demensions are then transferred to 1/4" foam board. This board becomes the core of the exterior walls.

I cut demensioned lumber from Bass Wood mill ends that I purchase at a local exotic wood dealer on my band saw.

After staining and aging the lumber I install the interior walls. I do this on the flat as it is much easier.

After painting and partially aging the lumber I cover the exterior walls.

I then install the windows and much of the trim.

At this time I also make and install many of the signs that will appear on the building. The signs are created from photos found on the internet, sized in PhotoShop and printed on plain white copy paper. The signs are then cut out and gently sanded on the back with a high grit sandpaper until they are very thin, actually leaving only the top surface of the paper containing the printed image. The signs are then applied to the walls using a 50/50 solution of white glue and water. When properly done the signs give the appearance of having been painted on the walls.

At this point the walls are erected and connected to each other essentially completing the basic structure of the building.

Attention is then turned to the roof of the building. The roof panels are created from heavy craft foil.

After the panels are cut to the appropriate size they are formed using a sheet of styrene corregated roofing and a stylus.

The panels are then aged using a rather strong acid. This is probably the most dangerous portion of the build as this acid is "really nasty."

The panels are only left in the acid for a few seconds and then run through two clear water baths to stop the chemical reaction. The panels are then left to dry on paper towel overnight. Depending on how long you leave the panels in the acid they end up looking like this.

The panels will continue to "rust" for a day or so and finally end up looking like this.

Because the bottom side of the roof is not visible, I did not bother to complete rafters. The tires are placed on the roof because of high winds often occurring in the Arizona desert. This is still a common site in the area.

At this point the building is essentially complete with the exception of the large garage doors. I then turned my attention to the details that needed to be created. I first built two work benches using bass wood. Both benches are virtually alike. The items on the bench were purchased at a model railroad swap meet and painted by me.

The water hose is a piece of electrical wire draped over a kit wheel. The faucet is a brass aftermarket item.

The Coca Cola cooler is a copy of an ice cooler from the 1930s. It is scratch built using styrene sheet and angle. The Coca Cola logo is from the internet.

The parts dipping tank is also scratchbuilt using styrene sheet and angle. The items in and under the tank are aftermarket details painted and aged by me.

The kerosene tank is an aftermarket barrel painted and aged by me with an aftermarket faucet installed. The rack is scratch built using bass wood.

The gas pump is an aftermarket item that has had a more realistic hose installed and has been aged by me. The bulk oil bottles are resin castings supplied to me by a friend. The rack they sit on was scratch built by me.

The outhouse is scratch built out of bass wood and corregated sheet roofing. It should be noted that it comes completely furnished.

To finish off the diorama two vehicles are in place. Both vehicles have loads consisting of aftermarket items painted and aged by me to provide more realism.

With that the diorama is essentially complete, or as complete as any diorama ever it. There are still a very few minor details to add before the show.

If there are any questions I can be contacted at the show by calling 801-592-1315.

John Johnson

"My second childhood is so much more fun than my first."
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Posts : 6814
Join date : 2013-02-15
Age : 69
Location : Newcastle. Good Old Blighty.

PostSubject: Re: 1930s Texaco Station Diorama Build Book   Fri 26 Apr 2013, 12:14 am

I for one don't mind John and I enjoyed the refresher. Nice one!

Good lick at the show.

PS. I've had a word with the judges and told them under NO circumstances are they to use the C**e word. :lol:


Success always demands a greater effort.” Winston Churchill

"Success is failure turned inside out"  Unknown
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pete s
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Posts : 799
Join date : 2013-02-26
Age : 68
Location : Beaverton, OR

PostSubject: Re: 1930s Texaco Station Diorama Build Book   Fri 26 Apr 2013, 12:29 am

John, I am also going to the GSL Championship next week.

I am going to enter two models, a red VW and a scratch built off-road race car replica. I have also made "BUILD BOOKS" for both of these. I am going to post something on these two on this forum in the next couple of days. I don't expect to win anything, but am going to have fun and learn how to do better. I have been to this show a couple of times, and their seminars are first rate!

See you there, and it will be nice to meet you in person.

Pete Strause
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Posts : 6948
Join date : 2013-02-17
Age : 69
Location : Aberdeen, Washington

PostSubject: Re: 1930s Texaco Station Diorama Build Book   Fri 26 Apr 2013, 1:55 am

Very enjoyable read. Thanks John and best of luck to ya.
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Intermediate Member
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Posts : 834
Join date : 2013-02-25
Age : 43
Location : Memphis, TN

PostSubject: Re: 1930s Texaco Station Diorama Build Book   Fri 26 Apr 2013, 2:27 am

Love dioramas! This one is killer and I wish you the best of luck at the show with it. The craftsmanship is amazing! Keep up the great work. A very enjoyable read and insight on how to build one. 8)
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Posts : 1772
Join date : 2013-02-27
Age : 58
Location : Strathpine Australia. Built over WW2 airstrip

PostSubject: Re: 1930s Texaco Station Diorama Build Book   Fri 26 Apr 2013, 4:38 am

Mind- no way do I mind looking at craftmanship like this. Top stuff.


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Posts : 3370
Join date : 2013-02-28
Age : 68
Location : MIDWEST

PostSubject: Re: 1930s Texaco Station Diorama Build Book   Sat 27 Apr 2013, 1:04 am

Thank you so much for posting the fotos. I am surprised at the in-scale (1/25?) small things like the vise and faucets. The work is beautiful. Thanks again for giving future builders something to dream of.
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