Friday, January 24, 2014

Starting a mid-20th century vintage store

I think the thing I like most about streetcar layouts may be their biggest drawback for some: they’re urban and need lots of buildings. I grew up in Toronto where streetcars have been in continuous operation since what seems like the dawn of time – well, since the horse-drawn streetcars of 1861 to be more precise - so to me they aren’t relics of a pre-WWII North America. It’s easy to imagine streetcars of various vintages traveling through streets with buildings of many eras – that whole retro-future, all time periods existing simultaneously thing. This being the case, the building that houses The Red Apron in Ottawa struck me as a generic 1960s storefront common to Ontario – attractively remodeled for 21th century use – that might not be too hard to build and look right at home with some streetcars cruising by. The food’s great there too!

Here are a couple of photos of the prototype.
[The left part...]
[... and the right part]

The building procedure is going to be low-tech; much like Vivien Thompson used for the 4mm scale tram models in the Sept ’73 issue of Model Railway Constructor. The façade will be built up in three layers: an inner ‘glass’ layer of clear plastic, a middle layer of 0.012 inch thick styrene with window and door frames, and an outer layer of styrene pieces and brick papers for the brick and masonry. These days this project could no doubt be more accurately produced using photo manipulation and graphics software, and some sort of laser cutter or 3D printer, but the cost of all that seems a little high for a pastime – and kind of takes the fun out of it for me.
I started by drawing the middle layer of the facade on a piece of 0.012 inch styrene using the photos for estimating dimensions. I assumed the doors were 3’ wide by 7 ‘ tall and used that to dimension the other components.
Once all the lines were done, I cut out all the window openings with a sharp knife and a steel ruler. 
The facade was then cut free from the rest of sheet.

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