Modern Chevron Gas Station
This is one of the early threads created by Arlaghan over at the old Gauge. It was started in November, 2003 and ran though January, 2004. It is one of several of Arlaghan's threads that are being recreated here in order to preserve our old Academy threads. It was not possible to retrieve some of the comments, but all the original posts by Arlaghan are here.
To keep my sanity, I tend to work on several projects at once. Helps alleviate the monotony that could be encountered along the way, but causes the problem of having many unfinished structures!

Well, I've always wanted to make a modern day gas station, and surfing the net, I found the coolest picture of one - enough to inspire me to build one for my NTRAK module city.

Since I want the focus of my module to be lighting, I felt this would be a prime candidate for a structure:


Here's what I've got so far:

I've made the Food Mart structure - as of yet, undetailed. It still needs windows and doors, plus a detailed interior, and maybe stacks of plastic crates full of 2-liter sodas outside.


I've made the structure in pieces (This is typical of my modeling style - lack of commitment? Foresight? Who knows? ) Goldth

Since I want to have lots of lighting, I've made a faux roof that will house the 1.2mm diam. light bulbs. The bulb wiring comes up through the square hole (over the restroom, which is completely boxed in) and through the roof space, and wedged into the supports over the openings in the ceiling.

The tar-paper roof is simply a painted piece of 150 grit sand paper glued to card stock. The parts you see in the photo will remain separate. The building will lift off the foundation, and the roof will lift off the structure - all for maintenance purposes - in case bulbs burn out. Not to mention, I need to detail the interior.

The sidewalk around the building is complete with "watch your step" yellow painted sides. Goldth


That's all the progress I've made so far, I'll keep posting pictures to this thread as I make more additions.

I usually get asked about materials so here goes:

Materials are Illustration board for the structure walls, base and roofing - with the exception of the ceiling... that's made from posterboard. I put the "shiny" side down, to help improve the ambient lighting of the interior.

The floor is made from pre-etched styrene. The only glue I've used throughout is white Elmer's glue. Paints are: Primed with cheap flat white spray paint, and painted (so far just the sidewalk and the roof) with Testor's acrylic's.
Made a little more progress.

Here, I've added a base of blue where the "Food Mart" lettering will go - I didn't worry too much about the edges, as I plan to put some molding where the white meets the blue.

Also, I added window trim. I used 1/32" basswood striped painted "Gun Metal" (my favorite paint color!) and "mitered" the corners at 45 degrees. No glass yet, that's coming soon. Need to put a restroom door and glass entry doors.


One more...


Thanks for the kind words everyone! Right now this project has 100% of my (hobby) attention... I really ought to get around to ordering the NTRAK manual so I can finish the core of my module...

Here I got a tiny bit more progress: I made the "ceiling" of the canopy and the 8 columns that will hold it up. I made the columns as an "L" of illus. board and the other half of posterboard. I did this for (1) strength, but (2) I needed them to be hollow. I will run the bulb wiring through these columns. The little holes you see will be light bulbs. I didn't put as many as in the photo, because they are 70 cents a piece! I will need lots of bulbs when all is said and done.

The blue "pentagons" are the sidings of the canopy. These will be glued over the supports there now. Then, I will have the roof be removable, as well as having the entire canopy able to be lifted off, so I can get to the food mart below it.


Quote:Originally posted by RailRon
Now I'm wondering how you'll going to wire up the canopy bulbs and still leave the canopy removable...
Very simple: I am not going to glue the columns to the canopy - only to the base. The roof on the canopy will come off to service any bulbs on the canopy, but if I need to get to the food mart, then the canopy itself will lift off of the columns and then the building is exposed. (It will require me detaching all the bulbs from the canopy, but hopefully the food mart bulbs last a long time!)

Quote:Originally posted by RailRon
PS: I love that little cutting mat - never seen such a small one before. How practical for smaller projects!
When I saw it at the store, I just HAD to have one! My regular cutting mat is 11" x 17" and is COMPLETELY covered with stuff. It's much easier to clear this little mat than the big one. Goldth

Quote:Originally posted by shaygetz
How about LEDs for lighting? They're almost burnout proof and generate little heat.
Yep, I've thought of those, too. But the white ones are so expensive!!! Nope Nope

Thanks for the info on the LEDs, Pete... will look into using some for future projects, but an already set up with the incandescent bulbs here. (Where were you 2 weeks ago?? )

OK, a little bit more progress:
(A view from the back - restroom side - of the gas station)

The columns are finished - two sides are thick illus. board while the other two sides are thin posterboard. This leaves a hole large enough in the column to allow at least three bulb leads to be passed up through them. I've also finished the pump foundations... pretty much same construction as the food mart foundation.


Here's a slightly different angle showing the openings of the columns through the canopy. That strip serves two purposes: "slots" for the bulbs and as supports for the columns (to keep them from poking all the way through and making sure the canopy is level). Still need to make a removable roof for it all.

Nothing here is glued down yet... foundations are loose, even the columns are just "fitted" together. There was some slight warping of the base when I glued sandpaper to it and painted it, so I need to put a little bit of bracing on it before I glue the other stuff down.

For some reason, no matter how many hours I spend working on a project, it only seems like I get about 10 minutes worth of work done. Well, after another night of working on it, here's what I've got to date:

The canopy is now 100% complete. I decided for (bird-crud covered) aluminum panel roofing. I've started construction on the pumps structure. The illus. board "backbone" will be covered with poster board, which in turn will be covered with the details.


Here's another shot of the canopy with one of the roof panels removed for demonstration. Each piece has a "flap" that tucks under the roof peak (non-removable) and when fit snugly, is almost seamless. Accessing these light bulbs will be easy... removing the roof (and consequently having to put it back on 8 columns) is not so easy.


Originally I was just going to do the same type of lettering that I did for the FOOD MART to the side of the canopy - plain ole "Chevron" along the side. However, looking closely at the logo, the letters are a bit more spaced apart, which means I would have to cut out each letter individually - not gonna happen.

So, instead, I decided to go a little more extravagent... the photo shows it lit up, so I will make a variation of the logo (the chevron bars with "Chevron" on top of it, and larger to the right) in a sort of "box" that will be lit up from within. I'll be using a hybrid of dash10's back-lit sign technique, with some ideas of my own. Here's what I've got so far:

1. First I scoured the internet for a suitably sized image that I could "Photo-CHOP". (Image shown has been scaled down considerably.) I then cleaned up the lettering and put everything as a "negative". Since my laser printer does not print in color, I made a black background with the stuff I want to color white (or clear when it prints out on acetate.) Then, flipping horizontally, I reversed the image. (I do this so that it prints on the "BACK-SIDE" of the transparency. This is the side we will work with, so the "FRONT-SIDE" is clean and protects the whole thing.)

2. When you print it out, this is what it should look like. I only need 2 of these patterns, but I always make extra as I'm bound to screw up at least one of them.

3. The next step is to carefully mask the areas you do not want to paint. Since I am starting with the red chevron bar, I masked everything else. Tamiya paints smell really awful, but I have to admit they are pretty good in an airbrush right out of the bottle.

4. This is what the "FRONT-SIDE" looks like. When this dries, I will carefully peel up the tape, and then repeat the process for the blue chevron bar. I DO NOT plan to paint the letters white, as I will put a piece of posterboard or paper to act as the white and make the black appear more "solid". (Don't know why this is, but exposed, the black looks splotchy - when put on a white background, it looks great. Weird.)


Well, the little HOW-TO above turned out to be a success. Below is a picture of the result. I had mistakenly printed out a set of signs the "RIGHT" way - meaning, I forgot to reverse it for the painting procedure - which turned out to be useful.

What I did was cut out the reversed one, after painting, and also cut out a matching non-reversed one... then sandwiched a piece of regular paper in between. I encased this in a little wood frame that I painted and temporarily placed it in it's location. I don't want to give away the glorious lit ending to this thread, but let me just say it looks pretty good lit from behind! Goldth


I wasn't really planning to post this until I actually had more progress to show - working on the smaller stuff is in baby steps and it doesn't look like I've done much at all. At any rate, I've been waiting for a printer I ordered (just arrived as I was typing this!) to print out some of the details to continue, but I will post these pics in the meantime as they relate to the pump structure.

Here is a fold-up pattern I made to make the long part over the pumps. The end is shaped like the bottom half of a stop-sign. I left openings for the canopy columns to go through.


And here it is assembled and glued in place:

The key to good pictures is to have good lighting. I have a halogen lamp that I use when I work on my models, I just position it over the subject when I take a photo. It's a bright white light that makes the pictures come out rather bright. In fact, I had to reduce the brightness on this one! Goldth

Here's the stereotypical "ICE" box you see in just about every gas station. For something so small, it was surprisingly easy to make. And it's the closest to prototype - I should know, I went to a Chevron today and took some more research photos. Big Grin


Ummm I think there's some confusion about lighting? I meant that I use the desk lamp in place of flash. My digicam is a camcorder, and while it does have a built in lamp, it comes out somewhat yellow and isn't as good as the desk lamp.

As for the icebox, it was so quick in the making that I didn't stop to take pictures along the way. But it uses the same construction method as the long structure over the pumps. It's basically a small (5mm x 11mm) card stock base, with a poster board "box" around it. The icebox doors are simply small pieces of poster board and the "ICE" lettering is done with me new printer, as is the grime covered air vent (hard to tell) on the lower left. It's so tiny! I am really pleased with how it came out. I'm contemplating putting in something to represent hinges and door locks on it, but I need to finish the other details before I go crazy on one small item such as this.

Val, thanks for the link on the lamps! Really cool... but you're right, it's too late. I don't think I could fit one of those inside the food mart... it's too small!

Pete sells white LEDs at a reasonable price on eBay, and I might take him up on that offer. The bulbs I am using now are tiny 3V bulbs and while they don't get hot at all, they aren't very bright. I think using LEDs is the way to go. (At least for lighting up the CHEVRON signs on the canopy. The little bulbs just don't cut it.)

Moving right along...

I've spent the last hour or so in Photo-CHOP and this is what I came up with. I set the document to 600 dpi (what my new printer resolution is set at for regular non-photo printing) and worked in actual dimensions. The pump housing is 1 cm in height. Taking measurements from an actual photo, the width is proportional to the actual prototype. (I had to guess the height, but one of my photos had a guy getting gas on the other side, so I was able to approximate.)

At any rate, here is the graphic, in case any of you want to print some out and save yourself some graphical work:


Here is another progress shot. The pumps are now 90% finished. Here is a zoomed in shot of one. All the needs to be done is: 1) make the nozzle housing for each octane rated gasoline, and of course 2) the hoses coming down from the top. Other details will be the squeegee compartment and perhaps some potted shrub in the center.

Sorry for the grainy look, but rather than the usual image reduction by 50% to 640x480, I cropped it to 640x480 instead, keeping the original zoom level. The Ford Woody is somewhat of an anachronism, but I don't own any modern true N-scale vehicles.


Railway Jim: $10 on the Ford Woody at pump 8
Attendant: Would you like anything else?
Railway Jim: Well, yes... where are the nozzles?
Attendant: Probably the same place where my store interior is at... still stuck inside someone's imagination!

I think you can guess what's coming next! :mrgreen:


Ok, the painting of the copper wire didn't work out very well. Instead, I took a black Sharpie permanent marker to it and it came out nice. Here is the finished pumps:

Another small step...

When you gotta go - You gotta GO! At least you've got a PLACE to go. Goldth

Nothing special about the door, but the handle is made from another strand of copper wire. And... how convenient, pick up a Pepsi on your way out! Goldth


Thanks everyone. Good motivation to keep the ball rolling! Clark, in my hunt for gas station photos, I did come across one kit by one of those "German" companies... Don't remember if it was Vollmer or Faller or what. At any rate, it looks kind of modern for me, and prime material for kitbashing...


Sorry I haven't posted any updates on this project... been working on a few things simultaneously, and "thinking" on how to do the interior on this one. I'm a little stumped on that right now, and until I get the inside done (I'm revisiting how I will be lighting the structure) I hadn't planned to close off the doors yet.

But at least I DO have a plan for them: Basically they will be the same as the windows (the thin strips of gunmetal painted basswood trim) with the addition of maybe a little handle like on the restroom door. The glass will be acetate glued on the inside wall (the same piece will also serve as the windows along that same wall - a single piece of acetate the length of the building from the inside).

I've also decided that once the inside is completed, I don't really need any access to it, so I will likely glue the structure to it's sidewalk base. This will make adding the doors easier (and also explains why I need to wait to finish the inside).

Time For a Tease!!!
Well, now that the holiday mayhem is over, I was able to concentrate on this project once again... while I haven't got a whole lot done, here's a little bit of foreshadow of what's to come!

In this picture you see the interior of the store. I added the following items:

Refrigerator units along the walls
An aisle of "stuff" down the center
A counter with a "lift out" for checkout
Cabinets with a counter behind the checkout

I've also started putting the glass in. You can barely tell by the photo (the scratches on my piece of plexiglass don't show up in the picture) but if you look closely, you can see the reflection of the "ICE" box. I need to do the other side and then put the "doors" and I'm put little people inside and the food mart is completed.


And on with the teasing...

I know a lot of you are thinking "LIGHTITUPALREADYWILLYOU" and those of you who are anxious, here's a little look "inside." :mrgreen:

I made "circuit boards" out of cardstock and inserted white LEDs. I folded down the leads for PARALLEL wiring of the LEDs. there are 6 LEDs underneath that poke out of the canopy and one angled LED that will backlight the Chevron sign. This is repeated on the other side and lights up the opposite Chevron sign as well. As I said before, I was disappointed with the incandescent light bulbs but now I can say I am completely satisfied with the LEDs level of brightness. The electrical tape is to insulate the top bulb from the leads of the bottom bulbs. Since they are "wired" in parallel, I only need one set of feeder wires per half, so a pair of wires goes through one of the columns one each end. The twisty tie you see is holding the wires in place underneath.


Another view of the backlighting of the Chevron sign. Since LEDs work like flashlights, it works out rather well and having room inside to place it at a distance enables me to light up the whole thing pretty well. Sorry folks... no lit pictures until the very end!

OK, this is the last one for now...

Here is a view from below the canopy, showing the 12 LEDs poking through little openings. Looking underneath the base, you see the feeder wires coming down the bottom and out the back. I put these feeders together into those "U" shaped electrical connectors, keeping everything in parallel. I will probably screw a terminal strip to the bottom of the base or to the module where power will be fed in. I still need to light up the interior of the food mart.

That's it for now. Enjoy! Goldth Big Grin :mrgreen:


OK, I hope this is a better shot of the interior. Part of the interior is glued to the base, and part is glued to the structure, so if I separate them, you won't get a true feel of the things inside... hopefully from this picture you can.

Also, I've finished up the glass all around. I'm not 100% satisfied with the results and I have to admit that I got carried away with one thing or another and this aspect has slipped my attention. I think it shows.

At any rate, I did up on side of the building with the door to get in. I know someone was curious as to how I was going to do it. I pretty much did it the same way I framed with windows, plus I put little holes to allow me to insert another wire strand door handle. Here it is:


Here you can see where the wires will be running up. 2 sets up the columns for the LEDs in the canopy, and 1 set through the restroom for the incandescent bulbs in the food mart. I am thinking up a way to replace these with LEDs as the yellow glow they emit, though bright enough, looks off with the white from the LEDs outside.


When store operator Rob got part of his money from silent partner Val, he didn't expect his opening day to be so far delayed. He was hoping for a grand opening in November but as we all know it's already into January of the following year - and there's still lots left to do! You can't open a gas station without installing the computer system that monitors the pumps, and the street sign still hasn't arrived from his franchise distributors!!! :evil:

Not to mention, two weeks after the scheduled date Mike's landscaping crew finally arrives to begin their work. They blame the delay on general contractor Larry, who was supposed to install the retaining wall, but Rob and Val know Larry was not at fault - the city would not process the permit necessary for the wall in time so it all had to wait. Meanwhile the bank expects to get paid back on its loan, and neither Val or Rob have seen a penny for their investments! Well, I guess two weeks late is better than never, and as you can see, Mike's crew stands behind their work. Here they are enjoying their lunch break. Mike was even kind enough to pose and wave to the photographer. And how lucky, the white blossoms are even in bloom!

Disclaimer: All characters in this short story are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, either living or otherwise, is purely coincidental! :mrgreen:


Val, silent partner is the best position to be in! You've already done your research and the location Rob has secured is great for this business! He does all the work and you share in the profits!

The sign will be exactly there, on that corner. I haven't decided how I'm going to go about it - it needs to be lit up... I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. For now, I still need to bring up the other walls and landscaping areas. I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel! (But with my luck, it's oncoming train!)
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Well, folks... The landscaping is completed and I put in the price portion of the street sign (Chevron logo is missing, but it's already all over the place). There's a few things I would like to add to this model, but in the spirit of "moving on" I will leave those to a time when I can dedicate myself to detailing. For now, I dub this puppy "COMPLETE"! (WOOO! Never thought the day would come!)


And the moment several of you have been waiting for... the "Grand Lit Finale" or better known as "LIGHTITUPALREADYWILLYOU" time. Gosh... I sure hope it lives up to all the hype! :mrgreen: Big Grin Goldth


And last but not least, a closer up view showing the lights from underneath the canopy. I really am pleased with my new digital camera... this picture was taken in complete darkness and the light from the LEDs is nice and white. The yellow glow from the incandescent bulbs in the interior is very apparent in this pictures. Well... Enjoy! Goldth Goldth Goldth


Quote:Originally posted by Freelancer
The only problem I see is that if it is supposed to be a modern gas station, the prices at the pump are much too cheap.
It's funny you should say that... someone on the Atlas forum said the prices were 20 cents too cheap as well. These prices came straight from one of my research photos that I took about 2 - 3 weeks ago... Gosh, how much is gas in other parts of the country!!! :o :o :o

Gas prices certainly have soared lately. 93 octane was $2.04/gal today!

Anyway, here's an update: I put the components I got at radio shack. Now, with the wires going INTO the blue clip, all my LEDs are wired in parallel. Then FROM the blue clip, it's in series with a 470ohm resistor with the wires pointing down feeding DC power at 12 volts. So now, to change out a "light-board" I unscrew the little screws, take out the wires, and pull it out. I still need to figure out what to do with the 1.5v bulbs.

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Don (ezdays) Day
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