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An Internet Forum Modelling Challenge

Internet Forums, if used properly by it's participants, can be a tremendous source of new ideas and techniques, meeting new friends and are a chance to give something back to our great hobby. I'm in one of these Forums that specializes in craftsman and fine scale building structures, and many renown modellers are members, so when a challenge was announced to scratch build a petrol station ('gas station' for you guys in the States)  many of the Forums members, including myself, jumped at the opportunity. Imagine the results! Structures built around a common theme by some of the best diorama builders in the world.


Opposite is my sketch of the petrol station that I intend to scratch build, which I have posted in the Forum to show my intent to join the challenge. It is based loosely on an Australian outback 1930's petrol station that might have been found at the intersection of two dirt highways.

These structures were plain tin or corrugated iron sheds, often with a lean to attached, as well as occasionally some odd out-buildings. Mine will have the corrugated iron sheets attached to the walls horizontally, a common feature of these buildings, and will be covered in dozens and dozens of metal signs. It will have a fully detailed interior, with hundreds of details parts in and outside the building. There's always plenty of stuff lying around, as the saying was "Don't throw it away when you can throw it aside". This came about because it was depression times and everything could have a use, and very often did.



The following are the rules for the upcoming challenge. One other rule which will be followed regarding posting to this topic: You must have posted a photo, plan or drawing of your proposed project. General questions should be posted on the original thread.
These are my recommendations for the gas station challenge:
1. The challenge will start the week of April 24th and end on Friday, August 4th. That should give everyone a full three months to complete their projects.
2. Since the idea behind the 'challenge' concept is to motivate us to start and finish a new project or complete a project already started, there really is no  need to make any major changes. I do feel that a project more then half completed and close to completion, should NOT be eligible for the challenge. It is just too much of a head start on everyone else.
3. Your gas station can be either scratch built or kit-bashed but not a commercially available kit or craftsmen style kit.
4. Scale does not matter. The choice is yours.
5. You will need to post one of the following at the start: a photo, drawing, sketch or plan of what you want to do. You may be as creative as you want. This way, we can all see how close everyone comes to capturing their original concept. Your gas station does not have to be a replica of an actually structure.
6. Post at least one photo a month of your progress.
7. Lastly, we need to define; what constitutes a gas station. Your structure must have the following to be eligible:
One or more gas pumps of any style or type.
One oil stand, containing either cans or bottles of oil.
One or more tires ( tyres) lying about.
The structure may or may not be a diorama, it's up to you.
One or more of at least one of the following:
       a. automobile
       b. truck
      c. a motorcycle
Figures are optional


Before I could make a start, I needed some plans so even this simple structure would come together correctly. As well, the plans would show the stud locations so I could print out the plans 1:1 and use them as templates. Below are my CAD drawn plans. If you want to download them please be my guest.

I apologize for the poor quality of the plan, but it was  the only way I could get the plan from my CAD program to my web site - it's better than nothing I suppose!


Part of the rules states that you have to place online progress photos of the model. Below are my first set showing the completed walls in their basic form.

Right hand wall

The left wall where the lean to is attached

The front wall - the board across the door will be removed

The rear wall including the lean to wall


The next stage in building this structure was to add some of the many signs to the walls and build the front doors. I could then join the walls together and for the first time get a good idea how the structure was going to look.

Many hours were spent building, casting and painting detail parts

The roof has been added, most of the detail has been located and we are just about finished. .

Only a few things to do and finally a very special photograph of the diorama to come. . .


Because this is such a nice model, as well as being entered into the forum challenge, I felt that it needed as very special back scene for the final photograph. And what better back scene than the real thing, and I'm extremely lucky to live where I have great views on both sides of my house. This final photograph of the "Gas Station" was set up in my back yard so the trees and bushes in the near ground looked like they were a part of the trees around and near the structure, and the back ground and sky enhanced the model. I had to wait 1/2 an hour till the sun got into the right position to give me the best shadows. To get the shot, the model was placed on a stool that was on a table (see photo opposite) so I could get the back ground to line properly and look natural. I hope you like the final result.