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Luke's Garage & Gas Station

Started by Stuart, June 29, 2022, 10:40:06 AM

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QuoteBernd it's in the OCT 2010 RMC

Thanks Bill. Got it.

New York, Vermont & Northern Rwy. - Route of the Black Diamonds

Bill Gill

Stuart Here's a low resolution Letterbashed version of the diner sign.

I made very small changes to some letters that had duplicates in the sign and a few tiny changes to a couple letters just to make them look painted to fit between the letters they were next to. Overall the differences are small, but I can see them.

I also squared up the right edge of the sign which as a little off.

I emailed a higher res copy to you. If you would like any more changes, please let me know.

I've got more to add to the Letterbashing thread, but am trying to make it comprehensible.



My goodness.  I didn't expect you to make the corrections for me, but, thank you.  I'm also taking Russ's suggestion to reduce the Bushel Diner sign size to make it less overpowering.  I downsized it by 25% and put in place on the model. It looks better, so, thanks Russ for the suggestion. My initial thought was that the sign needed to be as large as possible so passing motorists would be able to read it easily on the fly.

Just for reference, I'm including a few historical photos of gas stations showing the proliferation of signs that some proprietors felt appropriate to draw in customers or to advertise other products.


Bill Gill

Stuart, After your post asking about the sign I thought that doing some work on it might be useful for you and also help me organize thoughts on how to add to the Letterbashing thread.

I don't know if there's much overall interest in the idea, but I thought if I posted something it should start with basics. The members of these Westlake Forums are pretty savvy, but in the clinics I did the part that was the most important was trying to get the participants to think like a sign painter.

I also emailed you a higher res copy of the modified sign, but please, don't feel any compulsion to use it if it doesn't do what you want.

Now I'm working on how to get across the techniques as straight forward as possible.


To the side of the garage is a secondary repair area.  This being farm country, I thought it would be important to supply Luke with a winch and hoist apparatus for those heavier repairs of trucks, tractors and other farm implements.

The winch, the hoist pulleys, shackles, hook etc. are all Ozark Miniatures castings (G scale). 

The concrete base for the winch is cast from sanded gray tile grout.  I prepared a mold using strips of basswood so as to simulate how an actual concrete form would have been fabricated thus creating the impression of individual boards in the face of the finished grout piece.  The sanded grout also added a nice rustic texture. 

The winch itself is unaltered from the original castings.  I wanted the piece to look like it might have been salvaged from perhaps a former mining or logging operation and then used "as is" for Luke's purposes.  It is, therefore, thoroughly rusted from exposure to the elements.  I need to add a little "grease" to the gear surfaces to complete the look.

The winch cable is line for ship modeling.  I applied brown and black shoe polish to give it an appropriate color and to also diminish the fuzziness of the natural fibers it is made of.

The block and tackle hoist system are castings from Ozark Miniatures but I did some reworking of my own to create the arrangement here. 

The wood framework, or hoist structure, is basswood.  I need to do a little more work on it as it looks a little too clean for its utilitarian purpose such as, adding a few knots here and there and adding variation to its monotone gray weathered surface.  I will also be adding additional diagonal bracing between the 4" x 6" header beam and the 4" x 4" legs.

Hoist yard.jpg





Looking Good + well thought out
Never Let someone who has done nothing tell you how to do anything
Stuart McPherson


A word about the McCormick-Deering Farmall F-20 tractor model.

I wanted some kind of a vehicle to add to my garage/gas station build.  I have looked and looked in vain for a 1/12th scale 1920's to mid 1930's automobile or truck that I felt would fit the scene and be of the quality I need to fit the context of this project.  Also, I do not have an interest in trying to scratch build a vehicle of my own.  In my searching I discovered a 1/12 scale diecast Farmall tractor produced by The Franklin Mint.  It was of the correct era, was highly detailed and well crafted.  A tractor had not been on my radar in my search process but this looked like it could work.  Unfortunately, by the time I discovered this as a possibility, The Franklin Mint was no longer producing the model.  With additional online searching, I located one through Etsy and made the purchase.  It was more than the original price tag but I felt it was either now or never.

When I received the model, unpackaged it and placed it on my garage/gas station project I was pretty overwhelmed at how bright red it was.  I was worried that it would steal the show, so-to-speak, as the most prominent and important item in the diorama.  Some serious aging with dust, dirt, grease and grime would be necessary to tame the beast.

Then I discovered that prior to mid 1936 McCormick-Deering painted their tractors with a blue-gray color scheme.  The bright red scheme was used from 1936 onward.  The F-20 Farmall was produced from 1932 to 1939, so, either paint job would be appropriate.  Now I am trying to decide if I want to take the time to disassemble, strip and repaint my model to the earlier paint scheme and then carefully reassemble and give it a well-used look.  I would prefer the blue-gray version as it would be less overbearing plus, an older version of an F-20 would likely need more frequent mechanical maintenance than a later one and give reason for its placement in my diorama. The jury is still out on this one.

I have included some photos showing the early 1936 blue-gray version and the later red version.


For reference, Chuck Doan did an extensive detail/weathering job on a 1:16 Fordson. Photos are on his Fotki pages and I published an extensive article in a Modelers' Annual. -- Russ


Thanks Russ, I'll have a look.



Hi Stuart.
Great job the finish on your winch assembly is really nice.
Kind regards.

WP Rayner

Excellent work Stuart. Everything is in balance and works well together supporting the narrative you are telling about Luke. Subtlety is key and you have mastered that discipline. Really looking forward to seeing more...

Stay low, keep quiet, keep it simple, don't expect too much, enjoy what you have.


Behind the garage, I placed a small concrete pad made of gray sanded tile grout for an air compressor.  This is the same grout material I used for the winch piers described in a previous post.  The compressor is to supply air for motorists with underinflated tires and for the mechanical work Luke addresses in the garage.  The concrete pad was easy enough to cast and mount in place but the air compressor was a much more challenging project.

As I am prone to do, I searched on-line for reference material trying to find air compressors of the vintage I needed.  I came across several pages from an old Fero air compressor catalogue and found a unit I liked but larger than what Luke would have needed for his purposes.  Using the catalogue picture to model from, I made one at a lesser size so it's a bit of a freelance effort.

After my air compressor is mounted in place, I will be enclosing it with an awning and some wire screen to create a protective shelter.  The screen and awning will render a somewhat obscured view of the machinery behind it which means I can safely get away with a less than totally correct version.  All I really want to do is create the impression of a hard-working piece of gas station equipment in the scene.

This is another 3D model I prepared in SketchUp. To date, this has been the most challenging 3D effort I have made.  The tank portion is a piece of Plastruct  tubing.  Brass wire and tubing are used for rods and air lines at various locations.  Everything else is 3D printed by Shapeways.

There is some assembly, painting, grease and grime that need to be added before this piece is finished.

Fero compressor.jpg

This picture from the Fero catalogue was my main source of reference

Compressor front.jpg

Compressor rear.jpg

My SketchUp drawings, front and back of the air compressor

Air compressor.jpg

The almost finished product

Ray Dunakin

Wow! That looks amazing, even without paint!
Visit my website to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!

Ray Dunakin's World