Modeling Old Haunts
That building alongside the inclined road had been burned into my brain slate practically from the time I could drive. Located on South Olden Avenue, the adjacent bridge was carefully recreated from reference photos, right down to the patches of cobblestone and the water main mounted atop a girder.
Some of the structuresóDick's Welding and Greene Electric, for instanceówere loosely patterned after real-life businesses. Union Rubber is a blend of Home Rubber, a landmark business in Trenton, with any number of other similar industries. The larger building is a heavily-bashed Cornerstone Vulcan Manufacturing kit; the smaller building beside it was made from a few pieces from Allied Rail Rebuilders. All of the windows and doors are custom laser-cut replacements.
Greene Electric Company, based on reference photos, sits next to a corner bar on State Street, one of countless such bars throughout Trenton, a few of which I'd been known to frequent. All of the urban structures are, of course, DPM bashes, and some bashes were quite extensive; the high-angle view shows just how unusually convoluted the Greene Electric building is.
The layout's earlier era was chosen so I could show things in their heyday or not long afterward. Across the street from the electric business is Capitol Fuel Oil; the office is a repurposed burger stand from Will Models, and the tanks are from Kibri, embellished with etched brass details.
By the way, the fire hydrant is an NZT Products detail. Sigh.
When the layout was shown at a small modeling show, the most frequently asked question was, how did I make the streets? They're black sheet styrene, sanded until it turned grey, weathered with chalks, and striped with colored pencils; cracks and tar lines were made with a Sharpie. That said, double-yellow lines might be incorrect for a 50s-era layout...
The second-most frequently asked question was, how did I get Kato Unitrack to look half decent? The trick involves three steps: paint it, re-ballast it, and bury it in lots and lots of weeds. It's a trick I would go on to use frequently.