Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Winter 2020 Self Isolation 1:25 Scale Diorama Project with some Fort William and Port Arthur History

Finally after many months I've put together a completely different kind of post.  This is my COVID-19 isolation project....no I don't have it, just being careful and smart.  We all know we're in this together and are trying to occupy our time doing what we enjoy the most.

Before I show you the project photos, there is a little history I want to talk about here.

Years back there used to be an oil refinery on McKellar Island that some of us may remember as The Husky Oil Refinery, but before that, and one of the photos will explain, the refinery was called Riverlake Oil Refinery.  There is history about that on the Internet, but the name that I was drawn to was Riverlake Oil, or "RO".  In the 1950's there was a sign in the pit area at the old Canadian Lakehead Exhibition race track that just read "RO".  Riverlake Oil was run by McEwen Fuels Petroleum Distributors in the 1950s until Riverlake was taken over by Husky.
This peaked my interest, and so I began a research project which culminated in building an old service station model in 1:25 scale of a Riverlake Oil station which actually never existed.
Interested yet?  Well, to add to the fictitious service station I also added a "What If" to the project.  "What if" the Lakehead Stock Car Club would have bought that old station and converted it into a LSCC Clubhouse.
So that's it.  Over the last 5 months I built the scale building and as many of the local race cars from the 1950s that would fit on the diorama.  There are quite a few photos and at the end there are pictures of the models by themselves with a corresponding photo of the real jalopy that raced here at the CLE in the 1950's.  I tried to create as much realism as possible.  A neighbor and good friend of mine Karl Schmidt supplied me with all the scale lumber that I needed, as he used to have a similar scale outside model railroad.

We start off with what I think are the most realistic two photos in the group, and the others photos are how the project was put together.  Also you can click on each picture in this entire post to enlarge screen size.
 All the posters and wall hangings are computer generated and miniaturized, and all the license plates are Ontario plates and all before 1956.

Here is a little write-up on the Riverlake - Husky thing that may be interesting to you, as well as all the appropriate logos.
This first photo shows the front of the RO service station with worn signage, including a nice old Ford V8 sign, some beat up old gas pumps, a coke machine and one guy carrying an old fuel container and another guy changing the tire on Tom Dow's car, as well as a local Bourke's Drug Store sign on the side of the building which looks painted and aged.  I tried to make everything look very busy.

Now back to basics - The initial construction was done using scale rough ceder lumber such as 2 x 4's 2  6's, beams and ship lap lumber.  The building was done first, then mounted on a base to do the scenery, using screened beach sand and other model railroad greenery, flowers weeds etc.

The first thing I totally completed right up to weathering was the outhouse.  It was a practice project that I started before I began the initial garage building.  To get the wood to instantly look old, I used a bottle of water with 1 tbsp of India ink.  after it dried it look just like barn board.

Here it's starting to look old.  The tiny hinges about 1/2 the size of my baby finger I found on Amazon and they actually came from Holland....free shipped and about $5. for more than I needed.
This is the rear of the building with a little hatch to access the attic, and scrap-booking corrugated paper painted silver and weathered to look like a tin roof overhang.

Here's how the front looked with the weathered RO signs and the "new" Lakehead Stock Car Club sign.  No gas pumps were done yet.
The weathering was almost completed here and the wooden flooring is computer generated from real old flooring then printed out on satin photo paper.

Many things can't be bought or are too costly...so making this little pepsi cooler was the best way.  3 sides computer generated printed on photo paper then glued to a wooden block...pretty convincing I think.  LOL

Here, a two inch long Go Kart on a working stand....many of the stock car jockeys from the 1950s also raced their Go Karts at the Intercity Parking lot
Also I'm making little shelving, workbenches etc out of light balsa wood and trying to be creative with old paint cans and oil cans.  Also, a junkyard for the rear of the building made up of many old model car parts, glued together, rusted out and weathered.  You will see more when everything is installed in the Clubhouse.                                       

Tiny Go Kart on a work stand with a full size pencil beside it.
Here's a model of Don Marsh's car with a compressor and the finished shelf at the broken window.

Bench Detail is shown in these two next photos.  Much of the detail is available in different model kits but adding your own finer detail such as signage, fan belts, oil cans extra engines adds more and more to the detail.

Everything in model kits are basically just white, so everything has to be painted.  I use a huge lighted magnifying glass to the detail.
The Oxy-Acetylene tanks come in kits but have to be painted and detailed.  Fine red and green wire make the hoses.  The wood stove is made from a wooden ball and a pop cap plus small wood pieces and the chimney is a bendy straw.

This is the more detailed back of the building with everything now installed including the outhouse, signs, pop crates, trees bushes and even some racoons in the garbage cans.

These next two photos show the detail local Coca Cola sign...computer generated and thinned out to tissue paper consistency.  Then glued to the shiplap.

This one shows some outside detail including a hydro meter and tap and garden hose.  The next few shows the interior in its final stages with everything in place.  Everything is glued in except the vehicles.  They can easily be changed around.

 There are a number of Ontario era perfect license plates on both of the doors that swing out like barn doors.

Here's a full overhead shot....

 These last three collage photographs show each of the models in 1:25 scale on either side of an actual photo of the real cars

I hope you enjoyed all the photographs.
Before ending this post, Rosemary and I would like to thank all our front line workers including both my daughters-in-law doing their best looking after all of us during these difficult times.  We must keep our social distancing to protect us and our loved ones during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Take good care of yourselves and anyone else that you can.  We WILL get through this together.  Dave

Sunday, December 22, 2019

A Christmas Card and Some Christmas Memories from the Fabulous '50's and "60's

A Very Merry Christmas to Everyone and of course I'm sorry for not being diligent with my posts.  No excuses...just promises to get to more.  This is just a little Christmas Memory post from younger years, with a Christmas card for all and a big hello and thank you to my Facebook friends as well.
 The next photo here is an annual thing I do and that is to create a tongue in cheek "Hot Rods and Jalopies" magazine cover.  I guess it's wishful thinking that I could publish a magazine, but at least I have covers.  I have done one every year for the past 10 years and they can be found around Christmastime posts.  The nice police officer was assisting the pretty young lady by adding a dime to the meter so she wouldn't get a ticket.  I would have done the same thing. 😄

Christmas is always a time for gift giving and this photo taken in the early 1960's of a random young man in a hobby shop reminded me of myself.  I rarely bought a Christmas gift for anyone I knew from a model hobby shop, but if I got any cash for Christmas in the 1950's, off I would head to Lil's Hobby Lobby to their original store on south Franklin St. here in Fort William, near our home, where a model car of some sort would be purchased, and in the day would be about .98 cents to $1.49.
I received this very toy below when I was about 12 years old and any kid would utter shouts of joy if he received one under his Christmas tree.

Another favourite that I received in those days was Tinkertoy.  That was the so called gaming device of the times.

A memory many of us may have isn't so much that of easy peel Mandarin oranges, but the fact that they came in wooden boxes and all the way from Japan.  There's an old saying that people that didn't have much would save the green wrapping paper to used for toilet paper.  To me it was all rumors. LOL

These two following advertisements came from a 1952 Christmas edition of Motors Magazine.  Click on them to enlarge.

 Here is the 1956 Christmas editition of Chilton's Motor Age magazine with great graphics, however Santa sure looked like an elf beside the mechanic.

Christmas can't go by without a 1940's shot of Laurel and Hardy after having a terrible day trying to sell Christmas trees....they are momentarily not speaking to each other..... another LOL.  These guys were the best.
 The final entry here is of an old book I found with my old magazines that was likely my own from 1952.  All that was left is the cover, but it was a Christmas shopping catalog that Woolworth's did put out for their customers.
Once More - A Very Merry Christmas to all our friends and followers....and one final word for the holiday season.....
DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE - and as they used to say, the life you save may be your very own.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

"ALL GAVE SOME, BUT SOME GAVE ALL"....Remembrance Day in Thunder Bay, Ontario - Monday Nov. 11 2019....

This 2013 post is more relevant today in my mind and feel it needs to be seen again.

We only have a few veterans left from the second world war and none from the first world war so if you encounter a veteran be sure to thank him or her for their sacrifice so that we may enjoy the freedom we have today.  "All gave some, but some gave all!"

The first world war, "A WAR TO END ALL WARS" was sadly not enough of an impact on Canada and its allies to actually make it such, as on Sept 11, 1939, Canada again declares war.

Below are two articles firstly from the Port Arthur daily news and another article from a Fort William newspaper both printed in August of 1914.  If you click once or twice on these and all the other pictures, they can be read and seen in better resolution.

Canadian Soldiers in the trenches....would you want to be there?


"A different 9-11 back in 1939"
     This is an incredible photo of the Algonquin Regiment leaving Port Arthur, Ontario on June 4th 1941.  In the background is a steam engine at the Port Arthur Canadian Pacific Railroad station torn down many years ago and today, Water Street near Marina Park runs right through this property.  Off to the left in a gold square is the Hydro sub-station which still exists today as seen in the next photo.  Look hard and you may recognize someone you love....also look at those young faces heading off to fight for our freedom.  Click on photo for a closer look!

The Hydro sub-station as seen today.
The following picture is an unknown regiment.  They are gathered to march in McKellar Park.  McKellar Park's present location is where McKellar Park school is today, just to the north of the Fort William Curling Club...be sure to look at the rest of the photos below.  These soldiers are marching with Lee-Enfield British rifles (a closer photo of one is below). 
When I was in sea cadets back in the 1950's we would shoot these in rifle range at the old Fort William Armory which would be located to the right and behind in the following photo. 
These rifles weighed 8.8 lbs...so imagine carrying one of these around on parade or in the battle field with all the other gear a soldier would have to wear.  I could barely lift it to take one shot!
This McKellar Park field was used for local baseball, football, and was the starting point for many a Fort William Parade.  Off in the distance with a gold square is the Sweet Caporal score board for the sports field...more data on that below. 

Below is an old Sweet Caporal cigarette package which actually displayed WWII planes so as to help identify what you may see flying overhead.  My father(still living today at 94 years) was a Sergeant in the Canadian Army then and stationed in Victoria, BC. where they were guarding the west coast after Pearl Harbor was bombed.  They thought the Japanese were going to do the same to Canadian Naval bases along the coast.  While there, he also taught an aircraft recognition course.

McKellar Park and school as it looks today.
Sweet Cap aircraft recognition package WWII.
Here is a colored picture of a Sweet Caporal Cigarettes scoreboard.

If you want more data on the Lee-Enfield, you can go to Wikipedia here then come back to view the rest- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee-Enfield

You can also view other years of Remembrance Day posts with some incredible local photos on this blog as follows -

A HUGE THANK YOU TO ALL VETERANS OF ALL WARS for their unselfish service....