Gas Station Diorama


-Gas Station Diorama-

By David P. (aka Lt. Falcon)

I built this about 10 years ago; it started with just the gas station building. I wanted to photograph my customized cars with a realistic looking background.


The first thing was a sketch of the front, sides, and back views of the gas station, drawn in 1/64” scale.

Next, was a road trip to the local lumber yard, for a sheet of .060 polystyrene plastic.

The sketch was drawn onto the plastic sheet and cut out. Sometimes I cut with straight edge and a hobby knife; sometimes I use the dermal tool, use what works best for you. After cutting out the front wall, side walls, and back wall, I started on the roof pieces and the floor / side walk piece. Now all the parts are cut out with the windows and doors also cut out. Now you can paint the loose parts like the roof black, sides white, etc. Next go dig out your old model car glue, and glue the sides together. I left the main roof on mine unglued so I could come back later and detail the inside. Now that the floor/sidewalk and walls are glued together, you can start the detailing process. First I used some clear flat bubble packs that I had saved from something I had purchased from Wal-Mart. The bubble pack was large enough for the corner window front door and both garage doors.

I cut the corner window then folded the window 90 deg. because it wraps around the corner. Next I also had some 1/8” wide and 1/16” wide dark gray automotive pin striping, I framed and paned the garage doors using the 1/8 “pin stripe. I also framed the front door with the pin stripe. Looking through my junk box, I found some pieces of aluminum tape, then cut a strip and used it for the open handle bar for the front door.


Detailing the inside was time consuming; I made shelves from sheet plastic. The floor lift is from sheet plastic. The tire changer is a scarp piece from my junk box, and the cans on the shelves are transistors from a circuit board. The air compressor is made pieces from the scrap box, the air lines are .030 wire bent to shape. The water hose and air hose are from scrap telephone wires. The creeper is from a piece of balsa wood. The rolling floor jack is scratch built using a piece of plastic as the main body, next I cut the wheels from an ink pin cartridge, and the handle is made from a paper clip and staple. The multitudes of details are what make the model. The coke machine and ice machine are both blocks of wood cut to size the sanded and painted. The coke image on the side of the machine is cut from the label of a 16 oz. plastic bottle. The push buttons coin return etc, were drawn and printed from Microsoft paint brush. The Coke machine is framed with pin striping and aluminum tape. The ICE machine has two aluminum doors made from a piece of sheet aluminum, with wire handles.


You can see the tip of my thumb in the lower left corner. The gas pumps were cut from wood also. I first cut the outer shape profile of the gas pump, and then cut them off one at a time. The stickers are from a kit but can be made and printed from your computer. The gas pump hoses are wire, and the nozzle is made from a paper clip with black tape wrapped around it. The islands that the gas pumps are mounted to are sheet plastic.

The posts and roofs over the pumps, are also sheet plastic.

A few years passed, and one winter I got bored again. I wanted to finish the Diorama.

I measured what size I wanted the base to be, then drove over to the local Lowe’s again. This time I purchased 1/8” plywood and 1/8 plastic sheet. I measured how large the drive for the gas station should be, and added some area to the left side for an additional building. I cut the base 1/8” plywood rectangle out first, and painted it flat black. The drive/yard was cut out and placed over the plywood. The drive had to be filed down to angles where the entrance and exits from the road to the gas station. The curbs that were left are painted yellow, for no parking.


The “76” Ball sign is made from a car antenna ball. The phone booth is made from clear blister material aluminum tape a piece of wood for the roof. The house next to the station is from my brothers HO train layout. It’s out of scale but I put it on anyway.









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