Allen Challenge

I finished my switch Tower.

Light and cat added into a module I can plug into my layout (once I get around to the rebuild). The levers are actually operational, except I made one mistake, I sized them for HO scale, before I decided to make them operational. When I installed them from under the floor, they only come up to the HO operators knees! Oh well, lesson learned for next time.

Mike’s Atomic Cafe

Building Downtown Deco’s The Atomic Cafe (with a few tweaks)

When the ITD decided to conduct the 6″x8″ Challenge, I had just the thing to build. I’d recently acquired Downtown Deco’s The  Atomic Cafe kit after waiting a while for it to be produced again. I’m not sure there’s a prototype for this structure or if it’s just a riff off the 1982 documentary movie of the same name ( It fits in with one of the themes of my layout, reflecting my dissertation research, as a sometimes humorous look at the perils of nuclear weapons. It’s got a prime location just outside the gates of the semi-fictitious Dove Creek Atomic Energy Commission Plant. Those hungry workers have to eat somewhere, even at 2 am.

Rear view of the Cafe

The kit largely consists of excellent plaster castings that come well-protected by bubble wrap, supplemented by printed signage and some plastic stock. I supplied some additional details, like the electric service, interior details, and lighting. The kit instructions are thoroughly detailed, including finishing, paint, and light weathering, and are well-illustrated. While I have a bit of experience, the comprehensive guidance provided should allow a careful beginner to get good results.

Atomic Night View

The iconic signage consists of a casting that is painted and then covered by a printed paper applique. It just begged for lighting, so I did. I built a lamp bucket for an LED on each side, nothing fancy to give them a home-built look.

Being on a budget, the interior is built of small bits from the scrap bin, mostly, with a few seated prospectors and their families being the theme. There is a bar with a mirror and some swinging doors to the kitchen, It houses the battery pack and wiring harness, along with a push button to control things. It needs a bartender, a waitress, and a small folk combo playing in the corner with the green-striped stage backdrop, along with some bottles of boozeahol to stock the bar.

Ebay LEDs CA-ed to the ceiling

Somehow, the whole thing comes together in a style a lot like Edward Hopper’s iconic 1942 Nighthawks painting in this night time pic.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with on Dec. 12.