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 (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083590/). 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.