I Didn’t Want to Do It!
But I did it anyway. A highly-valued friend of mine, an individual I've known since 1965, asked me to build a firehouse for another friend's HO layout while our family at his place for dinner one Saturday evening. Truth be known there was no interest whatsoever on my part to do such a thing, but a friend is a friend so I eventually, and more than a little reluctantly, agreed. Chalk it up to comradeship, a desire to help someone who possessed no modeling skills regarding buildings in that scale, or maybe it was just the 12-year-old Bourbon we were enjoying at the time, but a repackage of Bachmann's Pleistocene-era fire station accompanied me back to my house that evening. Heck, it was just a building, and it was polystyrene. How bad could it be?
The answer there was bad. Really bad. Bad in all capital letters. BAD!
The plastic was thick, as were all the the sprue attachment points. Nothing in the kit fit properly with anything else inside that box---truth be known it's doubtful anything had ever fit especially well on that model given the era in which it was tooled---and the passage of the many decades since its birth in the late 1950s or early 1960s hadn't helped matters any. To make things worse, the kit wasn't a Bachmann original issue but rather a far more recent repop somewhat poorly molded in some unknown offshore facility. The instructions were shaky as well, at least in terms of part identification, although it must be admitted that there weren't all that many parts in the first place and the instructions were therefore superfluous to the task at hand.
Anyway, the thing got itself built, but a fair number of kit parts were scrapped (read "they were so bad I threw them away and started over from scratch" here) and some other details were scratch-built as well, albeit more out of necessity than any desire on my part to be doing that sort of thing. The kit's cardboard interior baffles were given to one of my grandkids to play with and were replaced with sheet styrene items that actually baffled the light inside the structure, while a minuscule amount of groundwork was added for effect and to hopefully make it easier to blend the station in with the rest of the layout once it got to its final home.
Painting and weathering were the fun part of the event and provided several enjoyable hours of entertainment---in point of fact they were the ONLY enjoyable hours of the entire project, but a commitment is a commitment so the thing was duly finished and delivered.
The model was finished off in various colors of old Floquil, Testors ModelMaster paint, along with assorted acrylics and oils, while the minimal graffiti was done with a Sharpie on clear decal stock.
Its owner says he likes it a lot, which makes the whole thing worthwhile, mostly, but to paraphrase the Woodrow Call character after his thousand-mile trek with the body of Augustus McCrae in the novel Lonesome Dove, I guess I'll be more careful what I promise people from now on!
3 additional images. Click to enlarge.