Downtown Deco

 

 Thanks to Downtown Deco for this kit as it allows
an opportunity for modeling urban scenery. I grew up on the streets of Calumet
Michigan and the downtown buildings had already suffered the effects of
the Great Depression. It was a prosperous mining town in its day as the
red metal was in abundance and found in its purest form. The copper could
be hammered out of the rock and drawn directly into wire with little smelting.
Money from Boston funded the operation as well as influenced the town architecture.
In the early 1960’s when I was about twenty years old and planing my future,
my father said, “Get out of this town because it’s dead”. The
mines closed a few years later and I have to say, dad was right. The first
President George Bush declared it a historical district during his last
days in office. Now the Feds have taken over the landmark mining company
offices of the Calumet and Hecla and little is being done to restore the
town. What ever negative statements I have made are based on fact, however,
home is home and there are interesting stories to tell with text and modeling.
 
Sunday morning in the slums
I don’t have anyone in the streets, so it must be Sunday
morning. After all, it’s a neighborhood of drunks, dope addicts and pickpockets.
They disappear just like cock roaches in the daylight an won’t come out
again until night.
Rust stains (#1400) are overly evident on our concrete
from the storm sewer drains and manhole covers made from cardboard.
 
Bringing life to the scene
Expansion joints were scored with the tip of a razor
saw every 12 scale feet and down the center of the street. Random scores
were made to represent cracks in the pavement. Diluted India Ink was seeped
into all the scores to help define them. You can see darker black areas
in some cracks where the street repair crew squirted tar in them. This was
done with a brush and Acrylic paint. Storm sewer grates, manhole covers,
water covers, paper trash and weathering the pavement bring character to
the scene. Trees, people and vehicles bring the action of life.
   #1340 green sand was applied thinly on wet Mars
Black acrylic paint for a weathered and worn roof.
A clay chimney flue was made from card stock paper and
painted orange from our pigment #1410. I was quite pleased the way this
model turned out, but then after some time it seemed plain.
   Over doing a model with signs and junk on the roof
is something new to me. The task of building a model just to look like the
picture above was always good enough for me in the past. That is a lot of
work in its self. Now that the hard work is behind, adding detail is the
fun part.
   Taxi Pete’s Parking Garage was scratch built to
provide personal interest in my first Downtown Deco block. Taxi Pete bought
all his new cars (Plymouths and Chryslers) from my father. When dad sold
his buisness after forty years, we rented space from Pete to park our personal
car in his garage during the winter.
Pete Sarkasian came from Armenia as a sixteen year old
orphan after the Turks killed his parents in 1918(?). You could always count
on Pete being at the train station meeting the passengers from the daily
Milwaukee Road train in Calumet.
   The left roof is #1381 ballast for a pitch and
gravel roof with openings in the rear wall for scuppers.
Weathered tar paper was modeled for the right roof.The roof divider wall was made from plaster stones that
I make for projects such as this.
Clay flues were made for the chimneys at left.

A couple open windows have curtains blowing out and
made from cigarette papers. Now the roofs await further detail.

Leave a Reply