Tuesday, December 19, 2023

The Sunset Diner in Cromwell, CT

One of the lessons I'm learning (and RE-learning, over and over again) is that persistent progress in this hobby is the result of doing what you're most in the mood to do - pivoting from one project to another and not allowing yourself to get bogged down. If you always - or at least often - #DoOneThing, you'll be surprised at how much you get done.

I was able to spend a good amount of time in the basement this past weekend working on setting the scene for the Camp Bethel Cottages I've been working on, but weeknights are much better for working at the bench. So I pivoted from working on scenery to finishing up the Sunset Diner in Cromwell. (Be sure to click here for a really cool story about how this diner figures in the history of big band music . . .)

To set the scene, literally, here's a period view looking north on the Middlesex Turnpike into Cromwell. . .

The diner is the white, octagon(!) windowed structure on the left.

BillS built a model of this structure for me a couple years ago and it's been sitting on the layout ever since. But it was high time to finish detailing it with some stacks, vents, and a cool sign.

The stacks & ventilators came from a Walthers rooftop details assortment. I used some scrap styrene to make bases and cleanouts.

The skylight is an old Scale Structures Ltd. kit. The little tracing/template on the right was to help me cut out clear styrene for the windows.

But figuring it would be much easier, I ended up using some Micro Kristal Klear instead.

I made the signpost from 1/16" tube, 3/64" and .015" wire all soldered together. The eyebolts are DA #2206 and the chain is Campbell #256.

The lack of sign in the first/main prototype photo I had ended up holding up this project for a while since I didn't even know the name of the diner for the longest time. Then I found this photo.

Bill used his computer skills to recreate the sign and I printed it out and mounted it to .020" styrene and used .008" wire to create hooks to hang the sign from the chain. 

The sign post and the stacks/vents were all airbrushed with Tamiya paints, thinned 50:50 with 90% alcohol.

I didn't like the vent on the skylight that came with the Scale Structures kit, so I used one from my scrapbox, securing it with some CA gel. You can also see how well the "glass" came out.

And this is the back, which you don't really see from normal viewing, but at least I know what it looks like :^) All these parts were attached to the main structure with CA gel.

And here it is on the layout. Still need to do some weathering, but I think it'll sit here like this for a bit until I can muster up some courage.

So there you have it! I think it came out really well, especially when you compare the photo above to the prototype pic at the beginning of this post. I really enjoy recreating the past in miniature, especially when there's a cool story involved. Thanks for following along and let me know what you think!


  1. Diner came out very nicely Chris and looks great in its location on the Valley Local ! Happy Holidays, --Paul

    1. Thanks so much Paul! Happy Holidays to you and yours as well!