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HT Make a Unique Lake for HO Scale Model Train Layout

My son was lucky enough to be given an HO scale model train layout on long-term loan. It has 10 switches, a bridge, and came with an assortment of buildings. But somehow, it was still a little plain.

There was a large open area that my son decided needed a lake. Now I will show you the process of how we created the lake. This is what I was up to while I was finishing Angry Macey and why I had no time to blog.

ECO ALERT: The great news about this project is we made it with almost entirely recycled materials!

First I begged my husband to retrieve a piece of scrap wood out of the rafters of the garage for me. Then I had to clean off said wood. Then I put it on the layout and did a rough estimate of where I needed to cut. Use the appropriate saw to make the job easier. (I did not.) Sand rough edges.

I present to you Guitar Lake, so named because, well, it looks like a guitar.

Guitar Lake

Then we painted it blue, darker in the deep spots. We painted it white where the current from the lake dumps in.

Guitar Lake painted

Next we decorated it to our liking. This is where you can have the real fun!

I insisted I would only help him with this project if I could put the Loch Ness Monster into the lake. Then I had to explain what the Loch Ness Monster was. I painted an outline of his body coming out of the dark depths of the lake. Then I glued down a small wooden peg. I cut the head off of a dollar store dinosaur for the head. The buoys are painted wooden stakes. Watch out for the electric eel and the shark. There is a pop can because my son said to be realistic, the lake needed litter.

We began adding painted and physical accessories. Beware the Loch Ness Monster who guards the sunken pirate ship and its treasure!

We coated the surface of the water with Mod Podge. (Beware, Mod Podge remains sticky to the touch and may attract dust. But, it is also pretty inexpensive for a project such as this.) We used more Mod Podge to glue sand for a beach, pebbles, and small rocks for the shore. I wish I had built up the beach a little more, because much of the sand fell off after the glue dried.

To be thrifty, we collected the sand and rocks from outside, then baked them in the oven to kill any bugs because, bugs–YUCK.

The lake laid in place with the river.

 

A view from the deep end, complete with Hot Wheels boat.

My husband said we needed a mermaid. I just happened to have one of those laying around the house.

A view from the beach. Swimmers beware the mermaid’s song.

And that completes the lake project.

But, in the meantime, we came in possession of two train cranes within 24 hours: one functional, one not. You know me, I had to find a use for the broken crane. Taking a cue from many other more sophisticated layouts we have seen, I decided to age the crane. I started with some graffiti. (I Googled graffiti generators until I found a design I liked.) I added rust and dirt with acrylic craft paint as well.

Damn hoodlums, vandalize everything in the whole damn railyard.

I glued on some moss to make it seem as if it had not moved in a very long while. Here is a side by side comparison of the good crane vs. the broken one.

New vs. Aged

Then my husband had a great idea to make a whole abandoned track.

Sad, abandoned track

It was so fun that my husband decided to age his own engine (not pictured here). I have no doubt we will be aging more non-functioning stock in the future.

And you might think that is the end of our railroad upgrades.

That is, until the ZOMBIES showed up…

Beware the impending zombie attack!

Your past shapes you. It can’t be undone.
ANGRY MACEY
NOW AVAILABLE $.99!

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Kiddie City: Did It Really Exist?

My husband does not believe me that there used to be a toy store called Kiddie City, very similar to Toys’R’Us. In fact, there was a Kiddie City right in nearby Sylvania, Ohio, which still has a Toys’R’Us. I had to prove it to him by Google-ing it the other day.

Kiddie City Coloring Book

Kiddie City Coloring Book

I was correct.

My recent and short-term memory might be junk, but I can remember some things from my childhood very clearly.

Plus, Kiddie City is one of those things I have clung to all these years, so I would not forget it. Like that Punky Brewster’s dog Brandon was named after head of NBC, Brandon Tartikoff.

Plus, I have kept this all these years to remind me:

Official Kiddie City semi truck, from my personal collection, circa around 1980.

Official Kiddie City semi truck, from my personal collection, circa 1980.

My mom and I always shopped at Kiddie City. I always thought of Toys’R’Us as inferior (I still do). Apparently my tiny pre-schooler brain was pretty on-track, because according to Wikipedia (where any info I site here on out in this post comes from), Kiddie City was the second-largest toy chain in the United States. They were owned by Lionel, of model railroad fame.

I asked my mom where it was located, and her memories do not seem to match mine. That doesn’t really mean anything. We could both be wrong. She thinks it was in the shopping plaza where Major Magic’s was for many years. The location would make sense. My mom never traveled very far into Sylvania/Toledo on her own. That would be an easy location for her to get to and regularly find.

I have memories of looking at toy robots in a toy store when I was a kid. I remember blue, metal shelves (kind of like Cosco). I have no idea if that would have been Toys’R’Us or Kiddie City or just my imagination. I like to think maybe that was Kiddie City.

When I got my swing set when I was a kid, I know we bought it from one of those two stores in Sylvania, but my mom doesn’t remember which one. But I think maybe that was Toys’R’Us.

Apparently Kiddie City declared Bankruptcy in 1982, reducing their store count from 150 down to 55 stores. This is most likely when the Sylvania store closed. They grew back to being the fourth-largest toy store in the country before the stores were all closed for good in 1993.

Gone, but clearly not forgotten.

I would so LOVE one of these shirts!

I would so LOVE one of these shirts!

Classic Kiddie City Commercial
(Ah, what it must have been like to be a mom in the 80’s. Awesome hair, awesome clothes…)

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