I always wanted to build a Sinclair gas station. As a kid, I remembered a Sinclair gas station in Pennsylvania with a large dinosaur statue on the front of the building. You had to walk through its legs to get inside. I wanted a similar style of structure for my garden railroad.
I started with a 9″ PVC drain plug for the basic structure, but also wanted to add a railing to the top of the building. I drilled holes into the perimeter of the drain plug top, then screwed in cotterpins to form the railing posts. I added 1/8” hollow brass tubing, threaded it through the cotterpin’s eyelets, and soldered it together as necessary. I added some scrap plastic pieces to form a walkway across the roof. I later weathered everything with a combination of paint and chalks.
I added stairs (from Plastruct) but cut away parts of the stair treads so that they would bend around the curved PVC surface. I formed a railing from cotterpins, threaded piano wire through the cotterpin’s eyelets, and soldered it together as necessary.
I liked the Sinclair decals with the slogan “mellowed 80 million years,” so I added a motor oil decal to the side of the structure. I used a plastic toy dinosaur, cutting away about 2/3 of it and positioning the head, two front legs, and part of the torso near the front of the building. You could add a door under the dinosaur’s legs, but I omitted that detail on mine.
Unfortunately, after about three months I noticed that Dino was getting sticky, and I could not find a way to stop the progressing stickiness. Eventually, I had to remove him. I’m not sure if the plastic deteriorated, of if the plastic reacted with the paint that I used. I’m searching for a replacement made from a different material.
This gas station was a lot of fun to build and the grandkids loved it. Dino will return!