Railroad Model Craftsman Product Review

Bar Mills Shady Grove Gas Station

The completed Bar Mills gas station kit is easy to assemble. Painted in Texaco’s white with green and red trim, this model will fit right in on any 1920s to 1960s era layout.

Bar Mills Shady Grove Gas Station

by George Riley/photos as noted

Initially motor fuels for the “new fangled” automobiles were available from the local hardware, livery, blacksmith or drug store. Gasoline sales served as an ancillary side business at these outlets providing fuel for the limited number of primitive automobiles prior to the turn of the twentieth century.

By the early 1900s several refineries had commissioned dedicated retail “filling stations” to meet the increased demand of the growing automotive population. While the honor of the first filling station is open to some debate, it is needless to say that by the 1920s filling stations had a nationwide presence, be they “company” stations or privately owned enterprises. These early stations usually consisted of a small office covered by a canopy roof that reached out over two or more gasoline pumps. They would have been constructed using any of the popular building materials of the time that ranged from various forms of masonry, stucco, timber or even enameled metal construction depending on the standards of the parent company or the desires of the individual owner.


The “prototype” for the Bar Mills kit is based on the “Shady Grove” gas station, owned by Abe Suderman, and part of his private collection of antique buildings and automobiles located in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.

These early filling stations relegated themselves to dispensing gasoline, oil and a few of the more frangible motoring accessories such as tires and belts cheerfully provided by a neatly uniformed attendant. For more intensive repairs, the car’s owner would take the vehicle to a dedicated garage. It would not be until the 1930s that a garage with service bays would be incorporated with the filling station morphing into the modern service station.

If one takes the less travelled path through towns and along older highways many of these older filling stations are still in use though most do not still fulfill their original purpose having been converted into anything from antique stores to beauty parlors or other small retail shops.

The Shady Grove Texaco model kit offered by Bar Mills Scale Models reproduces in miniature a restored filling station that was commonly seen in the years prior to World War II. The kit features first quality laser cut basswood, cardstock, plywood and laser board parts along with die-cast metal and cold cast resin detail parts in its construction. All of the laser cut pieces are precisely cut and for the most part do not require any additional trimming or fitting by the modeler. In addition an excellent, fully illustrated instruction sheet is included which when followed will allow even a novice builder to easily assemble this kit with top notch results.

Bar Mills

As with any laser kit most of the time in building the model will be spent in preparation of the pieces. It is recommended that the wood and fiber parts for the Shady Grove Texaco are sealed, primed, and painted in their finished color and allowed to completely dry prior to assembly. The provided metal high hat fuel pumps and resin tires should also be de-flashed, washed in detergent to remove any mold release, primed and painted at this time as well.

The feature that really sets this model apart is the printed full color, color fast signs and graphics provided on the last sheet of the instructions. These are applied using white water based glue. This glue will soften the paper allowing the builder to burnish the signs down to conform to the model. Once dry they will fully conform to the underlying structure. Given a coat of matte clear spray the signage looks painted on. These signs can easily be weathered along with the rest of the building with a light sanding using a very fine sand paper giving the model a weather beaten appearance as it would have appeared later in life or one can choose to leave the model neatly finished and maintained condition as it would have been kept during most of its time in service.

The finished Shady Grove Texaco station will easily fit into a four inch square area (the O scale version will fit into an eight by eight inch space), allowing it to be used in even the tightest spaces. This colorful Art Deco style, easy to assemble model painted in Texaco’s white with green and red trim scheme featuring period signage will be a focal point on any 1920s to 1960s era layout.

Bar Mills Scale Models
P.O. Box 609
Bar Mills, ME 04004
(207) 929-3400

Shady Grove Texaco Kit
0552 HO Scale
0554 O Scale

MSRP – $37.95 HO Scale,
$59.95 O Scale

This article was posted on: February 11, 2016