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Menards HO Wally's Service Station

Read this review from the January 2019 Model Railroader
Menards HO Wally’s Service Station
Price: $59.99
5106 Menard Dr.
Eau Claire, WI 54703

Era: 1955 to 1960s (as decorated)

Comments: Menards has added Wally’s Service Station to its rapidly growing line of HO scale structures. The factory-assembled model features more than 20 light-emitting diodes (LEDs); a weathered base; and an assortment of figures, details, and advertising signs. The footprint of the station with base is 81⁄4" x 51⁄4" x 41⁄8".

Wally’s Service Station is based on the “drum” design developed by architect Frederick G. Frost Jr. According to various books on gas station history, the drum shape of the sales area was inspired by the shape of an oil can. This style of gas station was built between the 1930s and 1950s.

The Menards structure is neatly painted and uses peel-and-stick graphics. A 55-gallon drum, figures, trash cans, a hand cart, and tires are located along the exterior. A Pepsi machine, complete with the beverage company’s logo used throughout the 1940s, is located between the shop door and the sales area. The gas pumps (three per island) each have illuminated globes. Both islands feature oil can displays as well. The back of the window glazing is covered with black paper, as the building lacks an interior.

The star of the show is the rotating Shell sign on the roof. The logo on the sign was used by the oil company from 1955 to the early 1960s, making this structure great for a mid-century layout. A separate 4.5V power source is required to operate the sign and LEDs. There are two jacks for connecting the power source, one on the back of the building and another underneath.

Drum-style gas stations live on today. I found examples online of one converted to a law office and another now used as a bagel shop. With its distinct lines, colorful graphics, and rotating sign, Menards Wally’s Service Station is sure to be an attention getter on your HO scale layout.

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