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 Houligans Alley & Deckers - Together Out West
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Author Previous Topic: Hamilton ON CNR Station Topic Next Topic: SRM Thorndike Mills with a Western Twist
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Premium Member

Posted - 12/30/2007 :  11:34:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Houligans Alley was originally designed as a string of buildings on a single street. I have always liked this special group of structures, but wanted something different from the standard arrangement that could also fit into the slope of my hillside town. To fill this need, Jim Lucas and I teamed up to create this rearranged and modified variation that has a very different look and feel, which also incorporates the new FOS Deckers structure. Come and enjoy a stroll down our version of Houligan?s Alley.

Somewhat influenced by my San Francisco eating and British pub-crawling experiences, Houligan?s Alley is one of those quaint places tucked in between a number of eating and drinking establishments. It is the town-folks favorite place to dine and hang out, a place to chat and enjoy a favorite meal.

The Alley is entered from the road at the top of the hill, where one walks down a series of steps into a terraced dining and drinking oasis.

Houligans Bar & Grill is on the right. It is a scratch built structure which helps form The Alley entrance. Houligans is the town?s first drinking establishment and for which the alley was named. Back in those early days the locals would spill out the back door and drink in the fresh air, sitting on any crate or barrel that was handy. The town has grown and really changed for the better. The alley has been renovated and has now become one of the town?s jewels.

Just beyond Houligans is Scomas Fish Market & Restaurant.

Scoma came to town about a decade ago and bought out old Scoots. The locals don?t mind any, as the fish is now much fresher and the cooking even better. Scoma also did some remodeling and a door was added to create the back alley restaurant entrance (and the foundation was modified for the slope). Now you can eat outside on The Alley, inside on the second floor, or buy fresh fish at street level.

The old Perkins building, on the left, was converted into a local boarding house a few years back. Foundations were added to adapt to this hillside location.

The old Watsons Tool business was bought out about five years ago and is now Morgan?s Café, a great place to start your day with a cup of coffee and a hearty breakfast. A railed wood deck was added to adapt this structure to its sloped setting. Those picnic tables sure fill up quick on a Saturday morning.

Anchored at the end of the alley is Deckers Steakhouse. As you can see, the old FOS Tar Soap building was modified into a restaurant and dancing establishment. The main entrance is now through the alley and up a few steps. The side covered stairwell has been modified, to better fit this western location and doors were changed to fit those required for a commercial establishment.

Other changes include the necessary modifications required to create outdoor dining areas. One can dine on the lower deck, where the loading dock used to be, or you can go upstairs where the roof was modified and surrounded with railing. Top-deck (roof-top) dining and drinking is a local favorite, where one can watch the sunset and the river below, as well as become an honorary Deck-hand if you frequent often enough.

At the bottom of the hill and below a retaining wall, is EJs Woodworking (formerly FB Caseys). EJ has little trouble hiring a crew, but keeping them working throughout the day has proven to be a big challenge, though he can always find them somewhere in The Alley.

Our Houligan?s Alley was a great lesson in town designs, westernizing structures and building on a grade. It was a fun project and will be a wonderful addition to my layout, sitting in town, a little ways behind Wrisley Paper, http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=17659

Jim and I hope you like our version of Houligans Alley as much as we do. What a great way to end the year!!

Happy New Year,

Country: USA | Posts: 1316

Jerry M

Posted - 12/30/2007 :  11:45:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Jim & Gregg this is terrific modeling and a very imaginative use of the structures and it really sets up a scene that reminds me of so many of the coastal towns here in Oregon.The wires and transformers feeding them add an awful lot as well. Just some great modeling you have done here..I enjoyed looking at it very much. Jerry

Country: USA | Posts: 4055 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 12/31/2007 :  03:28:35 AM  Show Profile  Visit jaynjay's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Jim and Gregg
Such imagination. I like everything about what you've done from the Archway entrance to the people eating on the roof. Great job guys.


Country: USA | Posts: 5767 Go to Top of Page

Darryl L Huffman
Engine Wiper

Posted - 12/31/2007 :  03:42:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit Darryl L Huffman's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Jim and Gregg,

Wonderfully done. What a clever idea and well executed.

Like many of us, we often see the same buildings in the same setting with only minor variations. Your brain so says, "Seen one, seen them all" and then turns off. But not so with your diorama.

I certainly encourage you to send your existing photos to a magazine to see if they are interested in an article. I would think they would jump at the opportunity.

Thank you for sharing.

Country: USA | Posts: 252 Go to Top of Page

Crew Chief

Posted - 12/31/2007 :  03:43:21 AM  Show Profile  Visit rckwallaby's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Very nicely done there gentlemen.

One of the greatest attributes of George's FSM kits is their flexibility to be redesigned and re-positioned.
A super job there.

Country: Australia | Posts: 685 Go to Top of Page

Crew Chief

Posted - 12/31/2007 :  04:55:51 AM  Show Profile  Visit Miles's Homepage  Reply with Quote
FINALLY!!! :) An original use for those quirky craftsman structures that fall into the pattern of impossibly small to be served by rail. I cannot tell you how sick I am of seeing two boxcar on a siding with a miniscule industry, with less than 500 sq ft of floor space utilizing 7 different building materials, from field stone to clapboard to stucco, all built precariously on three floors with creaky staircases, and cutesy names.

A Truly amazing thing, and quite an impressive vision turned into something SO extremely unique, Bra-VO! :) It being built on a hill really add tenfold the interest in this not-so small scene! It great how realistic, artistic, and fantastic it looks. It really looks as you've found an excellent use for all those great craftsman kits.

A five star scene. :)

Country: | Posts: 514 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 12/31/2007 :  05:40:00 AM  Show Profile  Visit Peterpools's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Gregg and Jim
OUTSTANDING, CREATIVE and VERY IMAGINATIVE. Workmanship, style and a very refreshing technique of creating a unique diorama whose home will be on your railroad. It is always a treat to see your latest efforts. Wonderful all the way around.

Country: USA | Posts: 12335 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 12/31/2007 :  06:14:17 AM  Show Profile  Visit railphotog's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Ditto what everyone else has said from me! A whole lot more interesting that the same ol' same ol' kits assembled always per instructions!

A question: How did you take the photo of Scoma's Fish Market? It looks to be buried within the diorama with no room for the camera to be placed? Removable?

Thanks for the efforts and sharing, truly inspiring!

Bob Boudreau
My model railroad photography website:

Country: Canada | Posts: 4027 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 12/31/2007 :  06:27:47 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great stuff!

Your approach and execution is just wonderful Gregg. It really illustrates something Doug Coffey has been saying for awhile about breaking up those craftsman kits, rearranging them and put them to use in new ways. Something I've been toying with on my new layout.

Another thing I notice about this scene - take out the cars and put in some new SUVs and it could be a modern day scene.

Thanks for the ideas!
--Rich B.

Country: USA | Posts: 2744 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 12/31/2007 :  07:19:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Errr ah WOW what creativity , you just got my brain whirling, always great to see this type of work, really great job.

Country: Canada | Posts: 2365 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 12/31/2007 :  07:19:43 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Outstanding Gregg and Jim. Your scenes always look as though you could walk right into them.

Country: USA | Posts: 1139 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 12/31/2007 :  07:23:43 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I agree with everyone else. Darryl is right. Submit theses puppies!

Country: | Posts: 5585 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 12/31/2007 :  07:52:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Gregg and Jim, you've done an outstanding job on this diorama. The arrangement of the buildings, the painting, the weathering, the attention to detail and placement of little people is all very well done.

You've certainly ended the year on a high note with this project. Beautiful photography too.

Country: USA | Posts: 23708 Go to Top of Page

Crew Chief

Posted - 12/31/2007 :  07:58:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Gregg and Jim,

Absolutely outstanding !! A great use of this structures in another form than originally intended. Gives us all a lesson in looking beyond the manufacturer's original intention. The courtyard and eating establishments built around it are wonderfully creative. Also, as you've showed us in the past, the use of different elevations within the diorama and scene add a tremendous amount of interest and vignettes from which to build upon.

Thanks for sharing and looking forward to seeing this incorporated into your layout.

Country: USA | Posts: 806 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 12/31/2007 :  07:58:35 AM  Show Profile  Visit AVRR-PA's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Gregg and Jim, this is truly terrific work. It's an inspiration and a great source of ideas for the rest of us. Great photography, too!


Country: USA | Posts: 5005 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 12/31/2007 :  08:10:17 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Very creative positioning of all the structures and additions to them.

karl S.

Country: | Posts: 6944 Go to Top of Page
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