Drive-In Theater

How To build an actual working drive-in theater for your model railroad...

Talk about special effects, this one is really special!  Geoffrey Plumb, an avid model railroader in California, sent me an email recently about how he made an actual working drive-in theater for his layout.  This really got my attention because I'm always looking for new ways to enhance realism in model railroading through automation and animation.  If you modeling in the era of the 1950's and 60's, this would be a great way to get some "Ooh"s and Ahh"s out of your visitors. 

Although Geoff made this for his N-scale layout, I think it could be adapted to larger scales through some magnification of the screen.  

Geoff is a master of creating small N scale layouts containing a lot of scenery and operation in a small space.  He has built 3 N scale layouts so far, 3' x 4', 4' x 4' and 3' x6'. The 4'x4' is the one containing the drive-in theater.  "Collectively", he says, "they come under the name of Sage County and are served by the AE&SC RR (loosely based on the PRR).  As I am primarily a steam enthusiast going back to the 1950's and early 1960's growing up in London, England, all three layouts are from the 'transition period in the United States', and there is nothing past 1959."  He never received a train set from his parents, so he made up for it by making 3 layouts after he moved to the US.

The scene was created with a Blair Lines LLC kit at the entrance. The screen was incorporated from a "doll's house" video, which he purchased from a Dolls/Train store in Northern California.  He then attached it to his small $22 DVD player that he got from Amazon.  He likes to run John Wayne (Fort Apache) movies and others from that era.

All he needed after that was to make the parking lot and put in a few scale-model cars. He scratchbuilt a few small buildings to serve as the snack bar, restroom area and ticket booth and then put a fence around it all.  It is very well-detailed with small rocks defining grassy areas, decals, people, speaker posts and a few well-placed trees. The last picture shows how the scene is placed on his layout.

It's amazing what you can do with old memories and little imagination.  

hey come nder the name of Sage County and are served by the A E & S C RR (loosely based on  

Drive-In Theater in a model railroad layoutDrive-In Theater in Geoff Plumb's Sage County model railroad layout
A classic 1950's movie is playing at the Starlight Drive-In while a customer orders an evening snack.A classic 1950's movie is playing at the Starlight Drive-In while a customer orders an evening snack. Note the cars are all from that era as well.
Doll's house video incorporated into the scenery for Geoff's layout.Doll's house video incorporated into the scenery for Geoff's layout.
Wider view of Geoff's 4x4' model railroad layout showing how the Drive-In is placed.Wider view of Geoff's 4x4' model railroad layout showing how the Drive-In is placed.

You might also like these pages:

=================



Sign up for our Tracks newsletter:

Get the latest tips and updates in the world of model railroading!

Contact Me | Blog | Photos | References | Supplies | GiftShop | Sitemap | Search | Comment | Privacy Statement | Disclosures

Search This Site...

Custom Search

Train Logo for BYMRR
BYMRR logo

(Disclosures)

√= ad or sponsored link


Trackside - The best DVDs you can buy on Model Railroading...


View my Flipboard Magazine.

Share FlipboardFollow

Contribute your pictures or stories to the BYMRR Flipboard Magazine!



√ Lots of Model Railroading Items are available on Ebay for great prices!


Tracks ====

Sign up for our free monthly newsletter - Tracks ===

Back Issues


What's New on BYMRR.com?

Recent Articles

  1. 0-6-0 Vintage Steam Locomotive and 3 Passenger Cars

    Jan 09, 20 06:59 AM

    Price: $49.00 for the locomotive and 3 passenger cars. This old vintage Lionel O-scale steam-powered passenger train was found in a friend's attic along

    Read More

  2. Model Railroad Control Panel

    Jan 03, 20 07:49 AM

    How to make a model railroad control panel with remote turnout switches, accessory switches, turntable controls, etc. for your model railroad layout.

    Read More

  3. Blue Ridge and Southern Model Railroad Photos and Videos

    Jan 03, 20 07:45 AM

    Here are some photos and videos of my BR&S RR - a work in progress, but also a labor of love.

    Read More

Blog




√Model Railroader Calendar


√Prototype Trains Calendar


Foam Blocks - Various shapes and sizes. Cut and shape easily to build your terrain. Create hills, mountains, bridges, underpasses, overpasses , etc...



Hot Knife for cutting foam shapes...






Search for new and used MODEL RAILROAD BOOKS here... Great prices!
BetterWorldBooks.com





EBAY has EVERYTHING!




See these and other
√ BOOKS on Model Railroading







$$$$

√ Make Money Blogging!