Walthers Motor Hotel

ModelRailroadForums.com is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


Jim 68cuda

Active Member
Always thought that one thing lacking, in HO scale structures, was a good mid century modern motel as were so commonly seen in the 50's through the 80's (and even now in some areas). When building my layout, the only one I could find was the Plasticville Motel. With paint and detailing, it actually doesn't look bad and it found a place on my layout. Now Wathers has released two kits. The Motor Hotel (comes with sign and separate office) and the Motor Hotel With Office and Restaurant (same kit but with the addition of a stand alone restaurant). I ordered one of each believing that the 12 unit motel was a little small for a facility that had a sizable stand alone restaurant as well. I don't actually know what I'm going to do with it when complete as there's no room on the layout for it. But, I like the kit, and I'm trying to figure out the best arrangement for the structures to look right and take up the least amount of real estate. The kit doesn't come with a pool, but a pool is easy enough to make using Smalltown USA sidewalks and a rippled plastic "water" sheet from Noch or Faller.

Not quite finished building the kit, but the most difficult part was painting the stand alone sign in multiple colors. There was alot of masking and painting and remasking and repainting followed by alot of touch up work. Hope I don't screw up the decals when I get to that point. One thing I don't like on the decals is that on the restaurant's attached sign, the word "Restaurant" (arranged vertically on the sign) would be unreadable as the roof overhang will bisect the word. On the structures themselves, the balcony railing and stairways are the most difficult parts to not screw up. I found the stairway easiest to install with the inside railing preglued to the steps but the outside railing left off until the stairs were in place (instructions said to attach both railings to the stairs before install).

The structure comes molded in very bland colors. I did an internet search of mid century modern motels, do-wop architecture, googie style architecture and motels in Wildwood, New Jersey (largest concentration of surviving Do-wop 1950's architecture in the U.S.), to try to get some building ideas and paint colors. If the walls had been molded in a stone pattern rather than brick, I would have gone a different route, but I ended up going with white painted walls with turquoise trim as that seemed to be the most common color scheme on this type of motel.

As I arrange the structures on a 24"x36" piece of foam core board, I find that the two motel buildings (24 rooms total),the office, and the restaurant, along with a pool, and sufficient parking for the hotel and restaurant, take up almost the entire six square feet. Even it this ends up being a diorama rather than finding a home on my layout, that seems too big. To complicate matters further, I look at the roof for the extra unused office from the second kit, and think, that would be a great canopy to add to the restaurant for carhop service. I've looked at attaching the office to the end of one of the motel structures and I've considered leaving it stand alone. With two kits there is a second unused office. I have considered using the unused front wall of the second office on the back of the stand alone office such that the office would be accessible by guests from the pool. Thought about shortening the unused roof of the second office to create a shaded sitting area by the pool at the back of the office as well. Just looking for suggestions before I go any further. Has anyone else built these kits yet?
 

Attachments

MikeInHubCity

Well-Known Member
Always thought that one thing lacking, in HO scale structures, was a good mid century modern motel as were so commonly seen in the 50's through the 80's (and even now in some areas). When building my layout, the only one I could find was the Plasticville Motel. With paint and detailing, it actually doesn't look bad and it found a place on my layout. Now Wathers has released two kits. The Motor Hotel (comes with sign and separate office) and the Motor Hotel With Office and Restaurant (same kit but with the addition of a stand alone restaurant). I ordered one of each believing that the 12 unit motel was a little small for a facility that had a sizable stand alone restaurant as well. I don't actually know what I'm going to do with it when complete as there's no room on the layout for it. But, I like the kit, and I'm trying to figure out the best arrangement for the structures to look right and take up the least amount of real estate. The kit doesn't come with a pool, but a pool is easy enough to make using Smalltown USA sidewalks and a rippled plastic "water" sheet from Noch or Faller.

Not quite finished building the kit, but the most difficult part was painting the stand alone sign in multiple colors. There was alot of masking and painting and remasking and repainting followed by alot of touch up work. Hope I don't screw up the decals when I get to that point. One thing I don't like on the decals is that on the restaurant's attached sign, the word "Restaurant" (arranged vertically on the sign) would be unreadable as the roof overhang will bisect the word. On the structures themselves, the balcony railing and stairways are the most difficult parts to not screw up. I found the stairway easiest to install with the inside railing preglued to the steps but the outside railing left off until the stairs were in place (instructions said to attach both railings to the stairs before install).

The structure comes molded in very bland colors. I did an internet search of mid century modern motels, do-wop architecture, googie style architecture and motels in Wildwood, New Jersey (largest concentration of surviving Do-wop 1950's architecture in the U.S.), to try to get some building ideas and paint colors. If the walls had been molded in a stone pattern rather than brick, I would have gone a different route, but I ended up going with white painted walls with turquoise trim as that seemed to be the most common color scheme on this type of motel.

As I arrange the structures on a 24"x36" piece of foam core board, I find that the two motel buildings (24 rooms total),the office, and the restaurant, along with a pool, and sufficient parking for the hotel and restaurant, take up almost the entire six square feet. Even it this ends up being a diorama rather than finding a home on my layout, that seems too big. To complicate matters further, I look at the roof for the extra unused office from the second kit, and think, that would be a great canopy to add to the restaurant for carhop service. I've looked at attaching the office to the end of one of the motel structures and I've considered leaving it stand alone. With two kits there is a second unused office. I have considered using the unused front wall of the second office on the back of the stand alone office such that the office would be accessible by guests from the pool. Thought about shortening the unused roof of the second office to create a shaded sitting area by the pool at the back of the office as well. Just looking for suggestions before I go any further. Has anyone else built these kits yet?
Even in the Wildwoods, the Doo Wop style motels are disappearing & being replaced by more modern & more expensive chain hotels- especially closer to the beach & the heart of Wildwood.
 

Jim 68cuda

Active Member
So it looks like the last arrangement I had was pretty much the most logical, especially if I'm going to add the extra office roof to the restaurant as a carhop canopy. I did decide to angle the motel office as it would add visual interest and allow more possibilities for landscaping. It also angles the drive thru portico better for cars coming off the roadway.

With two kits, I had two sets of signs and decals. For the sign style I chose, West Wind and Shade Tree were the motel name choices. Who ever does their decals designs them for single side signs rather than double sided signs. The Shade Tree decal had to be cut between the two words for one side of the sign so the name would fit better on the sign. The West Wind decal looks odd since on one side of the sign, the arrow points the opposite way of the big built in arrow on the sign. I decided on the West Wind name and used the two extra West Wind decals on the side wall of the restaurant and on one side wall of the motel itself. As I mentioned, the "Restaurant" decal spelled the word vertically and the roof of the building would have obsured the word. I decided on using the optional "Diner" decal at the top instead of "Eat",and rather than using the random star pattern decal they provided for the vertical part to go along with "Diner", I cut the vertical "Restaurant" lettering off the alternate decals and just used the background graphics.

Over all, I really like this kit. The restaurant includes several booths for diners, so I didn't glue the roof on. I can add customers later. I'll eventually add an interior to the office as well. There is no way that I will be able to incorporate this motel complex into my layout. Its just too big. It will either be part of a diorama, or maybe a portable module. For now, the buildings go back in the box.

DSCN2507.JPGDSCN2508.JPGDSCN2513.JPGDSCN2514.JPGDSCN2515.JPGDSCN2516.JPGDSCN2517.JPGDSCN2518.JPGDSCN2519.JPG
 

Rico

BN Modeller
Very nice, and I love your color choice!
I’ve been eyeing that kit up as well, I made two cardboard mockups of it and plan to arrange them in a boomerang configuration.
What takes up the real estate as you’ve discovered is a believable parking lot.
 

Jim 68cuda

Active Member
Very nice, and I love your color choice!
I’ve been eyeing that kit up as well, I made two cardboard mockups of it and plan to arrange them in a boomerang configuration.
What takes up the real estate as you’ve discovered is a believable parking lot.
Thanks. Yes. Realistically, between the motel staff and guests and the restaurant staff and guests, the county zoning would likely require 50 to 60 parking spaces at the minimum for the entire motel/restaurant complex. With two motel units, thats 24 rooms, and thus 24 guest spaces for vehicles plus motel staff parking. The restaurant has has 11 booths that seat 4 and theres room in there for at least 3 more square tables. That would mean at least 14 inside customer vehicles plus 8 carhop customer vehicles plus restaraunt staff parking. I think my arrangement allows for about 37 spaces total including one behind the motel office. In beach communities, these motels often don't have actual parking lots, but rather spaces right along the street where you back out of a parking space directly into traffic. That arrangement would save alot of space too.
I was kind of looking at angling the two motel sections in relation to the street frontage, like the Bel-Air Motel in this photo, but assuming it will be a rectangular diorama, the triangular shaped lots behind would be difficult to fill. If there were space, I know it would be quite easy to make a believable motel complex with 10 of these kits. Still haven't figured out where the dumpsters will go for the restaurant and the motel.
The arrangement might be very different if I hadn't ordered the kit with the restaurant and if I was trying to fit it into an available space on the layout. But, I do love the restaurant, and it works well with the motel and office.
googie3.jpg.googie2.JPG
 

Aerojet

Active Member
AH YES! - another very good model but no room to place it. Too bad we don't have unlimited room on our pikes to place everything we desire. I had the same problem with the Walther's fire station. Another good model but where??? DO you put it? With everything else on the pike, and the size of the other buildings it just won't fit. In the end I ended up making my own fire station to suit the era and building size and the Walther's unit went into the box for another time when I rework the area.
 

Jim 68cuda

Active Member
So, no room on the layout, so, Im starting on a rather large diorama with the Walthers Motor Hotel, a couple of old Plasticville kits I always liked (car dealership and drive in bank) that also had the mid century modern look, an as yet unbuilt Walthers Service Station, and the American Graffitti "Mel's Diner" by Mobius Models. I'll have track along one edge of the diorama to display an HO train (branded Mopar Parts on engine and rolling stock) that was given as a gift but won't be used on my layout. I did locate some spare railing in my parts box to use around the pool. But, everything has to be exactly in place before I cut a hole in the wood for the pool itself. The streets are mostly Walthers Street System Concrete Streets (with the 90 degree intersection modified to 45 degree. I've used Flat Dark Aircraft Gray spray paint for the concrete streets and will use a lighter shade for the sidewalks and curbs. I don't have, nor have I ever used, an airbrush, so rattle cans will have to do. I still have the sidewalks and curbs to paint, and self adhesive road markings from Highways & Byways to apply before moving on to the remainder of the scenery. I plan to either use weathering chalk or graphite to simulate the darker staining in the center of each travel lane. Before I go further, I am open to suggestions for realistic coloring for the streets within the limits of local availability of material and no airbrush use. Meanwhile, I'm also looking for a way to accuarately and uniformly replicate the strings of bright multi-color triangular penants that were so often strung around used car lots back in the day. I will probably be adding some paint, and/or mortar joints to the Plasticville structures before this is all done.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Jim 68cuda

Active Member
So the weekend plans included taking the old Dodge out for a cruise with a classic car club from Leesburg, Virginia to Sugarloaf Mountain, Maryland, so I mowed earlier in the week and washed the car yesterday so I would have the weekend free. But then my buddy, who rents a room from me, returned home from a doctor appointment yesterday. He went in for a sinus infection, but since he also had some chest congestion, they're testing him for Covid, and said everyone in his household need to quarentine till the test results are in. So now I'm stuck here with time to work on the diorama, but only with materials I have on hand.
I used construction adhesive to attach the streets to the board, then I added self adhesive lane markings, cross walks and RR Crossing markings, from Highways and Byways Model Railroad Graphics, to the streets. To make four lanes on the streets, each lane ended up being 1 1/4" wide. It looked too narrow as I was marking them, but after testing it with 1/87 scale cars, the width of the lanes looks right. Then I glued down the sidewalks across the street from the motor hotel. I'll be using styrene "For Sale" or "Garage Sale" signs for the motor hotel & restaurant, and the Mel's Drive in parking lots since parking lot entrances would be way too wide for the usual concrete driveway aprons provided in the Walthers Street System kits. I won't attach the sidewalks and curbs on that side of the street till I have cut and fit the pieces all together for those parking lots and have cut in the motel pool opening. Can't go to the hardware store to get those styrene signs (cheapest source I could think of for styrene sheets) till I'm out of lockdown.
Searching the basement for something to use for parking lots for the gas station, car dealer and bank, that would match the 1/8" thickness of the Walthers Street System sidewalks, I found some plexiglass left behind by the previous home owner (still had a Hechingers price tag on it from before the days of Home Depot and Lowes in every community). There was enough plexiglass to use for the bank and gas station lots once I cut pieces to fit. And found leftover 1/8" thick Cellfoam styrofoam sheet that worked for the car lot. As I searched parts boxes, I ran across a left over Kibri bus shelter, so there will be a bus stop close to the motor hotel. There was enough of the construction adhesive left to attach the plexiglass bank parking lot in place but it was warped so I drilled holes at each corner so the corners could be nailed down at least till the adhesive dries. But there may end up being some landscaping to hide the two nails closest to the track anyway, and the other two nails are hidden by the bank itself.
I ordered traffic lights (non working) from Walthers, but it seems they are out of railroad crossing gates from all manufacturers at the moment. Must be a worldwide shortage of crossing gates.
About the only things left that I can do while in lockdown, is to lay out parking spaces and drive thru lanes for the bank parking lot, and to use some plastic sidewalks to build a patio forming around an opening for the pool, so I can determine exactly where I need to cut an opening in the wood for the motel pool.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Jim 68cuda

Active Member
Jim, Where did you get the stencils for the RR X-ing signs in the street? Or did you just freehand them?
They are self adhesive, just like the street markings and the lines and lettering in the bank parking lot (and the "No Parking" lettering on the wall.
They are from Highways and Byways. https://highwaysnbyways.net/


 

Attachments

Jim 68cuda

Active Member
Piecing together the pool area using a small piece of a sheet of Faller rippled plastic, and tinted, "water". Its sort of clear, so the water doesn't look very inviting in these photos with the brown wood base visible through the plastic. Once everything is permanantly located, I will cut a pool size hole in the wood underneath, build a pool size box to mount underneath the water surface, and paint the box light blue. That will give the pool the depth and the more inviting look a pool should have. I used plastic sidewalks from Smalltown USA to create the area around the pool extending to the front of the motel and to the office. That part would have been easier had the base of the motel been straight rather than bumped out around the stairways. I painted the concrete sidewalks with Testors "Light Aircraft Grey" as I had on the structure bases and other sidewalks on the diorama. I still need to paint the pool edges (curbs on the Smalltown USA sidewalks) a flat white to simulate the typical swimming pool edge used back in the day.
The railing around the pool is from my stash of spare parts. I have no idea what kit or kits they may be from, but they go very nicely with the balcony and stair railings.
Thinking about heading out to the local hobby shop to buy the Bachmann HO scale swimming pool just for the diving board, and to the hardware store for styrene plastic "For Sale" signs to use for the motel parking lot. I should know by noon today if my buddy and lodger's Covid test comes back positive or negative. If he doesn't have it, then I can go out for more supplies.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Rico

BN Modeller
I think the pool really gives it the right feel Jim, I can just see Beverly D'angelo watching Chevy Chase skinny dipping with Christie Brinkley!
As for the color of the water I’ve been to motels like that, just add police tape across one of the doors and you’re set. 😆
 

Jim 68cuda

Active Member
I think the pool really gives it the right feel Jim, I can just see Beverly D'angelo watching Chevy Chase skinny dipping with Christie Brinkley!
As for the color of the water I’ve been to motels like that, just add police tape across one of the doors and you’re set. 😆
Yeah, as it is, it looks like the motel pool water in the old TV show, "My Name is Earl". Just need to put an old shopping cart, dead leaves, an old refrigerator and a couple of plastic deck chairs in the bottom of the pool under that rippled water surface, to complete the scene.
 

Rico

BN Modeller
I started on mine the other day.
I bought a turquoise color in Model Master paint but it was way too watery to brush on and my airbrush is still packed away.
I then went with a Floquil Weyerhaeuser green I had on hand but it seems to dry on the brush before it hits the plastic. (?)
I also painted the wrong side of the railings thinking they mounted backwards.

A7EFE2CF-C79C-4ACA-9F5D-6A34E73BBC50.jpeg
 




Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)


ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

Top