Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Sign of the Times

Greetings All,

I recently undertook the enjoyable project of building and adding some billboards to the layout. The Empire City Chamber of Commerce recently petitioned the Office of Mayor Julius Fiorello (Big Julie to his cronies) to expand advertising throughout the city and take advantage of bare rooftops and building walls. The mayor being duly impressed with the presentation and the envelope left in his desk drawer approved a new Empire City Sign Ordinance. 

So I hit the internet looking for suitable signs and printed them out on satin photo paper. Next stop was the local Hobby Lobby for some basswood strips. After a consultation with Ralph V. of K.P.D. fame http://kingsportdivision.blogspot.com/ 
I set out building some billboards. 
Let's take a look at what's sprung up so far; 

White Satin Gin billboard now sitting atop Red Wing Milling is one of the larger billboards of this project.
A rear view shows the card stock that I glued the picture to and the rest of the basswood structure.
The UnCola was a must have for the project. This too is one of the larger billboards attempted
Rear of the UnCola sign
 Here is the UnCola billboard painted and with a painter adding the finishing touches. 
Ralph's Grocery Warehouse took full advantage of the new sign ordinance and added two large rooftop billboards. The townhouse owners also took advantage and added a Campbell's Soup billboard
 A rear view of the Genesee and Mets billboards
The new cool blue six pack of Genesee Beer is believed to be from a 1969 ad 
 And the Amazing NY Mets were the Baseball World Champions in 1969 
The billboard structures now painted a woodland green. That's Pro Bowler DE Gerry Philbin #81 of the 1969 World Champion NY Jets eating that bowl of Campbell's Soup on top of the townhouse. It was a magical time for the NY sports fans. The NY Knicks would capture the Basketball Championship at the end of the 1969-70 season. 
The biggest star of them all during this time was Joe Namath. Nicknamed Broadway Joe he led the NY Jets to their only Championship after guaranteeing the 18 point underdog Jets would win the game forever endearing himself to the Jets faithful. Monday Night Football would start on September 21, 1970 and here is the NFL's biggest star to advertise the new venture of ABC sports.  
A two sided structure sits atop the Algonquin Hotel showing ads for a classical rock and roll ensemble and none other Joe Namath on the cover of Life Magazine.  
Some pictures, some sticks, some glue and some patience made this a nice project to have completed. The layout now has more details to catch the viewers eye and the billboards are from the era currently modeled. 

Thanks for reading!    


  1. Very nice work on the billboards that look as good from behind as the front and definitely convey a sense of the time period! I remember the psychedelic Uncola ad campaign and its great for Empire City residents to bask in the success of the Mets and Jets!

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  3. WOW! Some terrific billboard work John! I do like the creativity in what you made. The two on Ralph's Grocery are my favorites. This definitely adds more realism to the layout.

    1. Thanks 1:1 Sir Neal! It was a nice project.

  4. You have a great model. Very nice! Making models was one of my favorite parts of architecture school. Now I do them digitally. Here's one of my many 21'x10' 7Up UnCola billboards from 1969- 1975 Photoshopped over my photos of vintage billboard structures:

    1. Thank you for the compliments. Your photos are awesome!