Mine Mount Models offers the Utopia Café in HO for $40.00. They will be releasing this kit in O scale as well. The prototype is in Texas, but this attractive design is universal with similar cafés throughout the US. The kit consists of laser-cut wood walls and MDF sub-roof parts, peel and stick laser-cut windows, Tichy plastic doors, MDF sandwich boards, acetate for windows, tile roof panels, 3D printed details, fully illustrated color instructions and signs.
The large size and number of windows in the café make interior detailing almost mandatory so I elected to add an interior including a new dividing kitchen wall, scratch U-shape counter, chairs/stools, utensils and figures. I also added LED lights. The kitchen section features 3D printed smokestacks including a very nice wall mounted jack.
Assembly overall was straightforward with no problems encountered. I added bracing as recommended, but with the interior in mind. Accordingly, the front wall bracing is flat and not as visible through the large windows. The peel and stick windows ease assembly and are to scale thickness. They are consequently a bit fiddly to install and to emphasize the interior detail, I kept them clear without shades or other window treatments. I followed the kit’s color scheme with white walls and a light green accent color. The interior was painted a pale yellow to match graphics on the new kitchen wall.
The interesting roof is formed of paper tile sections over the sub-roof and was a bit of a challenge to fit properly, but the instructions assist assembly. The tile roof was painted a dark red oxide shade and I applied strips of dental X-ray lead foil for flashing in the valleys. Roof caps were made of tile sections per the instructions. I elected to modify and substitute some signs from my stuff to the sandwich boards to back date the prices to late 1940s numbers and added another wall sign to supplement the many provided in the kit.
This sign also helps date the café to the 1940s. I finally added a menu to the inside dividing wall next to the printed kitchen door. I placed the café on a temporary base as a placeholder for the sandwich boards and provided trash cans. The resulting café just oozes charm and will serve your railroad workers and the public very well.
Mine Mount Models
80 Mine Mount Rd.
Bernardsville, NJ 07624