Olsen Parking Garage
by Gisby

Sometimes great things come from the bargain shops.....

I THOUGHT it was a Fisher-Price toy, but it is in fact an 'Illco/Jim Henson' toy. It's about 9x12, rectangular, with 2 elevated levels and an elevator to move cars up & down. I think there was originally a ramp from the first floor to the ground, but it was missing when I bought it. ($2.99)

The building came with a thick plastic base that HAD to go. I made a beaverboard base the same size as the plastic base, cutting out the space to inset the base of the elevator. At this time I also took the garage apart to prime it and to add details. It's held together by screws which makes the procedure simple.

While I had it all apart, I added details to the top of the elevator, and made a flat floor for the cage. (It had a raised centre that would have prevented cars or figures from standing inside.) I also removed the car wash rollers, their rotating crank, and an oil-change rack.

I also primed all the pieces grey to cover some ghastly yellow plastic. (I left the tower in it's natural state.)

I added walls between the support pillars to enclose the ground-level parking area. (Nobody parks for free!) The gap where the ramp may have been was filled as well, and a new sign was made for the roof.

I used an expanded vinyl called Sintra for these walls, etc. Sintra cuts easily, glues beautifully, and accepts paint well. I use it for a lot of building work.

I had cut and made poles for mesh fencing to go atop the ground floor walls. It would look cool, and would keep the cars more secure. Then I realised that I wouldn't be able to get my hand in to move figures about! So goodbye, fence...

The rear view shows the added walls. The painting isn't finished, it needs more graffiti.

The outer walls were painted with stippled ugly cream colours to try for an old, weathered look. The floors were given irregular washes of black, and patches of oily grit and sand were added.

I chose to leave the elevator crank in the natural red & yellow plastic so it would look like the real giant elevator cranks seen everywhere.


I decorated the lower walls with the usual posters and graffiti, and added vending machines, trash bins, trash, fire hydrants, etc. As a touch, I downloaded the current week's 'Weekly World News' and 'National Enquirer' covers from their websites, and made a couple of scandal rags for the clutter.


These two magazines are each about 5mm high.

As an experiment, I made a lamp standard and based it on a fender washer. I glued rubber magnet to the sidewalk so the pole is stable, but will fall over instead of breaking or impaling the gamers.

The traffic is channeled by concrete barriers from Ainsty Castings. They still need a black wash to bring out the details. (No surprise, the 'Car Park' range has a lot of useful stuff to detail a Car Park...) I'll be getting more to further detail the model.

There was still one very bare wall on the tower, opposite to the crank.

I downloaded a photo from the net and added a caption: That should be a boost for the hobby! (It also shows how long ago I did this project)

It makes for a large and impressive piece of scenery. You don't realise how big it is until you see it with other buildings. (It fits on my top terrain shelf with only 1/4 inch to spare.)

I'm still keeping an eye out for the Fisher-Price version!