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The Gentlemen's Restroom

Inspiration for a model can come from the strangest of places. Sometimes it's a building you pass everyday, but don't notice until it's gone, sometimes it's an idea sparked by a chance remark.
The Gentleman's Restroom was the result of two, completely independent suggestions.Firstly, the RMweb 2011 Diorama Competition was announced. Secondly, someone had started an RMweb thread which asked which was the grottiest toilet building seen on a layout. The thread showed various examples of excellent models of toilet buildings. Some were of the platform-based Victorian wrought iron outdoor type. Others were of buildings found in loco yards. But no-one had modelled just the inside.
The competition rules stated the dimensions of the diorama could not be bigger than 20" x 11" x 11". Putting the two concepts together has proved to be one of the most self-perpetuating things I've ever done. A thread was opened within the competition sub forum and the build documented, along with a large amount of usual forum humour. The finished model was duely entered and to my utter amazement was voted 2nd in the Originality category.

The model
Wanting to use the dimensions to their best effect, I decided on a base of just under 11" square, using the 20" for the height. A quick sketch of the idea was done, which made me realise the two key elements would be the sink and the toilet itself.
A trawl through the internet resulted in both items being ordered in 1/12 scale.When they arrived, I realised the wooden toilet pan had a solid base to the height of about where the water level should be. There was no possibility of representing a clear liquid - it would have to be 'blocked', so was painted gloss dark green. And so started the process of making the whole model as disgusting as possible...

The base was made from three layers of black, 5mm foamboard - solid sheets top and bottom and thin spacer strips in the middle.The two backscene/sides were also from the same foamboard.The floor is lollipop sticks, which were cut and laid in a staggered pattern and a black pen used to represent nails.
From the scrapbox a length of 4mm metal siding was used to make the lower wall panelling, topped with strips of coffee stirrer. Over the sink is a section of 4mm setts, to represent glazed tiles.The rest of the fittings are more items from the scrapbox - real copper tube for the pipe work, a thin sliver of T section strip for the light switch toggle, more plasticard strip and tube for the empty roll holder.

The main painting was done in a deliberately patchy fashion.
The floorboards were given various washes of dark green, brown, grey and black, then rubbed with sandpaper and kitchen role to blend and wear away the paint. Similar treatment was given to the walls, where the lower panels were coloured to represent damp & mould.
The tiles were given a coat of thin gloss white, then a small mirror glued on.

Final Touches
Final touches included an empty paper towel dispenser, a cardboard box in place of a bin and a piece of wire instead of a door handle. An RMT poster and a BR logo were the 'railway' connections required in the competition rules.

I wanted a copy of a newspaper as both reading material and emergency supplies, and found an image of the Sun's 'Gotcha' headline. I didn't realise what the headline referred to and was mortified when I found out it was from the Falkland's Conflict, in case it would cause upset. However, I was assured it wouldn't.

It was fun to make, the build thread was enhanced greatly by the collective wit of the members of RMweb who posted their support and encouragement and the result in the competition still gives me goosebumps.

So, if ever you feel like a break from modelling your normal subject, have a go at something a little different - you too might be flushed at the outcome!