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O gauge parking garage from Menards

RELATED TOPICS: MENARDS | STRUCTURES | O GAUGE
parking_garage
O gauge parking garage from Menards

Price: $119.99 (no. 279-4392 structure) Features: Street-level shops with interior backdrop, four parking levels, 10 pedestrians and Jack the German Shepherd, full illumination via 230 LEDs (requires a Menards nos. 279-4061, 279-4062, or 279-4050 4.5-volt power supply, sold separately). For more information go to www.Menards.com/Trains
We’ve all seen it in countless O gauge layout photos. Some streets have a few cars and maybe a delivery truck. Others have a moderate volume of traffic stoking the fires of downtown businesses. And still others have streets so crowded you’d swear the Russian army was on the outskirts of town and everyone was heading west! Many of us have, perhaps unintentionally, become auto and truck collectors!

The no. 279-4392 Parking Garage from Menards will help you remedy downtown traffic congestion as well as providing a neat way to display your vehicle fleet.
Opening the box

There is no other way to put it: This is one heavy sucker! It rivals the Menards Tampa Towers for size and weight. You probably won’t be shifting this baby around too much! But the dimensions are actually an asset. A small parking lot can’t offer the opportunities this O gauge structure does for adding flash to your city.

The gray structure is 21 inches wide, 12 inches deep, and 16½ inches high, so it will proudly stand out if your town has shorter structures. The design features a few businesses on the lower level, with four levels of parking above.

Convenient to downtown
The ground level is well conceived. The right corner has the entrance ramp in the shape of a garage door. The exit ramp is in the opposite corner. Starting at the right is Wally’s Auto Parts, with the same signage as the previously released Wally’s Garage, so his business must be good. Next door is a barber shop. Finally on the left is the Citi Wok restaurant. There are colorful signs above each establishment.

The storefronts resemble standard black aluminum frames with large glass panes. The interior of the shops is accomplished with photos taken from a perspective that seems to come close to matching the figures on the sidewalk.

The photo of the barber shop interior shows a barber chair a bit large for the people. Overall, however, the images and signs (Budweiser for the Citi Wok and auto parts brands for Wally’s) are good.

The sidewalk is realistically gray and cracked. There are shoppers on the walk, and Jack the ubiquitous German Shepherd is chilling outside the Citi Wok, probably hoping someone will drop a takeout order of egg foo young.

The side walls of the building are marked “Citi Centre Parking.” They include panels you can either leave on to represent garage entrances or remove to allow a track to pass through should you need to plunk this down on your railway.

There are colorful billboard graphics on both side walls of the structure. The billboards match the sizes of the 26 signs included in the Menards no. 279-3693 lighted billboard set ($19.99) and may be replaced by any of them.

Find a spot
Convenient street-level stores and happy shoppers are not the key point here. This building shines when it comes to getting your die-cast vehicles off the streets or at least out of their boxes under the benchwork and into the spotlight.

The first, second, and third parking levels feature stout “concrete” supports with yellow and black safety stripes. The upper three levels have parking spots marked with yellow stripes and special safety markings near those pesky concrete supports.

There are also well-executed walls on each level (about waist high on a 1:48 scale figure) to keep careless drivers from rolling off and down onto the pedestrians.

Now I didn’t insert a car into every slot, but I figure you should be able to display as many as 38 scale model vehicles, depending on their size.

The rooftop is the main showcase for displaying your favorite cars and light trucks. Menards also answers the question about how the vehicles got up there – a parking ramp with a door clearly marked EXIT and Clearance. There are two bright security lights bracketing the EXIT sign.

Have you ever been in a dimly lit parking structure at night? Creepy feeling, eh? No such fears with this one. There are about 230 LEDs providing illumination on the exterior and the sidewalk as well as all four garage levels. Your prize vehicles (and their drivers) will be visible and safe, day or night.

While hobbyists can handcraft a garage on their own, I believe this is the first ready-to-use high-capacity parking structure offered in O gauge.

The Menards Citi Centre parking garage is an impressive addition to your town’s prosperous business district and a terrific way to show off that ever-growing fleet of
die-cast metal automobiles.

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