Model Train

Scratch built 3″ tall / HO Scale Flynn’s Arcade

Greetings User, one month ago I showcased the first entry showcasing our Disney themed HO Scale scratch built model train table with the house from UP. This week we will look at one of my daughter’s and my favorite films, Tron Legacy, and the HO scale version of Flynn’s Arcade we built from scratch.  It is a film we watch about once a year.  It is just one of those films we happened to bond over, I would never have predicted it, but was so happy it happened.  I love the original as well; however she does not share appreciation.  I don’t think she can process the complexity of making that film, how there was never a film made like it, and there will never be another made with those techniques.  I will hopefully someday convince her.


Tron Legacy is a spectacle for the senses.  I love the art direction, costumes, the story, and of course the soundtrack.  One aspect I particularly enjoyed was the inclusion of the original Flynn’s Arcade.  It is such a unique looking building.  I always loved the look of it in the original film.  All the arcades I went to when I was young were in malls. Flynn’s Arcade was a huge free-standing building with its iconic neon sign.   The building, known as the Hull Building in reality, is still standing in Culver City, California.


The location has had some success in not fading away from the collective pop culture memory.  A replica was built at Disneyland, it was a building you could have in the Disney Infinity video game, an attraction at San Diego Comic Con, and a structure in another video game, Epic Mickey 2.


So, when we were planning our fictional city, I knew from the beginning that Flynn’s arcade would be one of the buildings.  However, I did wait to build it.  This is our most recent addition to the table.  I really wanted to do an excellent job on this one.  My favorite features are the tiny HO scale arcade machines that light up and flash, the weathered Tron billboard, and the custom Flynn’s Arcade sign that actually lights up.  I rarely 3D print but there was no better way to get that level of detail in such small of scale. You can see the individual tubes that make up each letter.


Please keep in mind that the entire building is about 3′ tall.  The entire thing was made from scratch using sheets of polystyrene.  The windows and doors are pieces you can buy from hobby shops.  The decorative face like elements were hand sculpted.  The billboard was actually made in MS word and printed on to shipping label paper.  I designed the sign, and had it printed by a company called Shapeways, that 3D print anyone’s designs.  The arcade machines were already available in another person’s store on Shapeways as well. Below you can see the kit windows and the embossed sheet of polystyrene I used for the bricks.  The other elements like the trip, molding, and window frames were just rods of polystyrene.  One of the trickier elements was getting the windows and arches spaced, properly cut, and then cutting them into a flat piece of styrene. I then heated them up with a heat gun to curve.  In the end, as always my daughter helped in the design and planning as well as in the assembly and paint applications. As always my daughter and I worked on it together and signed the bottom and dated it.

flynn making of

I was thrilled with the results and could not be happier with all the details I decided to include.  There are dozens more buildings in our HO model train city left to post.  I hope you enjoy looking at them as much we did making them.

Until next time…

The Imagine Ears features the DIY projects, adventures, and thoughts of a father and daughter who use a shared love of all things Disney to create memories together through encouraging her interests in architecture, design, Imagineering, while exploring history and science.  




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