Allen McClelland shows Allen Keller how he adds dents to his plastic gondolas to create a more realistic look. In the gondolas, often the plates between the ribs of cars have bowed outward from use. To mimic this wear, McClelland takes leftover metal pieces from car weights and places an appropriately sized piece on the insides of the gondola. He then heats the plate to soften the car’s plastic using a commercial soldering gun. Pressure is added to the plate and is occasionally felt to see how it is heating up. The plate is then removed and the divot is made with a finger in the now malleable plastic. To depict the heavy damage caused to the back of a gondola from cargo the same pattern with the metal plate and soldering gun is used.
McClelland believes that a person should do anything that is worthwhile, and this applies to the model railroading hobby. This philosophy extends to work and any group worth belonging to. The more people put into things, they more they will get back from it. McClelland shares that he used to be a self-proclaimed loner and kept his modeling hobby private. After he joined the National Model Railroad Association, however, it brought him out of his shell. Members were there to exchange ideas and help him and he was able to give them advice back. For McClelland, model railroading has been very rewarding.