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How to Choose The Best
Model Railroad Structures

model train structures


As you begin to build your train layout you will need to think about the scene you want to create and how to choose your model railroad structures.

First of all what qualifies as a structure in the model railroad world? Well buildings, bridges, roads, trusses, railroad crossings, streetlights, and much, much more. Anything that is not natural scenery like hills, mountains, fields or streams and is not people or animals can be considered structures.

There are thousands of structure kits available on the market today. How do you know which ones to choose? This is an important decision in respect to how realistic and impressive your train setup will be when you are finished. Many people only use structures that they make themselves, while others are comfortable with the more expensive plastic kits.

However you choose to do it, remember that your structures are the heart of your layout. Your structures tell the story that your scenery laid the groundwork for. Your structures are representative of who you are and what matters to you in your railroad scene.

All of your structures need to come from the same time era. A modern day street light in a 1960’s era setting will destroy the effect you are attempting to create. A grain elevator in a modern day city will be just as out of place. You will need to consider doing a little research in respect to the time era your layout is from so that your structures are historically correct.

It does not matter if you like city scenes or rolling hills or fields of grain. Whatever your illusion is for your train universe you can create it with the right structures. You can paint your structures to be realistic in a historical sense or you can paint them in your own whimsical fantasy. It does not matter as long as it fits together to make the world you are imagining.

Another thing you have to consider in choosing your structures is the scale of your layout. Are your trains HO scale or N scale? Do you have a lot of space for a large layout or do you have a very small space? Do you have a lot of track or just enough for a small layout? The answers to all of these questions will impact how you choose your model railroad structures. For instance, the size of your layout should dictate whether you have more than one train station structure.

What is important is that your structures be to scale and be as authentic to your vision as possible. If this means making them yourself that is fine. If you want to buy kits and use them as is or modify them that is fine. There is certainly much to choose from in the off the shelf train structure kits, but some of them can be expensive.

Before you begin you need to decide not only if you are building a city, town or countryside, but also what kind of building do you want in your scene. Will there be a main street with small stores or a residential area with many houses? Will there be farms or silos and grain elevators? If you are using a kit for a structure make sure that everything is in the box before you begin to build it. Do you want a floor on your model building and does the kit include one?

Decide how much detail you want and are capable of. Do you have the experience to do detail work such as lights inside your buildings? Make sure you either choose weathered structures or you can create the weathered look yourself as it is an important aspect of any train layout that your structures do not look brand new.

If you just follow some basic guidelines and you will choose the best structures for you and your train layout.

 Scenery for model trains

Structures for model trains



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