model buildings

 

 

NOTE: The Model Railway Buildings Shown on this Website
Can Be Constructed for HO SCALE, OO GAUGE, or N SCALE Layouts

Kitbashing Buildings on My Train Layout

By Kevin C 

 

Buildings form an important part to any railroad, they can range from whole towns to just a single shed. A model railroad should have businesses and train stations for passengers and freight. Moving people and freight from one town to the next is why railroads exist.

kitbashing models 

Model railroad buildings come in all shapes and sizes to suit any scale. They are available in kitset form in plastic with molded features, cardboard with printed features, ready built, or you can build them from scratch using a range of materials, wood, cardboard, plastic.  

 

You can download plans etc from this website or just follow designs from a photo and work the scale measurements yourself. Or kitbash a kitset to change it into what you want it to look like. That’s the basic definition of the term kitbashing - Kitbashing (or model bashing) is when you construct a new scale model kit by taking components and pieces from purchased kits to make something different. The pieces can be added to another kit or to a customized project. Professional and experienced modelmakers, use kitbashing to create unique models with unique detailing effects.

 

Kitbashing a Sawmill 

 

On my model railroad I kit bashed an old engine shed and made it into an operating sawmill with a log carrier running back and forth on a short length of N scale track and a breakdown saw powered by a small 12 volt electric motor. This is set in a valley with a railroad siding delivering logs and taking sawn lumber away. The lumber is loaded by a small crane that I made from brass stock, and painted black after soldering together. This can swing back and forth and lift the lumber all driven by 2 small electric motors. Gears and drive shafts I salvaged from old printers and video tape recorders.  

 

Ho scale model of a shop

B483 > Home & Shop

 

HO scale general store model

B427 > General Store Model

 

HOscale model of an office building

B424 > Large Building

 

HO scale model of an engine shed

B435 > Big Loco Shed

 

HO scale model of a barn

B426 > Large Red Barn

 

HO scale model of a church

B423 > Church Building

 

HO scale model of a freight train depot

B440 > Freight Depot Building

kitbashing

 

The Office building to the left of the mill hides the mechanism that runs the log carrier back and forth, and the motors for the crane are beneath the base board as is the motor for the saw bench. The log carrier was also kit bashed from an N scale box car so that only the chassis and running gear was used. The rest of the log carrier was taken from my junk box; a couple of brake cylinders form the hydraulic log shifter; the shield for the operator was built up from scrap pieces of plastic. The filled HO track of the siding was done with 2mm balsa wood shaped and glued in place painted and covered with fine earth scatter material and the track cleaned to give good electrical contact for the locomotives. The logs were made from wooden dowel and painted to represent the bark. The tank stand was from a sand loader kit, people and vehicles were added to complete the scene. 

 

Most of the buildings on my railroad were kit bashed or made from scratch as I could not find kits of buildings that were the same as I required. Working from photos etc is not hard to do as long as they are kept to scale. If the photo shows track beside them you can get the approximate size by counting the number of rail ties that are present or even the use of a wagon if one is present. Take note of what other buildings etc there are in an actual railroad near to where you live and these can be modelled and added to the scenes on your railroad, electrical cabinets for signals etc are available in kitset or make your own and these can be added to make the scene more realistic.  

 

Buildings are as much of the railroad layout as the trains themselves. By adding buildings you are making the miniature world look more like the real world. However, in saying that, you do need to have buildings that look realistic and at the right scale. I have a saying: buildings and people go together, you shouldn't have one without the other. A railway station needs passengers and a freight shed needs workers. It’s the same with vehicles. If you model a railway from, say, the 1930’s you shouldn’t have a modern station. This applies to houses, sheds, shops and workshops, vehicles and trains, even people need to look like they belong to that area. 

 

Constructing Plastic Model Buildings 

 

Buildings come in many different styles and types, the most readily available in the model stores are plastic styrene kit sets. These are usually easy to assemble by following the instructions in the box, but they can be very expensive. With plastic kitsets it is important not to make any mistakes as, unlike downloadable buildings, you can’t just printout another copy. Mistakes are permanent when using plastic models, so you will need to get things right first time. Buying a replacement plastic building kitset will be expensive if something goes wrong.  

 

The parts have to be cut from the sprigs with a craft knife and any irregularities are either cut or sandpapered so that the surfaces match, then they are glued together, usually with plastic solvent glue and held in place for a few seconds. The windows and doors are usually glued in place first then the clear plastic windows (if they have them), then the sides to the base and each end section and finally the roof, usually in two halves. The guttering sections, if the kit has them, and down pipes and chimneys etc.  

 

The whole kit takes about a couple of hours and you have a pretty reasonable looking structure. These are also very easy to make into low relief building against a wall etc, just cut the end sections down to size and put against the wall to represent a town etc. Also they can be kit bashed (make them into something different) or weathered by painting or gluing on lichen to represent ivy etc. These kits are priced from around twenty dollars upwards to over $100 for the more expensive bigger buildings.  

 

The manufacturers of plastic kitset structures include Atlas, Life like, Bachmann, Woodland scenic's, Model Power, Walthers, Rix products, City Classics, Small Town USA, and Alpine Division Scale, Polar Helijen , just to mention a few.  

 

Laser Cut Wooden Buildings 

 

Then there are the laser cut wooden buildings. These require a bit more skill to assemble with all the parts cut from wood and white metal castings. These castings require putting together with epoxy resin or careful soldering; these building take awhile to put together and are generally not recommended for younger or inexperienced modelers. The detail of these building is typically above that of the moulded plastic kits.

 

Enjoy your trains!