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
By Kevin C
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.
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,
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
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.
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
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
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.