Please note: the above images are a guide to what the completed
models will look like. The scenery effects are shown here to give you some
ideas for possible landscaping around the homes. They are a guide only, and
obviously the scenery and construction materials are not included with the
Looking House Models to Bring a Model Railroad Scene to Life
railroads are not just static, stationary models depicting a fantasy railway
scene. They are usually extremely realistic, with scale model building
architecture (shops, industrial, residences etc.) and structures (bridges,
tunnels, towers etc.); landscape including trees, roads, mountains, people,
animals, lights and signals. To be effective a model railroad layout needs to
be, and look, extremely realistic and interesting, even if it is not based
around a real railroad setting.
modelers, modeling railroads is a passion. Recreating historical scenes from
the past, or real life railroads, and even fictitious railroads to suit their
fancy; modeling is an art. Since these scaled models are recreations, making
them look realistic and detailed is important.
needs to be consistent whether it’s the size of the model train; the people
getting on it, the cars in the car park, or the buildings, structures and
accessories surrounding the track. Even the colors need to look natural
without being too vivid; otherwise it will spoil the illusion of everything
in the scene being real. The smallest thing can distract the eye and spoil
the overall effect.
what era or geographic location is being modeled, the track might pass
through or near residential areas, small towns, or even larger towns or
cities. In bigger towns or commercial hubs, the train stations are likely to
be busy, with lots of people and vehicles adding to the scene. The nearby
streets might include shops, apartments, residential houses, or perhaps
office buildings or warehouses might be built depending on what location or
era is being modeled.
what I said earlier; to appear 100% authentic, the architecture needs to be
convincing without looking plastic. Real looking weathering and detailing
makes it easier to replicate the resemblance to real world structures and
architecture, and increases the authenticity and credibility of the entire
train layout. Buildings can look more true to life when the surfaces are not
too perfect. That’s where details like flaked paintwork, cracks, mold, rust,
and fading can add greatly to a scene’s realism.
Building Scale Model Houses
buildings are inexpensive and easy to buy, and make, and add amazing depth
and dimension to the railroad model. Modelbuildings.org offers various types
of model buildings for purchase. These building kits can easily be purchased
online, downloaded, and constructed as per scale and paper choice. Model
house kits of this type are not only money savers, but also superbly
authentic in appearance. While buying individual buildings is not
particularly expensive, opting for the bulk-buy kits on the website is a
fantastic option when constructing larger railroad layouts. The PDF files for
the house designs can be saved for later use, in case additional model houses
model buildings on the web site are easy to assemble, and can aid
dramatically in adding depth and dimension to the model. A streetscape or a
residential area using model house kits can help in adding to the realistic
illusion of the layout. However, having each house building model to the
correct scale is important, unless the home is built to a smaller size and
positioned against the background, so as to appear a mile or two away in the
distance. That’s where the versatility of these model house plans comes into
play; unlike plastic model kits they can easily be made smaller by scaling
the house size down on a home printer. These plans can be constructed to HO
SCALE, N SCALE, Z SCALE, or to OO GAUGE and sizes in between. Enlarging them
bigger than S SCALE can cause a loss in quality print resolution so is not
If the house
models are to appear in the foreground, then an off sized building can ruin
the illusion and make the model look unrealistic and toy-like. Any property;
whether it’s a farm, a home on a residential street, or a shop in a town, can
add to the real world feel, and reinstate the notion that the land is
populated, that there are humans who actually live there. A deserted property
can look artificial and like something from a ghost town.
is Detailing When Building Model Houses?
The key to
making a railroad setup look realistic is by first paying attention to
everything around. Noticing how the residential homes and houses are placed,
the shops in the street, and people, trees and even how the train stations
look. Detailing and minute things like using people around the model,
weathering on the model buildings etc., will add life to the railroad setup.
It will then cease to be just a model, and will become a replica of the
life-size reality all around.
While it can
be quite tedious for some; it is important to first plan and design the
layout by deciding the track configuration, deciding on typography and
landscape elements, and allocating space for various properties, be they a
farm, a factory, a mine, shops, a train station, or a streetscape of
residential homes. Careful planning for each structure or property is needed
to make sure the layout does not look too crowded or oddly populated, or
How Do Paper
Model Kits Compare To Plastic Model Kits?
kits of varying types can be used to enhance and liven up a model railroad.
While cardstock model building kits are easy to access and construct, plastic
model buildings are a good option too. The only drawbacks with plastic model
kits is: the high cost, and the extra work required to try and make the
weathering and detailing look somewhat realistic and less like painted
plastic. Unlike downloadable models; each plastic kit needs to be purchased
separately, whereas a downloaded design is purchased just once and printed
several times (to make multiple buildings) if required. They can even be cut
up to use against a backdrop, whereas it would be a waste of money to butcher
a $100 plastic model kit.
The old myth
of plastic models being stronger than building downloads has been put to
rest, because it is easy to construct the downloaded designs to be remarkably
strong by utilizing cheap-to-buy corflute, or foam board sheets. Some
modelers even make model houses by gluing the designs to plywood, or
cardboard. The options are numerous and generally inexpensive, especially
when several buildings are made from one sheet.
supports can easily be built in during construction. Often it is simply a
case of adding some basic internal supports made from card or corflute,
however most railroaders don’t see the need for additional strengthening, as
the houses natural strengthen as the glue dries.
paper model kits like the ones at modelbuildings.org comprise structures that
are highly detailed and have well designed doors, windows, and surfaces that
look like real bricks, real wood, real concrete etc. Also, with all the
weathering techniques already included in the designs, it is easy to create
the look of a real worn down and beat house, garage, or structure.
Do Paper Model
Kits Need Airbrushing, Weathering, or Detailing?
building kits from modelbuildings.org are photographic in appearance, and are
already designed and weathered. So unless specific features are required, the
weathering, airbrushing, and detailing are already completed. The PDF plans
allow the builder to put together the pieces and, if necessary, detail them
further. Regardless of what which modeling kit is used, it is advised to
paint edges before or after putting them together. This will add to the
effect and will make the model houses look even more real and life like.
Again, this can be achieved to precision by carefully noticing real life
buildings and the effects of the weather on them. Sometimes just running a
lead pencil or artist brush along the edges will hide any joins.
an important part of not just buildings, but also structures and bridges,
train cars, engines, and the landscape. Notice how different houses
and buildings have been weathered differently over time, and use the various
weathering techniques to replicate the effect. This is particularly important
with plastic model kits, as they usually require considerable work to achieve
anything near the fine detailing found on download kits.
Residential Street with Scale House Models
a model railroad, the element of realism is a must. It adds depth and
dimension to the setup, making it look larger than life and real at the same
time. Scale building kits are a great aid in this case. Added to the
backdrop, they add perspective and make it look real.
building kits available online, it is very easy to create a residential area
in the layout, or pop a house amongst some trees in a rural setting. The
track may not have to necessary pass through the residential area, nor do all
have to be facing the track. The variety of the houses available makes is
very easy to create a residential area to suit the requirements of almost any
layout. The various kinds of houses can be arranged aesthetically to recreate
a real life residential area.
train and the tracks are an important part of the model, the backdrop and
scenery is what makes the model railroad particularly interesting. A train
running on a track laid out on a flat surface does not look as interesting as
a track running through a carefully designed landscape. A background made up
of buildings, houses, roads, industries, cars and people livens up and adds a
new dimension to the railroad layout.
A house model
kit can easily be printed off the website modelbuildings.org, and added to
the model railroad. Each house in the building kit can be zoomed in or out,
to proportion, so that it fits the scale of the model that is being built – N
scale, HO scale, S scale, Z scale, or OO gauge. Low relief model-house kits
add amazing dimension and create a feeling of continuation.
has a variety of model building kits, including those for houses, residential
buildings, and apartments. These building kits contain sets of 5-8 models
that can easily be purchased online, printed, and used as many times as