How To Make a Building Out of Paper. 3 “Spectacularly Realistic” and Strong Industrial Silo Paper Models to Construct for HO Scale, N Scale, or OO Gauge Model Railroads
A lot of hobbyists, particularly model railroaders, want to add industrial silos or grain silos to their dioramas or scale model railroads. Sounds like a great idea, but plastic models can be very expensive and require many hours of work (and money), to make them look reasonably authentic as opposed to just looking like painted plastic model. There is an alternative – printable paper models, but how to make a building out of paper is the question. Easy, and very realistic! Just watch the video above and the other video tutiorials on this website for lots of helpful ideas on how to make strong, realistic-looking scale model buildings and industrial / farm grain silos out of paper.
How industrial and farm grain silos will add interest and activity to your model railroad scene…
It is not uncommon to see several tall silos side by side in a model railroad scene, or against the railway layout backdrop. The tall silos not only add interest to a rail yard or farm scene, but they also provide a reason for trains to operate in that area, whether its transporting dry grain from a farm through rural landscape to a port or factory, or moving cement, or maybe transporting wood chips from a sawmill.
How to make a building out of paper is not difficult when you start the process with high quality paper plans downloaded from this website. Making farm and industrial silos out of paper follow the same process. You start with downloading plans for the printable paper models to your computer. Then follow the instruction by gluing the printed plans to cardstock or conflute. The printable paper plans are intricately detailed so paints and airbrushing is not required. The buildings and silos look a million dollars when constructed and are very strong, so you don’t really need plastic anymore.
Watch the tutorial videos on this website and when some asks you “how to make a building out of paper”, you be able to explain the process step by step.
The plans for these printable model railroad silos can be downloaded as PDF files, and can be saved on your computer hard drive, or you can save them using a USB memory stick or portable hard drive ready for printing out at any time. Multiple print-outs of the same silo design is permitted (without paying for additional downloads) – the only stipulation is the download and printable paper models much be exclusively for your own personal non-commercial use. Otherwise it’s a serious breach of copyright. The paper PDF’s can then be printed out on a home printer to the size you require.
There are more than 200 plans for paper models for sale on the website, so here’s how to select the correct scale of printable paper models before you buy.
When you proceed to the checkout after selecting your purchase (s) on this website you will see you are given the option of selecting to buy and download the PDF plans in OO gauge / HO scale or in N scale. If your model railroad is N scale then simply select n scale when ordering. Those with larger model railroads can select the OO gauge / HO scale option. By selecting this option you will be able to download the PDF paper plans ti OO gauge scale, so if you model OO scale then just print the plans same size. OO gauge is similar to HO scale and many HO scale railroaders simply print the plans the same size. For complete accuracy is is not difficult to adjust your home printer to 87% so that the OO gauge plans print out to the precise HO scale. Knowing this is handy, because it is often good to slightly reduce the size of the paper models that will be positioned towards the rear of the layout. This can give the impression of distance and perspective, and shows how flexible it is to scratchbuild or adapt these paper models to your own needs.
Still wondering how to make a building out of paper? Rest assured full instructions are included with assembly diagrams. There is also a free printing and assembly guide available in the MY ACCOUNT area after purchase as well as several tutorial videos free for everyone on this website.
Basically you glue the printed paper plans onto card (alternative materials like corflute are suggested too) and join the parts together. It is reasonably easy and fun to do. It is not necessary to try printing expensive cardstock. Just use ordinary photocopy paper (about one cent a sheet) because this is non gloss and works best.
The assembled silos look amazingly life-like when built. Obviously the construction materials are not included, but they are inexpensive and easy to get (if you haven’t already got them lying around the house). Cardstock from used cereal boxes is perfect and inexpensive corflute and be bought from DIY and Discount stores in big sheets for very little cost. Paints and airbrushing is not necessary because the printable paper models on this website have highly detailed textures (brick, wood, steel, concrete, tiles, stucco etc) which is already weathered for you (to show some age). All buyers get to download a free construction tips manual to keep. Delivery of the PDFs is by download direct to your computer and is almost immediate depending on your internet speed.
What are silos used for?
A tall silo structure can be likened to a vertical warehouse and is utilized for bulk storage of a variety of wet and dry materials ranging from: free-flowing sand, grain, pellets, soy, silage (fermented feed), coal, resin pellets, industrial plastic powders, carbon black, cement powder, recycled plastic flakes, lime, limestone, aggregates, minerals, fly ash, salt, woodchips, and sawdust, corn mash, potato starch, to various other food products. Tower silos are common as well as bag silos and bunker silos.
The bulk silos featured in these paper models are for scaling to HO scale, OO gauge, or N scale for use on model railroads. If these paper models were full-sized real life structures the dimensions would be approximately as follows: Printable paper model B530 – 82 foot (25 m) tall x 16 foot (5 M) wide, paper model B531 – height 72 ft (22 m) x 16 ft (5 m) width, paper model B532 – 62 ft (19 m) high x 32 ft (10 m) wide. These silo dimensions are approximate only and it is easy to further scale the printable paper models down in size on a home printer.
From a model railroading perspective the possibilities for including farm or industrial silos on a scale layout are numerous. They provide a model railroader with a reason to include an industry, warehouses, a shipping port, and run a variety of car types including tank cars and hoppers. As an example; a model train layout could have a sand mining company that distributes fracking sand by rail to glassmakers as well as oil and gas fields.
We’ve already answered the question of “how to make a building out of paper, paper models”, but how tall are real life silos and what are they made from?
Steel and concrete silos are the most common these days, but in days gone by, wooden silos were commonly used for agriculture (grain). The problem with wood is the shorter lifespan (rotting timber), potential for insect infestation (less well sealed), bird contamination, and fire (combustible). Stainless steel silos are used for oils, fertilizer and chemicals. For safety reasons they are pressure tested, have back welded interior seams, and have leak proof fittings and valves.
How strong are industrial silos?
For safety reasons they should be very strong, but there was a case in Queensland, Australia in October 2015 where a brand new thermal energy storage tank (similar to a silo) that was adjacent to a sparkling new billion dollar hospital collapses due to internal pressure and questionable engineering or materials used. The giant tank suddenly exploded releasing around 2.7 million litres of water causing a giant wave of water to smash and engulf a family’s car. Fortunately no one was killed. Debris was strewn across the street and onlookers milled around in awe of the destruction. If you are making paper models of silos then you can make them as strong as you want. You can use card from old cereal packs, or even glue the textures onto PVC piping cut to size. The possibilities are many and varied.
Most silos fro storing grain on farms and at industries alongside railroads are at least 40 foot in height, with many towering to 60 foot, 80 foot, 100 foot, and in some cases even higher. In earlier times when silo towers were not as high, farmers were able to use sloped conveyors for filling.
These days, the tower height is typically higher so vertical elevator systems are used. One big advantage of height is that they take up less ground space which can be expensive to lease at ports and in industrial zones. A model railroader gets the same advantage, because being vertical; silos require less of the valuable layout real estate. In real life silo towers will have a diameter ranging from 30 foot to 300 foot.
Storage capacity varies with many silos having a liquid capacity of up to 80,000 gallons, 8 million gallons, and even 25 million gallons or more.
Grain elevators, which are basically concrete or timber silos, are used for grain storage. The grain is collected from surrounding farms and towns and stored for protection inside the grain elevator until it is transported by truck, train (or in some instances by barge) to a port for shipping, or to a factory for processing.
Silos containing cement powder, grain and woodchips can usually unload directly into lorries, railroad hoppers, and conveyors using augers (corkscrew machinery) or air slides.
Depending what is being stored a silo generally needs to be:
1. In good structural condition, and sufficiently reinforced to store the required load.
2. It will require a roof.
3. Be supported on a concrete floor, usually above the surrounding soil height, although concrete silos are often partially below ground level with floors raised above the outside earth.
4. The walls and doors will be fairly moisture tight and air tight.
5. If being used for grain storage it will have an aeration system to condition the dry grain.
6. It will have a fill-system to prevent grain damage.
7. It will have an unloading system to extract grain, sand, concrete (or whatever) from the center bottom point.
As a follow on to point #4; low oxygen silos are used to protect fermented products from decaying or developing mold. Many products require dry bulk silos to prevent damage to whatever is stored. They are only exposed to the atmosphere when initially being loaded; the tower is then sealed including the un-loader chute to prevent air getting in.
In summary; silos structures for bulk materials storage are the perfect prop to include as part of the scenery in a model railroad yard or near by an industry, port or farming scene on an HO scale, OO scale, or N scale layout. This is because storage structures like this are used for a variety of purposes ranging from storing silage (fermented feed) to liquids, pellets, and powders like cement or pulverised fuel ash. They look spectacular and very much at home in a model rail scene.
So now you know about real life sized farm and industrial silos and have discovered how to make a building out of paper.