Download Scale Models of Old West Buildings and Make Your Very Own Town for a Wild West or Midwest Model Railroad
IMPORTANT: The old wild west buildings featured on this site are all available by “almost instant” download and because they are photographic in style and closely resemble real life wild western structures, they don’t require additional weathering or detailing. Simply download, print, and build all 13 old wild western buildings in the series. This article is designed to assist those people using different construction methods and to explore some of the midwest and old wild west US history.
The Wild West evokes memories the like of Clint Eastwood and John Wayne in old Western movies. The “American West” term is most often used in describing the region west of the Great Plains.
Historically however, the entire North American continent can claim some attachment to the term “Wild West” (roughly 1865 to 1895) and the goings on experienced in the American Frontier following the American Civil War. The time of the Old Wild West was the period of around 30 years best known for “myth-making” cowboys, miners, saloon madame’s, and gunslingers. That’s why modeling the old wild west and midwest model railroads is so popular.
I mentioned modeling Midwest model railroads because parts of the US are sometimes over shadowed by all the action out west. The Midwest, or it is also termed Middle West, or North Central States, is the region of central and northern United States. The Midwest is midway between the Rocky mountains and Appalachian and north of the famous Ohio River, and the 37th parallel. That’s a big area a modeler can capture and replicate a scene from for a Midwest model railroad. Defined by the federal government, the Midwest, takes in the states of Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The American Midwest is basically two regions, the Northwest Territory (the Old Northwest), and the Great Plains. A Midwest model railroad is a great idea for anyone interested in constructing scenery, and old west buildings, set in a scenery of railroads and pioneers around 1865 to 1895.
For the more typical ‘Old Wild West’ that leaves out much of the continent’s more early experiences, you’d probably include any of the states roughly to the west of the Mississippi River which would include Northern Mexico and even Western Canada (including NW Territories, the Yukon, and Alaska.) For movie makers the Old Wild West, was centered around Arizona (Monument Valley, Tombstone, Yuma, Lordsburg etc.) because it was easier for Hollywood producers to film there.
If you are planning a Midwest model railroad, or wild western railroad with some cowboys, miners, and early settlers then printable plans of the old west buildings on this website are ideal. You can download and construct HO scale, OO scale, N scale paper models of a sheriff office, saloons, general store, dry goods store, blacksmiths, telegraph office and stage depot, a barber shop, hotel, school house, Bank, gunsmith, land office, and church for the parishioners to attend. The printable old west buildings can be downloaded here, and constructed using photo copy paper and cardboard (cereal packs). These wild west paper models are ideal for model railroaders, anyone interested in creating dioramas, school projects, or anyone wanting to construct an old wild west or Midwest model railroad scene.
Following the American Civil War of 1861 to 1865, there was spectacular growth across the Midwest of America. Transportation (including railroads), immigration, and the growth of industrialization were all a factor in the development and expansion of the Midwest. By 1890 the city of Chicago ( a youngster at just 60 years old), had grown to become Americas second largest city. The American Midwest contributed 29 percent of the Americas manufacturing employment. That’s why creating a themed Midwest model railroad provides so many opportunities for the model railroader or hobbyist. Constructing desert scenery and scale models old west buildings is tremendously interesting and fun. The range of 13 old west buildings, and the structures used to recreate at wild west mining town are all available for download as paper models ready for printing to OO gauge, HO scale, and N scale before construction commences using cardboard and balsa wood.
Contrast that to the Great Plains which developed somewhat more slowly. Migration westward was inclined to bypass the Great Plains for the American West Coast. It took until the late 1800’s for the majority of American Indians to be subjugated. Railroads were winding throughout the interior, and the introduction of barbed-wire fencing attracted fast settlement by ranchers, farmers, and tradesmen to the Great Plains area of the US. Imagining this scene which we have also seen depicted in old western movies, is one of the reason why so many model railroaders choose to make old west buildings for their old wild western or Midwest model railroad.
The most popular movies and TV shows featuring the old Wild West and Midwest include:
The Magnificent Seven , High Noon , The Searchers , Shane , The Outlaw Josey Wales , Stagecoach , Dances With Wolves , Gunsmoke [1955–75], Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid , Rio Bravo , The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance , The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly , The Great Train Robbery , My Darling Clementine , Tombstone , The Shootist , The Lone Ranger [1949–57], She Wore a Yellow Ribbon , Fort Apache , The Virginian , Union Pacific , The Big Country , High Chaparral [1967–71], How the West Was Won , The Unforgiven , Hang ’Em High , The Big Valley [1965–69], Silverado , Gunfight at the O.K. Corral , The Alamo , McLintock! , McCloud [1971–77], The Tin Star , Rawhide [1959 – 66], Wagon Train [1957–65], Dodge City , True Grit , For a Few Dollars More , Maverick [1957–62], Annie Get Your Gun , Blazing Saddles , 3:10 to Yuma , High Plains Drifter , Bonanza [1959 – 73], Rio Grande , The Big Trail , Duel in the Sun , Will Penny , The Man From Laramie , A Fistful of Dollars , Angel and the Badman , Oklahoma! , The Naked Spur , The Wild Bunch , Winchester ’73 , Unforgiven , Once Upon a Time in the West , One-Eyed Jacks , The Gunfighter , Destry Rides Again , and Red River .
How To Add Realism to Buildings and Trains on Old Wild West and Midwest Model Railroads Using Weathering Chalks, Powders, and Washes
Nothing looks more unreal on a Midwest model railroad layout than newly assembled plastic kits or trains that look like they have just arrived from the factory or shop in brand spanking new condition. Today is not 1865, so plastic can look very fake if not weathered property to fit into an old wild west or Midwest model railroad scene. Although in the real world you do sometimes see gleaming new structures or vehicles, they are usually the exception rather than the rule. Something that is too shiny or too clean will usually standout like a sore thumb on a layout whether it’s an item of rolling stock or a plastic building kit. If it looks unreal it can be very distracting for the eye, and can spoil the whole scene. In the old wild western days buildings and structures were often unpainted or exposed to extreme desert weather conditions including UV rays, and dust storms. Even those old wild west buildings that were painted, were done so using the paints or whitewash available in those days without today’s modern chemicals added to provide increased resilience for the buildings. So, the old wild west buildings were often a bit dilapidated, or showing signs of needed repair. The paper plans of Midwest and Wild West buildings and model structures on this website use photographic style textures of timber that is in need of some cleaning or repair.
If anything, it is usually best to make things a little dirtier than they might actually be in real life, without overdoing it. Too much weathering can also look out of place, so there is a fine balance to achieve the most realistic looking outcome. The authentic looking textures used on these old wild west buildings makes them a perfect choice for replicating an old wild western or Midwest town in scaled down form (HO scale, OO scale, N scale).
It is important to note that the downloadable old wild west building kits featured on this website are all pre-weathered to just the right level (not over done), so you won’t need to worry about doing it yourself (unless you want to add additional effects). Each downloaded kit closely resembles photographs of the real thing, so when the downloadable plans are printed on paper and glued to card, they look like real scale miniatures of real life structures in OO gauge sizing, N scale, or HO scale.
If you are not using the model train kits from this website, then here are some tips for you.
Weathering plastic railway building kits with chalks
With weathering chalks, in particular, it is very easy to just wipe (or wash) the model down and begin again if you don’t like what you’ve completed. As always, testing your techniques on a discarded or unused plastic model of some kind (or just a piece of scrap plastic or wood) is an excellent way to get the weathering look you are trying to achieve.
The printable old model wild west buildings look 100% natural when placed on an old western or Midwest model railroad.
The important first rule of technique is, ‘No bright colors’. Rule number two is, ‘Glossy is bad’. Here’s how to follow those rules:
Three basic weathering techniques are used on railroad scenery, old wild west structures, and rolling stock. They are chalk weathering, using washes, and airbrushing. This article will discuss the first two.
1. Artists’ chalk comes in a massive selection of colors.
A good craft, hobby, or artist supply store should have a good range for you to choose from in several colors, and for just a few dollars. One suggestion is to buy some pastels including gray, browns, and blacks used for silhouettes and monochrome line drawings. The chalks and pastels come in short sticks which are easy to work with and store. Some artist supply shops also sell model weathering powders which are popular with many modelers. These 13 old wild west buildings don’t need chalk weathering as the imperfections and ageing is already evident in the printable textures on the downloaded models.
Weathering powders are different to chalks in that they are typically manufactured from ‘real’ rust and some other weathering agents. The powders can be 100 times finer than chalk. They can be blended with adhesives to make them stick on to almost any surface.
Weathering chalks can be applied to surfaces of old wild western-town buildings as a powder, however the download paper plans sold on this website don’t require chalks or powders to age their appearance. If you were using chalks this involves scraping the chalk over the edge of a craft knife blade onto a piece of paper. Some hobbyists choose to make extra and then store it in a small jar or plastic container for future use. However, it doesn’t actually take very much time to make the powder to weather the project you are working on currently. You might even choose to make several small containers of varying colors at the same time for creating different effects.
Modelers of old wild western scenes sometimes prefer to spray the item being weathered with a thin coat of Testor’s Dullcote so as to prepare the surface. Others will just begin with the chalk. Regardless of the method; apply the chalk using a fine tipped dry brush. This will give you maximum control.
A close up look at any object will reveal that dirt and grime tends to hide in little nooks and crannies, so this is where you begin. Paint the chalks in and around joints or seams on the model. Finding a color photograph of the object on the Internet can be helpful as you can then follow the weathering pattern as seen on the real thing. At the end of the day there is no right or wrong way of weathering using chalks, because you can always wipe it off and begin all over again.
The trick is to gradually build up the layers applying more colors and layers as you progress to achieve the right effect. At some point (usually early in the process), you may want to add a base coat of a rust or dirt color to darken the whole object.
When you become satisfied with the effect, you can then finish it off with a coat of Testor’s Dullcote to set the chalk. Leave it to dry. Then, if you wish, you can add more coloring. Just ensure you set that final chalk application with Dullcote to keep the object from smudging.
2. If you hear the term ‘washes’ it generally refers thinned paints.
Polyscale and Floquil are two specialist model paint manufacturers to watch out for. Both paints come in descriptive colors used for weathering, such as Grimy Black, Rust, Dust, and Mud. Some modelers like to use a nice black wash in several areas of their layout. This can be achieved using a mixture of alcohol and India ink. This combination can be useful with modeling scenery as well as weathering. Fact is; using washes is a staple of most scenery coloring. Nature is subtle; washes do subtle extremely well.
Have a look at the range of 13 old wild west buildings and also the selection of downloable mining town buildings and structures for sale on this website. These paper models when downloaded, printed, and constructed would look right at home on a Midwest model railroad, or in an old wild west or mining town.
The techniques for paint weathering is similar to those used in chalk weathering, however be aware that washes will tend to run. This is not necessarily a terrible thing as water weathering of objects causes that exact effect. Another advantage of the wash technique is that you can do some great detail work. Rolling stock trucks can be more easily weathered with paints than with chalks. In some instances, full strength paint (or a very thick wash) is a better technique than using chalks and Dullcote.
Another painting or weathering technique is dry-brushing and this too can be used to great effect. Dry brushing involves using a stiff brush and wiping most of the paint off on a paper towel to make light vertical or horizontal streaks on the object. By using only a small amount of paint the effect is very subtle. This dry brush technique is perfect if you want light highlights on terrain or your rock faces when constructing your Midwest model railroad town or old wild west buildings scaled to HO scale, or for OO scale, or N scale railroads.