Making Styrofoam and Cardboard Buildings

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#1
Hello fellow model railroaders,

I'm a newbie to this hobby and just completed the track work on my first layout. When it's done, I hope to have an urban setting with a downtown area, similar to New York or Chicago.

At this time, however, I can't really afford to purchase any kits, especially for tall building and skyscrapers. It would also be nice to have a Union Station situation somewhere in my design.

I could really use your help with suggestions on how to create what I need with styrofoam and cardboard, especially the train station. Are there any websites with cutout patterns and instructions for making structures, especially for skyscrapers and the like? What are the best tips for approaching this endeavor?

Thanks so much for your replies.


Justme
 

Larry

Long Winded Old Fart
#2
Many years ago I use to buy the Big Book of Cutout Buildings in 3 or 4 volumes. Most of them were HO Scale. You might try Books a Million or Amazon Books. I use to get about a catalog a month from a company that has their own stores now, but CRS. Anyway, I built a pretty good size layout w/cardboard buildings. Now, you can get some on-line for Free, but, someone on the Forum will have to give you the link. I sent a stack of paper-cutout buildings(that you can glue to heavy cardboard)to someone here on the forum in 2010. they were the back covers to Railroad Model Craftsman magazine of the 50's & 60's. maybe you can find what you need by searching on-line.
 
#3
Card buildings

Google Card Buildings, or Card and paper models, etc. There are even sites for only skyscrapers, build your own Chicago, build your own New York. Many are free downloads,size to suit your scale. I print off on 110# card stock, or you can print on regular 20# stock and spray glue to cardboard or cereal boxes. Might want to prime first to reduce warping. :)
 

Jim 68cuda

Active Member
#4
You might try buying software and printing out buildings you design (print two or three floors at a time and make buildings as tall as you want).
http://www.modeltrainsoftware.com/scale.html


Or, if you're looking for modern glass style sky scrapers, you might just try picking up scrap size sheets of plexiglass at Home Depot or Lowes fairly cheap. You could likely get someone there to cut it to size for you at no extra charge. Spray paint some dark tinted shade on the back side, and glue or epoxy four sheets together to make the building. As long as the pieces of plexiglas forming the building are the same height, the width can be varied to make different shape buildings.
Use black or silver pin stripe tape (from hobby shop or auto parts store) to simulate separations between floors and between panes of glass. Doors could also be outlined with pin stripe tape or with strips of styrene. A piece of foam core board recessed slightly below the top edge could form the roof. Spray the roof with Rust-o-Leom "Stone Creations" textured spray paint in a shade of brown or gray to give the roof the look of gravel or pebble stones as is frequently found on building roofs.
Additional strips of styrene or wood strips spray painted Model Master Camaflage Gray could be used at corners of the buildings and/or between floors and between window panes and at the top edge of the building for a different look simulating exposed poured concrete sections.
For the look of very rough concrete walls or architectural details (rather than smooth), use the "stone creations" Rustoleum paint instead of the Camoflage gray for a rough surface, but the texture may be way more texture than you want for HO scale, so experiment with it first.
 
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#6
Buildings using foam-core board

Me again. I started out with a tiny store building, then to a cardboard grain elevator, water tank, log cabin. I am building a layout portion using foam-core board and documenting it with an online clinic at http://armchairmodeling.blogspot.com I will try to upload some of these to a picture site on the blog. Good luck!

Armchair
 
#10
A good source for cheap foamcore is your local Dollar Tree store. They have a product called Readi-board that sells for $1 for a 20" x 30" sheet. The outer layers are paper rather than cardstock, so you can soak them off if you want and just use the foam.

Steve S
 

BN8002

Did someone say B-unit?
#11
A good source for cheap foamcore is your local Dollar Tree store. They have a product called Readi-board that sells for $1 for a 20" x 30" sheet. The outer layers are paper rather than cardstock, so you can soak them off if you want and just use the foam.

Steve S
anyone know how the readi-board does with paint? I've thought about using it before but I was skeptical of paint sticking to it..
 
#12
It's Depron polystyrene, if I'm not mistaken. Water-based paints should be okay, but enamels will probably eat the foam. It's only a buck per sheet so there's no real harm in experimenting.

Steve S
 
#13
Styrofoam buildings

This is my first attempt at scratch building.
Started with a couple of pieces of 2X4 lumber to create basic shape, got the idea from an old train magazine.
Next I cut out 1/32" foam scored it and added the windows that I got from Walthers, (pretty expensive)
The lighted office is made from a cereal box.
The roofing material is again 1/32" foam. I created the corrugations with an attachment that I made from a coat hanger and fitted to my old soldering iron.
The colors were decided by what I had in a couple of old rattle cans.
Now all I've got to do is figure out how to attach the pictures.
Mac
 
#16
Card Structures

Hi,
If you are interested in some good looking buildings, structures that are free you can check out these sites.
I have built a heap of these by downloading them, printing them in colour on 250GSM heavy paper, cutting them out with care and constructing them with a pair of scissors, glue, a metal ruler and some coloured pencils to get the weathered effects happening. then coat them with a craft spray to protect the finish from fading etc.
You will be surprised how good these buildings can look especially when placed in a group with trees etc around them.
A lot of them have the 3d effect with verandahs, columns etc. and look just the part.
Anyway you might want to check these sites out and if you want i can send you some photos of the ones I have built so far.
http://www.buildyourownmainstreet.org/
http://www.paperbuildings.happyllama.com/
http://skyscrapermodels.us/Home.html
http://mag000de.gmxhome.de/
http://home.wanadoo.nl/schatborn/index2.html#4cont20
http://www.evandesignsmodelbuilder.com/
http://cp.c-ij.com/en/contents/3155/03370/index.html
http://www.ss42.com/pt-buildings.html#2
http://www.igshansa.de/igsorg.html
http://www.buildyourownnewyork.com/
http://www.buildyourownchicago.com/

These ar but a few of the sites I found on the net and i am sure ther are plenty more.
Hope this may be of some use to you or someone else on the forum.
Regards
John:)
 
#17
Google Card Buildings, or Card and paper models, etc. There are even sites for only skyscrapers, build your own Chicago, build your own New York. Many are free downloads,size to suit your scale. I print off on 110# card stock, or you can print on regular 20# stock and spray glue to cardboard or cereal boxes. Might want to prime first to reduce warping. :)
Armchair -
Can you tell me what kind of printer you used to handle the 110 lb card stock? Do you use the automatic feeder or manual feeder? Any problems with cardstock jamming in your printer?
FSmithSE
 
#18
Armchair -
Can you tell me what kind of printer you used to handle the 110 lb card stock? Do you use the automatic feeder or manual feeder? Any problems with cardstock jamming in your printer?
FSmithSE
I also would like to know which printer you use for the cardstock

Cheers
MT
 
#19
Over the years, I've owned five HP inkjet printers -- and all of them have been able to print on 110 lb. card stock, using the standard paper feed.

Regards,
Tom Stockton
 



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