Question About Scratch Built Structures--->

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#1
Good Morning.

I'm not new to the hobby of model railroading, but only recently have I had the real drive to get into the actual modeling aspect. I just successfully built an Atlas kit (Specifically Item # 702 - Trackside Shanty Kit) and ordered a couple other kits from Atlas. They were simple and fun, but I would like to move up eventually to scratch build structures and buildings of my own design someday. Could anyone here recomend any good guides, websites, building techniques, or other helpful hints?

Thank you for your time and consideration.

-Daniel
Fatvitan Railways
 
P

Photogdad

Guest
#2
I too have been think about doing this. Any information for beginning scratchbuilder would be nice.
 
#3
1- There are some threads here on scratch building. Look for these and read.
2- There are a few other RR forums with scratch building info.
3- I like wood buildings so all of mine kits and scratch builds are wood. Here is some info for wood buildings (note: they make nice kits with better than excellent instructions. Well worth buying one of their kits to learn the techniques):
http://www.sierrawestscalemodels.com/clinic/clinic.shtml
4- Search the web. Searching for 'scratch building HO structures" will only find a small amount of the info out there. So use different search terms learned by reading. Look at any web site about a layout, many times there will be so info on building the structures.
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
#4
Scratchbuilding really isn't too hard once you get a few under your belt. I was intimidated at first, but now it just seems like second nature. Here are a few pictures which have already been posted here. The first one is a freight station that I built almost 20 years ago. There was nothing on the market at the time that really fit the space I had available so into the pile of wood siding that I had acumulated over the years.

The best advice I could give you is to have patience, and a sharp hobby knife. Most all of my scratchbuilding is for building a structure that will fit into a given space. One nice thing about scratchbuilding is that it seems to be easier to include interior detail of you choose. The freight station was my first building of any size and it was a lot of fun too. Roberts Milling and Cabinets was done completely from Evergreen styrene products. The little cafe started out on an eighht inch piece of tempered masonite. This was the footprint of the building and with the exception of the castings for interior details, everything was scratchbuild, even the windows.

A few inexpensive tools needed will be a steel scale rule and a good sharp hobby knife. A small square would be helpful, but not necessary. You might pick up an inexpensive wood craftsman kit and give it a shot first to get your feet wet. I find scratchbuilding a very enjoyable part of the hobby and am glad that I took the first step.

I am about to start another freight station out of styrene because it has to fit into a rather small space and again there's nothing available in kit form that will work.
 

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Railphotog

Railroad Photographer
#5
As has been mentioned, starting with a quality kit will give you all kinds of valuable experience. I know when I started back into the hobby I didn't have a clue how to build structures, so I picked up the cheapest Campbell kit I could find to start. The large fold out instruction sheet was kind of intimidating, with all of the text, photos and drawings, but I worked my way through it one step at a time. This gave me confidence to try more complex structures by Campbell, and I was fortunate to be able to find some at local shows at good prices.

After having several kits under my belt, I figured paying big bucks for a kit that contains a small value in actual material was a waste, I tried building on my own using the tips and techniques found in the kits I did build.

That's the way I did it anyway, might be worth a try!
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
#6
Bob, thats how I started SB as well. Right now however, I haven't done any SB in many years, so it will be interesting to see how I do when I start back.
 
#7
I am following a Miami theme similar to Lance Mindheim's and have been scratch building the majority of all structures. Unfortunately, some of the more art deco buildings have a rounded face which can be a challenge. I ended up using a paint can to set the curve in the base and then heated the plastic sheet in near boiling water to set the curve in the side wall.

Larry











 
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zoegraf

Craftsman at heart
#9
Scratch building can be very educational, fun, and awarding. I suggest starting with small projects like ramps, shacks, platforms, etc. Also always keep all of your scrap basswood, cardboard, styrene, etc. They alway come in handy.
Some of the nicest structures I have, I have scratch built out of cardboard, styrene, and left over parts from other kits when I was lacking income.

Here are a few examples.
 
P

Photogdad

Guest
#10
It seems to me that there is so much more life and detail when you scratchbuild. I like all the projects I have seen here and it just inspires me to at least buy a kit to start off with. Any good ideas as a starting place for a project?
 
#11
Very nice work larry!


I think some good easy scratch build structures that are on the easy side to replicate are alot of the pikestuff building's. Yes they are very easy on the pocket to purchase the actual kit.

I have a few pikestuff buildings and after looking at them its very easy to make something very similar.

Another good thing is they give you the dimensions to pikestuff structures online. Makes it very helpful for a starting point.

Like the others have suggested start with something small and easy like a yard office or similar, then move up to warehouses or buildings with 4 sides. This way you build up confidence before tackling something harder.
 
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#12
Good Morning-


Thanks for all the tips and ideas and pictures that have been posted and those to come. It's really marvelous to see what you can do with a few tools and a little ingenuity. Does anyone have anything specific to New England? It's where I'm from and the place I love, so I plan to model mostly New England as the years go by. Thanks for your time, consideration, and responses.
 
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montanan

Whiskey Merchant
#13
I never throw anything out. If I have any parts left over from a kit, it is always saved. I have a pretty sizeable box full of various building parts ranging form doors and windows to sheets and strips of Evergreen styrene, and then there's another box for wood sheets and strips. You never know when something will come in handy !
 
#14
Very nice work larry!


I think some good easy scratch build structures that are on the easy side to replicate are alot of the pikestuff building's. Yes they are very easy on the pocket to purchase the actual kit.

I have a few pikestuff buildings and after looking at them its very easy to make something very similar.

Another good thing is they give you the dimensions to pikestuff structures online. Makes it very helpful for a starting point.

Like the others have suggested start with something small and easy like a yard office or similar, then move up to warehouses or buildings with 4 sides. This way you build up confidence before tackling something harder.
Joed


I started with Rix and Pike stuff because they were easy to kit bash. They already come with the strike lines on the backside of the plastic for doors and such. Most of my Rix and Pike stuff kits sat against the back wall as low relief structures since I really like point to point industrial switching railroads. The first photo below is a Rix or Pikestuff truck warehouse that comes with several loading dock doors. I believe I bought two three kits and attached them end to end. The side walls were cut back as to not stick out so far. The blue structure next to this was a scratch build from 060 sheet plastic that I buy in 4x8' sheets. The windows are Rix or Pikestuff and the A/C units are Walthers.

The diesel fueling area was a another scratch build using Micronart fencing.




















Larry
 
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rlundy90

Armchair Engineer
#17
If you want to scratchbuild in wood there is no better place to start than with a Campbell kit as has been mentioned here. The instructions and drawings are the most complete and presice you will find anywhere for the price. You will learn the skills you need to scratchbuild and learn many different techniques. If you have never built a wood kit before, start with something simple, but don't be scared to challenge yourself. The more you do the quicker you will be scratchbuilding. Just don't make it so difficult you get frustrated and give up on it. The reason I recommend the Campbell kits to learn on, is becasue using their techniques for building, you can make any type of structure you want. Also there isn't a kit in the bunch you won't be proud of, when it is sitting on your layout. There are other good kits but most are much more expensive. If you belong to a club ask any of the members if they have instructions for any of the Fine Scale Miniatures kits. They are a wealth of information on building techniques and weathering.You can also check forums for scratchbuilding sections. A lot of great stuff there.
Scratchbuilding in plastic or card is basically the same. Just using different glue.
 
#18
I agree that Campbell kits are a great way to learn the techniques for scratch building wood structures.
I scratch build a lot of my buildings. I use a lot of different materials. Probably the most inexpensive way to start is to use illustration board, poster board and card stock. For less then $10 you have a lot of material to experiment with.
I take a lot of pictures while I'm building and have them set up in slide shows on my YouTube page. Maybe you'll get some ideas
 



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