Bill’s scratch built bridge

“Hello Al,

In response to your question, “What would be my best modeling tip?”, I would have to say don’t throw anything away. Just about anything can become a useable detail piece on a model layout.

Just as an example, I am currently scratch building a curved bridge using Plastruct and Evergreen preformed bulk pieces, a few Model Power steel bridges, and a sheet of brass screen I sourced from my local sewing supply store. Total cost into the bridge is about $35.00 U.S.


In order to make the side support for the bridge I needed to kit bash the Model Power bridge sections together along with a few small pieces of styrene.


However this left me with a few smaller pieces.


Well, after looking around my layout I noticed I need a few vehicle bridges. So, this is what came out of the left over Model Power bridge pieces and a piece of leftover sheet styrene.



So for my money I actually got my custom bridge, two small vehicle bridges, and I have plenty of supplies for many other projects.

My wife isn’t a huge fan of my “keep everything” philosophy but it does come in handy and saves money when building a layout. Also, creativity plays a huge part in building a layout. Inspiration can come from anything you just have to look for it.



Big thanks to Bill for sharing – and just goes to show he’s spot on: don’t throw anything away ever…

And when it comes to scratch building, have a look at what John’s building now.

Have you started your layout yet? If not, this really will get you up and running.



12 Responses to Bill’s scratch built bridge

  1. Good bit of scratch building on the bridges Bill!
    That’s OK my wife isn’t a fan of my that’ll come in handy later philosophy but it saves money which is fine by me.

  2. Well its a good way to use up the bits that have been left over , nice one ..Dave

  3. some times you gotta do what you gotta do. and it looks like it worked out great.

  4. I have o gauge trains. Starting layout. Layout plate form is a u shape 12’x8′.
    Thank you

  5. Hi Bill. Darn nice scratch building .Id rather make my own than buy a piece that just about everyone owns as well.One of a kind. During the holliday was at a friend for brunch.He found me in his recycled garbage and said sheesh kim if ya that hungry go in the fridge.Mean time I had two plastic bags full of his garbage lol.Thick clear plastic for window’s. plastic to make beams and such.And a lot more stuff.He didn’t see when he threw it away that it could be used in another manor.Thanks Bill for the great idea’s.Very nice work that.Would love to see more pic’s of your builds. Matbe steal an idea lol.

  6. I too did this but used some left over n scale rails. Cut them to size and CA glued them into the exact same form as Bill’s scratch built bridge. Looks identical to his. Cost….$ 0.00

  7. Those vehicle bridges are fantastic and the weathering is authentic, very nice work and thanks for sharing. I went back and viewed the “scraps” and honestly didn’t visualize the bridges until I located all the pieces in the finished product. I really need to spread out my scrap piles/boxes before I go to the parts catalog for my next project. Thanks again
    Douglas, USA

  8. Bill,
    That’s a very clever use of left overs. The younger modeller’s who probably have less money should take note that you can make models that look good from left over bits.

  9. I agree, never throw anything away that could be of use. My wife now asks me every time if I want anything that she is about to throw out.
    Incidentally, the bus wire on my layout is actually adhesive copper tape which I had left over from making stained glass light catchers and lampshades. No need for cable ties or elec. connections. Just solder the wires from the tracks and it just sticks to the layout framework.

  10. I admit that sometimes I look in builders dump skips.

    It is amazing what treasures are in them in, wood, wire, polystyrene.

    the bulders don’t mind If you help yourself.

    Paul Otway

  11. Would Bill consider telling us how he created his road? It looks great and very realistic. Any tips would be great. Paul

  12. One good way of making your asphalt roads look authentic is after your paint them black and they are dry, lightly sandpaper the road lanes and traffic areas. Add in a few patched potholes and then rough up the edges a bit to keep them from being perfectly straight.

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