Brian’s engine house scratch build

“Hi Al,

I resumed building a two stall engine house for a friend of mine.

Started last year at the beginning of December and then had a months holiday.

Again, it is a scratch built HO scale engine house but in standard gauge – 16,5mm. Had no plans but used my experience and photos of my one.

My own finished one is HOn3 (3 foot narrow gauge) and is on my layout.

Total hours spent so far is 11.5h.

It will be fully detailed inside and out as well as lighting inside.

Bottom photo is my “workbench (roll top desk)” where all the magic happens.

Top photo is of my engine house in position on the layout being finished. Pardon the guy lying down on the job. The shed on the right houses the arc welding unit for the guy welding inside.

Will keep you posted with updates.

Best regards

Brian – Cape Town”








A big thanks to Brian – I just adore his stuff.

Keep ’em coming folks.

And if today is the big day when you get bored of sitting on the side lines, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

28 Responses to Brian’s engine house scratch build

  1. Alan Roberts says:

    Great work Brian, it looks really nice. I love your roll-top desk. My dad had one and after he died my mother offered it to me, but I had no room for it in my little house. I loved that desk. But I’m glad to see you work in the same muddle as me.
    Great work!
    Alan UK

  2. jim morris says:

    Excellent work.

  3. wonderful! would love to have those blue squares for when I put my buildings together!

  4. Pete Evangel says:

    What type of material are you using? How do you get so sharp of corners (windows) cut into it? – Pete Calif. USA

  5. John Seale says:

    that looks like “foamcore?” ingenious…lightweight, unaffected by humidity…even bonding a preprinted building to the foamcore is possible? clever…”square corners” no problem it seems…

  6. Lanning says:

    Excellent work! – LEL

  7. George Ross says:

    Out Standing Modeling.

  8. Steve Roberts says:

    Nice piece of work Brian, like the interesting stuff on the shelves. Steve R UK

  9. Ian Mc Donald says:

    great work a lot of dedication.

  10. It’s going to look great on you lay out.good health to you. Keep building.

  11. Brian Messenger says:

    Hi guys, the material used for the engine house is Northeastern scale scribed siding from the USA.
    I always have sheets of it as well as stripwood handy for scratch built projects. 95% of my buildings are of wood design because of the era (1930s) as well as area modelled.
    Answer to the question of how I get square corners at the window edges, simple, I mark the outline in pencil and then use a sharp hobby knife with a number 11 blade and work from both sides until it falls out and leaves perfectly square corners.
    I have never used “foamcore” as it is too thick and does not help when doing interior detailing. Brian – Cape Town South Africa

  12. john says:

    Brian it looking great, where did you find the corner clamps thank you.

  13. Rob Turner says:

    That is very impressive. Well done.

  14. Ron Lamb says:

    Looks great Brian, love the details, from one who worked on B R for 50 years
    which included 5 years in Bricklayers Arms, No 3 Signal Box / Steam and freight depot. Great Time but alas it is no more. Kind regards Ron

  15. mike richardson says:

    Super job on the engine house.

  16. Dennis Finegan says:

    Excellent workmanship. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Stephen D Gispanski says:

    Hello Brian,
    Nice work on the engine house, can’t wait to get mine going. One more thing, love the 24 Ace.
    SDG St.Petersburg FL USA

  18. Ken Ayars says:

    Hi Brian,

    I enjoy seeing how others scratch build for their layouts. Excellent work. I do the same in N-scale, not that easy with big arthritic fingers, and get a great deal of inspiration from this excellent website. In fact, I started scratch building BECAUSE of this website and started with an engine house sold by Alistair. One thing I found is that using some old LEGO blocks to true up corners work great in the same manner as the blue block you use. And they are cheap, if you have kids that no longer care about them.

  19. Robert Brady says:

    where did you find room to build on that desk?

  20. Bill in Virginia says:

    Beautiful building! Really like your work center. Roll top desks makes great hobby work areas 😀

  21. Victor Koyano says:

    Nice engine house Brian.
    The trouble with kits, at least in my O Scale, is they’re designed for little locos. l have scale modern diesels of this era so they tend to be like basketball players trying to go into a mini car, not much head room or leg room….
    Keep scratch building!

  22. Thomas Nichols says:

    Nice the detail

  23. Anton Bruce says:

    What fabulous work! I admire your efforts – mainly because I simply don’t have the time or patience to do this myself!

    Agaian – fantactic job!

  24. Goodness with friends like you, who needs hobby shops.
    Great work

  25. Dave Karper says:

    Brian, I look to you as today’s John Allen.

  26. Andrew Aves says:

    Very good model building Brian – and I love that your working desk is as muddled and cluttered as mine.
    Andrew in Oz

  27. Mr. Ron from So Mississippi says:

    Beautiful job on that engine house. I am trying to amass a collection of scratch-built structures, but my unsteady hands at 87 are not as good as they were. I keep trying and they are getting a bit better if I take my time at it. I have been using a Swann-Morton scalpel and find it is so much better than xacto knives.

  28. MiMi says:

    I have clamps like those use by Brian. Mine are called Rite Way Clamps. Not sure where I purchased them but Roman & Company sells them online in several scale sizes.

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