How to build ho scale buildings from scratch

Cameron’s been in touch again, showing us how to build ho scale buildings from scratch.

If you missed his last post, it’s here.

“The prototype that I chose to model (St Kew Highway) had three buildings. A small signal box, a goods shed and a private owners store shed. This is one of the great things with such a small layout, there is not a lot of buildings to make.

What became more of a challenge for me was that none of the buildings on my prototype were available as plastic kits. I decided to use this as an opportunity to learn how to scratch build.

The first one I started with was the goods shed. Fortunately for me the original architectural drawings of this building were available on the web. I used these along with black and white photos of the original shed to piece together the structure.

The model is made using Wills plastic sheets along with Evergreen styrene sections and plain styrene sheet. It was very rewarding working up a building from scratch in this way.

Perhaps the greatest challenge with this approach is painting. All recorded images of the buildings were in black and white. To solve this I collected more recent colour images of buildings in the same part of Cornwall to replicate the colour of the stone.

For the elements of the building that would have been painted originally I sourced a copy of the Southern Railways painting specification from the 1930,s which provided a comprehensive specification for the paint colours and locations.

I’ll give more detail on the other buildings in the next post.



How to build ho scale buildings from scratch

How to build ho scale buildings from scratch

How to build ho scale buildings from scratchd

And Cameron’s post encouraged John to send this in too:

“I am nearly complete with another layout and should be sending you pictures shortly.

It is another HO scale Inglenook designed for American pattern equipment. I hope my little layouts can inspire others who fear that they do not have time, space, or talent to build something they can enjoy. One of these days I hope to be able to order some of the very nice models so that I can send you something different from my usual fare.

In the meantime; here are some pictures of a recent project in O scale… It is a little freight house made almost entirely from cardboard salvaged from soda can boxes and cereal boxes…




A big thanks to Cameron for showing us how to build ho scale buildings from scratch. And to John – can’t wait to see the updates.

Don’t forget there’s lots of scenery you can make from the printable buildings – here’s a quick video of a scene John put together:

Quite a few of you asking about bus wires in the last post, and as always, there’s been lots of replies posted. I do love reading through the all the comments, questions and answers, so please do keep ’em coming.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

9 Responses to How to build ho scale buildings from scratch

  1. NJ Mark says:

    Your (Cameron and John) attention to detail is amazing!!! Cheers! NJ Mark

  2. Joe Touchette says:

    Nice layout!
    What did you use for roofing material?



  3. David Scott says:

    Yes, the Wills plastic bits are superb! I bought the Station and Goods shed kits only to find they were advanced scratch building sheets that then needed to bu cut and fitted together!!
    I rang them up as they had put in stretcher bond bricks? Flemish bond in the Station!! They seemed a bit confused.
    I got the same response from a new laser etched set of kit’s about their use of a modern brickwork.
    Your building has inspired me today and while the workshop is too cold I will have to start building!!
    All the best.

  4. Peter says:

    Cameron, if that’s you’re first scratchbuild, then that is truly impressive, a very realistic paint job as well.
    Johns wooden building is superb.
    Good to see people are still making things rather than just buying ready made buildings.


  5. David Oyler says:

    Cameron, nicely done on the goods shed! If that is your first attempt at a scratch build, you certainly are talented. Looks fantastic, and just the right amount of weathering.

  6. James Howell says:

    Awesome jobs to Cameron and John. These buildings are very well done.

  7. John Reynolds says:

    Camron’s little shed is truly amazing.
    Very nice work….
    John from California

  8. Cary says:

    Cameron and John, thanks for sharing your scratch build projects, they look great! I share your enthusiasm for scratch building, researching building types for the time period and use of improvised materials. It’s great to see posts from people doing the same. Hope you are having fun and look forward to seeing more.
    Cary in Kentucky.

  9. Ian Mc Donald says:

    great to see scratch built buildings. an amazing craftmenship.

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