Scratch built HO scale buildings

Mike’s been in touch with his scratch built HO scale buildings:

“Al: I thought this might be of interest to beginners who are apprehensive about trying to scratch build for their layouts.

There are so many really good professionally produced structures, but there is a real satisfaction in making them myself. I just spent two days driving around southeastern Nebraska searching for old buildings to model. To encourage beginners to try here is how I go about modeling.

This photo shows the “skeleton” of a small station I found in Roca, Nebraska. I build the raw bones out of matte board. It cuts fairly easily, is rigid and glues easily.

The foreground shows the .4 mm plywood I like to use to mimic siding and cedar shakes. For the siding I cut 5-6 mm strips of the .4 mm plywood and glue them along alignment lines to maintain a level look.

Here the siding is complete and painted.

This photo shows the roof on and the beginning of mimicking cedar shakes. I cut strips of the .4 mm plywood again. Then I cut random lengths of the strips and glue them again along alignment lines. I use 4-5 mm strips.

This photo is showing the base color as if the shakes were brand new and being installed.

The shakes are now weathered with Stone Gray and Slate Gray dyes from Woodland Scenics. I have also started to cut the doors and windows in using my Dremel and a thin cutting disc.

The roof is completed on one side. I liked the final look and just did some minor detailing to cover the light spots.

This is nearly complete as I wait for windows to finish the building.

Here is the original building as it has been restored by a Historical Society. I extended the right side, but maintained the overall look.

Good modeling to all.

Clermont, Florida”


Scratch built HO scale buildings

cardboard frame of scratch build

Scratch built HO scale buildings

Scratch built HO scale buildings

Scratch built HO scale buildings

Scratch built HO scale buildings

Scratch built HO scale buildings

“Hi here is another picture of my layout with the farm scene almost in completion I have also included a picture of a tunnel using a mirror to give the image of depth.

Relatively cheap from your local glass supplier with a cost of thank you to £1.

Enjoy and more to follow soon. The cable car on the far right of the station is next along with the ground work on the farm yard.

See you soon, comments please!


model train layout

model train layout

Frank’s been in touch again, after I posted his snow engine pics:


That snow plow was used on the white Pass narrow gauge railroad in the Yukon territory, attached is another side shot of it. I just got back from Alaska 2 weeks ago.


railroad snow plough

And Henry got in touch after his post too:

“Thanks for a great service to the modeling community.

Just as a bit of interest, your hall of fame member Brain from Knysna was one of the persons who introduced me and my late dad to scale model railroading.

Brain had a model railway shop in Port Elizabeth in South Africa, during the 1970s and we frequented his shop most Saturday mornings.

Greetings from South Africa.

Henry van Wyk”

That’s all for today folks.

A big thanks to Andrew, Fred and to Mike for sharing his scratch built HO scale buildings.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if today is the day you stop dreaming and start doing.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here. Still updated every day.

10 Responses to Scratch built HO scale buildings

  1. Brian Messenger says:

    Henry van Wyk, I remember you and your dad very well from Port Elizabeth. I was very sorry to hear of your dads passing. We will stay in touch. Brian – HOn3 guy.

  2. Dan Hulitt says:

    Nice mirror effect Andrew , and you are making good headway.
    Mike, good “how to” on your building. Funny thing is that I recently sent Al a photo of a shed building that was on the UP track east of Central City. NE that could be one for his son to replicate. If you ever get to Wood River (US 30) there is a great building behind Casey’s that would be a candidate for a scratch build.

    Thanks for the posting guys and to Al for sending them along.
    Mn Dan

  3. Wonderful work. Giving kit bashing a shot.

  4. Richard Adkins says:

    Mike… I like your scratch made building one part of the hobby I haven’t mastered… I to live in Clermont, Florida and model in HO scale… would like to meet you… give me a shout

  5. Cary says:

    Mike, great recreation, roof looks spectacular! Cary in KY

  6. Brian Ville says:

    Nice scratch build work. Really like the look of the shakes. Curious, where do you find .4mm plywood which is only 1/64 of an inch. Is it actually plywood?

  7. Kevin McArdle says:

    Is it Brain or Brian? Thanks

  8. Robert Brady says:

    Great job . I might have painted more of a reused brick color but that’s me.
    The critic

  9. Tim Birdsall says:

    Frank, I am a retired Locomotive BNSF Engineer from Lincoln Nebraska USA. We have a Snow plow/blower similar to that one. I had the good fortune to push ours a couple of times. It works amazingly , quite an impressive show!!
    Thanks for the memory;) LOL
    Tim Birdy Birdsall

  10. dustyk uk says:

    0.4mm plywood? That sounds interesting – I hadn’t realised it was available. But a quick search shows that it is; mainly for the laser cutting community. Quite often model railways benefit from other hobbies! Thanks for mentioning it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *