John’s model railroad print out scenery

“Dear Mr. Lee,

Thank you again for your site, your kits, and John’s videos…

While I have built several of your kits in HO beginning with the corrugated engine house… This is my fist time “blowing one up” to O scale.

You kindly published my tribute to my father with the one I built from a 1950’s era magazine and cut out book… Thank you again for sharing that build. Now I have chosen to build the “Blue House” that comes with The Beginner’s Book…

Of course I followed every instruction to the letter when it came to building the model… And I had so much fun building it that I am thinking on using the same kit to build a few more structures and try other ideas…

It is my belief that the greatest thing about model railroading is the endless opportunity for creative expression. As a further opinion, no where is that opportunity greater than when it comes to building the scenic elements that bring a layout or diorama “to life”.

For many years modelers would “kitbash” various model kits to make structures that were uniquely their own. At the price of plastic, that form of modeling has become a very dear proposition. Worse, many structures that were once available as kits are now only available in fully assembled form — glued together with some industrial strength solvent that makes disassembly all but impossible. Very frustrating.

On your side of the pond, paper models seem to always have been an available and popular option. Here in America, paper fell out of favor in the early 1970’s. That said, it seems that “everything old is new again” and modeling with paper is becoming a popular option again. Part of this return has been due to some amazing work by a few very talented modelers. Another factor is the growing availability of inexpensive models now available a cheap downloads that can be repeatedly printed out and can be easily modified to give the builder their own personal touch to the structure.

About one week ago I mentioned to you that I was going to build “The Blue House” and expand it to O scale… I gave you some other hints about what I had in mind to do with the model. At that time you asked me to send photos of the completed structure.

Those photos are attached BUT I want to let you know some of the “extras” that I added:

1: On my previous builds I noticed the windows looked a little flat and dull. To add life I began to look at real structures around me and focus on the windows. What I noticed is that windows have a little reflectivity to them. The windows reflect even when there is a curtain and even if what is behind the window is as dark as a coal mine at midnight! I found I could replicate this with the use of clear “Transparent Tape”

2. As I was building my tribute model to my father, I developed a sheet for modeling a “boardwalk style” sidewalk and a shingle roof. These sheets came in hand on my “Blue House” build to give the building a distinctive look more suited to the “western” area I hope to depict when I use these structures on a layout module or home layout soon.

3. The “chimney” for the stove is a bit of painted soda straw finished at the base with a bit of a print from your #1 Brick Enginehouse.

4. The sign “Mom’s Cafe” was printed on blue cardstock and then copied twice to fade it… My printer is not color true so it tends to fade things as it prints them and copies them. You “Blue House”: is a very solid blue but the first print I made was significantly faded. When I expanded the HO print to O Scale, it faded to a light bluish grey (Dorian Grey?). I used this discovery when I went to make my sign.

I hope you enjoy this interpretation of “The Blue House”… Even if you have to look hard to see the original structure that made my building possible (Check the windows and doors). My next interpretation of this same structure may be even more radically interpreted…)



Chatsworth, California, USA”

(All images are clickable)

A huge thank you to John – it does always make me smile when I see the prints on a layout. Here’s a quick vid of what you can do with them:

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

And there are several house bundles by the way:

Bundle 1

Bundle 2

Bundle 3

That’s all for today folks, but dont’ forget the Beginner’s Guide if you feel like it’s your time to shine.

Keep ’em coming.



9 Responses to John’s model railroad print out scenery

  1. Carl in Kansas says:

    Great looking house! For you and others who want more detailed doors and windows, try replacing them with plastic windows such as those manufactured by Tichy Train Group and Grandt Line. Buy a selection of windows and doors so you will have assorted sizes and shapes, and enough to build several buildings. Pick a window which is the same size as the paper window, or a slightly larger one.

    Keep on training,
    Carl in Kansas

  2. Thomas Murphy says:

    Way to go John, your building looks really professional.

  3. Don Mills says:

    Nice Work!!!

  4. Alan Armstrong says:

    Very good job on Mom’s Cafe. The printouts are looking more and more realistic. The videos that John puts together are fantastic! It is amazing how the extra things he does totally changes the look of the kit. I grew up in Chatsworth through the ’50s and early 60’s.

  5. Robert Shuman says:

    Very nice work. The rough cut shingles really adds level of detail.

  6. Paul Schwartz says:

    Very interesting. I suddenly felt I was in an actual neighborhood until a giant banana came into view😉. Nevertheless, great work with meticulous eye for details. I especially liked the trees and bushes.

  7. Ian Mc Donald says:

    the buildings look great the add ons just finish them thanks for sharing.

  8. Pete says:

    Hi, just want to take a second to say thank you for all the tips, tricks and information given in these emails. I have not yet started my layout. I am hopeful that it will begin by next spring. I will be building kits and at some point I will try kit bashing. I like the idea of using pure imagination with this.

    Thank again!

  9. Bill Weedon says:

    When you did the printing for Oscale, did you go to a kink’s or use a standard home printer with a % of blowup? I have been thinking of doing S-scale but do not know the % to get that done since most of my engines are more like O-27 than regular O-gauge.

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