More scratch building from Rob

Just got this in from Rob. If you missed his last post, it’s here.

“Hello Fellow Model Railroaders: My name is Robert and I am a 75 year old modeling fan and have been for over 50 years.

When I started building HO scale structures I followed the typical kit instructions.

By that I mean…cutting out walls and roofs and supporting them with the standard corner…wall…and roof bracing.

If you still build structures via this method I have a good tip for you to consider…”Solid Core Modeling”.

For years and numerous structures I labored over gluing up walls and roofs with the typical bracing method and hoped that all would be square.

In many cases I had to make adjustments because things just didn’t go together as I had hoped they would.

Even after years of building it simply seemed to take forever to build even a modest structure… forever meaning….2 to 4 weeks of gluing and waiting…gluing and waiting…and gluing and waiting.

When I was 20 I had plenty of time to take forever to build even a simple structure.

At 75 I do not have that kind of time anymore nor do I want to continue to struggle with the more complicated segments specifically: Roof angles…dormers with complex angles…gluing 4 walls together only to find that they are not as square as they should be… and when finished worry about warping.

Those days are long forgotten…and for several years now I have made the commitment to solid core modeling and will never go back to the old style of structure building.

Attached are some photographs of a new structure that I have designed for the sole purpose of validating the value of solid core modeling.

I have deliberately built in complexity so that you can imagine the time that it would take to build this structure via the traditional method.

Specific requirements:

Chop saw
HO scale rule
Exterior sheeting material
Roofing material
Trim material
Glue ( I use Titebond III)
Xacto knife

What you will see in the attached photographs was started at 8:00am today and was completed at 6:00pm just in time for dinner. The photographic results of day two (tomorrow) will be forwarded to Mr. Alastair at 6:00pm tomorrow night for your review. I hope that you will be pleased with what you will see and the time it took to deliver the results.

Best regards,


Alastair 2 001

Alastair 2 002

Alastair 2 004

Alastair 2 005

Alastair 2 006

And now more from Hall of Fame member, Dangerous Dave. I enjoyed the vid so I thought you might too:

“Hi Al , not sure if this will appeal ( my sons dog appreciated it ) , but being the holiday period , I have put this video together of some real Steam as seen on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway this week , and added some sound Loco`s on my layout , with description of each Loco …

Hope you can enjoy



Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

A big thanks to Dave and Rob.

I never know what will appear in my inbox after all these years – it’s still a real delight to see the different things you’re all up to.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if you haven’t taken the plunge yet with the Beginner’s Guide, you can grab it here.



16 Responses to More scratch building from Rob

  1. SHELDON PHX. AZ. says:

    Would love to see the track plan for Dave’s layout.
    What scale is it. He obviously has been at it for a while.
    Great fun to watch his videos.
    SHELDON Phoenix Arizona

  2. Bob Weskamp says:

    Started with trains at age 9, S-scale American Flyer. Since then have built lots of kits and scratch-built, but mostly Airplanes. Football and college, then work all got in the way. As an engineer, the firm I worked for built scale models of machinery involved in personal injury lawsuits, but that was all about 30 years ago. Now grandkids who love trains come on the scene, and I’m back at it: well, at least thinking about models again.

    I saw Rob’s suggestions and photos, and just had to ask: what do you do about windows? Do you relieve the material from the back of the window, or use a photo or printout to just cover it up. I have seen in other postings how much a little relief can add to the realism, so I thought I’d ask about your method.

  3. Jerry Suits says:

    Dave–Very nice video of real steam locomotives and trains on your layout! I like the use of the ones with sound and the long line of rolling stock.

  4. LLOYD NUNNERY says:

    Good show. Would love to see it in person.

  5. GEORGE FORBES says:

    Good looking layout, Did look like your wagons were jumping for some reason at the track joint shown at 1:50 in the video. Thank you for your full scale footage and I really like the Bachmann 57xx with sound.

  6. NJ Mark says:

    Robert, Your work is beautiful and intriguing. As a woodworker as well as a model railroader, I thank you for sharing yet another imaginative alternative to constructing buildings for the model railroad. Cheers! NJ Mark

  7. Noel freckelton says:

    Great video Dave,I really enjoyed it,good to see a mix of real trains and model railway.

  8. John Parker Clayton, CA says:

    Always entertaining and great info… thanks Al..

  9. jeff sowden says:

    gr8 stuff, its given me some new ideas. thanks.

  10. Gary W. Stilson says:

    I’m still buying trains and accessories, but, I must admit, kinda afraid and perplexed on how to get started. I have both O gage and HO.

  11. Cary B says:

    Al, As always thanks for the emails. Roberts solid core modeling article is awesome.
    Dave’s ten min video of real and his model train layout was a pleasure to watch.
    Thanks to all who share their ideas and experience

  12. Helmut Eppich says:

    Excellent video and layout! Always looking forward to your model railroading videos.
    Your train layout is really specacular!

  13. Gary Gissiner says:

    I really look forward to your emails and enjoy all the tip and layouts featured. Keep up all the good work you do and thanks to all who have featured layouts.

  14. THOMAS says:

    Thanks Dave … I love to see Trains Working … the video is awesome !

  15. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Robert……that is ingenious………

  16. Erick says:

    Look great.!!!!!. Would like to see more

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