Train model building kits

Hall of fame Dan has been in touch with some good tips on train model building kits:

“Al, I am sure this idea is not new. However I may have some techniques that are.

The sprues (I do not know what you call them in your area of the world.) that are left over from kit building should not be tossed out. Here are a couple of uses you may not have not thought about.

When trying to square up sides of the buildings, a corner piece of the sprue makes a good right angle. I have even used a plastic 35mm slide holder.

Train model building kits

A close up of the model building kit.

model kit window

This is a 3-D building flat to be. My 3-D flats have no backs. Why waste time and effort on what you can’t see? The vertical sprues hold up the roof. The clear sprue maintains the width of the building. The black construction paper masks the windows of the building. You normally can’t see in factory or office windows. The open lower openings are inside of the loading dock. There will be details there.

kit flues

The supply stack. I have saved all of my surplus train kit parts. I have been building kits for the other layouts I have built so, I have a lot of pieces.

HO scale train building

Typical parts box. I have a separate box of just windows and doors. I have made complete flats with left over kit parts.

HO scale train building

The roof of one of my 3-D flats. This was made for a caved corner. The bottle of cola is real.

 Train model building kits

Another 3-D flat that is part of the corner.

HO model railroad

The complete corner. Don’t worry about the sharp turn and the seep ramps. From the normal view pint it looks OK.

HO model railroad

In my post about the model train museum project, I mentioned about using a short length of tubing to prevent squashing the soft wood by the wing nuts used to tighten the sections. They were cut to the exact thickness of the holes.


A big thanks to Dan for sharing his Train model building kits.

Brian also sent this in after his post on HO scale train buildings.

“Hi Alastair

Could you publish the photos below of my ‘bits boxes’ please.

This is to show the train modellers who follow your blog what I mean when I mention my ‘bits boxes’.

These photos are (what’s left of my castings, having used a lot of them already) shown here where some of them are painted, some bare resin and some weathered.

If I do not have a casting of what I am looking for, I then refer to my silicone mold box to find it and then cast it in resin.

model railroad bits box

Another box from building kits.

model railroad bits box

Also in this photo are 3 of my airbrushes. The grey one on the left is an Aztek model A4709 triple action needing an air hose connected to a compressor. The two black ones are self contained with a built in compressor and air tank. (Both rechargeable via a USB cable). The left top one is for very fine spray work.

Photo below is my silicone mold box (about 40 plus of them).

silicon molds for model rairoad

Many thanks again Alastair for what to do for all the modelling fraternity.

Brian – the HOn3 guy in Knysna RSA”

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.

model train answers

4 Responses to Train model building kits

  1. Rob McCrain says:

    It is clever to use right-angle pieces of surplus sprues as corner braces. This is a good idea. For a back scene, using open-back, low-profile buildings is a good idea, except if you are putting lighting into them. Then, you’ll need light blocking behind the light sources. Both Dan & Brian have good ideas today.

  2. George Zaky says:

    Great stuff. Sprue pieces can be pipes, vents. poles as well as what you show here.
    I mistakenly thought you were 3D resin printing. I didnt do a great job when I tried molding so I put it on the shelf for now and 3D printing is my choice now. It’s meant for McGoo eyes & gorilla fingers like me.
    Big Al
    Dan & Brian- The heavies!-😊 Nice
    “The first rule to tinkering is to save all the parts “– Paul Erlich.
     Děkuju -(Czech)

  3. robert dale tiemann says:

    very nice ideas. i like the rc cola bottle on the roof.

  4. bill palmer says:


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