N gauge trains


Constructing Your N Scale Buildings from Scratch

Making scenery for your model railroads from scratch requires a lot of time, patience and will power. It can only be done if, and only if, you are interested in this hobby of yours, and if you like to make everything with your own hands. The end result and feelings of elation on the completion of such a task give a great sense of contentment and fulfillment. If you have been thinking of making your own N scale buildings from scratch, you would need to do a little planning. This article will help you start your project.

Planning and Researching

If you go into the construction process without thinking of how you plan to go about it, then you might end up with a failure. Therefore, decide the following things first:

• What is the era and what was the material used in those times for buildings?

• How many towns, cities or farmlands would you need?

• How much train track will there be in relation to the scenery, and where will everything fit into the design? How much space is left for buildings?

It would be great if you draw the plan of your model railroad on a piece of paper. This way you would be better able to imagine the layout of the buildings.

Getting Hand on Materials

Even though you have lots of choices when it comes to materials, one of the most commonly used products is styrene. This material is very durable and though might not be easy to cut, will last a long time. If you want to use wood, balsa wood is best. Gel foam or matt boards (foam core, cardboard, or core flute sheets) can also be used to make buildings. Another thing that you can use to make structures is Laserboard. Another popular choice is model railroad buildings made from cereal packs.

If you have decided to use styrene, use one that has a thickness of 0.040 instead of 0.060.

Making the Structures

To cut styrene for your building, use a scribing tool and metal straightedge. It’s not too difficult to do; just a little practice will get you the perfect shape.

To make doors and windows, take a solid sheet and cut required measuring holes in it. This can be the wall of your building, which you can glue on top of another plain sheet. If it’s a house you are making, you can glue an embossed vinyl or plastic sheet on all the walls to make it look like wallpaper. Don’t forget to cut the holes for doors and windows.

For windowsills and door handles you can either make them separately by cutting thinner stripes of styrene or simply paint them. For the glass in your windows, you can either use clear plastic or acetate cut to accurate sizes.
For the roof, you can use either styrene or matt board/cardstock. All work well. If you want to make a shingled roof, either buy them from the store or make your own by using gummed paper. This will easily stick onto most materials. Make any designs you like.

Once you have completed your building, add the smaller interior details like lights or people standing outside the porch.

Always remember that if it’s your first time making a model railroad, the N scale buildings won’t come out looking like miniature architect created masterpieces! That will take time and practice. So pat yourself on the back for the completion of a job and continue making models, getting better and better with every one you construct!

Model Train Resources

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Getting Started In
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N scale Track Plans

Space Saving
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N Gauge Railway Layouts

N Gauge Buildings

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Small N Scale Layout

N Scale Scenery

N Gauge Track Plans


Building Structures

You can certainly buy ready-made structures and just put them around the layout.

Does that wood products manufacturer get all its raw material shipped in, or can you envision a small timber operation and local sawmill? With a sawmill is usually a mill pond, and for old time sawmills, often a waterwheel to power the saws.

Realism, though, is all about context. Why do certain buildings appear in a certain place or in certain groups? Go back to your story/outline and imagine the surroundings of the industry you are modeling.

Workers need housing, and single workers need entertainment. That entertainment often has need of a police station and jail, or a fire department. Most buildings are just variations on boxes which can easily be constructed and covered with printed sheets simulating shingles or siding. The commercial kits don’t need to be used as they come. There are many plastic shape products around, rods, beams, panels, that can be used to change the shape of the building and make it more closely fit the world you want. This modification is called “kit-bashing” and goes back all the way to the first commercial model structure that was ever offered for sale.

Take your test square, make a flat space on it, and put a structure there to see if it fits. Look at it from all angles, and pay particular attention to how old it looks. The buildings on any fine layout that have the most character are usually the most decrepit. This is no accident, for building character comes from its journey through time and how it weathers and endures. Buildings change over the years, and change appearance as they do. Before electricity, building advertising was signage and posters and paint. At some point the posters may get replaced by electric lighted signs, but do the posters get taken down? A lot of the time the posters simply stay and continue to fade until their shadow remains but their message is lost.

If You Build It, They Will Come

In order to bring the layout to life, life has to appear. Workers, wives, police, firemen, dog, cats, cows, pigs, and chickens are all available in N-scale to populate your layout. N-scale figures and animals create vignettes of life to make your model world more believable.

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