Model Train Structures

There are certain elements that give a layout purpose, life, and the realistic touches which all model railroaders strive to achieve. They include the trains themselves, scenery, track work, and structures also play an equally important role as well in the construction of a model train layout. Structures or buildings, in one sense, communicate what your railroad is all about.

For example, the type of buildings you elect to place on your layout can give a corporate identity for your railroad, and they can also define what type of industries your railroad serves.

The good news is that there are a significant number of structure kits which are available to the modeler for HO, N, and O scales unlike locomotives and freight cars.

Additionally, and possibly of greater importance is that these kits are relatively easy to assemble. The kits themselves come in a variety of materials such as plastic, wood, etched brass, cast resin, and even plaster.

Typically, however, most kits are made of injection molded styrene or wood. The easiest of the kits to put together, which experienced railroaders will confirm, are the kits which are made of plastic.

It is also worth mentioning that in recent times wood kits have become increasingly popular. These wood kits have pieces which are lazar cut to size with tab and slot construction.

For the more advanced modeler, craftsman kits are available. These types of kits are definitely meant for an experienced hobbyist as they require a great deal of cutting and fitting, but for some the effort is worth it to achieve the final result.

If you are really not interested in putting any of the above mentioned kits together, or for that matter, your time is too limited for projects like this, you may want to consider purchasing preassembled structure kits as an option to this problem.

Companies such as Woodland Scenics, Atlas, Walthers, and several others offer assembled structures which range from the most basic of buildings to those which are highly detailed. The primary difference here is that the number of assembled kits which are available is somewhat limited when compared to the numbers of kits which require assembly.

Should you decide to purchase a kit which requires assembly, the question then becomes which type of kit will you choose?

Here are your choices:

Wood Kits

Where it is true that most wood kits fall into the category of craftsman kits because they require a bit more work to assemble, there are also wood kits which are available that are almost as easy to put together as their plastic counterparts.

One of the more popular companies which sells this type of kit is American Model Builders, and there are a few other companies as well. You may want to ask you local model train hobby shop for their recommendations concerning this type of kit.

Plastic Kits

As previously mentioned, these are the easiest type of kit to build, and can serve as a vehicle to graduate to more complex kits as you gain experience. However, one of the drawbacks with plastic kits is that they are lacking in certain types of detail. For example, one of the problems with plastic kits involves their windows which typically give them a vacant and unoccupied look.

To give them a lived in look, the problem can be remedied by adding window coverings, signs, and other details. You can also add furnishings to the interior of your buildings rooms, as well as people, and even lighting to complete the look that you may be trying to achieve.

Kitbashing Plastic Structures

Another option which you may want to consider if you can’t find structures which fit your model railroad theme is kitbashing. Because there are so many kits which are available on the market today you can take parts from various kits and modify them to fit your needs.

As previously mentioned, these are the easiest type of kit to build, and can serve as a vehicle to graduate to more complex kits as you gain experience. However, one of the drawbacks with plastic kits is that they are lacking in certain types of detail.  For example, one of the problems with plastic kits involves their windows which typically give them a vacant and unoccupied look.

To give them a lived in look, the problem can be remedied by adding window coverings, signs, and other details.  You can also add furnishings to the interior of your buildings rooms, as well as people, and even lighting to complete the look that you may be trying to achieve.

Kitbashing Plastic Structures

Another option which you may want to consider if you can’t find structures which fit your model railroad theme is kitbashing.  Because there are so many kits which are available on the market today you can take parts from various kits and modify them to fit your needs.

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