Skip to main content

I have some building facades, which are Ameri-Towne building fronts mounted on 1/4" plywood boxes about 3-5" deep. The sides are just painted plywood. They look great as backgrounds...but the facades on the left and right sides of the background show their painted plywood. The building fronts are mounted flush with the sides, so there's no room to add a brick wall. I was thinking of painting the sides the same color as the facade, but then I found these brick wallpapers on e-bay. Before I order a set I wanted to inquire if anyone has experience with the product, or has other ideas.

Here's a side view of one the façades...there are several variations of brick colors on the facades:

Last edited by Paul Kallus
Original Post

I would make sure the bricks were correctly sized #1.  It may say O as a sales pitch.  Cinder block sized red brick ? 

I've used the old brick papers vs self adhesive.  If you can use rubber cement I'd go that paper route as it is very removable with a razor or exacto if you screw up, and positioned while wet, excess rubbed away with fingers, eraser, erc. 

^^^ Correct. The front facade was often a better grade of brick, and could be an entirely different color.

You can cheat, and paint the sides a concrete color as if the brick were stuccoed over. Or you can get a snippet of brick paper glue it to the wall and paint all around it, as if the stucco broke loose in 1 spot (or more).

Another alternative is to deck the side of the building with signage.

Plastruct makes .020" thick brick sheet, that would give you the texture, without any thickness. Just square it up and glue it on.

Last edited by Boilermaker1

It's interesting...I was watching an older movie, showing New York City's Greenwich Village (The Pope of Greenwich Village), that had brick-front buildings and the sides were often painted different colors...and in some cases the front bricks were also painted. Great movie IMO.

I lived in S. Philly and brick homes also had variations. I had an end row house and the side brick wall was pretty rough, whereas the front was newer.


I have several of these Ameri-towne building facades that I picked up at shows.  I always wondered who built them.  The fronts are finished very nicely.  My plan is to sandwich them between full Ameri-towne buildings and add an extended styrene or cardstock tarpaper roof to match.  If the back was to be visible, I could easily add Ameri-towne back walls as well.

For an end unit, the above suggestions for brick material are excellent.  I learned something new here.  I didn't know about face brick vs. common brick.  The challenge is matching the brick size to make it look right.


You can print your own brick sheets from an image using a good color printer. In fact you could use the image from ebay. A graphic program will allow you to make an array of smaller images to fill an entire 8.5 x 11" sheet. I use a freeware program called Irfanview that can do this with little effort plus it will allow you to size the image so it prints scale size bricks.

Just google "brick wall" and select images. Take your picks.


Last edited by Norton
@Paul Kallus posted:

It's interesting...I was watching an older movie, showing New York City's Greenwich Village (The Pope of Greenwich Village), that had brick-front buildings and the sides were often painted different colors...and in some cases the front bricks were also painted. Great movie IMO.

Paul, an "older movie" ??? 😂😂😂😂😂 

The folks have provided great ideas for you.

Paul,  JTT, Evergreen and Plastruct all make very thin O scale plastic brick sheets. I am lucky, I have 4 local hobby shops in the area that carry them. If you have local hobby shop try them or order online. They are perfect  for what you want to do. Also if you have hobby shop near you that specializes in HO or N they can order other scale materials for you.



If you want to keep the Masonite sides buy brick sheets from Plastruct or Evergreene. You can choose between smooth and rough brick. They are 40 mils thick so will work. The brick pattern will not match OGR but that topic has all ready been covered.

I used to cut OGR blank walls for my flats but eliminated them to keep prices down. I now use Masonite. On occasion I will cut an OGR wall for a side by special request or in the case of the nine fronts I showed on this week's Sunday Scenic Showcase the buildings in the middle have Masonite and the buildings on the ends have OGR walls.


Scenic Express has thin brick and other material sheets in their O Scale Paper Wall section, mostly made by Noch.

I have used them; they are easy to use; and was very satisfied with the product. I applied them with spray adhesive.

Like others have said , you might want to go with a different material (basalt, quarrystone, etc.) for the sides, so you don't get into having to match the existing fronts. 

paper brick (scenic express, clever, micromark, etc) would work great for those side walls. i’ve used this type thing for very large background buildings as well. i do a couple of things to enhance the realism. 

- a extremely light black or charcoal gray spray from far enough away that it just dulls the surface. if you’re uncomfortable with that technique or don’t have the place for it, i’ve also used chalks very effectively and the results are more controllable. gives the walls an aged look. 

- if not butted against another object, i often put a billboard on the building. the printed out billboard is mounted on card stock,  then framed with thin stripwood (picking up a color from the add itself), then adding a couple of strips on the back so the billboard stands slightly away from the wall. i apply one strip at a ninety degree angle which creates a “shelf” which would usually be used by men installing the ad. (a ladder to the shelf could also be installed if the billboard isn’t too high). 

- depending on the type of business, a wall vent or two could be added

all of this creates visual interest and detracts the viewer’s eye from focusing on the flat, paper brick. amazing how well it can work. 

I cannot find brick siding on Evergreen's site...found two items on MicroMark's site. Also found a couple of items on Scenic Express' site.

As I originally stated, the product should be "flat" because there's no space between the building front and the side, and it would look funny if the edge of the brick side stuck out. I think this leaves only brick paper as a choice. There's a ton of options of this on e-bay...but without seeing one first-hand its a toss-up.



Painting the sides of the facades was my first idea...but in fact the building facades in question are very close to the viewer's perspective and form a background along two long runs in my basement, and these areas are cantilevered wall extensions, one of which is about 20" deep and the other is only 15" deep, thus having decent detail on the sides of those facades that sit on the ends is what prompted this inquiry. The picture above shows the façade background on the 20" extension. The left-most façade has a black side that gives it away as a façade. A little brick detail here would go a long way, I think. 

Example of a façade with black side that IMO would benefit from brick effect:




Images (2)
  • HPIM1062
  • InkedHPIM1064_LI23

I was faced with a similar situation with an Ameritowne building.  I have one that was finished on 3 sides, but had a plain/unfinished back... which worked fine, until I needed to relocate the building to the middle of the layout where the back would be visible.    I tried using a different brick pattern on the back, but it just didn't look right.

In order to match the existing brickwork color/texture I took a picture of one of the finished sides, cropped and scaled it to match (which took a couple trial runs - including getting the lighting right on the photo), then printed it on a high quality printer.  From there I just glued the paper in place, then added a fire escape over top of that to sell the effect.    From more than a foot away you can't tell that the brick is just paper.   If I can snap a pic later I will post it.


Edit:  Added pics of the "take a picture of another wall and glue it" solution for adding brickwork to a blank wall.  Not perfect... but not too shabby either:




Images (2)
  • IMG_9063
  • IMG_9064
Last edited by frizzinbee

I ended up ordering some embossed brick sheets off a seller on e-bay...unfortunately the seller is in Greece or China and shipping may take a while. But, from all the sources, his sheets appeared the best. I went with an aged looking brick look...hopefully it'll be an easy project because I always was lousy at arts & crafts, which may explain my affection for the 3-rail side of the hobby.

Last edited by Paul Kallus

Add Reply

OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
Link copied to your clipboard.