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I will start with my first and favorite Scratch Built Layout Building, a $10 Round House built in 1980 using 1940s-1950s building methods like brick paper.

 

Round House Construction

The first consideration in building a $10 round house is to decide how many stalls the RH will have. 

I think the minimum that looks good is three.  Many more can be added than three but I find that you cannot see and enjoy your engines as much when they are in the RH as all that one sees is the engine fronts.  I decided to make my RH a four stall one and I am very pleased with it.  It has a good shape verses a three stalls and fits my area very well.

I like the stepped roof style RH and I like lots of windows so as they are typical of the era as electric lights were not all that common in the early times and windows provided daylight.  I have windows on both sides, all along the back wall and on the stepped roof wall facing the front.  I did not leave room or have room for a shop or tool room that many RH have.

My round house is made from my typical 1/8 inch thick, one side smooth Masonite tempered sheeting.  A sheet costs about $13 for 4ft x 8ft sheet and you will only need one half of a sheet or less (Home Depot may sell you a 1/2 sheet).  I cut this with saber saw, or jig saw.  I used my old Craftsman 18 inch jig saw with 1/3 hp motor to cut out the windows after drilling a hole to allow get the blade in the window area.  You can use a sabre saw for this if that is all you have.  The smooth side is put on the outside of the sides and back wall as brick paper will be glued on.  Some 1/8” Masonite strips were used to reinforce the bottom and door frame. 

Front of Round House

IMG_0095

The outside walls will be covered with modeling brick paper, glued on with Elmer’s white glue after the building is assembled with Elmer’s glue.

The roof is made from Masonite too but the rough side is up to be the exposed roof surface, to simulate  gravel on a wood and tar paper roof.  I have a step in the roof with windows in the bricked section between the two roofs so the roof is made in two parts. 

 

Four Tracks and four Stalls in Round House

IMG_0098

 

You can see how I determined the size of the RH by fitting it in over 4 sections of track.  It is about 30 inches wide and 17 deep.  I made sure not to include my one section where I can drive on the TT and directly to this one section with a long consist of engine, coal tender, wrecking crane car and wrecking caboose.

The picture below shows how I had to cut out part of the rear of the RH to go over a Marx switch machine housing.  It also shows I had make sure the RH did not get too close to the tracks.  It is a tight and custom fit.

 

Rear of Round House - wall over switch machine, Electrical connector (from 9 volt batteries) for RH lights right of switchIMG_0100

Both roofs were made in four sections.  I assembled the RH with Elmer’s glue and added plywood angles to strength the wall to roof joints.  I painted the inside walls brown and the inside roof light gray to better illuminate the inside.  The outside of the roof was painted light gray, with a dusting of black paint to be dark dirt.  Then I installed the brick paper doing a good job around the windows.

The windows are made from clear plastic sheeting from boxes lids from toys or other heavier clear plastic.  The windows had panes made from black 1/16 inch auto pin striping on the inside.  The windows were glued on the inside with "Pliobond" rubber cement, but contact cement, E6000 glue or Aleen's Tacky glue will work.

Inside RH showing Roof and wall braces, windows and some lightsIMG_0165

 

Picture showing double thick front wall and thicker bottom brace.  I painted the center of the tracks in the RH black to simulate a pit below the tracks to let workers work on the under side of the steam locomotives (shown in picture below).IMG_0173

 

I made RH stacks, with covers to keep rain out.  The stacks are to help remove smoke for the steam engines.  Balsa wood was used to make the stacks.  I like the square style stacks better than round ones.  Rain covers for the stacks were made.   I also installed a ladder or two to get on the roof.  Ladders were made from N gauge railroad tie plastic strips with the rails removed and every other tie cut out with a pair of diagonal wire pliers and trimmed with a X-acto knife.

Ladder, stacks and Roof, and also emergency generator from Lionel searchlight carIMG_0167

  Close up photo of a Stack with cover and dust on top!IMG_0169

 

Lights were installed in the ceiling of the RH in two rows and are operated by a slide switch on the control panel.   I am big on night train operation with the room lights dark or dimmed and lots of controlled lights in all building, flood lights, street lights, yard lights, cars and engines, etc. 

See how the lights let the engines show up in the RH in a semi dark roomIMG_0195

 

Photo showing the balsa wood TT operator shack (made from balsa wood) on TT bridge and view into RH.  The TT operator shake has a small grain of wheat light inside that comes on when power is applied to the TT track and the selected RH stall track.IMG_0197

Photo from outside into lighted up RHIMG_0201

 

Another neat photo of lighted RH in semi darkness, just to encourage you to build a TT and RHIMG_0203

I chose not to make doors for the front of the RH as I wanted to see the fronts of the locos inside and I would have had the doors open most of the time and they would just get in the view and way.

I love my round house and it is my favorite building on the layout and the most fun and satisfaction to build.

Charlie

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Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie
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John, that was  hotel Cooley House built in Springfield Ma next to the train station which later became the Hotel Charles. The part I built had burned but the larger section still exists. My wife's grandfather from New York had lived there while here working as a farm equipment salesman. I really loved the design and history besides the connection.

Cooley Hotel _4c_rev Hotel Charles_f

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Genecm

Wow those building are first class and look like they were professional made.  Yours make my 50s style Masonite and brick paper buildings look like, well, homemade 50s style built buildings.

Tell us how you cut and shape and glue Polystyrene.

Super job.

ACHRMatt, side hack, pennsynut and all others, great building, etc and job building them for sure.

I am glad I started this topic and this is the first few hours.

Charlie

Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

My most recently completed building is a combination of kitbashing Ameritowne fronts and scratch building a station facade.  Here is the unpainted kitbash of the building itself.  The large black opening in the center is where the train station facade will go.  I wanted to base the station on Suburban Station on the PRR in Philadelphia.  My station is in the town of Annville, so it will be Annville Station.

07 before

Here is the prototype Suburban Station front.

01 front

My Annville Station front, built with Plastruct sheets, letters from Todd Architectural Models, windows/doors/fancy trim from Grandt Line and a working clock ($7 wrist watch from Wal Mart with a LOT of work to make the decorative enclosure).

02 front

Wider view of the prototype:

03 side

and of the model:

04 side

Finally, from the street looking up at the prototype:

05a tall

and a similar view of the model.

06 tall

Still to come are the interiors and some light weathering, but I'm very happy with the way it came out.

Oh yeah, here are the before and after photos:

07 before

08 after

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Last edited by Bob
@Bob posted:

My most recently completed building is a combination of kitbashing Ameritowne fronts and scratch building a station facade.  Here is the unpainted kitbash of the building itself.  The large black opening in the center is where the train station facade will go.  I wanted to base the station on Suburban Station on the PRR in Philadelphia.  My station is in the town of Annville, so it will be Annville Station.

My Annville Station front, built with Plastruct sheets, letters from Todd Architectural Models, windows/doors/fancy trim from Grandt Line and a working clock ($7 wrist watch from Wal Mart with a LOT of work to make the decorative enclosure).

Bob, that is absolutely stunning. I love the art deco facade. I was going make a small observation, that the top floor of the structure, rising one story above the neighboring structures, broke the illusion by revealing the lack of depth and suggest eliminating it, but in the last photo, I see a return wall has been added. Is this entire structure set out some distance from the backdrop, or is this something you added in Photoshop?

"Is this entire structure set out some distance from the backdrop, or is this something you added in Photoshop?"

Will, all of the city structures sit away from the backdrop.  In fact, an elevated track runs behind them.

Annville Platform1

The station platform sits "underground" beneath the street.  The stairs descend from the station to the platform.

Annville Platform2

Annville Platform3

The ends of the street are disguised by a few foreground buildings on each end. 

Annville 6

Annville 2

Here's the station under the city.

Annville Platform4

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Here’s a few of the scratch builds I’ve done. The drive-in entry is from a still existing prototype structure outside of Portland Or., the tenement building is (I think) from a design by Walthers in HO scale, the burlesque building is from an HO design by Foscale Limited, the garage is just my own design. 

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Choo Choo Charlie...

I usually plot a plan of a building on graph paper then transfer the dimensions to the Polystyrene and cut the pieces with a sharp utility knife. The Polystyrene is glued with Acrylic Solvent that welds it together. I use Evergreen StripStyrene for the trim, I used to make my own windows and doors but lately I have been buying them on line. When the building is finished I spray a primer on so I can paint it with Acrylic Paints. This building I used Rust-oleum  multicolor textured spray paint , Desert Bisque and it gave the building a nice stucco look. The tile roof was bought  on line. The foundation and steps are made from Precision Board. This building is a replica of a late 1800's NRA riffle association riffle range club house.

 

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@corsair29 posted:

This was made with parts from 2 plasticville hospitals and an airport. The dock on the back was mostly scratch built.

24ACdock

Love this Steve, looks like a fun project.

I gotta see what is in my large Plasticville part stash and see what I can create. The last time I did this I created a two story urban street building - ground floor stores and apartments above. I posted pics of this several months ago

Guys, my hats off to each of you as you are all great modelers with so much talent.  I'm certain there are others equally as talented on the forum who are either to shy to share or need a bit of motivation to go and take a few pictures of their work. 

Unfortunately, I don't have anything to share in O gauge that are scratch built by me.   I like to buy derelict scratch buildings and and O scale handmade railcars that need work and repair them for use.  But I've got much of it packed away.  

What I'd like to learn is how some of you approach making doors and windows with the appropriate frames and molding around them.  This seems to me to be the trickiest parts to tackle.

@Allegheny posted:

Guys, my hats off to each of you as you are all great modelers with so much talent.  I'm certain there are others equally as talented on the forum who are either to shy to share or need a bit of motivation to go and take a few pictures of their work. 

Unfortunately, I don't have anything to share in O gauge that are scratch built by me.   I like to buy derelict scratch buildings and and O scale handmade railcars that need work and repair them for use.  But I've got much of it packed away.  

What I'd like to learn is how some of you approach making doors and windows with the appropriate frames and molding around them.  This seems to me to be the trickiest parts to tackle.

Hi Allegheny

Almost all of my windows are constructed from Evergreen StripStyrene and a little ingenuity. Evergreen has all kinds of different pieces and they match lumber in real life so you can copy almost any window or door if you have the patience. They don't always have to be perfect, a good copy works  and some good modeling tools help a lot. The 2 blue photos are store bought, you can modify them to suit your needs. I don't have any step by step photos of how I built my windows but here are some finished ones.

 

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Some fantastic looking creations here. Very nice!

I haven't done a LOT of structure kit bashing, but when I was doing so, I used to enjoy taking an inexpensive (at the time) kit, and turning into something in keeping with my modeled locale and time frame.

Along that vein, "back then" I took this .99 cent kit:

AHM_Farmhouse

And turned it into a typical Ozark dwelling that one could find in the 1960s in the Ozarks:

house4

So, the above .99 cent project was not nearly as involved as some of the other projects in this thread, but it was a fun excursion to me at the time. I'm not currently in the "structure" phase of my layout (back drop boards, sealing/painting of same and lighting is next)... so the above Ozark dwelling is patiently waiting to be re-used on my current Ozark theme layout.

Andre

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@Jerrman posted:

Here’s a few of the scratch builds I’ve done. The drive-in entry is from a still existing prototype structure outside of Portland Or., the tenement building is (I think) from a design by Walthers in HO scale, the burlesque building is from an HO design by Foscale Limited, the garage is just my own design. 

I won'r repost the photos but those are all terrific!!

@Bob posted:

"Is this entire structure set out some distance from the backdrop, or is this something you added in Photoshop?"

Will, all of the city structures sit away from the backdrop.  In fact, an elevated track runs behind them.

 

Love the way you used the space Bob. I very clever layout plan and treatment of the city. I often find just putting flats against the wall to be unconvincing. I assume things are somewhat removable so you can get to the hidden track if necessary?

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