I model the 1950s on my layout using building methods of that period.  I have nine Lionel's "Model Builder"  magazines from 1940 to 1942, picked up at a train show years ago.  They have great track plans, show how to build structures like coaling towers and round houses and turntables, and much more, etc.

I did a search and found the "trainlife.com"  site that has complete archive copies of 79 Model Builder magazines from vol #1, Jan/Feb 1937 to vol #79, March 1949, all great reproductions and very clear, all for FREE.

The magazines cost originally 10 cents each or 50 cents for a year of 5 to 8 issues, depending on conditions during WWII, and have advertisements that show pictures and costs which I found interesting too.

Here is a link if you want to check them out.

https://trainlife.com/pages/mo...der-magazine-archive

 

They have other magazines too.

Welcome to the TrainLife.com Magazine Archive. Click any of the links below and enjoy a huge amount of free model railroading content courtesy of TrainLife.com

The actual link titles below are available at their site too, although they are not all O gauge the are TRAINS

 These should keep you busy during virus lock down or at lunch at work.

Charlie

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Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie
Original Post

Thanks very much for finding this. And apropos to another current thread on the forum this first issue has a scratch build gold mine.

 I have a few original copies of Model Builder. I enjoyed reading the ones I don't have. Glad to see we won the war that was going on.

Thanks for posting !

I never held nor a read Model Builder before, but was always curious hearing about them. I just went through the first issue of 1937 and it blew my socks off! Nice website, too, easy to use.

Thank you very much, Charlie.

That’s a great resource, Charlie. I’ve only been able to browse a couple issues, and they are fantastic! It’s a new favorite bookmark page for me.

It’s fun to compare how the hobby has changed and how much has stayed the same over the last 80 years. 

Last edited by JD2035RR

The last issue of Model Builder was April 1949. In this issue Lionel announced that the April issue was the last issue. I  did not see this issue listed.

 

If you are a fan of Lionel’s Model Builder magazine, the entire 80 run series is available as part of an LCCA membership ($25/year) in the digital library section of their web-site.  These are part of HSL’s Lionel Magazine Archive that the LCCA purchased and now hosts for viewing anywhere you have web access.  These HSL products contain all 80 issues of fully retouched images (i.e. they look like the day they were printed), a searchable table of contents (i.e. find all Frank Ellison articles), and much more.

Model Builder was actually a follow-on to Lionel’s seven year publication called The Lionel Magazine which ran from 1930 – 1936.  There are many similarities (and a number of differences) between the two publications.  You will find additional Frank Ellison articles in The Lionel MagazineThe Lionel Magazine is also part of the LCCA digital library.  You can read about the details of this entire magazine series of digital publications here:  http://www.hslinc.com/dahome/dalmahome.html .  Again, all four products mentioned in this link are available for free as part of an LCCA membership ( https://www.lionelcollectors.org/ ).     

 

Last edited by John Holtmann

 

If you are a fan of Lionel’s Model Builder magazine, the entire 80 run series is available as part of an LCCA membership ($25/year) in the digital library section of their web-site.  These are part of HSL’s Lionel Magazine Archive that the LCCA purchased and now hosts for viewing anywhere you have web access.  These HSL products contain all 80 issues of fully retouched images (i.e. they look like the day they were printed), a searchable table of contents (i.e. find all Frank Ellison articles), and much more.

Model Builder was actually a follow-on to Lionel’s seven year publication called The Lionel Magazine which ran from 1930 – 1936.  There are many similarities (and a number of differences) between the two publications.  You will find additional Frank Ellison articles in The Lionel MagazineThe Lionel Magazine is also part of the LCCA digital library.  You can read about the details of this entire magazine series of digital publications here:  http://www.hslinc.com/dahome/dalmahome.html .  Again, all four products mentioned in this link are available for free as part of an LCCA membership ( https://www.lionelcollectors.org/ ).     

 

Thanks, John.  Your work in saving this material is priceless.  

 

Model Builder Magazines were excellent and reflected the works of some of the great modelers of the time. It took me a couple of years but I acquired the entire collection. It was used as a reference to build my layout. You had some real talent in the hobby back then. I believe that Model Builder my have been discontinued as it did not appeal to the largest audience for model trains that was the children.  Way back when , Madison Hardware had stacks of these magazines in their warehouse and I bought quite a few before they closed.

In case you did not check TrainLife.com other magazines that they have for FREE on their site check out the list below.  I have a old copy of Model Railroading I have been enjoying.  All these are not only O gauge but they are all TRAINS.

Welcome to the TrainLife.com Magazine Archive. Click any of the links on their site below and enjoy a huge amount of free model railroading content courtesy of TrainLife.com

  These should keep you busy during virus lock down or at lunch at work later.

         Charlie

Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

Glad to see they've put their magazine collection back up. They had a major server crash some time back and lost most of the collection.

In case you did not check TrainLife.com other magazines that they have for FREE on their site check out the list below.  I have a old copy of Model Railroading I have been enjoying.  All these are not only O gauge but they are all TRAINS.

Welcome to the TrainLife.com Magazine Archive. Click any of the links on their site below and enjoy a huge amount of free model railroading content courtesy of TrainLife.com

  These should keep you busy during virus lock down or at lunch at work later.

         Charlie

Charlie,

 Very nice. I have some Model Builders  of my own. Thanks for mentioning they are available online and free. 

Tom 

This is a great link. I have a box of old Model Builder magazines somewhere up in the attic. The magazine is great not only for its still useful how-to articles, but as a slice of Americana and history. The magazine began at the height of the depression and shows how much can be built with scraps of lumber and cardboard.

I just looked at the first issue with an article on making your own cattle crossing with corrugated cattle guards. Who even knows what those are today? It reflects a time when farms were a much more common feature of American life.

CSXJOE

Many of those layout pictures were great artist renditions.  But I believe most of them that were built were destroyed. 

I saw a great copy of the Lionel 1949 showroom layout build in Jackson, MS built by the Jackson MS model rail road club at a mall around 2000.  After a few months it taken down and the track etc saved or sold.  It cost a lot of money to save and store large model train layouts, even for company like Lionel which had money issues starting in the late 1950s when model trains started to decline for kids. 

That is why about the only saved layouts from the 1940s and 50s are small Lionel dealers display layouts.

Charlie

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