Once all of the scenery side of things have been seen to, you can now turn your attention to other aspects of railroad Modelling such as Tree making, etc. but, lets see about scratchbuilding a few structures for your layout. Nothing fancy at first, just a small building with step by step instructions on how to build it. Then afterwards if you want to, you can start on what ever takes your fancy as you will have the knowledge on scratchbuilding.


   As I model the American logging scene, I find I have to make most of my structures to suit the layout. There are of course many plastic kits available on the market that simulates the wood effect, but nothing can replace real wood for a wooden structure. To this end, I use in abundance (STRIPWOOD) this stripwood is 1/8 of an inch wide by 1/64 of an inch thick, by 2 foot , and comes in two different colours. One is a dark rich red colour, and the other a light tan colour, I like the light tan colour for its natural look about it.


  1 -- Craft knife (I Use the yellow handled      SWAN MORTON  craft knife)

  2 -- plenty of blades (Noís 1 & 2) the number 2 blade is especially useful for cutting the stripwood by just rolling the blade over the wood.

  3 -- 4H pencil and rubber

  4 -- Tee square (ruler)

  5 -- Tube of EVO STICK (Contact Adhesive)

  6 -- Plenty of stripwood and some pieces of 1/16 of an inch square balsa wood.

  7 -- Some thin but stiff card. I very often use weetabix  boxes)

  Okay, lets make a small structure.

  As the drawing for the structure is full size for HO, you can either photocopy the drawing and paste it onto card and just cut around the marks very carefully, or mark it all out yourself.

Myself, I used the drawing as a template, gluing it to a piece of card. Once the glue had dried, I just cut around the marks.

 If you are Modelling  in N-gauge, just get the drawing reduced by 50% This is easy to do, just right click on this drawing and save it as (yourname.jpg) and resize it by 50% most paint programs allow you to do this . Then you can print it out and use it.


Once you have cut out the card,  and the windows and doorways have been cut out, a start can be made with the stripwood on all four pieces. Photo number one shows all four pieces cut and a start with the stripwood made.

Photo number 1

  Cut  (just a little oversize) some stripwood, spread the EVO glue onto the card and spread it all over, now, one by one, place the stripwood onto the card, side by side and leave a small gap. You may have to apply more glue onto the card as you go along because the card tends to soak up the glue quite quickly, and dries out.

  Once you have got to the end, put it to one side to dry for an hour at least and do the next piece of card. Carry on until all four sides are finished.

  Once they have all dried, lay a ruler across the edges and cut off the access to leave a nice clean edge on all four sides of each piece. This is the time to use the number 2 blades and cut out the stripwood from the windows and doorways. Just roll the blade over the wood, and it will come off clean. Photo number two shows the four pieces complete with stripwood and a start made on framing the windows, note the doorways have already been framed.

Photo number 2

  Cut a length of stripwood about one foot long and using the number two blades, strip it down its length. (Just roll the blade backwards and forwards moving up the length) Now very carefully frame the windows and doorway. To finish off the windows inside, use black thread gluing first a piece vertically and then a piece horizontally. After all thread has been applied, place behind the windows some clear plastic to represent the glass. (I very often use kitchen towel)

  For the doorways, cut out a small piece of card 1/16 of an inch larger than the doorways, and glue the stripwood to the card. Do not forget the 1/8 piece of stripwood placed at the top of the large door, do this first, and also cut out the small window on the large door.


  Now glue all four sides together, making sure that the structure is square. Cut out four tiny triangles of card and glue these into each corner to keep it square, and put it to one side to dry. Photo number three shows the completed structure without its roof.

Photo number 3

  When your structure is dry, now is the time to think about what colours you want to paint it. I painted mine a light grey with the windows and doorways brown. You paint yours what ever colours take your fancy.


  Now, onto the roof. Cut out from a piece of thinner card the shape and size from the drawing. Score with the back of the knife the lines where the card bends.( you will have to turn the card over for one score mark) and glue it to the structure. Which I hope is now dry)  All that remains to be done at this stage is to cut out from the 1/16 of an inch square, small pieces to fit under the roof. These are spaced every 1/4 of an inch. When dry, paint them a dark brown. Now a start on the roof shingles can begin.


  There are a number of ways to shingle a roof, one is using Campbellís paper shingle which I have used in the past, another is cutting the stripwood into tiny pieces and applying them one by one, (This I like the best) and last but not least paper shingles made by cutting the paper with a pair of pinking shears. Shingles cut with the pinking shears are in fact quite nice to look at inasmuch as they have a diamond shape finish and look fine, so weíll use this method.

  Ordinary A4 paper will do for the shingles, just mark out across the paper every  1/2 an inch, and rule it across. Cut along the lines. You are then left with diamond shaped  lengths on both sides of the paper, now cut these in half, giving you two pieces with a straight edge and a diamond edge. Do the same with all pieces cut. You are now ready to shingle the roof. See Photo number four.

 Starting at the bottom of the roof, (any side) start to glue the small lengths of paper shingle onto the roof. When starting the second row, cut the left hand diamond in half,  and glue this to the edge of the structure first. What this does in effect, is to stagger the diamond shape. Donít forget, every other row, cut the diamond in half, before starting the run.

  When the shingles on the roof have dried, you will need to apply some 1/16  of an inch square balsa underneath the door and both  sides of the structure. Then paint the roof with a light grey paint.

  You should now have a very smart looking structure, almost ready for the layout, all we need to do now, is weather it. By the way, donít forget to add a chimney or two, to give it a bit more character.


  I donít want to delve into the art of weathering as for locomotives or freight cars, but a similar weathering job is needed for the structure you have just built.

  I tend to weather my scratchbuilt structures using a variety of coloured chalks, - Light Grey - Black - White - Rust and Yellow, plus a bottle of Indian ink.

  If you want to weather your structure some other way, thatís fine. If you want to use chalk and ink, hereís how I did mine.

  (I made a small box approximately 6 inch's square, out of card , and placed some partitions into it, to hold the chalk scrapingís.)

  Scrape some of the grey chalk into a container ready for  use. With a pen and Indian ink, scribe (not too much ink mind) down the gap in the stripwood. This will highlight the wood effect. When this part of the procedure is dry,  grab a small but stiff brush, Mine is 1/2 an inch wide) and dip it into the box with the desired chalk colour. (I used grey) Now, brush it onto the roof of the structure brushing downwards. If you get too much chalk on the structure, just wipe or blow it away. 

  For the main structure I used a small amount of rust and gently brushed the sides, the ink between the stripwood brings out the details. When you are happy with what you have achieved, you will need to spray the structure a Matt varnish to protect  the work done. Also the chalks wonít come off on your fingers.

  Photo number five shows the finished structure with a walkway added out of card and stripwood.

Photo number 5

Well thatís it folks, how to make a true wood looking structure. I can tell you that the end results justify all the work involved. I can honestly say that I enjoy the challenge of scratchbuilding, whether it be from building a structure from a photograph or one I have made up and drawn up on the computer, whatever the case, Itís great fun, here's a few photo's of some of my scratchbuilt structures, all made exactly like the structure above. The only structure not done that way was the sawmill below, that was made using 1/4" timber for the main frame. 

These shingles were cut from plasticard 

These were Campbell shingles

roof was plasticard corrugated sheet.