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HO Scale- Model Structures

Here are some of the structures I have built. I have started to actually work through some of my layout space, and have developed a taste for structure building as well. While not as developed as where I am with rolling stock, I am improving I think.

I get a lot of inspiration for buildings to kitbash or scratchbuild from driving around Oakland, which has a lot of older rail-served (or formerly rail-served) industries.

Technique wise, I've tried many things, and have recently started using some techniques I read on Lance Mindheim's blog. For those who aren't familiar with his work, he's an accomplished professional modeler and has changed the way I think about modeling buildings. His work can be found at his website.

Scratchbuilt Structures:

Let me be clear about what I am not- I’m not a great structure builder, and don’t really consider myself a kitbasher/scratchbuilder. But I do have a great appreciation for structures that others have made, and have long been fascinated by some of the very realistic industries that are done by modelers. I remember a series of articles in Railmodel Journal by John Swanson, which chronicled his scratchbuilding of these incredible structures (or groups of structures, more accurately) matching industries he saw along the tracks in Nebraska and other parts of the Midwest. If you’ve not seen them, they are really worth exploring, especially if you enjoy scratchbuilding (his work provides a wonderful standard to shoot for) or if you just enjoy seeing really well-built replicas. It’s some of the finest work I’ve ever seen, and became an inspiration to try my hand at scratchbuilding and industry. While I dug up some of the articles from my own copies of Railmodel Journal, you can also find the articles posted here. The list of articles is as follows:

1998-12 Nutriflow Fertilizer
1999-02 Wood River Alfalfa
1999-03 Cement distributor
2002-04 DeBruce Grain
2003-02 Talc Plant
2003-03 Illini Feed
2004-10 Coop Grain
2007-07 Bulk Grain facility
2007-10 Nebraska Coop Grain

I also drew some inspiration from several Kalmbach books, including HO Lineside Industries You Can Build (especially the first article on the plastic pellet plant), which provided some step by step instructions on kitbashing industries. Lots of good tips, tricks and techniques contained in those pages.

Lehigh Cement- Fremont, CA

Photo Wallpaper & Cardstock Structures:

I have actually had a bit of a modeler's awakening on the subject of cardstock and paper structures, led principally by the work of Lance Mindheim (link here). When I re-entered the hobby 10 or so years ago, I was pretty dismissive of "cardstock" structures, figuring them to be poorly detailed and inaccurate, even though truthfully I'd never seen them. However, because of the incredible detail of Lance's structures, on his website and in many articles, I've embraced this technique of structure building, allowing photos (color, essentially) to simulate and suggest texture, rather than trying to get 1/87 texture as occurs in plastic. For most structures, the photo wallpaper technique is more than good enough I think, so am going to that more often.

An abandoned warehouse- Oakland, CA

More resources include:
Scale Scenes
Clever Models
E Card Models
Fiddlers Green

I've also found lots of building sides online, at sites like:
CG Textures (good for roads and other flat areas)

Kitbashed Structures:

Plain-old Kit Structures:

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