introduction to realistic buildings
             brick and stonework
             details of roofs
             making model buildings
             model buildings in foam board


the art of making model buildings

Building styles are very specific to an area and the epoch. Even more special is railway architecture which was usually standardised by railway companies. Understanding these architectural nuances will result in a layout that looks authentic.

Gordon and Maggie Gravett's 'Pempoul'. Even the concrete fencing is correct for the Reseau Breton

Lynton station in 'L&B Nuremburg style'  009 by Jeremy Reed

Early commercially available model buildings did leave a great deal to be desired.

Hornby Dublo signal box in die cast metal

Detail became better with the use of plastics, as this Triang station shows.

In the late 1950s, printed card sheets were produced by Builteze. Many of us can still remember spending pleasurable hours cutting them out and gluing them together. The range was extensive and is still available from Freestone Models. The modern counterpart is a range supplied by Metcalfe Models. The sheets are pre-cut and the printing quality is excellent. The lack of any relief is very noticeable in 00 scale but is often quite satisfactory in N scale.

Gradually better plastic buildings became available but by then, many of us had read the wonderful books by John Ahern and had begun to scratch build. His Madder Valley layout inspired us all and luckily it is still preserved at the Pendon Museum.

The next step came from the United States. Specialists began to supply kits in cast plaster (called Hydrocal), bass wood (a very fine grain timber) and metal castings. Although these kits are quite expensive, they just get better and better thanks to new technologies such as laser cutting. Actually, you hardly have to scratch build anything if you work in H0 or 1/4" scales. It is all available and near perfect .............. at a price.

Europe is a far bigger market than the UK and these days, some wonderful structures are available off the shelf from companies such as Faller, Auhagen and Vollmer. When walking around European model rail exhibitions, one does tend to see the same buildings in use over and over again.

Back in the UK, about 50 years ago, Roye England began to produce models that even today are some of the best in the world. His work can be seen at the Pendon museum. Sadly, most of us do not have such skills or the time to spend 2000 hours making one cottage! It is probably true to say the we modellers have been trying to play 'catch up' with Roye ever since!

the work of Roye England