modern looking building / structures

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by entity789, Jan 20, 2005.

  1. entity789

    entity789 New Member

    Hi everyone,

    The layout I'm planning isn't large, but I would like some modern looking HO scale buildings 5 to 20 stories tall (1980's to present) for the downtown area (I am running the Acela with three passenger cars only). I'm having difficulty locating prebuilt structures. Am I going to have to make these from scratch? If so, does anyone have any plans/blueprints?


  2. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    There really aren't any modern tall building kits being made--you're going to have to make them from scratch. For that matter, there aren't that many non-modern tall building kits being made, either. And those that are around are never pre-built...

    Some folks have built skyscraper-type buildings from Plexiglas (sometimes tinted Plexiglas to represent tinted skyscraper windows) using striping tape or strips of styrene to represent structural portions of the building. Most such modern structures are architecturally simple and so don't represent any extreme construction challenges.

    How not-large is your layout? A 10-20 story building in HO can easily cover 5-8 square feet. It might be easier for you to use a building flat against the backdrop rather than building the whole building.
  3. Sir_Prize

    Sir_Prize Member

    Faller and Vollmer used to. They're on eBay from time-to-time. Bachmann had a few kits that were close to modern, or could be with a little kitbashing. They too are on eBay, but run in the $50.00's at starting bid.

    Ya have to fight us little guys in 'N' for'em. 'Cause like I said with'a bit of kitbashing they work.
  4. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    I too have had the same problem, but I am doing a modern industrial complex and have realized that I am going to have to scratch-build.

    Why is it that nobody manufactures modern era buildings and structures?
  5. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    How about vehicles? I don't seem to find anything in N scale that isn't from the mid-fifties. Nothing from the 20's or 30's, and nothing from the 50's on. :rolleyes:
  6. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Hi Jonathan, and welcome to the Gauge. :wave:

    Bachmann made some tall city buildings awhile back that you can still sometimes find on ebay. They're kits and were called The Trade Tower and the Metropolitan Building. They are not modern, more like 1920s, but would still look good among more modern buildings - most cities have a mix.

    For modern, or tall, or both you will have to scratchbuild. It actually shouldn't be all that hard as modern buildings have few architectural details - they're just giant glass and steel boxes. Jetrock's suggestion of building them out of Plexiglass cores, covered with cardstock or styrene strips is the best way to go. The strips allow you to leave window openings. And since modern windows don't open, there are no mullions to worry about.

    For inspiration, check out the layout at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. They have some amazing skyscraper models.

  7. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    That is not true--several manufacturers produce modern industrial complexes. Not every sort of modern building is represented, but neither is every sort of old building, either!

    Reaching for my trusty 2005 Walthers catalog, I spot the following modern industrial buildings:

    From Walthers:
    Valley Cement would fit fine into a modern layout
    The Blast Furnace Complex would as well
    Western Coal flood loader
    Tri-State Power Authority is a very modern-looking building for heavy industry or powerplant
    The "Blue Star Ready Mix" is also very modern in design
    ADM grain elevator
    Peterson Tool Specialties has a very glass-walled modern look
    The "Bralick Building" kit is a model of an older building that has been renovated with modern features--something you'd only see in the present day!

    Great West Models has a wide variety of pre-fab metal buildings that would work splendidly for a modern layout--they look like buildings I still see being built today. If none of their kits are quite suitable, they also make modular parts for modern metal-sided building.

    Herpa'sm new warehouse and dealership buildings are quite well-suited to modern industry.

    Nu-Line Structures builds a pair of warehouse kits with expansion packs well suited to a large concrete-sided warehouse or production facility--properly decorated, they could even be a Target or Wal-Mart!

    Pikestuff also makes a large number of kits modeled after modern metal-sided office buildings, warehouses and shops.

    Plus, keep in mind that many older buildings are still in use as industrial buildings today--making "older" buildings appropriate for your layout.

    Perhaps if you told us what it is you are trying to build, suitable kits could be suggested?

    And if it makes you feel any better, I model the 1950's and I, too, am going to have to scratchbuild a couple of industries to get just what I want. Scratchbuilding comes with the territory if you're trying to model very specific sorts of scenes.
  8. shortliner

    shortliner Member

    This is from the Small Layout Design Group on Yahoo - some superb Buildings - home built , but may give you some ideas. There is a German site that has modern buildings on it, including a TV studio in a tall building but I can't find the link, I'm afraid - someone else may have it
    Shortliner(Jack) away up here in the Highlands
    Hello fellow Model railroaders
    > > If you like city layouts with trolleys and heavy
    > traction
    > > check this Out. The catenary works !
    > >
  9. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Now that's heavy-duty...the skyscrapers in the middle are impressive!
  10. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    After seeing the pics, I remembered seeing the layout at the Big E model railroad
    show last year.
    It was awsome and gave me some ideas.
    Let me tell you...Those pictures don't do it justice!

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