Need advice on how to scratch build

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by Starman, Oct 29, 2006.

  1. Starman

    Starman Member

    I am wanting to learn how to scratch build but i don't know where to start.Can anyone give me advice on what i need to do to get started.I have somethings in mind but to get them done is another thing.I don't really know where to start and what you need to get started.I have seen so many things that are built from scratch and i would really like to learn how to do this.Please give me some advice.
  2. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    well, what are you wanting to build? My advice is to start small, and be prepared for the first few things to not turn out well. Start with somethign like a small rectangle building, very simple. Oh, and you will definitely need a scare ruler. What scale are you working in?

  3. Starman

    Starman Member

    I am modeling in HO scale and i am just wanting to try my hand at this.Starting with a small building sounds good.What type of material would you use to build this building.I have heard of some useing cardboard and also balsa wood.I have seen a lot of things built this way.And thank you for your reply.
  4. Tayder

    Tayder Member

  5. Buddog

    Buddog Member

    The way I have learned to scratch build is I started out building Campbell scale kits, you could use others, they are complex and mainly allot of peices of wood (small wood). but what I now understand how to start off and the process involed in building.
    Right now I am building one of there water towers but I lost the instructions:oops: so I am just going from the picture on the box. It's looking prettty close.:)
    This is just the way I started many others may have differnet ways, I also read Model railroad craftsman, every month has scratch builds in it and how they where made, can come in handy when you get stuck.:thumb:

  6. Starman

    Starman Member

    Thank you for the advice, can you buy strip wood at lowes or home depot?
  7. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    You can buy balsa wood in strips or blocks from your LHS or crafts store. Balsa is lightweight and easy to work with, so that's a good material to start with.. If you like to recycle, you can also use ice cream popsicle sticks too. :cool:

    Make sure you got a good set of basic tools, such as an X-Acto blade and handle set, razor saw, scale ruler, needle-nose pliers, drills, etc.

    Good luck!
  8. Starman

    Starman Member

    Thank you LongIsland Tom, i am going to get some strips today and give it a shot.
  9. Tayder

    Tayder Member

    I recommend using Evergreen styrene sheets rather than cardboard and wood, although my little shack turned out okay in building it to the directions (with strip wood). I just find the styrene much easier to work with and using scribed styrene sheets adds hugely to the finished product. Regardless of what you use, enjoy! And don't be surprised when you find yourself hooked on scratchbuilding! :D
  10. johntealn30

    johntealn30 New Member



    As a builder I use wood all day so like a change for my hobby :)

    I find pasticard easy to use as it can be scored and snapped to size, files easy and stick well especially with solvent weld.

    There are a couple of buildings and stock in various stages of construction on my website, it may give you some ideas.

    RJR branch Line
  11. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Thats all I use for scratchbuilding is plastic sheets, strips and shapes.
    Easy to cut, glue and paint.
    A joy to work with.
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Take some time to go to "The Academy" here on the Gauge and look through "Robin At His Best."
  13. aaragorn

    aaragorn New Member

    Hey Starman, scratch building or even kit bashing is one of the best things about this hobby. If you are new to this, like someone has already suggested, start with something small. Even though I'm no expert at this, here are some pointers:

    • First, draw up a plan. You need to know exactly what you want to build.
    • Make a sketch of what you want to build using exact measurements.
    • Always remember to convert the measurements to the scale you are building in.
    • Some of the sommons tools you will need are, ruler, cutters, blades and glue.
    • If it s a simple structure with just four walls, first make the walls seperately, cut our the space for windows and doors and then before sticking them together, put the whole thing together and check if they fit well.
    • And finally, have loads and loads of patience. If you try to make it in a hurry, you will screw up. Take your time and enjoy it.
    We would all love to see your first effort. All the best.
  14. jasbourre

    jasbourre Member

    One othe thing to add to what aaragorn said, is to take pictures and post them here. Good or bad there will always be someone here to help you out.
  15. papasmurf37

    papasmurf37 Member

    You might also consider getting a self-healing cutting mat; they're very handy and usually available from local crafts stores. If there's a Michaels near you; try them or look in your phone book yellow pages for crafts stores. TTFN.....
  16. papasmurf37

    papasmurf37 Member

    You might also consider getting a self-healing cutting mat; they're very handy and usually available from local crafts stores. If there's a Michaels near you; try them or look in your phone book yellow pages for crafts stores. TTFN.....
  17. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

  18. ScottyB

    ScottyB Member

    I am just getting into scratchbuilding. I purchased Darryl Huffman's video at: and I have found it fascinating. Something about actually seeing it done first makes me realize that I can do this, too.

    You might want to check that out.


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