Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by Starman, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. Starman

    Starman Member

    Hello forum,
    Has been a long time since i have been here and i really like the new look,althought it took me sometime to get through it i have arrived.My question is is there a web site that has building plans for people that want to do scratcbuilding.I have tried some small projects and have really like what i have done although they would not win any awards and i would be scared to show them to anyone i would like to learn more about it and i have looked for book's on scratchbuilding and just have come up empty.So i was wondering if their was a site you can go to and maybe get some ideals on how and what to do.If you know of any please let me know as i am trying this new adventure.:cry:
  2. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Nice to see you back. :wave: You can check through the Scratchin' & Bashin' Forum here for some ideas, and Railroad Model Craftsman magazine runs a monthly column on scratchbuilding that offers lots of good tips for working with various materials and techniques.

  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I think the US Library of Congress ( has an online collection of various buildings from the first half of the 20th century. I can't find a link to the collection (it used to be a bookmark on a previous computer hamr) but start with the above link...

    EDIT - try this -> American Memory from the Library of Congress - Browse by Category

  4. Jac's Lines

    Jac's Lines Member

    In that American memory collection, the best resource is the HABS/HAER archive, which was a US government project to catalog architecturally interesting or historically important buildings. The main link is:

    Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER) (American Memory from the Library of Congress)

    There are hundreds of categories and many of the entries have scaled drawings which could easily serve as the basis for a scratchbuild. Here's a semi-complicated typical turn of the century home (but there are rural buildings, warehouses, grain elevators, you name it on that site):

    American Memory from the Library of Congress

    I do a lot of scratchbuilding, so some other ideas:

    Wood or styrene can be purchased at your local hobby store, and a scale ruler is indispensible. You can also purchase fiddly things like doors and windows from Grandt Line or Tichy Train Group for a couple of bucks.

    The Gauge has some great articles -- I remember this one from Eighteightfan1 as a particularly inspiring one:

    Wayne's suggestion about Railroad Model Craftsman is a good one -- the scratchbuilding column is helpful and almost every issue has at least one set of plans for a building. A whole year of back issues can also be obtained at a reasonable price through ebay and can provide lots of inspiration. I find that some of the issues from the 1950s-70s, when kit choices were limited and people had to build with stuff on hand (cardboard, etc.) can be especially inspiring.

    I think a lot of scratchbuilders got a start by working with the Campbell kits. These are kits in the sense that all of the supplies are provided, but the raw materials basically consist of uncut strip wood, siding, etc. The skills involved in building these kits are the skills you would want to hone as a scratchbuilder, including building from scale plans. They are pricey, but it may be worth it in the sense that everything you need to make a really good looking model is right there. This page at Walthers begins to list the main kits: -- search page

    My biggest piece of advice is to just jump in with both feet. Scratchbuilding is just one of those things where there is going to naturally be a learning curve as you figure out different techniques and your own style. Once the bug bites, though, it seriously becomes an addiction.

  5. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Ditto to what the others have said. My advice is to find a fascinating prototype that you just think is the best thing ever and then consider building it. Take the time to plot out your course of action (materials you might use, any special skills or tools you may need, are there plans available, how much time am I willing to put into this, etc.) then go for it! An inspiring prototype can really get the scratchbuilding juices flowing.
  6. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    This is a good point, and "inspiration" should be recognised as one of the most important tools for any scratchbuilder, as it is for any other artist.

  7. Dave Harris

    Dave Harris Member

    Re :scratch building

    Sometimes one does not even need a prototype example to do a scratch built project.
    A few years back I was asked to build a fish cannery for the Ramona Bay extension of the Tule Springs & Western Railroad here in Las Vegas.
    I had no idea what a fish cannery would look like & found no help at the library, other than reading Cannery Row , I knew nothing about canneries. My only guide ,so to speak, was that the Tule Springs & Western is set " somewhere in the West some time after the war" ( WW II ).
    The only other stipulation is it needed to be of "wood construction & have a lot of interesting roof lines".
    When the cannery was done, before the name went on, & before it was installed on the layout, was displayed at an open house , many people that examined it , with out having been told of its intended purpose , remarked that "it looks like something out of cannery row" or similar comments.
    Needless to say I was a bit proud that I had managed to captutre the intended "flavor " enough to come thru to viewers with out any indication as to what the "flavor" was.
    I have pictures of it somewhere & If I can find them & IF I can figure out how to post them I will . I am much better with an Exacto & a dremel than I am with a keyboard. wall1

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