HO Scale Buildings

How To Make HO Scale Buildings

A source of easy to make HO scale buildings and detailed information about making other model railroad scenery.

Fast And Easy Buildings

How to build HO scale models depends greatly upon what you are trying to do and how you want to do it.

Are you interested in simple models that you can place temporarily on the floor or table top around a train layout that the kids use.  Tiny Towns

Are you interested in fast and easy models that you can quickly place around your layout so you can get on with operations?  Auhagen

Are you interested in populating your layout or dioramas with high quality prototypical buildings and structures? Scale Scenes

Are you interested in unique structures that establish your own modeling style?  SketchUp

Are you a modeler who likes to model just to make high-quality models? Like the man in Netherlands who spent 2  years making a farmhouse and some scenery? Model Of Note

And then what is your budget?

So let’s try to work through sources and procedures that will give you some  answers to the above questions.

Let’s start by examining the many paths to getting a model built

I will be giving you links to some companies that offer the type product being discussed. I link because I have used their products.  There are many others.  These are just examples to better define the point I am making.

Card Stock or Carton Modeling

Card stock modeling is extremely popular. This category can be subdivided into sub-categories that allow you to

1)  make buildings – even locomotive models – simply by cutting them out, folding them according to plan, and gluing.  Heritage Models

2) punch out precut buildings, fold and glue.  Auhagen

3) use plan templates that you will paste on card stock, cut, fold and glue. Scale Scenes

Kit Building

Kit building is also popular but it can be a little bit more expensive.

Within the kit category you can find plastic buildings, laser cut buildings, and then other limited edition high-quality kits.

Some of the kits run into hundreds of dollars. Not all, but there are enough with prices high enough to make your head spin.

Here is a link to some high quality but inexpensive laser cut building kits.

Scratch Building

Scratch building is the process of building a scale model “from scratch”, i.e. from raw materials, rather than building it from a commercial kit, kitbashing or buying it pre-assembled.

Scratch building is really not hard. Scratch building is a lot of fun and really quite popular.

Scratch builders will often look at a prototype and draw plans to replicate that prototype. Or they will copy plans from books and magazines.

Others will use programs such as Model Builder and SketchUp to design their own buildings.

If you’re excited and really want to get started fast, I suggest that you first start by assembling some card stock models. By doing this you will learn some basic techniques that you will have to know in order to make a quality model. Don’t jump in to a complex model and ruin it because you lack knowledge of the basics

Start with something easy.  Get experience and then move up to something more complex.

For some fast and easy buildings that are extremely well-designed and which will allow you to populate your layout with some high-quality models very quickly while teaching you some important techniques such as proper cutting, folding, gluing and so on., Click Here!

And here is another link to the Tiny Towns. This is actually a next step for you because the buildings are not textured and you now have to go through the learning process of how to texture a building, and make windows/doors

Step back and remember that when you ride on a train you look at scenery. What you look at are changing scenes. And the scenery on your layout is a collection of scenes. So as you go forward with your modeling for your layout, you should think about the various scenes and where you are going to put them.

Don’t fall into the trap of building a bunch of models and putting them on a layout only to find that you will quickly rip them out and start over again because you don’t like the way it looks. That is a standard, but unfortunate, happenstance.

There are many videos that you can watch on YouTube that will give you information about various techniques. But YouTube can be frustrating and a waste of time because the video selections are ofen disjointed which makes it very difficult to focus.

As a matter of caution before you get too deep, get a good overview.

Here’s a link to an online model train club where you get an unbelievable amount of information. It’s a paid membership club, but you are likely to find that the monthly cost of membership will be less than the money you will waste if you get started on the wrong foot. At least take a look at it.  Click Here!

One of the best things that you can do for yourself, if you are going to model, is learn SketchUp . It is a free program. Inside SketchUp there is also what is called the 3-D warehouse. In that 3-D warehouse are thousands upon thousands of plans for buildings, structures and accessories. All you have to do is download them to your own SketchUp file and print them. And you will have more plans that you can ever use.

There is a learning curve with SketchUp , but go through the tutorials and you can learn it fairly quickly. It’s free and highly recommended. You can find it at SketchUp.

And here is a link to the 3-D warehouse. And here is a link to my collection on 3D Warehouse.

There’s another program that you might consider. It’s Model Builder. It’s a paid program, but very easy to use. There’s almost no learning curve. I emphasize almost. It’s a good starting point for many people and can be very useful especially if you want to make low relief or background buildings. You can find Model Builder here.

Here is a link to a company that has an unbelievable collection of buildings that you pop out, fold and glue. Auhagen

And here is a link to a company that offers excellent, with emphasis on excellent, plan templates. Scale Scenes

Throughout our website we have pages covering various topics related to building HO scale models. You are invited to use our site search function to find exactly what you are looking for.

I will be updating this page and adding links to those particular pages. But in the meantime I recommend strongly that you review the information under all of the links above.