Model Scenery Tutorials

Comprenshive Tips. Hints And Techniques For Budget Minded Diorama Maker, Model Train Enthusiast And Wargammer

HO Scale Buildings

How To Make HO Scale Buildings

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

We have included information about HO scale buildings.  First up is information about what we have found to to be the most popular.

That is followed by some videos showing the building of some.

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

This page concentrates on wood, paper and laser cut models.

First let’s look at making models for kids that are just starting out or that you can use as building temporaries on your layout. You can find them at Tiny Towns



Click To Watch This Tutorial

Building a HO scale paper model is disarmingly simple. The video to the left takes you through the process.  And this link takes you to a place that you can get models like this and more.







Click To See A Collection

Laser cut kits offer you a definite realistic look to your HO scale model and they are relatively easy and fast to build. With laser cut kits, you can get some detail in an HO scale building that really adds a lot to your layout or diorama. You can see some fine kits at this link.






You may neither have the room for nor need for a fully dimensioned model. Backdrop low relief models come in very handy in cases like this. These are generally available to be made from card stock or foam board.

Others are available to be printed on card. You can get them fully textured or as plan templates that you texture yourself. This link takes you to HO scale models that are fully textured.

You can also build HO scale model locomotives and cars from highly detailed plans. Take a look at them here.

Don’t forget the kids. If you have little ones don’t leave them out of your life when you get involved in modeling. Include them. Let them build models that they color themselves and then you help them glue them if necessary. They can playing with them on the floor or alongside you as you do your own thing. Do take the time to look at this we have found them very popular among the kids and their families.  Once again we refer you to the Tiny Towns.

Here are some model building instructions.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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 often disjointed which makes it very difficult to focus.

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



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