Easy-to-Build Model Railroad Structures

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Hello Folks,

As a teenager back in the 70's, I bought a book at a hobby shop entitled "Easy-to-Build Model Railroad Structures". The first printing of the booklet is listed as 1958, while the one I purchased had advanced thru the years as the 6th printing in 1973. I'm pretty sure I would have bought this back in the mid-to-late 70's at the listed cover price of a whopping $2 !!! :eek::D
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Back in the 1950's, a LOT more scratch-building was required to get a variety of structures that one may need on their layout as compared to say, twenty years later and afterwards. The plans are a compilation of structure articles previously printed in Model Railroader articles amongst others. Most, if not all, were originally built in HO scale, but plans and dimensions generally are shown in scale feet to make building in other scales fairly easy.

Has anyone ever tried building any of the structures in this book? There are a bunch of interesting structures in the book, especially for anyone interested in the steam and early diesel-era. I seem to remember attempting to build the 2-stall engine house shown in the book, and as seen on the very lower left hand corner of the cover. Well, at least maybe partially building it. It seems like I got enough of it built to where it could stand on its own, but I don't think I ever really finished it. I don't think I ever used it on any layout, and it probably eventually was accidentally damaged and then finally discarded in the trash, if memory serves. But that's been a long time ago.
 
I wonder if you could post the instructions on here for the different buildings ?
Ummm................... No.

It's a Kalmbach/Model Railroader book. ALL of their stuff is copyrighted, clear back to their beginnings in 1932 or thereabouts. Posting complete articles is not allowed (although posting a few small paragraphs and/or pictures from the articles for questions and/or clarifications would be permitted/exempt). They continuously scan the internet for unauthorized postings of their materials.

The best bet for anyone wanting this book is to see if MR/Kalmbach offers it for sale as a digital reprint yet. Or else look for a used copy at a model train show. I have a fairly large collection of a lot of these older booklets that I have picked up for a buck or two at local train shows. Very informative books, very interesting reading, and a great insight to the earlier days of the hobby.
 

ctclibby

Well-Known Member
Maybe not exactly the same, but: I have MR back to June 1964 and every once-in-awhile I get a hair, grab one or two of the old ones and flip through the pages. I still find stuff that is interesting. As you go back in years, there are more construction articles with complete ( for the most part ) drawings. The ads are a fun part too....
MR sometime in the 60's or thereabouts offered a lifetime subscription for $100 - tried to talk Mom into it to no avail!
 

Snowman

Active Member
I might have taken a crack at a mock-up of the grain elevator, assuming it resembles the one on the cover, and I recall too building a small six sided (hex footprint) trackside telephone shed. Might have been from that book.

There is also a smallish structure with a steep (A-frame) roof I put together and it was definitely based on an article...from somewhere. :D

I start a lot of these things, but usually the project stalls at some point--I'm not so good at finishing I guess.

--------

As ctclibby says, scratchbuilt structures were much more common back in those days than today. A gent named E. L. Moore was known for his, and for his edge toward whimsy as well--he used very inexpensive materials.

Jack Work was simply amazing, but there were so many others too: John Nehrich is still well known for his techniques and his plethora of brick structures (Holgate and Reynolds brick sheet over a sheet styrene base), but he also buiit a model or two using parts of photograph prints to directly model parts of the structure.

Later on, kitbashing came into vogue (Art Curren), but scratchbuilding is still the only way to go for a lot of things. And it can be a lot of fun, even if it strains the eyesight at times. Ok...most of the time. :D

Books like that are gold, and some are hard to find--they can be expensive: Kalmbach's (Gordon Odegard) collected reprint of the MR series on building the Clinchfield--"Modeling the Clinchfield Railroad in N scale"--runs about $50 used, for example.

If you think you'll ever want it, snap it up when you see it.
 
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Snowman

Active Member
Ummm................... No.

It's a Kalmbach/Model Railroader book. ALL of their stuff is copyrighted, clear back to their beginnings in 1932 or thereabouts. Posting complete articles is not allowed (although posting a few small paragraphs and/or pictures from the articles for questions and/or clarifications would be permitted/exempt). They continuously scan the internet for unauthorized postings of their materials.

The best bet for anyone wanting this book is to see if MR/Kalmbach offers it for sale as a digital reprint yet. Or else look for a used copy at a model train show. I have a fairly large collection of a lot of these older booklets that I have picked up for a buck or two at local train shows. Very informative books, very interesting reading, and a great insight to the earlier days of the hobby.
Quite right about the legality of reprinting material. Generally speaking you can use material if it's pertinent to a discussion, for example--"I claim Fair Use" is one way to do it, but you can't reprint entire articles.

I suspect you COULD fairly post a copy of the Table of Contents, for example, as it's very pertinent to this discussion.

---------------

What I wonder about is using Kalmbach published drawings as a manufacturer. Drawings in most any model publication usually carry the disclaimer: "may be copied for personal use only*," but they are obviously the source for many commercially produced models and parts. It's still a bit unclear to me as to whether selling a Blomberg truck sideframe based off a printed drawing would violate that.

[* This prevents one from simply reprinting a Kalmach drawing in another publishers book or magazine, among other things]
 
I might have taken a crack at a mock-up of the grain elevator, assuming it resembles the one on the cover, and I recall too building a small six sided (hex footprint) trackside telephone shed. Might have been from that book.

There is also a smallish structure with a steep (A-frame) roof I put together and it was definitely based on an article...from somewhere. :D

I start a lot of these things, but usually the project stalls at some point--I'm not so good at finishing I guess.

--------

As ctclibby says, scratchbuilt structures were much more common back in those days than today. A gent named E. L. Moore was known for his, and for his edge toward whimsy as well--he used very inexpensive materials.

Jack Work was simply amazing, but there were so many others too: John Nehrich is still well known for his techniques and his plethora of brick structures (Holgate and Reynolds brick sheet over a sheet styrene base), but he also buiit a model or two using parts of photograph prints to directly model parts of the structure.

Later on, kitbashing came into vogue (Art Curren), but scratchbuilding is still the only way to go for a lot of things. And it can be a lot of fun, even if it strains the eyesight at times. Ok...most of the time. :D

Books like that are gold, and some are hard to find--they can be expensive: Kalmbach's (Gordon Odegard) collected reprint of the MR series on building the Clinchfield--"Modeling the Clinchfield Railroad in N scale"--runs about $50 used, for example.

If you think you'll ever want it, snap it up when you see it.
Yes, good points all. Especially your admission of not so good about finishing projects - I resemble that remark! :p

I'm currently building a small (2' x 16') 3-rail O-gauge switching layout, and most likely will be scratch building some shallow front buildings based on a few of the structures in my book, to go up against the sky board back drop. Probably not too far away now from starting on this portion of the build, either.

I picked up the N-scale Clinchfield book several years (maybe 10 years?) ago at a train meet. Can't remember what I paid for it, but it seems as though I may have given $10~$15 or so for it. A little more than I would like to have paid, but I also recognized the fact that I rarely see that particular book at any train show I attend.

Speaking of which, I really scored a bargain late last year at a show when I found an almost pristine copy of Linn Wescott's book on John Allen's Gorre & Daphetid Railroad. Been looking for that one for years. Gave all of $5 (five bucks!) for it. What a deal! It pays to dig around in stacks of older books and magazines at train shows.
 




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