I just finished my first Walthers structure...

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...and I'm not real impressed. The structure is Peterson's Tool Specialties. First, it was missing parts, it happens. I went online to their customer service area and sent them a message regarding the missing parts, no reply. A week later I called them, and talked with somebody. They sent me what I was missing, it took 3 weeks, but I did get them.

That isn't whats really got me dissapointed though. This is the first structure I have built. I am of the opinion that their directions leave a lot to be desired. But the finished product is not at all what I was hopeing for. The gaps in between pieces are unsightly at best. Granted, I am not experienced in the art, and there are things I could have done to improve that during construction (lesson learned), but I don't think that would have solved all of these gap issues. Lets take the roof for instance, it is in 4 parts, equal in size. The method of construction is to butt the styrene sheets together and glue together using a flat piece to bridge the gap on the underside. This would be easier if the parts were square to begin with, but because they weren't I have large gaps. At best I would have had the seams where the 4 pieces come together, and I still wouldn't be happy. Now I have to figure out how I'm going to fill the gaps and make it look nice. I could ballast the whole roof I guess, but I don't think that will look real good, not to mention the weight it will add to the roof (no center support).

If you read this far thanks for letting me rant. Now, any suggestions on what to do now?



Lazy Daydreamer
Glenn, I've felt your pain before - back when I was building my first structure kits many years ago! This was your first kit assembly, right? I can assure you my first wasn't any better (can't even remember what it was, "half-heimers" must be setting in...) You'll just need to do 3 things: (1) Practice; (2) practice; and (3) practice. Kind of like playing a musical instrument, the more you do the better you get.

One thing about these Walthers "Cornerstone" kits is, unless you do a lot of extra prep work before assembly - such as painting, removing 'flash', etc. - what you end up with is not going to look like the pretty picture in the catalog. I'd get a few smaller kits first - preferably something easily replacable if it gets messed-up - and learn on those first; Don't attempt to do something with a large, out-of-production kit!

About the roof problem - I don't know the exact dimensions so I'll have to "wing it" here - what I would do is buy a peice of very thin Evergreen sheet styrene large enough to cover all four sections, paint it whatever color I wanted the original roof to be, and lay it on top. (I hope you haven't permanently cemented any of those rooftop vents and other details on yet...?)

Don't let this first experience discourage you, we've all been there and done that!:D Good luck...


Diesel Detail Freak
I'd say hit up your LHS for Testors filling puddy, or Squadron green puddy. Just as the employee what they have for styrene filler, and then ask which one he/she'd suggest. I use the Testors puddy, but I've never used another one so, they COULD be better.

As for gaps in construction, Kalmbach has a book on structure modeling, and those nifty corner clamps aren't to expencive, maybe buy one small and one large? That'll prolly set you back maybe $40?


Thanks for the responses guys. I never thought about using a whole piece of styrene, excellent idea, thanks. Oh yeah, no roof top vents yet, so that will be an easy fix. I have some squadron white putty, but it dries so darned fast that a large apllication may be difficult. It works great for filling in small holes though. The problem with the gaps in the corners where the walls come together could not have been fixed with clamps (although they would be nice to have), they just don't come together tight. So I am going to have to fill them with something (may try the putty here) and paint the whole thing. I am anal about flash, I dont leave any, and you would be hard pressed about finding it if I did. It's more a matter of parts not really matching up just right. The joints where walls meet really need to be cast with a 45* angle, not lap jointed, that just looks bad.

I am not discouraged by the way, I see it more as a challenge. I just have little patience for bad design. Surely it could have been designed better, I mean dang, I'm no engineer, but I can tell you when something won't work, or if something could be done differently to make the outcome look better.

OK, I ranted again. My apologies, I'm done now.

Thanks again fellas, just goes to show, this is the best site for encouragement and advice.



Railroad Photographer
While I haven't built any Walthers structures, I've assembled some of their MOW rolling stock, and most require a lot of messing around, fitting, cutting, adjusting, etc., to get them together properly. Most do not appear to have been designed very well. Or they were designed on paper/in a computer then plans were sent off to the factory without anyone actually checking to see if everything fits like it is supposed to.

Their Jordan spreader was advertised as havine operating side wings. They had neat ball and socket joints that were supposed to allow the opening and closing of the wings. Again, worked fine on paper but not in real life.

The sockets or the balls were undersized/oversized, and if you tried to open the wings the joints would come apart. And I'm talking of at least three per side, which were a bear to put together in the first place. Put together, fall apart, over and over again!

I ended rebuilding the socket joints on mine so the wings would operate, but it was a lot of work that I should not have had to do if the kit had been properly designed. A friend asked me to assemble one for him and I told him I would do it only if he would accept the wings being permanently glued in the closed position.

Their MOW side dump car had similar problems, the hydraulic pistons would nto fit into the cylinders, and the hinges required a lot of cutting and fitting.

The Russell snow plow's wings fit on in a weird way. They had a limiting rod that was supposed to represent a hydraulic cylinder used to open the wing. The rod was to be glued onto the wing, and fit into a hole in the body. Trouble was when the wing would be closed, the rod had to move to be able to slide into the hole. If it was glued to the wing it couldn't move.

Really poor designs, and I can see where someone new to the hobby would have given up in disgust.



I would get some essential tools for the next time around. I have put together a few Walthers kist, wait until you do a DPM building :eek:

I have some sanding sticks, sort of like nail files your mother or girlfriend would use, they make hobby specific ones, a 2 X 4 maybe about 8 inches long, sandpaper to go around the 2 X 4, a very flat surface, maybe a piece of glass, be careful of the edges, to use as a sanding block to get all the parts perfectly smooth and straight. Also a few Exacto knives with the #11 blades on hand. Also I use this glue with excellent results, it can do some minor gap filling, not as much as Squadron putty


And always test fit parts before glueing, some folks will actually tack the parts together with minimul glue to see if they fit right, also rubber bands around the 4 sides to hold them tight together while drying, as Josh mentioned, you can get those clamp systems or Micro-Mark makes a magnet type assembly system, nice stuff but a little costly when starting out.

Like Ken said, the first few kits may be fodder for weathering aids in the future, but you will excell and start posting the results here with all of us drooling over your results :)

I am shocked that your Walthers kit was missing parts, that just crappy, normally I noticed they have extra parts that aren't even to the kit that make great scratchbuild box supplies. While you may not thisnk this, the lazer kits are very nice, are almost as easy if not even easier then the styrene kits out now a days. You may want ot look into these also.


Glenn- I have a "been there, done that" tee shirt for the Walthers kits.
Masking tape is great tempoary glue to "dry fit" parts together as you cut and sand pieces to fit well.
I also use the tape as a backing for gaps that require body putty, even for small holes.
I use TENEX solvent type glue for most styrene parts as I can control the amount used by using a small brush to apply it. It "welds" the plastic together. There are several brands that work well.
Always use in a WELL VENTLATED area.
A coat of DULLCOTE and weathering can change the appearance of minor WHOOPS in your model.:D


Been Nothin' Since Frisco
If you're anal about flash, fit and finish, and have an eye for detail, I'd say you're ready for scratchbuilding! :)


Long Winded Old Fart
I've probably built about 40 Walthers kits in the past 25 years. I've never had any problems of any kind w/their kits. I really like their kits because of the details. I always take my time & make sure the building is sitting on a level table. I have a 2' square of plexiglass that I use to sit my structures on.
On flat roof buildings I always use a cheap caulk in a tube & spread it along the corners where the roof meets the walls. I do this w/my finger. That makes the roofs look like the real thing. Then I paint over the caulk after it dries. As far as gaps, I can't say I have ever had any. I use a lot of clamps
for holding parts together. I also have a steel 90 degree corner block that I use to square the walls in the assembly. I always use the Testors glue in the orange tube because it dries the quickest. On windows I use the liquid in the black or red bottle. I apply it w/a toothpick.
If you ever want to tackle a building that has a ton of details in plastic, try a Vollmer or Faller building. That put a Walthers building to shame, but they are a lot more expensive & take a person that has been doing structures for many years to put one together.
I always do all the painting on my buildings before I glue them together. I mostly use magic markers for small details.
I also do a lot of kitbashing on buildings & do a lot of scratchbuilding.



Ever heard of the MD&W?
pony, I also built this kit as my first (and so far only) Cornerstone kit and I agree with you 100% about the instructions being confusing and incomplete. I think there are so many options with how you build the kit that they leave it to you to figure it out. I built it in two halves to use as flats in different spots. In my opinion the corrugated siding is not cast accurately enough and so there are gaps where the joints are.

I do have to say that I probably had your missing parts in my kit. I wound up with some parts for the scrapbox when I was done.

I see a lot of similarities between this and the new Lakeville Warehouse kit and a couple of Walthers new background buildings. Does Walthers rearrange the parts and call it a new kit sometimes?


Steve B

I have a metal body rasp, the kind you use to do lead loading on joint's on old auto's, it is about a foot long and layed flat on the bench i pull plastic kit parts like wall sections and roof sections down it to give a very smooth joint ready to glue them together


Coal Shoveler
I got one of those as well, the largest one I could find. Takes down plastic fairly quickly. Though sometimes the valleys get clogged...



Certified CGW expert
My very first building kit was the Walthers Valley Growers asoc grain elevator.
Lotsa frustration but I got it together. I used clear tape on the insude to hold it up and then used white elmers glue as "caulk" on the inside of the seams. It turned out ok


I didn't paint it, since it's my first kit.


Coal Shoveler
I have the Farmer's Co-op version of this; it's the older version of the Valley Growers. I used Tenax to put the thing together....

I was thinking of buying the Valley Growers for hot-swapping, but have decided against it so far. I've got a lot of unbuilt buildings and buying one for this reason wasn't in the plan.



M.E.S.S. Maker
I've got a few old buildings (Heljan) with gaps and when I get around to it I'll be filling the gaps with tacky glue and green/red foam to simulate vines/ivy.

I suspect Walthers gets their kits made by several foreign manufacturers, so it's hit and miss. Remember the old Revell kits. Use to hate the quality as it was never consistant.

Lots of good advice in this thread. I have made several Walthers kits, most recently the New River Mine, which has large expanses of plastic for walls and roofing. Sanding for a good fit was essential. I really like the glass sheet with the sand paper glued on. This gives the very best fit on large pieces. The corners really do need a careful angled sanding, but a good fit can be accomplished. Also, it is very important to wash the parts to get rid of the oil like residue that seems to be common on these kits. Painting them is a real treat if you do not get them clean.

Newer Walthers kits...

...and I'm not real impressed. The structure is Peterson's Tool Specialties. First, it was missing parts...
Actually, I think this is one of Walthers relatively new kits - it certainly isn't one of their vintage kits. Man, if you want headaches - put together one of the old Revell kits from 30 years ago. You'll thank your lucky stars Walthers is doing as well as they are!
Anyway, the problems you experienced may be a direct result of... god forbid... cost-cutting! You see, the model railroad industry, for one reason or another, has not been doing well the past few years. I think that's why we've seen so many mergers and buyouts. Regardless, the new regime at Walthers is only interested in the "bottom line" - not like they used to be - interested in the model railroader. Therefore, anything they can do to improve their chances of making a profit, they'll do it! Perhaps they tried a new supplier for Peterson's, and Walthers just thought they'd continue to sell the sub-par product instead of immediately discontinuing it and losing all their investment?! :mad: Man, if I had another choice, I'd boycott them. But the only alternative is DPM, and they give me another set of headaches! :mad:
Here's another fact to chew on...

In the December issue of MR, it is revealed that George Sellios actually uses some Walthers kits on the FS&M! So, they can't be all that bad! :rolleyes:

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