Photo Essay: From Butt-Ugly eBay Throw-in Structure to Layout (Not Dial-up Friendly is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


Fun Lover
This Butt Ugly structure I got on Ebay thrown in with a bunch of other stuff in a "Lot". My layout is short on industry so I'm going to try to make this building look good. I don't know why people who sell stuff on eBay don't know how to use glue and they don't paint anything except to drip, but they all seem to be like this. So on to saving it.


The first thing we have to do fix those doors. I never did figure why people who make these things think that it's cool be able to open doors like these. What do they think where going to do, unload cars and wheel in freight?


So the first thing I'm going to to is make them so they don't move. I cut up couple pieces of styrene and glued them to the back of the frame.


Then I glued the doors to the styrene. Still pretty sorry looking.


So I took some scale 2x12's from my Muir Kit Silver Mine and Trimmed it out.


A little bit of paint and.......Voila!


A while back I learned a technique for making figures more realistic looking. The guy painted the figures black to accent the creases. This building has a lot of relief that I want to take advantage of. Also, since my layout will be set in a small town in 1917 (or 1890 until then), I want a rustic look. The colors I will be using will be close to the originals, just a little closer to railroad colors. Like boxcar red-brown and SP yellow. So the next step is the base coat of the original colors. I'm not too worried about the color completely covering at this point , as the black showing through will add to the aging later.


After 2 coats, I've decided the color is not quite right on the stucco. We'll fix that on the next coat.


Okay, this phase represents what the building would have looked like when it was new. more or less. Notice how the black gives the wood and roof tiles texture. Now comes the point I hate. It's when I have to decide, even though it looks really good, to weather it.


Now to weathering. I'm not going to make this building terribly old, but even after a year or two a building gets dirty. If you've ever owned a black car, you'll know that dirt is gray. So what I like to do is thin out acrylic grey paint with water about 10:1 so that there's just a hint of grey. Below you can see the difference this grey wash can make in the roof.



Likewise you can see the difference it makes in the stucco. I like to run dirty streaks down from the corners of the windows.


You can also see the effect of wash in the wood.


Here I highlight the hinges with flat black.


I repainted the hopper with flat black but it was still quite shiny. It got the gray wash as well (not in this picture.) Notice too that I painted the ground a solid color. This is the base color of the layout right now so it will blend in when goes back in place. Notice that the post in the front left of the hopper support is broken. It would not hold no matter how long I held it in place.


Add a few plants. A little grey and rust rust on the hopper...


Remember the broken support. It is now covered in ivy.


The other side.



Coal Shoveler
That's pretty good looking. Regarding assembly, I bought a pre-assembled IHC interlocking tower; it had a foot of dust on it. When I put it under the faucet, the danged thing fell apart; apparently, a kid put it together with Elmer's Glue! Ended up reassembling it with Tenax.....

One of my friends who used to paint semi-professionally got me into the "black prime, drybrush" method of painting structures. He painted buildings from 1/285 scale to 25mm. I usually painted 15mm or 25mm in this manner. As with the guy who taught you, we used cheapo black auto primer paint. In a pinch, you could use flat black, but primer is better. The, you slather on some white in big, splotchy patterns, after which you put on the base color. What happens is that the white lightens the base color, and the black darkens in. And so on.

Those buildings painted that way are pretty much 'pre-weathered'. Yours appear to be more clean and well-kept; we did a lot of midieval-era buildings so the grungier the better. The largest building I was doing was a Fisher-Priced castle I wanted to turn into a fortress for my Warhammer 40K Space Marines....




Avid People Watcher
Nice rework. I enjoy getting what others term "throwaway" and breathing new life into it. Thanks for sharing the "How-to" photos as well. I'll have to give this method a whirl.

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