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I finished this two-story HO Scale Diorama in September of 2011. It was scaled from a set of photographs of the Fine Scale Miniatures Stuffy’s kit which was last produced in November of 2000 at a sale price of $185.00. There is a finished Stuffy’s kit-built on eBay selling for $415.


Are you finding it more and more difficult to stick with a scale modeling project until completion? Is the cost of model railroad kits out of your budget’s range? Can you honestly say your wife and family support your scale modeling activity?

Building models from scratch changes all of this, but this is no reason to relegate your finished models to the round file.

Scratch building in any Scale has always presented challenges that can be overcome and they become more serious once we get to retirement age and beyond, but it becomes easier with new products and techniques now available.

To begin with, your structure needs a purpose. If it is to be featured on a layout, you need to determine if it is to be a rail destination (freight or passenger) and what type of space you have adjacent to track. The footprint of your structure becomes all important. If you are scratch building, or at least kit bashing, you have the ability to adapt your structure to the space available.

It is also becoming more prevalent to find a specific structure for use in a diorama that takes into consideration both the physical size of the structure as well as its condition and age. These are elements that are easily controlled in a scratch building session.

So what is entailed in a scratch building session? Does it require specialized tools? Where do you get the materials needed? Start with a plan. As mentioned earlier, you need a purpose for your structure. The best purpose is one that provides action as a destination and gives you a pick-up or loading opportunity in another area of your layout. For instance, you could have a quarry as the point or origin and a stone panel builder on the other end.

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