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3 Additional Ways to Enjoy Structures

Updated: Sep 3, 2023

I always wanted to model this Los Angeles Junction Railway engine house but didn't have a space for it on my layout. I built it anyway and put it on a diorama for photography.

Speaking not just for myself, but probably for most modelers, structure building is one of my favorite aspects of the hobby. However, we have long standing beliefs on how we interact and work with them that can be limiting. Let’s look at a few.

1. On the layout or not at all? I see it all of the time. If a modeler doesn’t have a place for a kit on the layout, then they don’t build it. That doesn’t need to be the case. You can build it and place it in a display case or on a diorama. It doesn’t need to go on your existing layout. If you use a display case, you can also rotate new subjects in and out as the mood strikes. (You just need a good storage system for those not on view)

2. Build the kit by the book or not at all? There is a tendency among modelers, particularly among those newer to the hobby, to feel they must build a kit exactly as laid out in the instructions. Modifying a kit’s dimensions or overall look is called “kitbashing”. Becoming comfortable with it opens up an entirely new world of possibilities. It also leads to better layout designs because you don’t need to work the track around a fixed footprint.

3. Rotating structures on and off the layout. Once a structure is on the layout, that space is taken. Not true. You can rotate structures on an off your railroad to represent different era’s, changing operational tastes, or just because you want a variety of looks. I don’t glue any of my buildings down. Swapping is just a matter of plucking one off the layout and plopping another in its place.

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Charles Malinowski
Charles Malinowski
Sep 03, 2023

LM! Very insightful especially for those of us who espouse “smaller-is-better.” Great post.

Sep 03, 2023
Replying to

Thanks Charles!

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