Scratch Building

As modelers, sometimes what we need isn't available commercially. Scratch Building in this situation is typically the only way to re-create a structure or element for your layout or project that is either not been produced as a kit, or just so unique that it has to be built from scratch.

A great example of a scratch building project was this tipple that was built for the Smith Mine HO project.

HO scale brass searchlight signal masts just finished and ready for painting. These masts are ready for BLMA’s 3 color brass searchlight signal heads that come 2 in a pack. Great looking signals when finished.

This CA-11 project started with a standard Walther’s HO scale bay window caboose. You can’t find these CA-11 cabooses available in plastic, only brass, so parts had to be fabricated from scratch. I had to have one after seeing the one that currently hangs out in Odgen’s Union Pacific yard.

This livestock pen was a scratch building project that I need for the Douglas Creek Hon3 project. It’s all built with Northeastern Scale lumber and features 3 pens and 2 loading ramps.

A common sight these days at the base of cell towers, this small scratch building project features an equipment building with various utility boxes, a Kohler generator and a propane tank.

Getting organized at the workbench for the next day’s fabrication project. The materials laid out here are for the Spinas station that was built for the Bemo RhB layout.

This photo shows the scratch built wood bridge and abutments that were built for the Douglas Creek Hon3 project.

This double track curved combination wood and plate girder bridge spans both a creek and road on the Iron Hill Junction N scale layout. All components were scratch built using wood and styrene. The curve radii were 13.5” and 15” and were super-elevated.

Small bridges tend to be common scratch building projects for me, since just the right size bridge is hard to find and they can be quite easy to build. This is a small plate girder bridge and abutments made for the Iron Hill Junction N scale layout.

SP 4807 sits on a Walther’s 130’ HO turntable inside the Norden turntable shed mock up model I built for the Donner Summit HO scale project.

I’ve yet to find good fitting N scale portals, both single and double portals, from any manufacturer that can handle N scale double-stack container cars or auto racks on super elevated curves. These were scratch made for the Wing Haven West N scale project.

This signal bridge should be on the Signal System’s page, but it is better suited for this scratch building page. This is a scratch built 2 track HO scale signal bridge that was modeled after the prototype that I saw above Donner Lake, between Shed 47 and the old summit track flyover at Tunnel 41.

These are short searchlight signal masts that I made from brass for mounting on Shed 47 and inside Tunnel 7 for the Donner HO scale layout project.

This track scale structure was built into the side of the slope. It is a combination styrene, wood and brass model that was built for the Smith Mine HO diorama project.

Here is a photo of the HO scale Spinas Station building during fabrication, as well as the loading ramp. The loading ramp poured into a custom made mold then the rock detail was hand carved, painted and weathered to match the prototype.

I built a pair of these truss supports to match the prototypes that held up the roof on the old Southern Pacific Turntable building that existed until the 90’s at Norden, CA.

A pair of these ballasted deck plate bridges were scratch built to match the prototypes found in Weber Canyon, Utah. These bridges were built using styrene around an aluminum super structure for span strength.

Somewhat of a crossover between a scenery and scratch building project, this module was designed to worked on at the workbench then be dropped into the layout. This photo shows the module just prior to having the water being poured.