There are so many choices of structures to consider when planning a custom model railroad. All offer varying degrees of authenticity. It's an awesome time to be in the hobby since there are such a great variety of structures available and ready to include on your layout or diorama.

When building structures or other details, either from kits or from scratch for a custom project, the primary focus is on authenticity. Each is painted, detailed and weathered to achieve a highly authentic appearance. Interior and exterior lighting is also another great option that adds even more scenic realism for simulating night operation.

This station was built for the Bemo RhB layout. Shown here is the HO scale Spinas station that is on the south entrance of the Albula Tunnel in Switzerland. It was a scratch built structure and built to match the prototype. A full set of elevation drawings was done for this station prior to its fabrication to ensure proper scale and appearance.

This photo shows quite a few structures on the Donner Summit HO layout. The locos are about to enter tunnel 8, which the portal is composed of concrete walls and roofs, the upper and lower retaining walls, known as the “Chinese Walls” are custom made and hand carved hydrocal casting to simulate stacked stone, and a concrete vehicle underpass.

Above is the coaling tower on the Douglas Creek Hon3 layout. This actually is an HO scale built up model from Bachmann’s “Thomas The Tank” collection of structures, that received some modifications such as a re-paint, metal roofing, walkways, truck dump bin and elevator, as well as a coal chute that raises and lowers. Almost a crime to put a “Thomas the Tank” model on a “craftsman” style build, but it worked out nicely and affordably.

This Hon3 loco shed was is full scratch build using Northeastern Scale Lumber. It features a full lift off roof, swinging doors and nice board by board frame detailing inside. The interior featured lighting and a wood floor. Roofing material was tarpaper from Rusty Stumps.

This little sand house is a scratch build and kit bashing effort. I simply could not find a sand house to fit this space available in a kit.

Certainly a nice underpass that is a fun building kit from Walther’s. This is the Art Deco N scale kit as it looked installed on the Poco Grande layout.

Lots of nice little structures, some kit’s some built up. These models are all installed, have interior lighting, and most all of them at this point all sit on their foundations with driveways, parking lots, sidewalks and grass in place.

Tunnel portals are structures too. This particular portal on the Bemo RhB layout received some prototypical details like drains, a wing retaining wall, and a steel H-column fabricated entry with a metal sheeted roof. This is a common site on some portals in the mountainous regions of Switzerland.

Material loading facilities are common sites along any railroad right-of-way. This cement processing facility on the Salt Lake Corridor HO layout is a cardstock & styrene temporary structure model that will ultimately be replaced with a more detailed final model. Nice place holder until a final model is built.

A photo showing two nice Walther’s Cornerstone Built-Up models. These come nicely assembled and weathered. Built-up models save a lot of time and additional cost when being included in a model railroad project. It’s nice to be able to use them if they are well done.

Yes, those are paper towel rolls you see acting as grain bins on this elaborate temporary structure on the Salt Lake Corridor HO layout. The structure is built entirely out of cardstock. The covered grain loading dock was an all styrene scratch built project that will be part of the final model.

Structures don’t have to be large to be effective. This small little steel building was built as the Maintenance-of -Way office on the Salt Lake Corridor HO layout. This was a scratch-built styrene model with interior lighting.

Above is a simple highway overpass built from cardstock and painted. The column supports were made from dowel. The quick little temp projects are the best way to test out how a final model will look. I can also move these around easily to test them in different locations.

Another cardstock model that had some details built and installed to test fit. All the black roof top details are all scratch built from styrene, brass and or wood.

These cardstock structures were all fabricated for the Smith Mine HO diorama museum project’s test model I built before I actually started build the real models. You can see notes were made all around each to specify window sizes that were to be installed, as well as any changes or modifications that were to be made.