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 Why do you scratch build
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Author Previous Topic: Structures on th LP&N RR, vol.4 Topic Next Topic: Rockcrusher & Engine Roundhouse Projects
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Posted - 02/14/2005 :  11:51:25 AM  Show Profile  Visit wvrr's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I've struggled with this question since I have not scratchbuilt anything since my youth. So, my experiences are drawn from that. I voted for #4, even thought it was a combination of 3 & 4, in those days. Since I can afford kits, #3 is not the issue. But back then, I really enjoyed designing my own structures to fit my needs. And, I would build them from whatever materials were cheap...cardboard and printed paper, mainly. I will scratchbuild a few structures for my layout, at some point.


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Posted - 02/15/2005 :  10:21:46 PM  Show Profile  Visit Catt's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I scratchbuild because I enjoy doing it.I kitbash for the same reason.The plus side of this is visitors will not see the same buildings on your layout that they have seen on a dozen or so others.

I do not concider the use of commercial door and window castings any less scratchbuilding.There's no law that says every piece has to be made by hand.

Johnathan (Catt) Edwards
100% Michigan made

Country: USA | Posts: 1200 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 02/15/2005 :  11:05:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I voted for "other". Why do I scratchbuild? Because I can.


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Posted - 02/21/2005 :  4:17:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Who's your favorite scratch builder?

Trick question?...........

Not really. Would you not consider the kit manufacturer's as being the ultimate scratch builders? Look at some of the kits George Sellios at FSM has put out in years past. Or Doug at FOS. Or Art at Bar Mills. Or our very own Walt to name a few.

Those kits started out as a vision which was put to paper, detailed plans drawn, possibly a prototype built and eventually a mass or limited production kit was offered for our pleasure.

I appreciate the craftsman kits for their excellent construction, but they lose a bit of appeal or me when they appear too often

Isn't that why we as individual's try to give a kit our special touch to make it different? Choice of color...different signs...change a door or window...add awnings or other details. We try to make it our own in some way.

My point...learn from the kit manufacturer's. Study their kits closely and when it comes time to design and scratch build one of your own, the sky's the limit.

In memory of Mike Chambers

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 03/22/2005 :  07:02:07 AM  Show Profile  Visit Cletus's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I personally have no feeling either way towards buying versus scratch. I do both. I usually will build from the ground up in areas where converntional store bought models don't fit.

I also really like weathering and modifying buildings that are commercial. Very few of the models I buy make it onto the layout the way they were made to do.

When I designed the layout I intentionally planned operation. I also intentionally did not pre-plan buildings. I wanted the challenge of finding and or fitting. This may sound screwy to many in some ways. But just like operation, I wanted built in difficulties.

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Section Hand

Posted - 03/22/2005 :  10:17:30 AM  Show Profile  Visit 6100's Homepage  Reply with Quote
John, Great question
I voted for building my own stuff from scratch as well, My reasons are echoed in many of the other answers, I also think that the nature of creative endeavours whether in model railroading or anything else is a deeply held part of our psyche, The channeling of that energy into our hobby is probably universal. We are playing "god" really when we convert an idea into reality, The only real difference is that there are no little live people walking around on our creations. Just because they are small doesnt make them any less real than a larger scene we might stumble across in life. And the other reason that I do this is because it is so positive and a great balance to all the negative news that is so prevalent in modern society.

kindest regards Michael

If you can dream it you can make it

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Posted - 03/22/2005 :  1:33:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I voted for other. Since my railroad is freelanced, in most cases, commercial structures can be kitbashed to create the "flavor" of a particular structure. So I do a lot of kitbashing to create unique structures representative of the South. However, BIG however, every so often, a structure comes along that just has to be scratchbuilt, just because it can't be kitbashed. A case in point is the large Louisville Fertilizer & Gin complex on the current layout. I spent a lot of time looking for suitable kits to use and couldn't find any. So I had to scratchbuild it, or at least 3 of the 5 structures in the complex. There's a pic over on page 9 of the "Structures That Cry Out . . .2 Forum.


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New Hire

Posted - 04/02/2005 :  10:47:45 AM  Show Profile  Visit MontanaRed's Homepage  Reply with Quote
When I started years ago, all I could afford was the cheap plastic kits, and everything was way out of proportion. If scaled up, shingles would have been a foot thick, door jambs at least 10 inches thick, etc. There were several quality craftsman kits available with scale lumber, but in those years, they were way out of my price range. So to get something that looked reasonable, at a price I could afford, I began scratch building. It also gave me the flexibility to make a model fit my layout. I like rugged mountainous scenes, and it is easier to make a structure fit my scene than it is to modify the scene. Now days, I do have several kits on my layout, but none are built per the instructions. I still cringe at paying $130 for a kit. I have a relatively small layout (9X12) so I simply don't have room for may scale kits... so I need to make my own small structures. The final reason is it's just very satisfying to say "I built that from scratch!"

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Dave D

Posted - 06/19/2005 :  5:14:14 PM  Show Profile  Click to see Dave D's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
I voted for #2 because there was no "all of the above choice.
Guess I should have voted other.

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Posted - 08/20/2005 :  08:36:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I voted other,seems they all seem to fit my choices. Craftsman kits are very nice but why pay Big$ for something I can scratch for less. besides scratched will fit into your theme. unless you provide an area for the craftsman kits. good poll John!

Edited by - Sodbuster on 08/20/2005 08:41:51 AM

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Premium Member

Posted - 08/20/2005 :  08:58:13 AM  Show Profile  Visit slimrails's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Bob, for bringing this topic back up...I think I missed it. As is well known by the traction, logging, and narrow gauge modelers...if you want it and can't seem to find it pre-made, ya hafta build it yourself. Production models are drawn from 'mainline' prototypes (usually, but not always). When I was modeling HOn3, I had the problem of finding most model kits being based on the D&RGW prototype. There are kits based on the C&S, NCNG, EBT, and SP, but a 'generic' kit was only available from one manufacturer that I know of or to scratchbuild. Same with structures from what I can tell. The most famous road's locos and rolling stock and structures seem to get put into production for mass distribution and this is where the smaller manufacturers come in. They're a great example of scratchbuilding from a kit...you end up with something unique.

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 08/23/2005 :  10:56:38 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've recently scratch built copies of FSM's G. Williker's and Houligan's Alley. This was definitely the most rewarding thing I've done with this hobby in the twenty years. Next and ultimate step would be to design my own, but don't think my imagination can possibly measure up to George's. Hope I can figure out how to post some pictures of my results. Plan on "scratching" out Stuffy's next.

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Premium Member

Posted - 08/23/2005 :  12:49:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by davidellinger77

Hope I can figure out how to post some pictures of my results.

David, here are links to two tutorials on posting photos and resizing photos for posting:

I hope they are of some help to you. I'm looking forward to seeing your scratchbuilt "FSM's."

Country: USA | Posts: 21584 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Posted - 08/23/2005 :  1:14:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit TrainsHO's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hello David
Here is my photos of Wilikers, franklin and stuffy's, that I have scratch built plus others. It may also give you some ideas. I built all by looking at pictures. I have never had one of the kits or a set of plans for them.


Country: USA | Posts: 102 Go to Top of Page

Crew Chief

Posted - 08/23/2005 :  5:17:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I like to scratchbuild when I need something unique. However saying that, it is rare for me to scratchbuild as I really enjoy Laser kits and I like the way the designs of such kits as Sierra Wests Eureka Boiler house or Water tank look great from every angle. It really does take an Imagineer to create a good kit and when just following along gets you there, I find that very satisfying.
Marc, I do agree about the black burnt edges of laser kits but it just makes me more determined to sand and paint all that black away, in the wash up I think laser cut windows and doors look fantastic over plastic. It's my hobby and sometimes I like to follow the leader cause I have less time now than ever. Now in retirement... It may be different.
Oh and Vance that is some great modelling on your Website! Way to go.

Edited by - PaulD on 08/23/2005 5:20:29 PM

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