Trains.com

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Building Fronts

1001 views
13 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    July 2013
  • 234 posts
Building Fronts
Posted by starman on Friday, August 5, 2022 12:07 PM

Who makes building fronts for places where the track is close to a wall?  Thanks!

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 22,938 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Friday, August 5, 2022 12:47 PM

tracksideflats.com

Rich

 

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 20,554 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, August 5, 2022 3:17 PM

Many "background building" kits are actually flats with very short side walls which can be left off if desired for a flat model.  A lot of "normal" kits have full side walls but the front and rear faces can be used independently as flats.  The Walthers Centennial Mills kit actually has both a full front and rear side.  I'm using both, one on each end of my layout to represent two different structures.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

pav
  • Member since
    March 2009
  • From: Bronx, NY
  • 62 posts
Posted by pav on Saturday, August 6, 2022 7:17 AM

Wow Rich, thanks for posting that company. I hadn't heard of them before. They pretty much have everything one would need for any background situation.

Regards,

Eric

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 22,938 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, August 6, 2022 7:35 AM

pav

Wow Rich, thanks for posting that company. I hadn't heard of them before. They pretty much have everything one would need for any background situation.

Regards,

Eric

 

Glad to be of help. They really provide a whole host of useful backcrops and shallow building fronts.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 1,922 posts
Posted by John-NYBW on Saturday, August 6, 2022 8:25 AM

MisterBeasley

Many "background building" kits are actually flats with very short side walls which can be left off if desired for a flat model.  A lot of "normal" kits have full side walls but the front and rear faces can be used independently as flats.  The Walthers Centennial Mills kit actually has both a full front and rear side.  I'm using both, one on each end of my layout to represent two different structures.

 

You can also use both the front and back faces side-by-side to create a longer flat or low relief building as I did with that kit and several others. 

  • Member since
    June 2008
  • 49 posts
Posted by PennsyLou on Saturday, August 6, 2022 8:58 AM

There is also PTF Designs - check out their store on EBay - who do flats with LED lights as well.  Ordered a few of these and they are nicely done.

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 12,848 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, August 6, 2022 1:13 PM

John-NYBW
You can also use both the front and back faces side-by-side to create a longer flat or low relief building as I did with that kit and several others.

Yeah, thats a great way to create larger structures.  I use that method frequently, and use .060" sheet styrene, bought in 4'x8' sheets, to make the back (unseen) walls, and one-piece roofs for the expanded structures.

Some pictures...

Parts from two similar kits to make a larger structure...

...with the left-overs combined with another Walthers structure to create this one...

...another Walthers kit, with all of the wall sections on the visible side.  I had built this one several years ago, but recently tore it apart to add floors and interior walls to make the structure stronger.  I also re-painted the walls and added "mortar" (Dura-Bond 90) to the bricks...

Tuckett Tobacco is Walthers kit for Greatland Sugar, again with all walls on the visible side, and .060" sheet styrene for the back wall and the back side of the roof, too, as it helps to keep the structure from warping...

This one is similar, but used most of two similar Walthers kits...

...to allow the structure to fit into the available space, I made the unseen wall at the far end narrower than the visible end in the foreground, and, of course, also modified the roof, too.

I used the left-over parts to create the Evell Casket Co., based on a now-long-gone prototype...

One of my favourite structures is Bertrams, another with all usable walls visible, with plain .060" sheet styrene on the unseen sides...

This one used two identical Walthers kits to make the Canadian Westinghouse Air Brake factory in Mount Forest...

...which is 3' in length.

The largest factory on my layout is GERN Industries, at just over 6' in length...

...and used a number of different kits and quite a bit of scratchbuilding, too.

This one was leftovers from another kit, with the Hoover sign created by my very talented brother...

 

I also have some low-relief paper structures from KingMill.  They're actual photos of real buildings printed on very good-quality cardstock.  I mounted mine on more of that very useful .060" sheet styrene, using gelled contact cement on both the styrene and the cardstock.

Here are a few...

...and individually...

...and a few more in Elfrida...

This one was leftovers from another kit (pretty-well most of the signage on my structures was done by my very talented and creative brother).

 

I have a lot more photos to share, but photobucket is not co-operating today.  I recently renewed my subscription there, but if they don't get things working properly soon, no one here will need to bother looking for any photos from me.

Wayne

 

Walthers has quite a few kits suitable for low-relief background structures.

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 1,922 posts
Posted by John-NYBW on Saturday, August 6, 2022 2:30 PM

doctorwayne

I have a lot more photos to share, but photobucket is not co-operating today.  I recently renewed my subscription there, but if they don't get things working properly soon, no one here will need to bother looking for any photos from me.

Wayne

 
I use imgur.com and have been very happy with it as have most of the people I know of that have used it. Best thing of all it is free. I have noticed that occasionally it seems to lock up during peak hours when uploading photos but that's a minor nuisance.
 
Very impressive structures, Wayne. I would like to have built a few that large but it would have taken more real estate than I was willing to devote to them. My largest structures are either flats or low relief. I took the Walthers Superior Paper Mill and converted it to a low relief structure using all four walls. I also added a few modular structures to make a complex over twelve feet long against the wall.
 
 
Another way to add very large structures is on the backdrop. I did that with both a stadium and an arena. I found suitable photos on the internet, scaled them to size, and then positioned them on the backdrop appearing to be on the opposite side of a large parking lot. 
 
War Memorial Coliseum. I used Photoshop to modify the marquee, printed it in portrait format in 3 sections and mounted it on Gatorfoam to make it stand proud from the backdrop. 
 
 
Finally, the stadium. The hardest part is finding the right perspective of a stadium to make it appear to be a few blocks away. I found this view of the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium which was a dual purpose baseball/football stadium which is just what I wanted.
 
 
To me the key to good backdrops is the same as with 3D scenery. It's all in the layering. 
 
 
  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 20,554 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Saturday, August 6, 2022 2:34 PM

I do have a number of plastic kits by Walthers, City Classics and others.  I painted, and finished all four sides, even though one or two faced away from the viewer and would not be seen.

The back and side walls are not as detailed and generally not as interesting as the front, but I realized that the rear of a structure would often be the side that faces the railroad if one were present.  So, those back walls with loading docks are the ones you should see next to the tracks.

I've made small "shadow box" scenes by opening up loading dock doors, printing a basic floor pattern on the computer and adding a light above.  The rear of a building gives you a chance to add details like old tires and trash cans, not scenic highlights, to be sure, but small slices of life nevertheless.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 12,848 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, August 6, 2022 3:07 PM

John-NYBW
To me the key to good backdrops is the same as with 3D scenery. It's all in the layering.

Yeah, and you've done a very nice job on that 12' long background scene. 

The addition of photos is also well-done, with the background of that first one looking very similar to views I see in my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario.  While the coliseum there looks quite different (and is located elsewhere), the two skyscrapers, and the wooded background behind the roof of the coliseum looks very much like what is known in the city as "the Mountain"...although it's just part of the Niagara Escarpment, which extends from the Falls, all the way to Tobermory and beyond.

Wayne

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 1,922 posts
Posted by John-NYBW on Saturday, August 6, 2022 4:27 PM

doctorwayne

Yeah, and you've done a very nice job on that 12' long background scene. 

The addition of photos is also well-done, with the background of that first one looking very similar to views I see in my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario.  While the coliseum there looks quite different (and is located elsewhere), the two skyscrapers, and the wooded background behind the roof of the coliseum looks very much like what is known in the city as "the Mountain"...although it's just part of the Niagara Escarpment, which extends from the Falls, all the way to Tobermory and beyond.

Wayne

 

The base layer for my urban backdrop was a long SceniKings photo backdrop. Since my layout is set in 1956, I had to remove things like cell phone towers from the rooftops. In front of that I layered pictures of other elements including the two sports arenas, then added flats and low relief buildings. All of this adds to the illusion of depth that a perfectly flat backdrop will not.  

It's funny how you notice things in a photo that you overlook otherwise. I see I need to straighten one of the smoke stacks in the chimney on the foreground building in front of the stadium. I should probably paint and weather them as well. 

 

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 22,938 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, August 7, 2022 10:31 AM

richhotrain

tracksideflats.com

Rich 

One thing that I like about tracksideflats is that the building fronts are only 1/4" thick, so you can run track nearly up to the building itself. The paper backdrops are very creative as well.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    July 2013
  • 234 posts
Posted by starman on Monday, August 8, 2022 7:28 PM
I want to thank everyone who replied to my inquiry.  I have found a lot of good ideas.  Now I just have to decide what I am going to do! 

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Users Online

There are no community member online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!