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A plea to building kit manufacturers

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A plea to building kit manufacturers
Posted by Water Level Route on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 11:32 AM

Dear building kit manufacturers (Walthers, DPM, JL Innovative, etc).  

A humble request from one of your customers.  When you make a building kit with a highly visible interior that requires some rather specific pieces to detail the interior, please consider making them available in either an interior detailing kit (Thank you JL! Others?).  Include in the kits for either the main building, or the interior kit figures to complete the scene.  Often these building require persons in particular dress/uniforms that can be nigh impossible to find.  It would be a minimal cost increase for you as a manufacturer and a huge boon to your customers (read that as an increase in loyalty!).

Thank you.

Mike

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 11:39 AM

IIRC when Walthers came out with their larger HO roundhouse and turntable, they teamed with Preiser to produce a "roundhouse workers" figure set of 8-10 prepainted workers. I think they did something similar for airplane / airport personnel when they introduced their DC-3 airplane kit.

Stix
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 11:55 AM

I do not understand the lack of interior details in kits. We'll pay big $$$ for a detailed locomotive. 

I am sure we would pay more for buildings with interiors included.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 12:10 PM

SeeYou190

I do not understand the lack of interior details in kits. We'll pay big $$$ for a detailed locomotive. 

I am sure we would pay more for buildings with interiors included.

The thing is, there are those of us who don't give a hoot about building interiors. I just built the Walthers Cornerstone Beer and Ale Brewery and the Walthers Cornerstone Union Station. As if those kits weren't expensive enough, what would a set of interiors add to the price - - another $20 each? No thanks. As for figures, there is a wide choice out there already, so most needs should be able to be satisfied.

Rich 

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 12:12 PM

Water Level Route

Dear building kit manufacturers (Walthers, DPM, JL Innovative, etc).  

Mike, I hear you, but I doubt that the manufacturers do. We need to send a letter directly to them in the likely event that they do not read this forum.

Rich

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 12:24 PM

Offering a separate detail kit is a good idea.  It would probably be fairly pricey given that not everybody wants that level of detail.

I find that the more detail I add to things, the less my Pike becomes about the trains.

The structures, scenery, and backdrop are things that provide a setting for the trains.  I take the "Impressionists" approach to creating the setting.  They are detailed to the level that provides a strong suggestion rather than an exact replica.

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Posted by wrench567 on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 12:47 PM

  I remember years ago that Walther's had accessory interior and exterior kits for some of their structures. I used to have a Diner with the accessory interior that had booths and lunch counter with stools. Unpainted and tan in color. Greenway products used to have all kinds of interior details such as office furniture and machine shop equipment. Although I never found a vise for my HO scale workbench with hanging wrenches.

  I'm sure Ed, Wayne and others will chime in with pictures of building interiors fully detailed to the max. You might even see a trash can that needs to be emptied. Details are something that can turn a $50 kit to needing a second mortgage to accomplish.

  I just wish that manufacturers offer caboose interiors for their cabooses. And will someone please make an HO scale dirt bike with rider for my HO scale sand pit. We got a lot more bikes tearing up the banks and spoiling the screened products than quads.

      Pete.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 1:51 PM

Doughless

Offering a separate detail kit is a good idea.  It would probably be fairly pricey given that not everybody wants that level of detail. 

Yeah, separate kits would be a much better idea than including interiors as part of the structure kits.

Rich

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Posted by Pruitt on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 2:23 PM

https://roometteslighting.com/ makes interiors for a limited number of kits in HO, N and O. They're one way you might be able to add interios to some structures.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 2:27 PM

I do a lot of interiors in my structures.  In fact, I intentionally seek out storefronts with large windows so I can detail the interiors.  I have a few buildings where I have deliberately cut open warehouse doors, etc., to expose the interior so I can add details.

It's part of my creative process.  I typically spend a month building a four-walls-and-a-roof structure kit.  Part of that is spent downloading and printing wall and floor textures and building simplistic counters, shelves and seats from styrene.

A lot of this is first understanding what's worth detailing and what's not.  Little windows in houses or upstairs in apartments are too small to get much value from interior detailing, as are the windows in an HO scale caboose.

I have the Baldy's Barbershop and Annie's Antiques kits, which I think came from  Model Power, complete with interiors and lighting for those first-floor storefronts.  I like the way they came out, but I take more pride in the interiors I scratchbuilt for a Walthers Merchants Row and particularly a scratchbuilt pool hall and the City Classics Supermarket and Diner models.

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

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Posted by jjdamnit on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 2:51 PM

Hello All,

wjstix
...when Walthers came out with their larger HO roundhouse and turntable, they teamed with Preiser to produce a "roundhouse workers" figure set of 8-10 prepainted workers. I think they did something similar for airplane / airport personnel when they introduced their DC-3 airplane kit.

Partnering with other manufacturers to provide specific details for specific kits would be a great solution.

As far as detail kits, some manufacturers do provide separate options.

The one that comes to mind is the Northern Light & Power Powerhouse kit, the interior kit along with the substation kit.

richhotrain
The thing is, there are those of us who don't give a hoot about building interiors.

I too am in the "don't care that much about interior details" camp.

That being said, I do combine kits or kitbash to obtain unique external structures.

To make one large structure, I combined two (2) Walthers Northern Light & Power Powerhouse kits to cover the NCE booster on my pike.

I also bought the interior kit for the crane components, which will be kitbashed for exterior use.

The Heavy-Duty Overhead Crane kit will also be used for the main loading dock.

MisterBeasley
It's part of my creative process. I typically spend a month building a four-walls-and-a-roof structure kit. Part of that is spent downloading and printing wall and floor textures and building simplistic counters, shelves and seats from styrene.

For some, "customizing" structures is part of the joy of modeling.

Water Level Route
Often these building(s) require persons in particular dress/uniforms that can be nigh impossible to find.

I suspect there might not be a large market for off-the-shelf accessories from manufacturers, which is why some accessory kits have fallen by the wayside.

Good luck in your search and...

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by John-NYBW on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 3:00 PM

SeeYou190

I do not understand the lack of interior details in kits. We'll pay big $$$ for a detailed locomotive. 

I am sure we would pay more for buildings with interiors included.

-Kevin

 

I think it would make more sense to make the interiors separate kits. I have built a few craftsman kits that had interiors available that way.

Interiors are a nice option if the structure is near the front of the layout and/or is lighted. Otherwise, I think they are a waste of time and money since they aren't going to be that visible. I just did a couple city blocks with printed interiors which suffice for the location they are in. I just went online and found suitable images of store interiors. 

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 4:18 PM

John-NYBW

Interiors are a nice option if the structure is near the front of the layout and/or is lighted. Otherwise, I think they are a waste of time and money since they aren't going to be that visible.  

I call them Close Interiors of the Third Kind. 

The Third Kind: You can see the interiors as well as human life forms.

The Second Kind: You know that the interiors as well as human life forms are in there, but you cannot see them.

The First Kind: Your guests have no idea whether or not there are interiors or human life forms in there.

Rich

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Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 8:37 PM

I sort of follow what Rich is doing. I may have four 'tiers" of detailing. The farthest background buildings may get Dullcote on the windows and some colored images to show just a little variety.

Then I'll have the next closest with minimal details and maybe a few "B-grade" figures.

Presently I'm working on a structure with the next-higher detail where I'll use many printed wall sections and rudimentary "furniture".

Then I'll have the "up-close and personal" details where the figures will be more detailed as well as the furnishings and equipment.

This is my present project. It will sit about 18" from the layout edge:

 Hadlock_Machine-3-4 by Edmund, on Flickr

 Hadlock_Office by Edmund, on Flickr

I get "textures" from a web site that has thousands available to make stuff like the walls and carpets then print them on photo paper. I used to use CorelDRAW but I've found Affinity designer to be superior.

 Hadlock_Office1 by Edmund, on Flickr

Here I'm building up the floors like the tiers of a wedding cake, adding the lighting as I go.

 Hadlock_Warehouse by Edmund, on Flickr

    — and beginning to fill the space with storage shelves and various bits just to make it look "busy".

 Hadlock_Warehouse1 by Edmund, on Flickr

This bank is another example of just the basics:

 Big-Bucks-Bank-insidejob by Edmund, on Flickr

I printed this background for a rolling mill building:

 Mill_backing by Edmund, on Flickr

Then added some mill stands and "stuff"

 Mill_stands by Edmund, on Flickr

I cut the rolling mills in half to double the apparent number.

 Mill_line2 by Edmund, on Flickr

I really enjoy seeing scenes lighted and if they're lit up and there's nothing to see, well... kind of a letdown.

 Mill_litup2 by Edmund, on Flickr

When I have visitors they mostly seem to get a kick out of peeking in the windows and doorways. The trains kind of get a cursory glance Tongue Tied

Regards, Ed

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 9:59 PM

I might have a couple of buildings with some interior details, usually right near the aisleway, but they're not high on my to-do list.

Wayne

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Posted by Water Level Route on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 6:02 AM

Thanks for all the feedback guys.  As I mentioned in my original post, I'm specifically talking about buildings with highly visible interiors.  I certainly don't think it's necessary for all building kits.

wjstix
when Walthers came out with their larger HO roundhouse and turntable, they teamed with Preiser to produce a "roundhouse workers" figure set of 8-10 prepainted workers

Just the sort of thing I'm talking about.  In this case, there is enough there to warrant a separate piece for sale.

SeeYou190
I do not understand the lack of interior details in kits. We'll pay big $$$ for a detailed locomotive.  I am sure we would pay more for buildings with interiors included.

MisterBeasley
I have the Baldy's Barbershop and Annie's Antiques kits, which I think came from  Model Power, complete with interiors and lighting for those first-floor storefronts.

Perfect example of what I'm talking about AND proof that it doesn't cost that much.  Those kits were very affordable and looked good when done.  I've got the Jimmy's Barbershop and Sneed's Feed & Tools.  Only the storefronts had details.  Basic figures work for them, so they weren't included, which was fine (other than the ones in the barber's chairs of course). 

Doughless
Offering a separate detail kit is a good idea.  It would probably be fairly pricey given that not everybody wants that level of detail.

JL makes a detail kit for their service station which is very affordable too.  Less then $25 for a good assortment of unique in application details.  If it's visible, it's hard to be passable with an obviously barren interior.

Pruitt
https://roometteslighting.com/ makes interiors for a limited number of kits in HO, N and O. They're one way you might be able to add interios to some structures.

That's true Mark, but I've done similar using the same textures site that Ed uses and/or google images.  Still, they are a nice solution to save some time and possibly frustration.  Interior images of stores from the 30's & 40's (my desired era) taken from the right perspective can be hard to find.  Then comes the colorization process...

richhotrain
As for figures, there is a wide choice out there already, so most needs should be able to be satisfied.

Most, probably, but I challenge you to find the servers (dressed in pink with white paper hats on) shown on the Walthers Vintage DQ box photo.  Unobtainium.  And what would it have cost Walthers to include two figures on the parts sprues for the rest of the structure?  Not much.  I can make some basic shapes to represent the ice cream machines inside, but figures in the right uniform-nope.  Probably would have increased the kit cost by a negligible amount.  No big deal and boy would I have been happier with it.  And if somebody didn't want them, leave them out.  How many of us have left parts off kits or saved them for other uses?

richhotrain
Mike, I hear you, but I doubt that the manufacturers do. We need to send a letter directly to them in the likely event that they do not read this forum.

True Rich, but the thought of sending letters to all the different manufacturers seemed to be more time than I have available lately.  Besides, maybe somebody from one of them reads this stuff.  We've had reps from a couple manufacturers on here before.  Even a blind bird gets a worm once in a while!Laugh

gmpullman
and beginning to fill the space with storage shelves and various bits just to make it look "busy".

Ed, where do you get your stuff?  Shapeways?  You seem to have no shortage of bits.  I'm envious sir!

gmpullman
When I have visitors they mostly seem to get a kick out of peeking in the windows and doorways. The trains kind of get a cursory glance 

Similar experience here.

Cheers everyone!

Mike

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Posted by NorthBrit on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 6:42 AM

We have similar challenges here in the U.K..

It would be nice to have figures included.  If kit companies do not want to add them,  surely they could name other companies where suitable accessories could be bought.

 

David

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Posted by wrench567 on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 6:59 AM

  Items such as shelves, counters, machinery, desks and chairs is one thing. They are timeless and span the eras most people model. Figures would be harder for a manufacturer to put in kit form. What era? The era I model women wore big hats, long dresses, and heels outside the house. Men wore hats and sharply dressed unless they were working at a laborious job. Figures for the modern times would be sweat cloths, pajamas, jeans, T shirts, sneakers, suits, ties, pant suits, short dresses and so on. Impossible for a manufacturer to predict.

    Pete.

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 7:30 AM

Water Level Route

My wife bought me the Walthers Vintage Dairy Queen kit a couple years ago.  The photo on the box shows a couple servers inside that are perfect for it.  Think I could find any though?  No way.  No idea where they got them for the photo.  I can't understand why they don't include a couple on the parts sprue for the building.  Would be easy enough to do. 

Water Level Route
richhotrain
As for figures, there is a wide choice out there already, so most needs should be able to be satisfied. 

Most, probably, but I challenge you to find the servers (dressed in pink with white paper hats on) shown on the Walthers Vintage DQ box photo.  Unobtainium.  And what would it have cost Walthers to include two figures on the parts sprues for the rest of the structure?  Not much.  I can make some basic shapes to represent the ice cream machines inside, but figures in the right uniform-nope.  Probably would have increased the kit cost by a negligible amount.  No big deal and boy would I have been happier with it.  And if somebody didn't want them, leave them out.  How many of us have left parts off kits or saved them for other uses?

You do raise a very interesting question here, Mike. Where did Walthers come up with those figures for the Vintage Dairy Queen structure.
 
I searched through 60 pages of HO scale figures on the Walthers website and found nothing. The only thing even close were some in-line skaters and some roller skaters struggling to maintain their balance.
 
Have you contacted Walthers to inquire where those figures might be purchased?
 
Rich

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Posted by Water Level Route on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 8:36 AM

Rich, I had the same experience trying to find them.  I scoured both the Walthers and Preiser sites.  Nothing.  I even tried shapeways, but that was a nightmare trying to find anything.  Nothing like the last time I tried them.  Maybe I was having a brain fart that day.  Never thought about contacting Walthers. Dunce I'll try them and see if they can offer any insight as to where they got them.  Thanks.

Mike

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 8:43 AM

Water Level Route

Never thought about contacting Walthers. Dunce I'll try them and see if they can offer any insight as to where they got them.  Thanks.

Since those figures are shown on the box cover, surely they are actual HO figures. I cannot imagine Walthers simply drawing them in the otherwise actual photo of the shop.

Rich

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 10:12 AM

There are thousands of detail parts available including being able to buy boxes of FSM details now that someone new owns the company.

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Posted by Mark B on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 11:13 AM

So who has the FSM detail parts? Always liked them but lost track after FSM stopped production.

Mark B.

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Posted by dknelson on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 11:35 AM

I certainly agree that there are certain structures, particularly main street stores, industrial buildings, roundhouses, etc with such large windows that the lack of some level of interior detailing (AND the lack of actual floors on a multifloor structure) takes away from the realism even if the structure is not lighted and even if the roof is not removable.

Related to that was Tony Koester's suggestion years ago -- why didn't someone make sets of after-market windows and doors for particular otherwise-good kits where the windows and doors were the weakest link and way too bulky (AHM/IHC/Revell/ConCor/ LikeLike, and I suppose you could even put some Plasticville in there).  

Now having said that unless it is a contest model or is well lighted and room lights are dimmed on the layout, much interior detail can need not be great models and indeed just about any generic shapes of "something" can be good enough.  For example, take a normal two story house.  Second story floor?  Yes needed because you can see there is no floor.  Interior walls?  Yes otherwise you can see from side to side.  Beds, dressers, bathtubs, bookcases?  Well .... even with fairly large windows vague shapes of wood or plastic painted minimally might be good enough to convey the notion that that is what is in there.

Someone mentioned caboose interiors.  Someone, I think Campbell, used to sell such an interior rather cheaply and I installed it in one of my cabooses.  But with no interior lights and no removable roof ... well, I guess I know it's in there.  For another caboose I just took various pieces of balsa, painted them that gray green of most caboose interiors and got exactly the same very slight benefit from a full interior.  A person looking in that caboose window might even proclaim it to be super-detailed!

Someone else mentioned Greenway.  When they used to come to train shows I did load up on some of their really nice die cast machine shop tools for a factory on my layout where on summer days the big doors (that admitted freight cars and locomotives) were wide open and even from the street you could see the big lathes and large milling machines and huge drill presses that were near that door.  A little further in and all you could see was "big things."  To model those "big things" I have kept and use stuff that would otherwise go into the recycle bin: the threaded rod and gear like twist thing from containers for deoderant sticks, the interior support and short cylinder from dental floss, the odd caps and tops from hotel/motel shampoo bottles, scotch tape dispensers, and other such things. 

Dave Nelson  

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 5:06 PM

In lieu of interiors for structures that aren't near the front of the layout, a simple view block will eliminate the empty shell look. I got the idea from a structure that was a prebuilt version of the Gemini Building. It had two sheets of black construction paper fastened in an X shape and inserted so that each sheet ran from one corner to the opposite corner. It's easy to replicate. it prevents looking into the structure through the windows of one wall and seeing the windows of a lower floor on the adjacent wall which makes it obvious it is just an empty shell of a building. Some people think it's important to have some level of detailed interiors but to me the focus should be on the railroad aspects of the layout and the structures are just there to provide a realistic backdrop without being a distraction. I have very few structures with detailed interiors and none of them are a distraction. 

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 9:38 PM

Water Level Route
Ed, where do you get your stuff?  Shapeways?  You seem to have no shortage of bits.  I'm envious sir!

Thanks, Mike! Fifty years of building kits and saving every bit of "stuff" leftover. Plus always keeping an eye out for detail goodies as they come along. Often, I toss in a few odds-and-ends when I send in an order especially if I need a minimum amount to get reduced shipping.

Often times if you don't get this stuff when it is available it seems like you never see it again. I've bought a few things from Shapeways, sometimes other eBay sellers, Tichy, MB Klein or Hobbylinc.

Other stuff is kitbashed or cabbaged together with styrene, wood or what ever is handy.

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 10:32 PM

Water Level Route
Probably would have increased the kit cost by a negligible amount.  No big deal and boy would I have been happier with it.  And if somebody didn't want them, leave them out.  How many of us have left parts off kits or saved them for other uses?

And you would get complaints from people about having to pay for "useless" figures they can't use. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Having gotten my start in an era when superdetailing was a high art, I'm used to the idea of having a basic kit (loco, car, building, whatever) and then buying aftermarket items to bring it the level of detail I want. And in my sixty years of modeling, I've never seen the quantity and variety of what we are offered today. 

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, June 9, 2022 10:22 AM

dknelson
Someone mentioned caboose interiors. Someone, I think Campbell, used to sell such an interior rather cheaply and I installed it in one of my cabooses. But with no interior lights and no removable roof ... well, I guess I know it's in there.

I think you're thinking of the old wood interior kits from Suydam (Kit 421) in the little yellow box. I always grab them if I find them at a train show. They work great with the old MDC caboose kits, since it's very easy to build those with removeable roofs.

About the Walthers / Preiser figure sets I mentioned, I think one reason they did those is that they weren't 'kit specific'; anybody modelling an engine service facility could use the roundhouse worker figures regardless of who made the structure.

BTW the new Walthers interior kit for gas stations is an example of one that would fit several manufacturer's kits rather than being specific to one.

Stix
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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, June 9, 2022 10:29 AM

John-NYBW

In lieu of interiors for structures that aren't near the front of the layout, a simple view block will eliminate the empty shell look. I got the idea from a structure that was a prebuilt version of the Gemini Building. It had two sheets of black construction paper fastened in an X shape and inserted so that each sheet ran from one corner to the opposite corner. It's easy to replicate. it prevents looking into the structure through the windows of one wall and seeing the windows of a lower floor on the adjacent wall which makes it obvious it is just an empty shell of a building. Some people think it's important to have some level of detailed interiors but to me the focus should be on the railroad aspects of the layout and the structures are just there to provide a realistic backdrop without being a distraction. I have very few structures with detailed interiors and none of them are a distraction. 

 

Yes.  Looking through multiple front windows and seeing through the back windows gives that empty building feel.  Simply preventing that helps a lot Painting the backside window glass black from the inside works too.  From the distance we view the models...and the typical reflection of glass windows during the day...not much detail is going to be seen...unless the rooms themselves have bright lighting.  Buildings along the foreground matter more.

- Douglas

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Posted by snjroy on Thursday, June 9, 2022 10:36 AM

Well, about rolling stock interiors, I always found odd that so many of my passenger cars have great details underneath the car (that I cannot see), but without any details inside the car. 

Simon

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