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Top Ten Fine Scale Miniatures Kits

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Top Ten Fine Scale Miniatures Kits
Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, May 12, 2023 2:28 PM

Just out of curiosity, what are your ten favorite Fine Scale Miniatures kits?

These are mine:

195: Barnstead Lumber Company 1981

190: R. Schramm Manufacturing 1980

200: Rollin Sawyer Chemical Company 1982

JS-12: Oatman's Mercantile 2009

JS-15: Brownsville Depot 2012

280: Cartwright's Machine Shop 1994

265: Swakhammer's Welding 1990

JS-10: Avram's Baking 2007

175: Rail Car Shed 1979

Special: John Allen Structures 1981

-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 IRONROOSTER on Friday, May 12, 2023 4:08 PM

My favorite is the Coal and Sand Shed.  It's the only one I own and was a gift from my wife many years ago.

Paul

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, May 12, 2023 4:31 PM

Pricey kits.  I do not have any, but out of curiosity:

Barnstead 

Schramm

 

Henry

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, May 12, 2023 5:18 PM

Never owned any.

Rich

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Posted by tstage on Friday, May 12, 2023 6:00 PM

Me either, Rich.  I have enjoyed the few AMB kits I've purchased and assembled over the years.

Tom

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Posted by crossthedog on Friday, May 12, 2023 6:30 PM

I cant' afford those, not even at swap meet prices. People buy them as investments. They never build them, just sit on them and then sell them eventually and buy a yacht with the profits.

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, May 12, 2023 6:43 PM

crossthedog

I cant' afford those, not even at swap meet prices. People buy them as investments. They never build them, just sit on them and then sell them eventually and buy a yacht with the profits.

 

LOL. That's what they used to say about Department 56 collectibles.

Rich

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, May 12, 2023 8:37 PM

IRONROOSTER
My favorite is the Coal and Sand Shed.  It's the only one I own and was a gift from my wife many years ago.

I assume that is Kit #115. I own one of those also. I plan to build it with the coal shed as a storage shed. My intention is the use the Alexander models coal tower for my coaling needs in that area.

Kit #180 "Sand House" (it also includes a coal shed) is number 11 on my list, and is also one of the kits I own.

richhotrain
Never owned any.

I did not buy by first one until about a year ago. I simply had to have Barnstead Lumber, and then I got it for about $175.00, and the same seller sold me R Schramm Manufacturing for an easy $125.00 when I asked about it.

I have gotten very good deals on pretty much every one I have bought. I have eight now.

-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 SeeYou190 on Friday, May 12, 2023 8:37 PM

BigDaddy
Pricey kits.  I do not have any, but out of curiosity: Barnstead 

Barnstead Lumber is a masterpiece with a retail store, millwork shop, lumber shed, and storage shed all parts of the diorama.

In my opinnion, it certainly deserves to be at number one.

crossthedog
I cant' afford those, not even at swap meet prices. People buy them as investments. They never build them, just sit on them and then sell them eventually and buy a yacht with the profits.

The prices ar ecoming down. These have been like my collection of brass USRA locomotives. For some reason people bought them and stored them for me until I could afford them. Then they sold them to me at reasonable prices.

I don't know why so many people bought these kits just to sit them on a shelf for decades, but I sure am glad they did.

-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 crossthedog on Saturday, May 13, 2023 12:14 AM

SeeYou190
The prices ar ecoming down. These have been like my collection of brass USRA locomotives. For some reason people bought them and stored them for me until I could afford them. Then they sold them to me at reasonable prices.

Ha! Ch-chingggg! That's the way to do it. Way to go.

I do admire them. They look fantastic.

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, May 13, 2023 12:49 AM

crossthedog
Ha! Ch-chingggg! That's the way to do it. Way to go.

Recently snagged this one on eBay. A Campbell Howe Truss Bridge and a Fine Scale Miniatures engine house for $30.00!

Yes please!

-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 rrebell on Saturday, May 13, 2023 6:38 AM

Got a bunch I have bought over the years but of the ones I built only one has ended up on current railroad. They are very cheap now compaired to what they used to sell for.

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Posted by slammin on Saturday, May 13, 2023 7:23 AM

 SeeYou190 That was a great find! If the seller knew what he had, the title would have included Campbell and Fine Scale Miniature and most likely brought a higher sale price. Several years ago I ran across several listings that were titled Model Train Accessories. I purchased 5 lots of new Kadee freight cars (close to 20) for less that $5 each! Sellers that don't know what they are selling usually ask many times the value. 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, May 13, 2023 7:25 AM

Sold them for years when I worked in the hobby shop. Had a good friend who's layout had that sort of theme and he built lots of them. They are works of art, and in my opinion my friend made them better than the originals.

I've built lots of other craftsman kits, Campbell, etc.

But in general, FSM kits don't fit my era or theme all that well.

I'm sure I could take one and turn it into my vision for my layout - but as presented they are not my thing.

Never saw one that I felt would fill that perfect spot on any of my layouts.

While my layouts often have had some rural structures and industries, my theme has always been to depict a small city, a reasonably prosperous one, and the rural areas either side of that city.

Industry can be messy and dirty, and old building do show age, but even when I sold MATCO TOOLS in the oldest parts of Baltimore, few buildings/businesses showed the kind of neglect often protrayed in FSM kits as presented by their designer.

These kits are simply not in line with my life experiance - even with my considerable time spend in rural Appalachia. Even the people in West Virginia know what a paint brush is......

To those who are struck by the prices - look closely at the complexity and detail. I have no problem with their value - if I wanted one.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, May 13, 2023 7:46 AM

I have a thought on something else that has been brought up in this thread - finding bargains.

Sometimes sellers don't know what they have and they let stuff go for well below market value.

AND sometimes, whether they know or not, they simply don't care. They want to be rid of whatever itis as quickly as possible. The profit is secondary.

Years ago I bought two Bachmann 2-6-6-2's for $75 each, new in the box, never ran. Why so cheap? Soundtraxx was working on a deal with Bachmann, Bachmann sent the locos to Soundtraxx, the deal was abandoned.

They put the locos on Ebay cheap to get rid of them. Clearly they knew what they were worth.....

Sheldon

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, May 13, 2023 7:55 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Years ago I bought two Bachmann 2-6-6-2's for $75 each, new in the box, never ran. Why so cheap? Soundtraxx was working on a deal with Bachmann, Bachmann sent the locos to Soundtraxx, the deal was abandoned.

They put the locos on Ebay cheap to get rid of them. Clearly they knew what they were worth..... 

Yikes, I paid $225 for mine at my LHS in 2004.

Rich

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, May 13, 2023 10:14 AM

richhotrain

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Years ago I bought two Bachmann 2-6-6-2's for $75 each, new in the box, never ran. Why so cheap? Soundtraxx was working on a deal with Bachmann, Bachmann sent the locos to Soundtraxx, the deal was abandoned.

They put the locos on Ebay cheap to get rid of them. Clearly they knew what they were worth..... 

 

 

Yikes, I paid $225 for mine at my LHS in 2004.

 

Rich

 

Don't feel bad, I paid over $200 each for two others that I have, and nearly $300 for the C&O H4 version.

But if I dollar cost average my entire loco roster of 140 powered units, that number is only about $110 each.

Back to structures for minute. I have built my share of wood kits, and some of the newer lazer cut kits are very nice, but honestly, I would rather work in plastic be it kit or scratch built.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, May 13, 2023 10:24 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
I have built my share of wood kits, and some of the newer lazer cut kits are very nice, but honestly, I would rather work in plastic be it kit or scratch built.

My two cities will be very different. Centerville will be all plastic or resin buildings of brick construction. Port Annabell will be all wood buildings from wood kits or scratchbuilt.

-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 ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, May 13, 2023 10:51 AM

SeeYou190

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
I have built my share of wood kits, and some of the newer lazer cut kits are very nice, but honestly, I would rather work in plastic be it kit or scratch built.

 

My two cities will be very different. Centerville will be all plastic or resin buildings of brick construction. Port Annabell will be all wood buildings from wood kits or scratchbuilt.

-Kevin

 

Kevin, I love every example of your model work I have ever seen in the photos you post.

Because it is the nature of things here in the Mid Atlantic I will have strong mix of buildings that represent all types of construction.

But I am not automaticly a fan of the idea that wood is the best medium for models of wood structures.

Just like in real life I'm not a fan of the molded in wood grain of vinyl siding and other modern building materials. It looks like what it is  - fake. You don't see the wood grain in real wood buildings in good, or even fair condition.

Wood sided buildings are baby butt smooth when they are built and painted, and even when they are left to age, you can't really see wood grain 200' away. You may see the variegrated colors of aged wood, but you need to be pretty close to see the wood grain.

Just my view.

When I build a wood structure, it gets sealed, sanded and painted to look smooth.

Sheldon 

 

    

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Posted by tstage on Saturday, May 13, 2023 10:57 AM

Besides laser kits, I've assembled two three HO craftsman kits: Alexander Scale Model (ASM) freight house, ASM flag stop, and a diminutive Suncoast Models FM concrete coaling tower.  All primarily wood, with a few pieces of cast metal.

Many, many hours went into cutting, assemblying, painting, and illuminating each structure, as the majority contents for each kit were primarily uncut strip wood.  The drawing for the coaling tower was in 1:1 dimensions so I had to convert everything into 87.1:1 before cutting.

A rewarding experience, once completed.  And each of those kits will share the spotlight on my next layout.

Tom

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Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, May 13, 2023 11:10 PM

OK... top ten did not work out...

So... what is everybody's single favorite Fine Scale Miniatures kit.

Here is a better view of mine, a very nicely assembled Barnstead Lumber:

-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 Sunday, May 14, 2023 3:07 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

But in general, FSM kits don't fit my era or theme all that well.

I'm sure I could take one and turn it into my vision for my layout - but as presented they are not my thing.

Never saw one that I felt would fill that perfect spot on any of my layouts.

While my layouts often have had some rural structures and industries, my theme has always been to depict a small city, a reasonably prosperous one, and the rural areas either side of that city.

Yeah, those are the reasons that I would not have any FSM kits on my 1950s urban setting layout. Also, those kits were offered in the 80s and 90s, fifteen to twenty-five years before I began scale modeling.

SeeYou190

OK... top ten did not work out...

So... what is everybody's single favorite Fine Scale Miniatures kit.

Kevin, is there someplace where we could get a look at the various kits so we could offer an opinion?

Rich

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, May 14, 2023 8:02 AM

SeeYou190

OK... top ten did not work out...

So... what is everybody's single favorite Fine Scale Miniatures kit.

Here is a better view of mine, a very nicely assembled Barnstead Lumber:

-Kevin

 

Kevin, very nice work. But for me, I would have to skip the dilapidated shed and make it somewhat better maintained.

This is a perfect example - I have never in my life seen an operating business actually using a structure in that condition.

Yet that is a George Sellios trademark.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, May 14, 2023 8:09 AM

richhotrain

Kevin, is there someplace where we could get a look at the various kits so we could offer an opinion?

 

Rich

 

Rich, you can see many of them here by clicking on the kit description:

http://fsmkits.homestead.com/kit_history.html

Sheldon

    

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Posted by kasskaboose on Sunday, May 14, 2023 8:20 AM

Joining the choir of not having owned any.  Way too expensive.  Are small structures $100 (or more) worth it?  I hope for that price they are easy to assemble and find.

They appear too old for my 1980s layout.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, May 14, 2023 8:40 AM

kasskaboose

Joining the choir of not having owned any.  Way too expensive.  Are small structures $100 (or more) worth it?  I hope for that price they are easy to assemble and find.

They appear too old for my 1980s layout.

 

Well, maybe you and others need to understand this is a product from a different era in this hobby when building difficult kits was the "norm".

I don't have any either for the reasons I have explained.

I don't know where you live, or what you model, but there were plenty of old buildings still standing in 1980 - just maybe not these kinds of buildings in the settings you are modeling - so I do get that part as well.

Most of them don't fit my theme either and I model 1954.

As for cost - as I have explained before - in this business cost is not determined by what manufacturers think people will pay.

Cost is more controlled by "cost to produce". As these kits became more elaborate they became more expensive - plain and simple.

Building kits like these was never for everybody, and likely even fewer are interested in them today.

Now, here is the thing - I have lots of these, and will likely buy more:

http://www.laserartstructures.com/

Scan thru and notice the difference.

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, May 14, 2023 8:49 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Kevin, very nice work. But for me, I would have to skip the dilapidated shed and make it somewhat better maintained.

Every fine scale miniature kit I am familiar with includes the parts in pristine condition and gives instructions to make them look dilapidated.

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
This is a perfect example - I have never in my life seen an operating business actually using a structure in that condition.

Really? You have never seen a semi-abandoned structure in an otherwise fully operational business.

I can think of hundreds of times I have seen run-down buildings in places of business. Everything from Norfolk Southern's yard near Atlanta to United States Sugar's Maintenance facility West of Clewiston.

My first job was for a service point for General Motors industrial diesel engines in South Florida. The main shop building was beautiful, but we had a core storage shed out back that looked a lot like the building at Barnstead Lumber.

When the new generator set was installed at the Lee County Civic Center the old enclosure for the previous generator set sat there for a decade and rotted before it was finally removed.

Surely you have seen rotting barns on otherwise fully functional farms.

-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 SeeYou190 on Sunday, May 14, 2023 9:00 AM

kasskaboose
Joining the choir of not having owned any.  Way too expensive.  Are small structures $100 (or more) worth it?

If you like the building, yes, they are worth it.

Kit #180 "Sand House" commonly sells on eBay for less than $100.00 and includes all these castings. Easily worth the price all by themselves.

-Photograph by Kevin Parson

The wooden parts for the four structures all come bagged and most are pre-cut to length.

-Photograph by Kevin Parson

The instructions and templates are all excellent.

kasskaboose
I hope for that price they are easy to assemble and find.

Easy to assemble... NO! Quite the opposite.

There is nothing difficult about assembly, there is just a lot too it.

When I assemble my "Sand House" the plan is to use the two buildings in the middle as a suuply shed, and the two pole sheds in other locations.

-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 ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, May 14, 2023 9:06 AM

SeeYou190

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
This is a perfect example - I have never in my life seen an operating business actually using a structure in that condition.

 

Really? You have never seen a semi-abandoned structure in an otherwise fully operational business.

I can think of hundreds of times I have seen run-down buildings in places of business. Everything from Norfolk Southern's yard near Atlanta to United States Sugar's Maintenance facility West of Clewiston.

My first job was for a service point for General Motors industrial diesel engines in South Florida. The main shop building was beautiful, but we had a core storage shed out back that looked a lot like the building at Barnstead Lumber.

When the new generator set was installed at the Lee County Civic Center the old enclosure for the previous generator set sat there for a decade and rotted before it was finally removed.

Surely you have seen rotting barns on otherwise fully functional farms.

-Kevin

 

I did say "actually using". As for farm buildings, much more chance of seeing abandoned buildings today than in 1954.

Most old barns around here are built from American Chestnut, and as such they don't rot even when abandoned, and there is big money in taking them down and salvaging the lumber when they are no longer wanted.

There is a difference between heavily weathered and aged, and just plain falling down.

In any case your lumber yard looks great, I just would have done that one item differently.

It is no secret that I have never cared for the George Sellios view of the depression era.

The scenery on the Severna Park Model Railroad Club layout depicts buildings in all states of repair - bet the few with roofs that clearly leak are modeled as "completely abandoned".

As a percentage, such structures are a very small minority around here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1exUChRKUhg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYUakeZ74TM

Just my experiance and few as it applies to my modeling.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by rrebell on Sunday, May 14, 2023 9:11 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Sold them for years when I worked in the hobby shop. Had a good friend who's layout had that sort of theme and he built lots of them. They are works of art, and in my opinion my friend made them better than the originals.

I've built lots of other craftsman kits, Campbell, etc.

But in general, FSM kits don't fit my era or theme all that well.

I'm sure I could take one and turn it into my vision for my layout - but as presented they are not my thing.

Never saw one that I felt would fill that perfect spot on any of my layouts.

While my layouts often have had some rural structures and industries, my theme has always been to depict a small city, a reasonably prosperous one, and the rural areas either side of that city.

Industry can be messy and dirty, and old building do show age, but even when I sold MATCO TOOLS in the oldest parts of Baltimore, few buildings/businesses showed the kind of neglect often protrayed in FSM kits as presented by their designer.

These kits are simply not in line with my life experiance - even with my considerable time spend in rural Appalachia. Even the people in West Virginia know what a paint brush is......

To those who are struck by the prices - look closely at the complexity and detail. I have no problem with their value - if I wanted one.

Sheldon 

 

Having renovated houses in Baltimore in the 70's, I can tell you there are parts of town like that, many. I live in California now and I see decay near the tracks in all major citys and minor ones like Napa in wine country where the average resort room rate can be $600.00 or more. 

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