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Top Ten Fine Scale Miniatures Kits

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, August 27, 2023 9:07 PM

John-NYBW
I just received it and am looking forward to building it. 

I am really looking forward to building mine too.

Right now, I am seriously in anticipation of getting the hobby workbench back into operation again.

-Kevin

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Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, August 27, 2023 12:15 PM

SeeYou190

The kit called Sand House is one of the better bargains to grab.

It is poorly named. It is actually a tool shed, sand house, and bucket coaling station all in one box.

-Kevin

 
I didn't win this auction but I got the same kit at a Buy it Now price for only about $15 more than the auction price. Had I continued to bid on the auction, I might have driven up the price that much anyway. It is going to be perfect for the engine terminal at the end of my short line.
It will have a short turntable, and the FSM version of John Allen's engine house. I don't have a lot of space on the lead to the turntable and when I discovered it had a coal bucket loader and a tool shed, I knew it would be perfect for this space. I just received it and am looking forward to building it. 
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, August 15, 2023 12:14 AM

The kit called Sand House is one of the better bargains to grab.

It is poorly named. It is actually a tool shed, sand house, and bucket coaling station all in one box.

-Kevin

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Posted by maxman on Monday, August 14, 2023 4:33 PM

Thanks.  Always curious as to the final outcome.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, August 13, 2023 11:39 PM

maxman
Did you happen to go back and see what these eventually sold for?

They went for very low prices.

The prices for these kits is easily in reach now.

-Kevin

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Posted by maxman on Sunday, August 13, 2023 10:59 PM

SeeYou190

A couple of Fine Scale Miniatures classic structures just got listed for a low opening bid.

-Kevin

 

Did you happen to go back and see what these eventually sold for?

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Posted by billslake on Sunday, August 13, 2023 7:55 PM

Over the years I've bought a number of FSM kits ... never at full price, and usually at train shows.  Even then, they were more expensive than most other kits.  But ... the time I spent trying to make the disparate pieces into a presentable model was well worth what I did pay.  Shake the box they aren't ... and for that I'm glad.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, August 5, 2023 8:29 AM

A couple of Fine Scale Miniatures classic structures just got listed for a low opening bid.

-Kevin

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Posted by John-NYBW on Saturday, June 17, 2023 2:01 PM

SeeYou190

Somebody bought the kit above. I hope they inspect it and return it. There is no excuse for marketing that kit as complete.

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

Some of the Fine Scale detail castings are a bit weird.

I am not sure about that anvil up there on that wooden shelf. I don't think that is safe at all.

-Photograph by Kevin Parson

Also, some of the barrel stacks don't look quite right.

-Kevi

 

I've got a similar collection of castings from my Roadside Delights kit and a South River kit. I've thrown them all in a drawer and occasionally find them to be quite useful. I'm a bit of a packrat in that I never throw anything out that I think might be useful someday. 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, June 17, 2023 11:30 AM

Somebody bought the kit above. I hope they inspect it and return it. There is no excuse for marketing that kit as complete.

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

Some of the Fine Scale detail castings are a bit weird.

I am not sure about that anvil up there on that wooden shelf. I don't think that is safe at all.

-Photograph by Kevin Parson

Also, some of the barrel stacks don't look quite right.

-Kevi

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, June 6, 2023 11:28 AM

Watch out for deals that look too good to be true.

This looks like a good price and a great kit, but...

The kit is missing the main building, some detail parts, and the instructions. It also has some parts from other kits mixed in.

The description in the auction states: 

"This item's Condition is Used: Model kit was bought in a collection; it is complete with moderate shelf wear."

This is misleading and completely innacurate. Someone who does not know what should be in this kit might be fooled.

-Kevin

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, June 2, 2023 6:38 PM

MisterBeasley
I have visited the Franklin and South Manchester railroad model that was built by George Selios.  It's everything everyone says it is. 

That must have been wonderful.

I doubt I will ever see it. It is looking less and less like I will ever make that planned trip to the Northeast.

-Kevin

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, June 2, 2023 4:23 PM

I have none of the kits, but I have visited the Franklin and South Manchester railroad model that was built by George Selios.  It's everything everyone says it is.  It's a perfect stage for his highly detailed models.  Beautiful work.  I spent hours just looking at it.

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

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, June 2, 2023 2:08 PM

rrebell
No, the guy who bought the company from Sellios for Railroad Kits was Jimmy and he bought the buisness and last I heard still sells the detail parts sepeately.

A man named Bill owns RailroadKits now. This is the company that sells the Fine Scale Miniatures castings seperately.

He also owns Microlumina.

I have his contact information if you need it.

-Kevin

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, May 29, 2023 8:28 AM

drgwcs

I have always thought that a great deal of the attraction to the FSM kits was the huge amounts of detail parts included, all unique. In 2018 after FSM had closed George Sellios had licensed a company named railroad kits to make the detail castings provided they did not make the kits. I had bought  a few at the National Narrow Gauge convention in 2020. Not sure of address and it does not appear they have a working website. 

Jim

 

No, the guy who bought the company from Sellios for Railroad Kits was Jimmy and he bought the buisness and last I heard still sells the detail parts sepeately. Haven't talked to him in years since he sold his forum site. As far as cost of FSM kits, I have paid as little as $20 for one and another at $35, never paid more than $100 and you bought them for the step by step instructions and the castings. For one of the staions FSM made, the castings alone would set you back more than $100. There was at least one person out there that built them not run down. The train route thru silicon valley has many train stations that date from the 1890's and are still in use but ussually not for the railroad. The one in Burlingame did dot close untill 2004 for ticket sales and that one was built in 1894.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, May 29, 2023 7:28 AM

I only own two of the kits in my own top ten list.

Of the ten kits I own, here is how I ranked them:

1: 195 Barnstead Lumber Company 1981

2: 190 R. Schramm Manufacturing 1980

11: 180 Sand House 1979

15: 115 Coal And Sand Shed 1973

19: 205 Wilfred J. Brambell Company 1982

24: 160 Logging Repair Shed 1977

58: 130 Ezra Cooper's Garage 1974

61: 150 Old Time Freight House 1976

65: 155 Coal Dock 1976

66: 035 Two Stall Enginehouse 1968

It seems I need to rethink my list. The Old Time Freight Shed should not be below Ezra Cooper's Garage.

-Kevin

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Posted by MidlandPacific on Sunday, May 28, 2023 11:44 AM

I would say one of the two is.  I really like two story stations, but I also like interlocking.  If most model railroaders are imaginary engineers, I suppose I would say I am an imaginary block operator.  

http://mprailway.blogspot.com

"The first transition era - wood to steel!"

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, May 28, 2023 10:10 AM

MidlandPacific
If you you're not a fan of clutter or dilapidation, the two FSM kits that still show well are my two favorites- "The Depot" and "The Signal Tower:"

Thank you for the response. Is one of those your favorite FSM kit?

Her are pictures of #110 The Depot and #30 The Signal Tower:

I think too many people think that FSM kits are cluttered more than they actually are. I think the first "big clutter kit" was Ezra Cooper's Garage. It was just a box of sticks and heavy box of castings.

-Photographs by Kevin Parson

Unfortunately the detail castings in this kit were repetitive, and did not include details that were approriate for an actual garage.

The most cluttered of any FSM kit was Chippy Hollow Hardware. Basically and small cast metal building, some sticks, and a ton of random castings. I think this is one of the kits people think of when considering FSM models, and not all the beautiful reallistic kits they made.

-Kevin

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Posted by MidlandPacific on Sunday, May 28, 2023 9:32 AM

If you you're not a fan of clutter or dilapidation, the two FSM kits that still show well are my two favorites- "The Depot" and "The Signal Tower:"

https://www.trainz.com/products/fine-scale-miniatures-110-ho-scale-the-depot-building-kit

https://brasstrains.com/Classic/Product/Detail/106102/HO-1-87-FSM-30-Craftsman-Signal-Tower-2-5-x-5-Structure-Nicely-Built

 

http://mprailway.blogspot.com

"The first transition era - wood to steel!"

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, May 25, 2023 9:14 AM

I own nine Fine Scale Miniatures kits, but they not all in my top ten. If fact, I only own two of the kits that are in my personal top ten.

SeeYou190
These are my top ten.

So, here are notes about my top ten selections:

195: Barnstead Lumber Company

I own this kit, and I have a space set aside for it on the plan. I will use Campbells Saez Sash & Door Kit #2 for the lumber house instead of the lumber shed that comes with the kit. 

190: R. Schramm Manufacturing

I also own this kit and have a space earmarked for its placement. This is one of the great kits that could be on almost any layout.

200: Rollin Sawyer Chemical Company

I love this kit, but will never own it or build it. There is no space, and I probably will never have enough time.

JS-12: Oatman's Mercantile

Do not own it, but would buy it in an instant if it was for a very good price. Otherwise, I can live without it.

JS-15: Brownsville Depot

This was originally intended to be the depot in Centerville, but then the prices of the Magnuson Califax Station absolutely fell through the floor. Seriously, they were selling in the $200.00 range, then almost overnight they were selling for $25.00, so I bought one of them instead. However, I am still considering this kit for the Centerville Depot, and time will tell. Currently I have no plans to buy it.

280: Cartwright's Machine Shop

Beautiful kit, but it has a huge footprint, and I will never have room for everything I want. This kit is out.

265: Swakhammer's Welding

I do not own this one yet, but I will. I have the Walthers Cornerstone Railcar Excursion Shop that will be built as a "seat-filler" for this kit's location on the layout. I will buy this one when all my other FSM kits are completed. It is a $400.00 kit, and I am not going to spend that kind of money until I am ready to build.

JS-10: Avram's Baking

Gorgeous model, but it does not fit in with the rest of my layout plans, so I will not have one.

175: Rail Car Shed

This one makes the top ten only because of the excellent casting set included. Even if you don't ever intend to build this kit, you should go to Railkits and buy the casting set for this kit. It is worth every penny. Great stuff. I bought the casting kit from RK Models and not the FSM kit myself.

Special Run: John Allen Structures

I will not buy this set. Too expensive, and I already have all the engine facility structures I will need. However, it is a great set of buildings, not just an enginehouse. The detail castings are extensive, and the design is wonderful. Kit numbers 035 and 135 both have a nearly identical roundhouse. Kit 135 includes an extensive set of castings. I have kit 035 for the enginehouse.

-Kevin

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Posted by John-NYBW on Monday, May 22, 2023 3:22 PM

SeeYou190

 

 
John-NYBW
I remember when the John Allen Special kit was announced in 1981. At the time I was living paycheck to paycheck and couldn't really afford the price at the time.

 

I was in eighth grade when it came out. I wanted it so badly. I remember it as being the first high-end model train item I really desired.

 

-Kevin

 
I was pleasantly surprised when I went out on ebay several years ago and found I could still get one of those prized enginehouses. At the time, there were several being offered. Now I don't see any and haven't for a couple of years. I guess I just got lucky to be looking when I did. 
 
Now Menard's is offering a pre-built enginehouse that is obviously a copy of John Allen's engine house. I still haven't gotten around to building mine and don't know when I'm going to find the time. I'm considering using the Menard's one as a stand-in until I can get the FSM kit built.
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, May 22, 2023 12:03 PM

John-NYBW
I remember when the John Allen Special kit was announced in 1981. At the time I was living paycheck to paycheck and couldn't really afford the price at the time.

I was in eighth grade when it came out. I wanted it so badly. I remember it as being the first high-end model train item I really desired.

I begged my parents, but no luck. They bought me Grandma's House from Campbell scale models instead, and told me if I successfully built it I could have the John Allen Special.

Then the John Allen Special sold out immediately. I switched to N scale the next year, and the kit of Grandma's House remained unbuilt for more than a decade.

I finally built it and put it in the corner of my fourth SGRR layout.

I was going to send a picture of it to my dad and tell him he now owed me the John Allen Special FSM kit, but he passed away while I was building the kit.

-Kevin

Living the dream.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, May 21, 2023 10:27 AM

John-NYBW
When building FSM kits, one can include as much or as little of the details as they like.

Absolutely. There is generally enough detail in a FSM kit for 2-3 structures. Great stuff.

John-NYBW
One detail I've seen that is completely wrong is the inclusion of nail holes in clapboard siding.

I am on the fence about this one. I know it is not accurate, but it does add something to the model.

I have a 1/4" pounce wheel, and it is easy enough to do, but it does look exagerated.

-Kevin

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, May 20, 2023 1:00 PM

John-NYBW

George Selios did sometimes go a bit overboard with the clutter and the distressed properties. For that matter, so did John Allen who was his inspiration. I don't think that detracts at all from the magnificent overall effect of their work.

When building FSM kits, one can include as much or as little of the details as they like. I left some of it off of the two I built. 

One detail I've seen that is completely wrong is the inclusion of nail holes in clapboard siding. If clapboards are installed correctly, the nails are covered by the course above it. Exposed nail holes in clapboards would be a sign of shoddy craftsmanship.  

 

About clapboard siding - yes and no. 

Real wood siding was and still is nailed both above the lap and below - BUT - with finishing nails, or "box" nails (which have a bigger head, but not as big as a framing nail) that are set and filled and would not show a hole visable in HO scale even in a deteriorated state.

My pet peeve is exaggerated wood grain. On that note, modern vinyl siding with molded in wood grain is the worst looking thing ever put on a house.....

Wood siding is baby butt smooth when installed and painted, and it takes a LONG time and a lot of neglect to make it look otherwise.

On a model, NOTHING correctly simulates wood clapboard in reasonable condition as well as plastic with a nice paint job, even if you want it to look a little weathered.

To my eye, "exaggeration" is not "detail".

Modern cement board clapboard siding is completely "blind nailed" above the lap - with roofing nails interestingly enough. I have installed it on many houses, including my former home:

 

Here is a closer view:

 

Try to guess what is wood and what is not.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by John-NYBW on Saturday, May 20, 2023 12:14 PM

George Selios did sometimes go a bit overboard with the clutter and the distressed properties. For that matter, so did John Allen who was his inspiration. I don't think that detracts at all from the magnificent overall effect of their work.

When building FSM kits, one can include as much or as little of the details as they like. I left some of it off of the two I built. 

One detail I've seen that is completely wrong is the inclusion of nail holes in clapboard siding. If clapboards are installed correctly, the nails are covered by the course above it. Exposed nail holes in clapboards would be a sign of shoddy craftsmanship.  

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, May 18, 2023 6:41 AM

drgwcs
WOW you stocked up... When I caught them at the national narrow gauge convention I didn't buy a ton just what I needed for my ongoing projects.

As I mentioned in my post about Laser-Art kits, these spartan buildings NEED more detail, and RK Kits have some of the best at excellent prices.

A also strongly believe in always buying a lifetime supply.

Some of my building projects are also "craftsman rebuilds" of plastic kits. This Life-Like kit has an excellent design, and just begs to be made from wood siding, scale lumber, and a pound of RK (FSM) castings.

Several modelers have already made rebuilds of this kit. It can be an amazing model.

-Kevin

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Posted by MJ4562 on Wednesday, May 17, 2023 7:45 PM

John had a model of a burned down house but not the engine house itself.  The house was built with similar board-by-board style as the engine house which is why you may be conflating the two. 

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Posted by maxman on Wednesday, May 17, 2023 6:12 PM

Yes, I know his house burned down.  But I thought that he had done a scene showing his original engine house burned down with a loco in the wreckage.

(eventually being outdone by E.L.Moore blowing up his dynamite plant model)

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, May 17, 2023 5:37 PM

maxman

Did not John Allen burn down the original engine house?

No, John Allen's house burned down shortly after he died, destroying most of his magnificent Gorre & Daphetid RR.

If I remember right, it's suspected the fire was started by a faulty space heater that John might have known was defective and not used. Some of his friends had come by the house trying to see if the railroad could be preserved and might have turned that heater on. I'm going from memory so some of the details might not be accurate. 

 

 

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