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Home  >>  Reviews  >>  Misc. Products

Scale Buildings

Published: March 26, 2002

It's common for newcomers to start out with a simple layout on the living room floor, and slowly, sometimes quickly, get discontent with setting it up, taking it down, only to set it up again. It's normal to wish for something more permanent.

So when the decision is made to create a permanent, or semi-
permanent layout, it is very common to want to add more than just track to the layout. It's the same thing that effects model railroaders, the need for detail and realism to complete the feel of real life racing. These details can be in the form of trees, people, or terrain, but the biggest, and probably the most costly detail, are buildings.

There are several options available. Some can be found in complete kit form, complete with people, and for many modelers, this is the way to go.
Another option is a new series of kits from www.scalebuildings.com. These kits cater to the scratchbuilder, giving them a firm foundation to start with, and allow the builder to take them to the next level of detail.
ScaleBuildings.com kits are precision laser cut from sheet styrene. The kits are packaged in bags, and are quite heavy. Right now three kits are available; Grandstands, Flag Tower, and Pedestrian Bridge. Retailing for between $22 and $29, these kits by the pound are already a good value.

Upon inspecting the pieces, I noticed that each piece is covered on each side with a protective film that must be removed prior to assembly.
This keeps the plastic sheets in great shape right up to assembly. It does get a bit tedious pealing it off all the pieces, but this is only a minor inconvenience, and if it keeps the pieces nice, so be it.

Each kit comes with printed instructions that are clear and concise, with necessary drawings to guide you step by step through construction. As I mentioned before, the pieces are precision cut, but until you actually start assembly do you realize this. There is no flash to trim, no molding nubs to cut off. All the work here is done, so all that's left is to remove the protective coatings, and start assembling.
I used Testors Cement For Plastic Models, and it worked fine. You might prefer liquid cement, and I'm sure this would work equally well. I followed the directions, and found that the pieces fit exactly as advertised. There was no guesswork involved, and no extra trimming to make pieces fit. Everything was straight forward, and there were absolutely no problems encountered with assembly. I could say that certain steps, such as gluing the top platform "walkway" onto the sides of the bridge required a little finger gymnastics, but that would be making it sound more difficult than it was. One deviation from the directions that I found helpful was to glue the bottom steps in place immediately after gluing in the floor to help keep things square until the glue sets. The directions tell you to glue the steps in from the top down. Once the glue on the floor and bottom steps were set, I continued following the directions without a problem.
Being cut from white sheet styrene, these buildings will need some added detail, but that is always the fun part anyway. I might suggest that if you want to paint parts such as the steps, or the seats of the grandstands, you might want to paint them before assembly. I would recommend spraying them with your favorite flat colors. Using a color printer you could print out your favorite advertising to place along the fronts or
sides of the buildings to add that realistic look to your track.

In all, I give Scale Buildings a solid A+. They've done what they set out to do, they've created buildings aimed at the customizer, done them very well, with a promise for more to come. The buildings, when completed, are rock solid, with bullet proof construction that should withstand the worst impacts you can send at them. Bravo, to ScaleBuildings.com!
A big thank you to ScaleBuildings.com for providing me with these test samples. Be sure to check out their webpage for these and other products, including current and upcoming HO buildings, and a list of distributors.