Sometimes, things just go my way. Or as my father might have said, "Sometimes Norwegian mule-headedness and a willingness to suspend disbelief can be mistaken for genius."
Earlier this spring at the annual contest of the Madison, WI chapter of the International Plastic Modelers' Society (IPMS) one of my paper models -- Uhu02's 1/32-scale Lunar Excursion Module -- won the "Best Real Space/Science Fiction" award, over several expertly done plastic models. A few weeks earlier, in a smaller contest at the EAA Museum's annual "Winter Flight Fest," the same paper model, in competition with some outstanding plastic models, won the award for "Most Complex." At both events, there were the usual "I can't believe that's paper" comments, and I may have lured a few sprue cutters over to "the Dark Side."
Sauerkraut Distillery - HO Scale, Scratch-Built Paper Model
Mrs. Schnebley's Sauerkraut Distillery is one of the customers of my HO scale Ceresco & Wolf River RR. The model is my scratch-built paper copy of a Bar Mills kit ("Sal Manila's Eggs"). I added the silos and the industrial chimney.
I used clapboard siding, corrugated roofing, and other texture sheets from Clever Models. The doors and windows came from online texture libraries, all laid out in Photoshop Elements®. The stone foundation is from the Randsburg Barbershop kit, a paper model by Paper Creek (no longer in business.) The sign comes from somewhere on the Internet. I will add a loading dock and steps when I decide where the building will be placed on my layout.
George Taylor's Randsburg Barber Shop kit is available as a free download in the Architectural section of the PaperModelers.com forum. It's a little gem with very nice textures. And if you're a paper modeler and you're not a member of PaperModelers.net, slap yourself, than go join.
Here is my kitbash of the barbershop into a small shed. Except for a few pieces of stripwood leaning against the wall, it is all paper.
McIntyre Marine - HO Scale Scratch-Built Paper Model
McIntyre Marine is the largest shipper in Scots' Landing on my Ceresco & Wolf River HO scale shortline. This the the building before I repainted the sign. I scratch built the model in paper, using photos of a FOS Scale Models kit, built by Vilius Bileisis. Vilius does amazing model work and his blog (http://viliussm.blogspot.com/) is well worth a look.
The stairs and railings on my model are made of scale lumber. Everything else is paper. The cutout in the roof fits around a wooden support beam in the basement of our 1865 house. (Someone suggested that I remove the beam. I dread to think . . .) I will add figures, freight dock details, and power lines when the model is installed on the layout. The building and its wharf will be among the first things visitors will see when they enter my "train cave."
Some years ago, my wife and I moved into a new house
–actually an old house, built in 1865. I laid claim to half the basement and
began construction of a model railroad.
First, I installed sheetrock to the ceiling and insulation
to the walls in my layout area. The resulting ceiling was low, about six and a
half feet, and made lower still in places by support beams and hot water pipes.
I’m six feet tall, the ceiling was rather lower than that in spots, but this
was the space I was given and I resolved to make the best of it. Generous
amounts of foam rubber applied to pipes and beams helped to keep my skull
Above the sheetrock, in a corner of the layout area lived a small
family of little brown bats who were spending the winter in the rafters of the
basement. With just a half-inch of plaster between them and me, we, by
necessity, came to a gentleman’s agreement that prevailed most of the
time:I wouldn’t bother them and they
wouldn’t bother me.
I say most of the time. They were a disreputable bunch. They
would get rowdy now and then, and they could make a lot of noise, especially
when they’d been drinking. If they put up too much a racket, I would bang on
the ceiling and shout a few insults at them. Sometimes that would quiet them
down. Just as often, they would reply by squeaking insults at me. And their
insults could get awfully personal.
Occasionally, one of these miscreants would scramble over to
the un-sheetrocked part of the basement and drop down for a few snap rolls and
split-S’s around the basement, just to show off. I would acknowledge its
aerobatic skill with some fairly colorful comments, while my two young
daughters hid under the layout. Or maybe it was my comments that sent them
into hiding. I’m not entirely sure.
If the little aerobat got too close, I’d threaten it with my
tennis racket. If that didn’t work, I would retreat upstairs and watch “Making
Tracks” reruns until the little villains sobered up (the bats, not my
At their worst, the bats would sit above the sheetrock over
my head and tell dirty bat jokes, rolling around, scratching, giggling, and
snorting, and using the most gawdawful grammar. It was disgusting.
Of course this is all pretty typical for bats. I never met
one that could stay out of mischief or write a decent sentence. Well, maybe
one. There was a long-eared bat I met once in Amarillo, Texas, but that’s
When spring arrived, the bats moved out and I patched the crack
in the foundation that was their front door. It’s a lot quieter in the train
room now, except when I set my workbench on fire with my soldering gun, or when
a locomotive derails onto the basement floor. At times like those,
I’m kind of grateful to the little hairballs for all the colorful language they taught me.
Octagon Workshop - HO Scale Paper Model, Scratch Built
My latest paper model project is a stone octagon workshop in HO scale. It started with a scale drawing by Harold W. Russell, from the October 2017 issue of Model Railroader Magazine. The "Illinois Stone" texture sheet, shingle texture sheet, modified windows, and roof hatch are from Clever Models. Creating this model took a lot of work over the better part of a week, and it's far from perfect. The effort gave me a deeper appreciation for the work of people like Thom and Dave at Clever Models. Thank you, guys!