November 23, 2009 | Comments Off on HO and O Scale Freebie

Clever Models are giving out for FREE, a Railroad Crossing Tower in both HO and O scales. This free crossing tower also has some windows and doors that you could use for other projects.

Texture-wise, they have the best resolution when it comes to card/paper based modelers. Last year i had tried out their Mercantile building and was very impressed with the final outcome(JPEG). I have their disk-based products on my wishlist and will indulge myself soon.
I don’t know how long the railroad tower will remain free, so get your model now.

November 4, 2009 | Comments Off on HO Scale License Plates

Randy Lee of Highland Station created some HO scale license plates (Link: PDF) for your vehicles. These are free for personal use. Use them for your vehicles or scatter them around in a junk-yard.

October 22, 2009 | 1 Comments »

Evan Design have released another free upgrade to their popular Model Builder software bringing the version to 1.6.12

Apart from the improvements in printing and menu structure, they have added the ability to use the Windows Clipboard to copy/paste images from other programs directly into Model Builder. This is a real time-saver for getting any images from a google search into your drawing quickly. You might have to resize the image in Model Builder after you paste it but this save you a lot of time.

Let see how easily this is done.

I have opened an inbuilt sample structure in Model Builder.

The side of the building looks empty and i decide to add an old advertisement poster from the Advertising Archives to the side of my building.

Step 1

Find your image,right-click and “Copy Image” to the clipboard.
If you are using Internet Explorer, you will see “Copy”

Step 2
From the Model Builder menu, select Edit….Paste to put your image into the drawing.

Step 3
Resize and you are done! Simple!

October 21, 2009 | 2 Comments »

If you are looking for a model structure project, try out scratch building the Perkins Produce. (Warning: PDF Link) This is from an old Model Railroader magazine and i like that the drawing plans are for HO so you just need to print it. Building this with cardstock is one of my things to do, if i get around to it.

August 10, 2009 | Comments Off on Scratchbuilding from a Photograph – Part 1

Of the many photos i had taken on my recent NY trip, the picture of the Mystic River Foundry beckoned me to build it. The L-shape and the different windows of this foundry seems to be a fun project to scratch build. Here are some of the pictures of the foundry i had taken:

Dimensioning
Estimating from the Google Maps satellite view of the location, the main building seemed to be 50′ by 50 ‘ and the extension was 30′ by 25’ . Modelbuilder lets you build bigger structures by allowing you to spill over to two/four pages. Then while assembling, you would have to glue the overlap edges to create the bigger structure.

I, however, wanted to keep it all on one page so decided to keep the main structure at 50′ by 50′ and the extension to 20′ by 20′

Laying Bricks in Modelbuilder
The foundry has off-white brick walls. Modelbuilder does not have white/off-white bricks so we are going to use the Bricks Material Designer to create our custom bricks. Let me walk you through this process.

Launch the Brick Material Designer…

The Brick Material Designer View

(click for a larger view)

The Brick Material Designer lets you change 4 brick Colors and the mortar color.

Double-click each of the brick color to launch the color editor. Here in the color editor we get to choose the individual brick color.

You can use the System Color Palette to select a pre-defined color or type in 255 for a pure white brick or 239 for a slightly off-white brick.

After defining the brick colors and the mortar color, you can preview what the brick will look like. You could also select three kinds of texture and weathering overlays but i found this to be very harsh and prefer using chalks for weathering when the walls are finally assembled.

If you like the bricks color design, click on the Bring this brick to the design screen to return to the main windows with the brick texture as the background.

(click for a larger view)

Making walls with the Brick background
Modelbuilder has PaperTools that let you create roof ridges and other odd shapes.

Since the brick texture is your image background, there are no “wall” paper tools to help you use the background as your main image. I created a horizontal line and a vertical line that you can download and import it as an image into your design to create walls.

Hope you will join me in the next few weeks as i create a detailed foundry plan and start on my build. I get time on the weekends so my scratch building updates will most likely be on Mondays.

Downloads:
Horizontal Line
Vertical Line

July 22, 2009 | Comments Off on Model Builder Downloads

Evan Design has created a new community site to showcase Model Builder designs. This site has design files in HO, N and various other scales available for download.

Note: I tried to open a mb4 file directly by clicking on it and could not. However, if you right-click and “Save Link As” or “Save Target As” and save it to your pc, you will be then be able to open it from Model Builder without any problems.

Their exhaustive tips page clears up any confusion you might have regarding printing and paper sizes, among others. You could also upload your own design if you would like to share your works of art. I just uploaded the HO Scale Barn i had done and received a $5 off coupon towards a future purchase. Maybe i will get the Brickyard. Hmmm…..

July 8, 2009 | Comments Off on New Updates for Model Builder

Evan Design have released a free update to their Model Builder program which will bring it up to version 1.6.6

There are no major changes to the program in this update. Support for larger sizes of paper such as tabloid is now available. The menu items have been rearranged. New users will find the sample buildings and a scale guide on the main screen very useful though the design/layout is somewhat cluttered.

Its been a while since i last used Model Builder. Maybe its time to start a project soon…

Previously on Passingloop featuring Model Builder:

1. Free HO Scale Textures.
2. Textures for modeling.
3. Scratchbuilding a barn.
4. Fading a sign in Model Builder.

May 11, 2009 | Comments Off on Scratchbuilding: More Free HO Textures

I haven’t gone back to scratchbuilding for some time now. Maybe sometime later i will get to it. Meanwhile I created some more PDF sheets of common textures we use for scratchbuilding structures. These were done in Model Builder. Click on the images to download them.
Note: These are in HO scale.

Bricks

Rusted Metal Roof

Also, I had posted the following textures previously.

Bricks

Roof

Siding

April 29, 2009 | 1 Comments »

I am always on the lookout for good building plans for model railroads. Today i found lots of great buildings in PDF format from the Illinois Historic Preservation Society. These are in HO scale and the color quality is good. You could print and build structures for Main Street, USA or create your very own set of Lincoln sites. They also have a line drawing version that you could build and then color it in.

You could easily adapt these drawing for your preferred scale by converting it from HO and using the factor as a enlargement/reduction percentage while printing. [ See previous post ]

Though there are many commercial buildings, the real gem is the Great Western Depot which was the site of Abraham Lincolns’ Farewell Speech as he left Springfield, Illinois for Washington, D.C. to become the 16th President of the United States.

Instructions are fairly straightforward. All you have to do is print on a 8.5”x11” cardstock and then cut out and glue. For more depth, you may want to print 2 or 3 copies of each wall and then layer it up. I plan to tackle the Lincoln Berry Store and would be posting my progress and “layering” methods.

March 11, 2009 | Comments Off on Free HO Scale Crates


I was trying to create some HO scale crates using Paint Shop Pro. I wanted to give it some weight so printed it onto matte photo paper. I was not very happy with it at first. The paper is stiffer so when you bend it, you could see the whites of the paper along the bend. I had to rub some brown chalk powder in it. It now looks somewhat decent to be placed in your yard, somewhere in the background.

You could use the image below, to print and assemble a few for your layout. Please click on the image to view it full size and then save it to your computer. While printing it, please see that the image is scaling at 100% to get HO scale. The crate is a cube of 4 scale feet.

If you would like me to try different sizes, let me know.

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