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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Quality kits with quality parts
For mid-level to advanced modelers.

I built a couple of these (shown) for the club.

These kits aren't super easy, and do require a level of determination, but they're very rewarding.
Instructions are on the "okay" plateau, but then I've never seen perfect ones.

Lots of die-cut parts, and enough trim and support pieces mean making a few cutting mistakes won't leave you short.
The only real necessity, (as with any wood structure kit) is to square-up everything as you glue, or the whole job will be a bust.

My only complaint is that not all the window glazing is outlined to the exact right dimensions. I used plain sheet acetate, and cut it to appropriate sizes.

Once assembled, these kits are tremendously rigid. Even so, interiors should be painted to prevent any chance of warping.

Die-cut basswood, card stock, and paper.
Some kits also have styrene or diecast parts.
Wood glue, Weldbond, PVA, or CA.

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Discussion Starter #5
There are several outstanding HO scale wood structure manufacturers that don't get a lot of attention... in part because the cost of upscale wood kits compared to plastic Walthers SceneMaster (e.g.) is usually a deal breaker, and the relative advanced modeling level required to build them is a bit discouraging.
However, so as to familiarize with some available options, here's a brief list of top drawer wood kits.

FOS
ITLA
B.T.S.
Builders In Scale
Model Train Structures
Laserkit

You'll find that generally the finest kits include Tichy parts, e.g., windows & doors, and well detailed styrene or diecast components (chimneys & smoke jacks) plus associated 'scatter', like barrels, crates, propane tanks, etc.
This caliber of kit is generally more expensive, but overall quality is also enhanced.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
This is a bashed wood structure, made from a FOS kit, which was 75% discounted because of a broken box. Several pieces, an entire wall, and the instructions were missing.
I believe it was the Carter Supply Co. kit.
Tichy windows were replaced, galvanized roofing was simulated with card stock, and scrap basswood parts completed the exterior.

It's currently only a foot-square diorama, but it'll eventually be transferred to the layout.

My point here is, that kits of high quality like FOS can render good structures even with missing components.

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Discussion Starter #7
Many Bar Mills kits incorporate an ingenious method of floor-to-wall joint assembly, with precisely spaced notches for joists.
The fit is so secure, you might hesitate to use glue... but that wouldn't be good.
BTW, they include windows and doors of their own manufacture, which IMO are a notch or two below Tichy in quality.

They also offer other items, like the "Insta-Fence"... a nicely detailed length of wood fencing (in virtually every scale).
Their cast metal barrels are also nice, although I like Tichy's styrene barrels more than any others.
The green barrels shown with the gas station are terrible, and have since been replaced with weathered Tichy's.

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Discussion Starter #8
Weathering tips for wood structures

Before window glazing.
.
1.) Use dark & light washes first, in spots and areas.
... Mask trim.
2.) Follow with a light acrylic airbrushing of the overall color.
... Remove masking.
3.) Follow with acrylic drybrushing of the overall color.
4.) Follow with drybrushing the wash in other spots and areas.
5.) Lightly sand some areas for wear & sun fade. Blow off dust.
6.) Follow with brushed-on weathering powders in cracks & crevices. Wipe off excess.
7.) Follow with DullCote.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The Bar Mills' Odoul's Flop House is very nice.
I'd like to find room for it at the edge of town.
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I have their "Wicked Wanda's" kit next in the que, after I finish the incredibly boring Kate's colonial. Of course mine's N scale-the entire kit comes in a plastic bag just a little larger than a credit card-but it is (or was) available in HO and O as well.

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Discussion Starter #11
That's a really good job.
I don't know how you N-scalers do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
On the cheaper side, there are Walthers TrainLine structure kits that shouldn't be ignored or looked down on.
And they're very easy to assemble.

This very basic kit, simply called "Factory kit", is generally under $20 on LHS shelves.
The basic colors are good enough to start with, and respond perfectly to weathering.
It's a pretty big structure... about a foot long.
There's a nice loading dock along one side.

I bought this kit last year, for $18, and it's still in the box.
I'll have a perfect spot ready for it in a few months or so. A little weathering, and it'll look like a top drawer item.
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Just received the Bar Mills Tower (at Cranberry Yard). Got 15% off from our 'train pimp'... about a $10 discount.

It'll be a leftover relic that sits at the entrance of Birdstone Terminal.

The kit's piece de resistance is the resin base (quite possibly the nicest casting I've ever seen).

The kit wasn't cheap... about level with other finescale stuff, e.g., from FOS, B.T.S., etc.
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I myself have only one complaint about Bar Mills. That is they do not have a "Store front". Here I live about 5mins from where they are and I still have to order it online and pay shipping.Oh well they still make great stuff.
ps: No hobby train stores around this area.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I myself have only one complaint about Bar Mills. That is they do not have a "Store front". Here I live about 5mins from where they are and I still have to order it online and pay shipping.Oh well they still make great stuff.
ps: No hobby train stores around this area.
Well that just plain bites!
You'd think they'd have some way to deal directly from the front (or back) door, or a small kiosk annex... even a sliding window with a buzzer.
Crazy.
 

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Well that just plain bites!
You'd think they'd have some way to deal directly from the front (or back) door, or a small kiosk annex... even a sliding window with a buzzer.
Crazy.
I have been by there driveway and they may make some items there but the "Factory" looks a bit small to make everything in it. But they could offer some stuff around here I would think. They make fine stuff there so while I do not like paying shipping I will still order from them.
 
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