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Home :: Resources :: Articles :: Adding Great Detail to your Laser Cut Buildings

Adding Great Detail to your Laser Cut Buildings

Adding Great Detail to Your Laser Cut Buildings


One of the most enjoyable parts of model railroading for most railroaders is creating the towns and scenery that go towards creating the whole environment. While sitting down and designing the layout on paper and getting the track and basic scenery in place are important, there is nothing better than creating each individual building to make the town come to life.

For many years modelers had two basic choices. They could buy the generic plastic model kits and throw them together in the hopes that with a little customizing that they would at least fit in with their layout, or they could do what those who modeled in the early days did and built their towns from scratch. Both of these options have their disadvantages, which in some cases are not so easy to overcome. In the plastic model everything is pre-molded, the brick surfaces, timbers, even the doors and windows are molded in. If you want to change any of this you have to learn how to kit bash using parts from other kits or making your own which can be somewhat difficult and time consuming.

Building from scratch for many is the ideal solution as it allows a modeler to create each building to his own designs and specifications. For the consummate modeler this is the only way to build a new structure for their model railroad. However this does require a fair amount of expertise and the right tools to learn how to build a structure that is exactly to scale and that will look good on your layout.

To find a happy medium between the generic

look-alikes of the plastic world and the ultra time consuming scratch built models a new line of laser cut wooden kits have been hitting the modeling world in the last few years. These laser cut kits are made using very thin sheets of plywood that are cut with a laser, creating some very finely detailed models. Extra care is taken to make sure that every detailed piece is cut into the plywood so that you can build your model to match the picture on the box.

One thing that does not come with the laser cut model is a way to replicate some of the finishes needed to make the model actually look like a real building. While it may not be all that difficult to cut out a series of boards that can be turned into a siding wall it can be hard to laser cut a brick wall that looks like it should. Itís easy to engrave the bricks but for someone to paint each individual brick would be very hard and time consuming.
For the house with a brick wall, Model Builder
has over a dozen different brick pattern images that can be glued in place on your laser cut wall to give it a perfect brick wall appearance. The images used in Model Builder are actual pictures taken of real brick walls that have been added to the image files for your use. If by some chance you do not see a brick pattern that matches your needs you can go out and take a picture of the one you want and import it into Model Builder.

Whether it is a brick wall or a cinder block basement wall your laser cut model needs, you can find what you need to create the finish in the images gallery of Model Builder. All that you need to do is print the image onto matte photographic paper, cut it to size and shape and glue it into place for a perfect looking wall.

Many of the laser kits do a great job of cutting out the windows and doors, some of them even include small pieces of wood to create the frames with, while other just leave you a hole in the wall with the cross bars of the window in place. To make these look realistic you can use any of the dozens of window images in Model Builder. There are images for houses, stores and industrial applications that can be added to the outside of your laser cut building to make it into a showpiece far easier that trying to paint the frames or cut out the tiny little pieces that you need.
Doors are another issue
to deal with when it comes to laser cut kits, they all include some kind of doors, most of them are just flat pieces of wood that are the right size and shape to fill the hole in the side of your building. Model Builder has a fantastic collection of images of doors to help you make your doors look authentic, whether it is a neat and painted house door or a roll up factory door that has seen more than its fair share of use and abuse.

If you have ever tried to paint a wooden dock or deck to look like real scale wood grain you know how hard this can be. With the images in Model Builder you will find several different wood siding images that you can increase or decrease the size of, even cut down to one board at a time and create the wooden look you need for your project. These images will give your building the natural look that you have always wanted but never could quite attain with paints.

While the most expensive kits might give you the materials you need to make the outside look good, , none of them come with anything for the interior. With a little help from the images included in Model Builder along with a little patience and a steady hand on the paintbrush you can add a terrific interior. On smaller scale model railroads some do not work as much on the interior. For those who work in the larger scales the interior becomes as important as the exterior. There is nothing worse than looking through the window of a scale building that looks award winning on the outside, to stare into no more than the back of the outside walls. With the images in Model Builder you can create paneling for the walls and hardwood floors. You can make brick fireplace and with a little creativity you can even make some of the furniture and cabinetry that will make your house come alive.

Besides scratch building, laser cut buildings can give you the best results for your model railroad layout, all it takes is a little time and effort along with Model Builder software to help make your buildings look great. You can use the over 500 images included in the software or add your own to completely customize each of the buildings you build for your model railroad and create the towns and villages you have always dreamed of.


Adding Great Detail to your Laser Cut Buildings

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