Building lots of rolling stock is great fun, but a railway also needs buildings and scenery. Given that I still haven't settled on a track plan yet, it's difficult to do any real scenery work, but as part of the planning I wanted to find out about the different options for making buildings. Given that I will probably want to be able to move the layout around once it's built, I want to keep the weight down, which means I'd prefer cardboard buildings if possible.
In the UK there are two main producers of cardboard builds for use with OO gauge model railways; Metcalfe Models and SUPERQUICK. The buildings on the layout I had when younger were mostly SUPERQUICK models, specifically we had: a church, a pub, a goods depot, and an engine shed. Given that they were probably built over twenty years ago they are all still in pretty good condition (the major problems are anywhere we used sellotape as that has dried out over the years and lifted free).
Whilse Metcalfe and SUPERQUICK models are convenient and easy(ish) to build they do suffer from a number of problems. Firstly there is little variation available within the model so every building created using the kit looks the same. Secondly the way the card is printed and cut, means that often there is a gap present at the wall corners. You can see this quite clearly in the photos taken by a fellow blogger when building a Metcalfe station shelter.
There is, however, a third company that also specialises in cardboard railway buildings; scalescenes.com. Their products are, however, very different from those produced by Metcalfe or SUPERQUICK. Instead of buying a packet of pre-printed and cut cardboard, what you get are two PDF files. One file contains the build instructions and the other the parts. You simply print out the second PDF in colour and then follow the instructions which involve sticking different sheets to differing thicknesses of cardboard and then cutting out and assembling the parts. This DIY approach to producing the kits allows them to provide quite a few variations in each kit and you only need to print those bits you need. As well as complete buildings they also sell sheets of standard building materials (i.e. sheets of brickwork etc.) allowing you to add your own details or to scratch build entire buildings knowing that they will all match nicely. Given that I've been building coal wagons I thought I'd try out their kits by building the small coal office which costs just £2.99 (plus the price of the cardboard and printing).
I won't be using the ruler shown in the photo (the edge is no longer smooth enough) but I just couldn't resist including it. I'm not sure on which visit to the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway it was bought, but just like the old SUPERQUICK buildings I'm guessing it's over twenty years old.