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Converting HO Buildings to OO Scale

Warren Kerfoot


WARREN KERFOOT gives us his thoughts on converting HO building kits for use on OO British Layouts.

For 30 plus years as OO scale modeller I have held a passion for the model railway looking right in its surroundings, and my personal passion has been for buildings in towns and city outskirts. However, there really arenít enough kits available from the home market to give the spectrum of Victorian splendour in all British towns.

Atlas Middlesex Warehouse

American Warehouse or Victorian Mill?

So I turned to HO for mine with the stunning buildings from Walthers, Atlas from the US and Faller from Germany. There are so many examples of Walthers ĎMerchants Rowí series in all itís eras in all UK towns, the Atlas Middlesex Warehouse is a British cotton mill and Faller offers superbly engineered plastics that easily Anglicise..even those apparently uber-Deutsch Alpine buildings can be the basis for Tudor framed buildings squeezed in older towns here.

The Britishisation is mainly in the roofline and chimneys and this process is a simple, and really requires not much skill. American buildings have a lot of flat roofs because it doesnít rain every day, we need pitched or hipped roofs because it does. But these are just a group of triangles leaning on each other in model form and simple materials like card or plasticard can make a pitched roof in minutes. In the UK as abroad, the money gets spent on the front where the public sees it, pretty much all gables and rears are the same the industrialised world over.

Faller Oringen Station

Georgian-style architecture from Faller.

Take a look at Fallerís Bonn Station, or Ohringen Station. These are masterpieces of architecture youíd see from Bristol to Edinburgh, not just as stations; town halls, post offices, libraries and so on Itís just a matter of adding chimney stacks and altering the minor details. Amazing value kits from Model Power in the first issues of ‘Grandmas’ or ‘Sullivans’ ...so easy to convert and truly as cheap as chips!

Our catalogue shows the ‘easy fit’ models for the UK, but there are so many more and when you think of what say, a Wills Craftsman kit costs and you have to do all the work as well.. the ‘Continentals’ offer genuine vale for money.

But of course, these are HO scale I hear you say. Well yes, they are... but you may be an average height fella, but Iím not... so that makes you ‘OO’ and me..well, Iíll be ‘HO’. And in real life, regardless of our personal height weíve all walked through narrow doorways, ducked under lintels, seen a workshop or church door 10 feet high and had to reach down to a door handle or up to window in our lives.

That doesnít take anything away from the card kits offered by Superquick, or time honoured plastic buildings from the Dapol C kits range and so on, not at all, it just adds another dimension to whatís available to create the endless diversity in a British street.

The Gaugemaster Catalogue contains listings of Walthers and Faller building kits that we feel are ideal for use on British OO Layouts.

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