Model Builder Review Ranks Software
As Valuable Scratchbuilding Tool

Model Builder software is the one critical tool needed to scratch build my own N Scale structures from paper and foamcore to save the expense of craftsman kits yet still provide a replica of the real life version.

This software is in a continual state-of-flux as Dave Jamison, the programmer and developer of its website updates it with new elements and features making it a very robust product. All updates are free to owners

When I made the decision to go with paper buildings it initially for background building flats, but the more I got to use the software, the more I realized it could replace foreground buildings just by adding a “back” to the background flat.

The idea of using paper to build scale model buildings for railroad layouts is not without controversy as the scratch building stick-and-glue set reacts to the idea of using paper to replicate what they can take months to build stick-by-stick.

But if you have a layout with over 10 buildings plus other structures in an era or setting outside the mainstream, how else would you do it in less than a year and keep your costs under $70?

For example, I am planning to model the lime rock, fishing and boating industries in the late 1800s in and around Rockland, Maine. The building styles in that era were unique and you seldom find them on a hobby shop shelf.

Using photos or postcards provide some research challenges to come up with a set of reasonable dimensions for the buildings and then render them in the desired scale.

Enter Model Builder.

This software provides you with a constantly growing set of materials (sidings, doors, windows, trim, that can be scaled to the desired dimension in feet for what ever scale you are working in here are some examples I find it extremely beneficial to be able to select wall materials (brick for instance) to fill a portion of the wall and abut it with a section of wood siding. (Older buildings were not always constructed of a single building material).

With Model Builder you can create replicas of really large buildings (for instance the 840’ long Studebaker Works building in South Bend, IN would result in a 64-inch building in N Scale (that’s 5 feet or sixteen 50’ box cars coupler-to-coupler!).

Using the software, you can condense to a more practical size and still get a prototypical replica of the building.

Dave recently increased the number of available pallet textures adding more variety in siding materials, doors and window configurations. Being able to precisely alter the size and shape of these elements and for instance duplicate the same window style endlessly makes a reasonable facsimile of the real thing a lot more possible.

A 3-Dimensional background flat structure

Model Builder is reasonable intuitive to those who have even moderate computer experience and for beginners, there is a walk-through Model Builder video and an assortment of tutorials.

I have found speaking with Dave to be the best support of all. Whether by email of phone, he is pretty much available to work you through any issues. Customer service is really important to him.

And by providing feedback directly to the programmer, the next reiteration of the software may well include your suggestions.

Yes, the software is easily worth the $45 asking price. I use it every day and couldn’t be more pleased with its performance.

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