|Written by Paul D. Race for Family Garden Trains(tm)|
Inexpensive Structures and Building Materials
Longtime readers know that we've spent almost twenty years trying to help people get started in garden railroading without having to take out a second mortgage on their houses. That effort has included a number of articles about acquiring, adapting, or creating buildings or at least parts of buildings, inexpensively. True, many of those articles depend on access to resources that are not available to everybody. But I hope we stimulate some "out of the box" thinking that helps you find creative, inexpensive solutions to your railroading needs.
I will admit that every alternative to expensive "name-brand" buildings we've discovered or created so far requires either creativity or extra work or both on your part. But this is supposed to be a hobby after all. So far, most of our suggestions for saving money on garden railroad buildings fall into the following categories, listed separately below:
We have some other interesting projects in the works, so stay tuned.
Repurposing Products Made for Other PurposesRepurposing Fisher-Price toys, bird-feeders, etc. into useful, attractive model buildings for your garden railroad, including:
Creating or Detailing Buildings With Downloadable Graphics and Weatherproof LabelsUsing Family Garden Trains' graphic files, a color printer, and weatherproof labels to create inexpensive, but effective substitutes for plastic buildings, including:
Repurposing Scrap Materials for Building ComponentsUsing stuff that's free or cheap to build or detail your own buildings, including:
Finding Good Building ValuesFor folks who would rather not trashbash or do everything from scratch, we're also keeping our eye out for building kits that don't cost more than the average television set. As a rule, buildings that cost half or less the cost of the expensive kits are just a bit more trouble to put together. But if you follow our instructions, the end result may be just as impressive.
And no matter how you do the math, a town with 5 well-painted buildings is more impressive than a town with two.
More to ComeHere's the part where I keep my fingers crossed. No, we're not in any danger of putting Pola or Piko out of business singlehandedly. But "behind the scenes," we've been testing other ways to help you put buildings on your railroad without taking too much money out of the bank. So far, we have not had the success rate we'd like before we go public with the new things we're trying out.
With any luck, we'll have something to publish soon. So stay tuned. We're on YOUR side, after all.
Please let me know if you have any feedback, and enjoy your hobbies. Especially enjoy any time you can spend with your family in the coming months!
See you online or in the back yard!
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