Model Railroading & Model Building

How to Make Inexpensive Corrugated Metal Roofing & Siding:

HO Scale Model Building East Broadtop Railroad HO Scale East Broadtop Railroad HO Scale
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Whether you're building from cardstock or scaled lumber this technique will help to add a little more realism to the overall appearance of your models.

free download scale model scratch building metal shed

The Key word here is 'inexpensive'.  The outcome is not necessarily to exact scale, but after the Model Train Plans for Structures initial cost of the crimper, the rest is cheap!

If you plan on doing a lot of metal siding for barns, industrial buildings, scrap-yard fences, etc., this might be the way to go.

The project on the left is a typical 'pole construction' equipment shed. These buildings are often completely finished in galvanized metal, so it makes a good example for this procedure.


Download Free Templates for this project:
Right-click on link and choose "Save Link As..."
N Scale
HO Scale
OO Scale
O Scale

HO Scale Equipment Shed

N scale model scratch building tip
  • This is a Fiskars Paper Crimper found in the scrap-booking section of a Michael's store. With a 40% off coupon it cost about $10, and handles foil paper quite well. The foil paper panels will be fragile, but will produce nice results for very little cost.

scale model scratch building tip
  • This is the building material. As you can imagine, the cost of the raw material will be insignificant.
  • For more rigidity, on smaller projects, you can use the peel-off tops of coffee cans.

scale model railroad scratch building tip
  • Since this is a pole-construction building I'm using 1/8" dowel rod for the vertical columns.  There will be three rows of wood columns, so some type of jig should be used to cut each group of columns the same length. The 1/8" hardwood dowel pushes the limit of the chopper, but razor blades are cheap.

scale model railroad scratch building tip
  • To begin assembly I placed the HO scale shed template onto a scrap piece of foam board.
  • Ordinary sewing pins make a handy re-usable jig for holding small and irregular shaped parts while gluing.
  • Placing pins right on the lines will help to align the components. Place a few pins on the opposite sides to hold things securely.
  • At this stage you're only needing to tack the pieces together. Remove assembly from the jig to finish gluing.

* To prevent gluing to the template place a sheet of wax paper over top of the template. 

scale model railroad scratch building tip
  • Use a chopper or cutting jig to make diagonal braces fro each of the columns.

scratch build a metal shed
  • Pole-construction buildings are typically strapped with 2 x 6 running perpendicular to the pole columns.  Strips of .017" to .020" veneer will scale to 1 1/2", the actual thickness of a 2" x 6".  This wood strip cutter is available from Micro-Mark.
  • An alternative method of cutting uniform strips is to use the procedure shown in our Corner-board tutorial.

scale model railroad scratch building tip
  • Careful placement of the pins will hold the assembly in a vertical position.
  • You can use diagonal braces to help hold things in place.

scale model railroad scratch building tip
  • One of the financial benefits of a pole structure is that you could get by without having to use sheathing plywood as in a conventional building. The building got it's rigidity from the corrugated metal panels.
  • Place the veneer strips, (strapping) along the roof joists as well. Strapping was typically placed on 24" centers, or to save money, on 32" centers.

scale model railroad metal roofing
  • The finished panels will be fragile so it's best to cut them to the correct height before running them through the crimping tool.
  • Make sure that the foil sheets are fed in to the crimper at precisely 90° so the finished pattern will be perpendicular to the edges. You can re-do a piece if it doesn't turn out right the first time.

scale model railroad metal roofing
  • Here are the finished pieces. Trim with scissors or a razor blade.
  • Scissors will flatten the corrugations, but you ran carefully run the piece through the crimper again to correct it.

scale model railroad free building plan
  • Use craft glue along the veneer 'strapping' to hold the foil panels in place. Lightly run your fingers along the surface of each panel to level things off.

Get this scale plan FREE in N, HO, OO, or O scale.

Download Free Templates for this project:
Right-click on link and choose "Save Link As..."
N Scale
HO Scale
OO Scale
O Scale

A complete HO scale Structure for $1.19 in materials!

The most expensive part of this building was the dowel. If I hadn't specifically wanted a pole-type building to replicate the original one I could have used basswood or balsa and built the entire structure for 30 cents!

1/8" dowel           .99

foil paper            .05

balsa for beams   .10

veneer for strips   .05

Total costs of materials: $1.19

The initial cost of the crimping tool can be offset after your first scale model project, but you might want to think about getting one for a club and sharing it around.

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Information provided in these tutorials is for informational purposes only. Owners of this website offer no guarantees and assume no responsibility or liability of any type with respect to the content of these tutorials and will not be held liable for any damages or injuries caused by using or misusing the information on this site, and anyone using these methods does so at his/her own risk. By viewing these articles you agree that you will not hold, or seek to hold, Owners of this site responsible or liable with respect to the content of this site. Processes illustrated on this website should not be undertaken without a complete understanding and knowledge of the safe and proper use of all related tools and processes.

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