I’ve been asked on Facebook how buildings can be converted from HO/OO to O scale. Replying to a FB post doesn’t allow multiple photographs so rather than link to several such conversions it’s easier to post a summary as a new blog entry here on Playing Trains.

The buildings at Puerto del Sastra (later incorporated into Centrales).
Centrales reuses the Plasticville station from PdS with a Tri-ang signal box and water tower. The windows on this station were originally French windows. Smaller windows on the original building were filled in and a new doorway cut between two of the French windows.

The other side of the Plasticville station was used as part of a small diorama, shown above sitting on its block of wood during conversion to O scale. New doorways have been cut in the HO scale building but the wooden base is yet to be cut to shape. The same structure is shown below after conversion.

The first requirement is to select a suitable donor. Doorways may need cutting wider or windows converting into doors and existing doors filling. Remaining windows need to be comparatively large.

Cuarto de Pulgada, a very simple Tri-ang conversion.

Having done this the walls need to be made taller by mounting the building on a new base, I use a block of wood cut to the same footprint as the donor.

CdP before the conversion was conducted, note the block of wood beneath the building.

Once that is done the new base needs disguising, by using filler or brickpaper.

The photo above includes the station building at Grande, in the top left, before conversion and shows the HO scale model sitting on its block of wood. The windows and doors on the ends of the building were filled in before covering with brickpaper as shown below.

The resulting structures are small by O scale standards but suitable for narrow gauge or light railways. The smallest of the conversions was an Airfix platelayers’ hut, now a shanty at CdP.

The doorway on this kit was cut wider and the building raised by adding embossed plastic brickwork to the base. To be honest it would probably have been easier to start from scratch in this case but with the larger structures the conversions saved a lot of work and result in buildings which are a lot neater than my scratch built efforts.

Why do this? Well, O scale building kits are not as widely available as those in smaller scales and when they are they are considerably more expensive! On the other hand used HO and OO scale buildings can be picked up for next to nothing at toyfairs and model shows. Look in the boxes below the sales tables for tatty old models, the station used at Grande cost just 50p.

There’s no point paying for a more expensive building if you’re just going to chop it anyway!


About Bob Hughes

Ex railwayman, life long railway modeller, lover of real ale and spicy food.
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