Martin Tärnrot

Scratch-Building a Shed

Martin Tärnrot
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Duration:   11  mins

Martin Tärnrot takes us step by step through making a shed from scratch. Martin has a 1950s-style sawmill in his layout, and this shed is used to dry and store sawdust. The shed includes a window for light and a plate roof. Martin shares his techniques for modeling this type of building.


Before starting, Martin makes a mockup of the building he’s going to make and places it on the layout to check that the dimensions and proportions look good with the rest of the landscape. He feels this mockup model shed is too small, so for the actual shed, he will increase the height and width.

The first real step is to make the planks using 1.5 mm or 116-inch balsa sheet. After he has two big piles of planks in two sizes for the top and bottom levels of the model shed, he colors them by dipping them in paint, then placing them on a plywood plate to dry for a few hours or overnight.


Martin lines up the planks along a steel scale and glues two long horizontal beams to them. He cuts them into the desired length for the walls, then add more beams for the door and cuts them.

Next, he glues the pieces edge to edge and adds one plank in the space at each edge. Before assembling the top part of the model shed, he cuts the angle for the roof.


Martin uses a piece of scrap transparent plastic for the window. He explains that you can either draw the window shape on paper or create it on the computer and print it out. He tapes the paper and the plastic together and draws the window on it. Then, he cuts out the space for the window from the side of the building and glues the window on the outside of the wall.


The next step is to add beams to support the roof of the model shed. Martin makes this type of roof from 3M Micropore tape, available at pharmacies, and metal siding from Evergreen Scale Models. He paints with acrylic metal paint and weathers the surface slightly. After drying, he cuts to length and glues the beams.


Beyond this model shed, MRA has more videos on scratch-built structures. Tips for Making Model Railway Structures from Scratch and Tips for Great Scratch-Built Model Railroad Structures are two more general videos on this topic.

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