Scratchbuild a Country Depot in Six Steps

Scratchbuild a Country Depot in Six Steps

2008 On30 AnnualBy O.J. Rivas

While planning the town of Bayfield on my new Texas Creek & Southern railroad, I located the site for my depot. It was to sit on the side of a hill, overlooking the town area. I wanted it to be a small, branchline-type structure.

After looking around to see what was available, I decided to scratchbuild my own. If you have the time to do it, this generally works out well because you can build the structure to better fit the space. Depots come in all sizes, depending on the railroad or the community’s needs. I usually build this type of building in wood. This time, I decided to give it a try in using styrene for the entire structure except the roof shingles. All the components are commercially available. The footprint is 14′ x 28′ or 3½” x 7″ in O scale.

The tools needed for this project are a hobby knife, steel ruler, razor saw, small flat file, pen/pencil and styrene cement; I use Testors. I also use the ¼” to a ft. side of an architect’s scale to measure. Last of all, I use a small metal square for assembling structures.

Country Depot

Step One: Start with drawing out all sides of station with window and door openings. I find it easier to cut out the openings first as the larger surface area is better to work on. You can now cut out the walls (Photo 1). When cutting out sides, cut from top to bottom of siding. Several light passes work the best when cutting styrene (Photo 2).


on30-countrydepot-fig1Add corner pieces (See Fig. 1) to front and rear walls. The corners on this type of structure are sometimes difficult to make so they look right. Using the ¼” angle, cut it to match the roof angle at the top and flush with the bottom. You will need two for the left side and two for the right side (opposite angles). Cut two pieces, .040″x.125″ and .040″x.100″ for each corner assembly. Glue them to the angles as shown, the .040″x.100″ first. Then glue the .040″x.125″ to it, overlapping the corner of the first piece. The .125″x.125″ styrene strips can be cut to length and glued to the backside, top and bottom of all four walls. These will be used as strengtheners.

Be sure to test fit windows and doors before continuing (Photo 3). Cut out roof sections at this time. You need to glue bracket location plates onto walls (Photo 4) with .015″ x .0125″ strip styrene. The eave brackets need to be trimmed (Photo 5), to clear the window and door trim.


Step Two: Primer the structure’s walls, windows, doors, eves and gable brackets with a light coat of Testors white primer and let set overnight. After drying, paint the walls a color of your choice. I used Testors spray, Model Master modern desert sand (#1963). The windows, doors, eves and bracket were painted Floquil roof brown. and let them dry overnight.


Once thoroughly dry, you can install window glass material. I used .015″ clear styrene, cut to fit. Don’t forget to paint underside of roof sections (eaves) to match wall color or a weathered wood color, about an inch (actual size) in from ends.

Step Three: You can now install windows, doors and brackets. Next, assemble the four sides together. Make sure you keep them square.


I like to install the roof before the brackets. I used Testors liquid cement for the assembly, but you can use the glue you are most comfortable with. Use the .125″x.125″ strip styrene for the top and bottom of front and rear walls and the top of the gables and bottom of the sidewalls. These are used as strengtheners. Remember to remove paint from areas that need to be assembled!

Step Four: Assemble and paint chimney. I used a mixture of Floquil’s boxcar red, signal red and reefer white. The amount of the white is about 2 or 3 parts to one part each of the reds. If you want lighter color bricks, use more white. For the mortar, I used the concrete color.

Step Five: Assemble and paint the order board. The round target is painted signal red and the rectangular target, reefer white. The rest of the assembly is a weathered black. Install on the front of the station, above the door. Lastly, install the depot signs. The sign in the photos is “Wetmore” as this is a duplicate depot I built for a friend’s layout.

Country Depot

Step Six: Install chimney and roof shingles. I used Wild West Scale Models shingles #701-black hawk brown, two sheets.

The station is now ready to put on your layout. You can build a wooden, concrete, or brick platform. A foundation made out of stained, 3⁄16″ square basswood or styrene with cinders or gravel around the trackside, will work fine. I’m currently adding an interior to the waiting room side of the station. It will include a wood floor, bench, ticket counter and stove.


There are a lot of nice station details and figures that you can include in the scene. Have fun building! It can really be a wonderful part of this great hobby.

List of Materials
Grandt Line windows No. 3720
Grandt Line doors No. 3617
Grandt Line freight door No. 3618
Grandt Line eave/gable brackets No. 3516
Grandt Line chimney No. 3509
Grandt Line order board No. 3028
Evergreen clapboard siding (2 pkgs) 4101 .040″
Evergreen sheet styrene No. 9040 .040″
Evergreen styrene strip .040″ x .100″
Evergreen styrene strip .040″ x .125″
Evergreen styrene strip .015″ x .125″
Evergreen styrene strip.125″ x .125″
Evergreen styrene angle No. 297 .25″
Roof shingles: various manufacturers including, Banta Model Works, Wild West Scale Models & Crystal River Products.

PDFCountry Depot Plans

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This article was posted on: April 1, 2008