Building Clever paper models
for model railroads

John Houghton of our NMR model railroad club introduced me to Clever paper models.

He had built some for his N gauge railroad and some others to cover switch machines at the club. I ordered a disk of small industrial buildings from  Clever Models LLC. They have different volumes of buildings for O, S, HO and N. You can also scale down. John did this for his N gauge structures.

My first attempt at an odd-angled freelanced
Clever Models industrial building
Clever industrial paper building

The DVD disc comes with texture sheets and computer designed buildings. The photo shows the paper building construction before I installed it at the club to disguise the end of a backdrop partition on the center peninsula that was under construction at the time.

I built it by printing the HO texture sheets on typewriter paper that I glued to the cardstock mockup that I had put together at the the club.

Clever Quonset Hut

The sheets printed on 90 lb paper
Clever Models printed sheets

One of the buildings on the disk is a typical steel quonset hut.

There are two huts on the disk that get printed on five sheets. Their footprint is 4 x 5 inches. One is a relatively new quonset hut and the other is a rusted building. 

The detailing and coloring is quite amazing on all the buildings. They don't need to be weathered. This time I followed the general instructions more closely and used the recommended 90 pound paper. John gave me a few sheets to try.

I printed them on my basic HP printer. Nothing fancy. I also followed the recommendations to use CA glue. I started with medium viscosity Micro Bond glue but found it bled through the paper.

I switched to good old faithful yellow carpenter's glue. It didn't cause the bleeding but took a long time to set up. I probably should have tried a rectangular structure first. The quonset huts have lots of curved pieces.

Building the base
HO quonset hut base

You can see the basic tools I used: NMRA ruler and a large and small metal ruler, plastic triangle, metal squares, lots of #11 X-Acto blades, various clips to hold things together.

The clips were especially important when using the carpenter's glue. I used the heavier metal squares both for squaring and holding things in place while the glue dried.

Squaring the building end walls
squaring and holding paper walls

This was tricky. I had to do one joint at a time and spread the work over a week. Clever Models recommends working slowly to glue the joints. I also used my trick of cutting 35 mm slides to make square corners under the rectangular base.

Stiffener for end walls
clever paper models wall stiffener

Clever paper models need lots of bracing and stiffeners as do any models constructed with paper and cardstock. Don't skimp here. Clever Models includes corner braces and other stiffeners or you can substitute heavier cardstock. 

I had some trouble holding everything together and lining up the curved pieces. My finished quonset hut is not a work of art, but the next one should be better now that I'm futher along the learning curve. 

I haven't worked with paper buildings for years. When I started in the hobby in the distant past cardstock and paper were common materials. The NMRA even printed freight car sides in their magazine.

It's a change from building structures with wood and styrene and if you mess it up, simply print out some more copies and try again. It's cheap once you buy the disks or download the sheets from Clever Models.

My final model is a little dilapitated because I had some trouble with the side doorway and windows. I tried BSI (Bob Smith) medium CA glue that had a fast setup time. 

The glue didn't seem to bleed the way the Micro Bond did and I could hold the pieces together while the glue set. There are no specific instructions for the "kit", only some general instructions about making the Clever paper models.

On the other hand they are ideal for freelancing buildings to fit awkward locations on your layout. I plunked the quonset hut down on my model railroad in an open space by the tracks between the plastic freight house and the Finescale Miniatures Jacob's Fuel.

This location is about 12 inches from the edge of the benchwork. The quonset hut blends in and my misktakes aren't very noticeable from the aisle.

Here is my first attempt at completing Clever paper models as the Clever brothers intended.

The completed quonset hut
HO paper quonset hut

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