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Getting Started with Model Builder - What To Do Now That You Have It Installed

The Model Builder program was designed with ease of use in mind. You can choose from a selection of more than 500 different images to create any type of building for your model railroad, war game diorama or even for your childs school project. The list of uses for Model Builder is only limited by your imagination.

Once you have installed your new Model Builder software there are a few things you should know before getting started, this software is designed to work with almost all model railway and military gaming scales from 1:12 large scale all the way down to 1:300 Micro Armor Scale. There is also the option for working in metric for those that prefer the metric measurements.

Opening Your Model Builder Program

model builder opening screen

Once you open the program you will see the startup screen that allows you to choose your working scale, along with an image of what it will look like to make sure it is the size you wish to work in. Once you have decided on your scale, you can then select the option not to see this screen every time you open the program if you want. You can also use this screen to access your saved files directly making it easier to find your favorite project, so you may want to leave it on the default. You will also notice a button that allows you to watch a video; this gives you a very quick lesson on how Model Builder works. It is well worth watching this video a few times until you have a basic idea how the software works.

Once you click on the enter button you will see the working environment for creating your new buildings. The basic palette is configured to represent a standard 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of printer paper but can be set match your needs using the page setup function.

Taking a Quick Look at the Menu Options

At this point you should take time out to familiarize yourself with the top row of menu buttons, you will be using them for a lot of your projects. The first one I would like to draw your attention to is the "Help" menu, model builder help menu here you will find a copy of the owners manual, a guide to building your first model, some project ideas, as well a complete image library. Take the time to read the guide to building as there are a lot of good tips and ideas here before you get started.

model The other menu you should take a close look at right now is the file menuwhich you will use when starting a new project, saving a current project, setting up your page orientation and printer, as well as importing images and line drawings in to Model Builder.

Starting Out With the Preinstalled Line Drawings


While you can use Model Builder to create an unlimited number of buildings and other structures it is a good idea to start with one of the pre-installed designs to get a good idea how the software works. Building plans are located in the section labeled as other, once you have selected your building line drawing you will need to print a copy of it to use as a template for your backing material.
Now you have printed the line drawing you can then use it along with all of the materials listed to create the outer building "picture". There are several choices for the walls including bricks, metal siding and wooden siding to choose from. Having made your choice of building materials you continue adding features to your building such as doors, windows and exterior fixtures. When you are done, if you like you can also print the line drawing along with your materails, for a cutting guide. To print the line drawing with your project, select the Print Setup option in the file menu.

model builder line drawings

Adding Extras

There are over 500 images included in Model Builder so there are plenty of ways to make each of your buildings look unique. Add electric and gas meters, exterior lights, even trees and bushes to create a realistic look to your building.

After you have everything you want added to your building, print it out using a good quality matt finish photographic paper and then cut it all out. Use the line drawing template to trace the outline of your building onto your cardboard or chipboard sub-structure paying close attention to the score lines for folding.

Take the basic structure and glue it around a piece of cardboard cut to fit in the bottom and let it dry thoroughly. When it is dry add the printed exterior to your base, assemble the roof and enjoy your finished building.

You can enhance your building using assorted materials to give it more detail, a three dimensional appearance or leave it just the way it is to create a great new community building on your model railway layout.


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