Building the Clever Models Maintenance Shed in O Scale

Written by Edward Traxler, photos by the author.

My layout is more of an operating diorama than a full-size model. The design is a simple L-shape shelf type layout with a curve in the backdrop where the two sections join. In this area, I have built a critter shed but I needed something more to help fill in this space and hide the curve of the backdrop. The space is ideal for a small maintenance shed which will serve my critter shed.

The maintenance shed superstructure was a free download from Clever Modeles. Although it is a paper model, most of these "kits" are made up of several pages of "parts" which allow you to build realistic and highly detailed models. One thing to note, the free kits do not last to long so download them as soon as they are available.

Preparing the Walls

The traditional method for assembling a Clever Models structure is folding the model, gluing with tabs and so on. Thom Miecznikowski uses this method as he explains in his article, Building the General Rope & Wire Co., however, my method is to take the kits and use them as a base and build them using any material, usually foam board, I have on hand. The foam board will act as an internal skeleton which will support the structure.

To begin, I cut the print apart using a metal ruler and an Xacto knife. I don’t follow the usual procedure, folding at the corners but cut them apart at those folding points. I then cut notches in the foam board support which will lock everything together.

Building the Superstructure

The foam board support has been glued up, ready for the prints to be applied.

Next, cut out the windows and door along the framing. Be sure to save them as the prints will be used as we add our details.

The inner surface of the cut foam where the windows and door were removed could be covered with strips of paper to hide the edges of the foam board. This could be done after the printed walls were glued onto the foam board.


Now to give the model a 3D look. I print out another copy of the walls which I will cut out and glue as individual boards.

I have applied overlays of individual boards as seen in the photo above. The paper is actually cut about half-way across the board above it so it simulates the way boards would be applied in real-life. Each board overlays the one below it so there is the overhang. This takes quite a bit of time but I think it’s worth the effort. This is important to me as there is no place on the layout that is over 18-inches from the front which means my paper model will be viewed up close. This added detail will help further the illusion of real wood and not paper.

Each cut edge is highlighted with an alcohol marker prior to gluing to the structure. You don’t have to try and match the color of the board; the gray acts as shadow and works great (see the tutorials at Clever Models).

The boards are cut to butt up against the trim. Now, I would have preferred to extend the siding over the trim and use Tichy Train Group windows but that would also have required printing extra sides since the boards are not long enough. Instead I used the printed window and door trim from the kit and cut out the individual boards which I glued in place as I did with the siding.

The cardstock printed roof is sitting next to the building. I won’t glue that on until I get the windows and door installed. I painted the inside walls black since I have no plans for any interior.

The maintenance shed does come with printed rafters. These can be built in a couple of ways such as laminating styrene with the prints, however, in my case I used stripwood that I had on hand.

Roof & Windows

I decided to use Tichy windows instead of the printed ones with the kit. As you can see in the photo above I have them set in place and still gray plastic. They needed painting and some work on the inner wall showing through the window. Additionally the freight door is in place and added hinges from Vector Cut.

I painted the windows green and dry brushed the rest of the trim with the same color. I also added pin head door knobs for additional detail and clear plastic to the windows to finish the structure.

Finally I can add the roof. The roof that comes with the kit is two parts; the subroof which is printed to look like boards and a tarpaper overlay. I tore the tarpaper layer in areas so that the boards would show through. These layers were then glued together and placed in place on the model to complete the build.

About the Author

eTraxx's picture

Edward Traxler

Retired from US Army as SFC. Living in South Carolina and enjoying that retirement.