Building City Scenery for your Model Railroad 

Building City Scenery for your Model Railroad
By John Pryke
Reviewed by Nicholas Kalis

The year 2000 may be the year that urban modeling came of age. At least that is one interpretation of Kalmbach's publishing Pryke's guide to building urban scenery. This fully illustrated soft cover book should be on everyone's bookshelf who is interested in urban modeling. Even old timer modelers of the urban scene  will learn something new from these pages. My only regret is that there was not more pages devoted to the modeling techniques of Mike Palmiter, though Mike is mentioned on page 10. This book may be the only book ever published dedicated solely to urban modeling. Yet it does not exhaust the topic. Indeed, that is why we launched the Urban Modeler's SIG.
Pryke's book of seven chapters  is divided into three sections: Designing a City; Building a City; and Detailing a City.  Chapter 1 is entitled: The Primary Elements of Model Railroad City Scenery and goes one for six more chapters. A good deal of the book focused on Beverly and Bob Shea's city module.
A little about the author: John Pryke is a native of New York City who graduated in 1962 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is working on his fifth layout which is based on the New Haven Railroad as it appeared in September 1948. John's layout has been featured in Model Railroader magazine.
Get your hands on these 96 pages and read and re-read every page. Most of all, enjoy. If I might editorialize, I would like Kalmbach to bring out many more books on urban scenery. Perhaps Jonathan Jones would be the best candidate for authoring or editing the next urban modeling book brought out by Kalmbach. Andy Sperandeo, can you hear me?
Nicholas Kalis


Nick Kalis'  "Adventures in Urban Model Railroading."  featured in
                                                  N Scale Railroading March/April 2003 

          A Review for The Cannonball published by the Sunrise Trail Division of the NER, NMRA

Don't read Bill Denton's latest article in N Scale Railroading unless you are prepared to catch the urban modeling bug. If you have not yet discovered N Scale Railroading you should get a subscription (1 year $26.00 from North American N Scale Publishing P.O. Box 77296, Seattle WA 98177-0296) whether or not you model in N scale.
In the latest issue, Bill Denton describes his Milwaukee Road Kingbury Branch. All photographs (ten color photos in all) are by the author. Bill was inspired to model these urban canyons by a prototype article that appeared in the April 1975 Model Railroader. Denton, Bill.  In fact, Bill Denton's modeling has previously appeared in Model Railroader and served as one of the inspirations for my own modeling. Where my modeling differs from his is that my prototype did not run in the street as does Bill's. Bill uses Digitrax to run his shelf style N scale layout set in the 1970s. Bill began building his Kingsbury Branch in the Spring of 1994. Each of his two sections of benchwork measures six feet long by 21 inches wide. The results are superb because of Bill's attention to detail. He skillfully blends foreground into background, among his many tricks. He even manages to squeeze a bit of the Chicago River into one section of benchwork. None of Denton's structures appear to be straight out of the box which adds to his layout's appeal. 
Nick Kalis



Subject: Product Reviews by Nicholas Kalis

As a modeler of the urban scene, I am always looking for items that scream - Urban. Today, I found two items that say just that. I just purchased and placed on my layout the following neat items.
Woodland Scenics, besides making some great new figures, also sells what it calls Assorted Junk, 10 pcs. This HO scale item is in their Scenic Accents line as A1952. Each item is very realistically painted. I heartily recommend this item  although at $9.98 this is not a cheap item. The package tells us the item is made in China. See their web site at for further information.
I also just weathered Busch's HO scale American LaFrance red ladder engine. While pricey, $29.98 at Granddads, I think this is a neat item. The Busch catalog number for this item is 46023. This 1:87 item is made in Germany.
Happy Modeling
Nicholas Kalis

Walther's Wooden Water Tanks may be one of the most critical detail parts you will ever need to effectively model a significant urban area on your layout. The kit is part of Walthers Cornerstone Series. I heartily recommend it to anyone modeling in HO scale. Remember that each package contains three kits. Frankly, the only way you can go wrong is to buy only one package. I used a rubber band to help keep my tanks together while under construction. It might be useful to vary the color of each tank. I like to use Tamiya spray paint and to paint my kits outdoors.  These kits should go together easily with Model Master Liquid Cement For Plastic Models 1 Fluid ounce. No. 8872 with the build-in needle applicator.


"Wooden" Water Tanks pkg(3) Walthers Part # 933-3507