photo by Richard Schumacher
Recently Dave Roeder presented a very nice clinic on making inexpensive paper buildings at the NMRA Gateway Division monthly meeting. His clinic intrigued me so I looked up the website and purchased some parts of the program that Dave discussed. The software arrived within a few days and I am beginning to explore it.
On the ride home from that meeting we had a considerable discussion about what we had just heard. This is what I have learned: The name of the software company is “Evans Designs” and the owner is David Jamison. They are located in Broomfield, Colorado, their website is www.ModelTrainSoftware.com, and phone number is 303-410-1118. For some reason, Dave chose not to include this information during his clinic. You might want to explore the website. My wife and I have purchased LED lighting components from Evans Designs about a year ago and found them very helpful.
The basic software package is called “Model Builder” and sells for $45 including shipping. There are several optional add-on packages that one can also purchase and act as “plug-ins” to the basic package. These include Brickyard, Stained glass windows, Signs, Graffiti, etc. I think these run about $10-15 each. I purchased the basic package and the stained glass window add-on. The software will run on a PC with Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7. I don’t know about Windows 8 but it does not run on a Mac computer. With regards to taking the output to some place like Kinko’s for printing, this is easily done by telling the program to print to either an Acrobat PDF file or a Microsoft XPS file. This effectively accomplishes the same thing as a “save as” command. The files in either of these formats are easily handled at a place like Kinko’s. In the event that your computer isn’t already set up to do this, instructions are included with the basic program on how to download free software that allows you to create a PDF file from nearly any program. In fact, the basic software instructions suggest this for large buildings that are not easily handled by smaller home printers.
Seems to me that this modeling tool has a lot of potential for producing rather inexpensive specialized buildings that really don’t need the detail level of many of the wonderful (and very expensive) kits currently on the market. And, by the way, one can select virtually any scale that you might need. Need some perspective for a background building? Just select a scale a bit smaller that your layout’s scale. You don’t have to jump to N scale backgrounds if your layout is HO.
Thanks to Dave for letting us add this modeling tool to our toolkits.