While working on one of my most recent craftsman kits for my HO scale model railroad I got the idea to look into the idea of a “craftsman kit”. So far I have only worked on two large kits from Sierra West Scale Models and a couple of small kits from Bar Mills.
Many people are intimidated by the idea of a craftsman style kit, and often think that they do not have the skills needed to be able to complete such a complicated kit. I know the first time I looked into the box and saw the wide variety of parts and building materials I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to complete it.
This is why many people avoid these kits, however this is usually a big mistake as a craftsman kit usually has a major advantage over the so called easy kits. This advantage is in the instruction manual included in the kit. For example the Sierra West kits include a book that is almost 100 pages including many pictures. The entire kit is broken down into a series of small projects, and the needed skills are explained fully. I have learned much from building these kits and just following the directions exactly as they are described.
The smaller kits from Bar Mills are an excellent place to start. They are well built and their instructions are very clear and also include a few cast details and painting and weathering instructions.
So to conclude this ramble on craftsman style kits, don’t be intimidated by the sheer amount of parts in the kit, or the steep price tag. They are worth the money, and the end results will be impressive if you follow the directions. I can speak from experience that they are usually easier than many of the plastic model kits, laser cut fitting together very well and clear instructions. Its worth a try to increase your modeling skills and make your model railroad stand out from everyone else’s.