Galen’s Uncle and Aunt gave him a nice set of N scale model trains a few years ago, and we have added track and accessories since then. For his birthday in May, Galen got three building kits from GCLaser.com. Although there are lots of HO scale plastic model kits of buildings, N scale is too small to work well for the molded plastic kits, and the available kits are 2-4 times the price of the HO kits even though they are smaller.
The GCLaser kits are all wood. The pieces are precisely cut by laser from micro plywood. The material and quality control are excellent, and the parts fit together beautifully with almost no shaping or cleaning. They are more expensive than plastic HO kits, and much harder to assemble, but the results can be impressive. When I received the kits it was obvious that they weren’t quite appropriate for Galen, so I selflessly stepped up and assembled them myself.
The unfinished wood looks good, but it is easy to stain or paint multiple pieces while they are still on the sprues (probably improperly applied here because it refers to the waste pieces of molded parts, not cut parts, but GCLaser uses it, and I like the word). Pre-painting model pieces delays the start of assembly, so it has always been my least favorite part of the process. But I could see the potential with these wooden models, and I embraced it this time and stained or painted every piece. The tower and the freight depot each had about 100 parts, but most of them were repeated components which could all be painted at once. The hard part of the process is the waiting for the glue to dry in each assembly before proceeding. Because of this it can take several days to finish a model, so I just started all three models simultaneously. This helped some, although it was confusing at times, and it still took two weeks to get them all finished.
GCLaser has about 40 different N scale model building kits, and also has 50 kits in Z scale, 60 HO kits, and a few in S, O, and T.
Here is a video of this year’s setup in the living room.