How To Build a Model or Structure Kitbash a large-scale bunkhouse

Kitbash a large-scale bunkhouse

By James Royal | February 7, 2022

| Last updated on June 15, 2023

With some paint and detail pieces, a yard-sale find becomes a unique model

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Model boxcar scene
The finished project. Photo by James Royal


I like to spend my Saturday mornings going to garage sales. Occasionally I find something I can use for my large-scale railroad.  At one sale, I found a damaged Christmas Workshop sold by USA Trains. I paid the dollar asking price and brought my prize home.

I had recently kitbashed a yardmaster’s office from a caboose and a rural water tank from an old tender. I decided my train crews needed a bunk house to relax in after a long day at work. The resulting model would look similar to the (HO scale) Revell crew shanty from the 1950s.

side of model boxcar scene
The author added bumpers and cribbing, so the boxcar could return to service if needed. Photo by James Royal

I removed the signage and the oversized light, but left the working smoke generator in place. I washed the boxcar shell with Dawn dish soap to remove any fingerprints and oils, and after it was dry, gave it a coat of Krylon Matte Summer Wheat paint. I also repainted the roof using Krylon Black paint.

After letting the paint dry for several days, I installed an S&D Models pewter boxcar fittings kit  to replace the broken grab irons and corner straps.

I decided my fictional railroad would not like to lose a possible source of revenue from the boxcar. I mounted a piece of track to a homemade plywood cutout, then used some ½” wood to make a track bumper and cribbing. This way the railroad could jack up the boxcar and reinstall the trucks and couplers to get it back into service.

I added lettering for my railroad on the boxcar’s side. Lastly, I added tools, rocks, debris, and other “junk” around the boxcar. The model will be placed at the end of a siding. I am pleased with how it turned out, considering I paid just $1 for the original piece!

One thought on “Kitbash a large-scale bunkhouse

  1. Many years ago I had a kit that was similar. I’ve been working on recreating it from scratch. Your article and pics. coming at just the right time. Nice job James and thanks.

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