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4mm scale Resin Buildings

Below are illustrations of 4mm scale ready painted and detailed resin buildings produced by major manufacturers that are of specific relevance to the Southern Electric system. It is not the intention to display pictures of model buildings that are relevant to the Southern Railway, its predecessors or successors, nor to the south of England generally. Details of how to contact manufacturers and suppliers can be found in our modelling contacts section.

Hornby's and Bachmann's cast resin building ranges in 4mm and 2mm scales have been one of the most significant developments in model railways in the past decade. Whilst they may not be as well detailed or accurate as a skillfully constructed scratch-built model building they are by common acclaim stunningly good models and represent excellent value for money. You can populate your model railway with well detailed buildings very quickly and with a bit of additional detailing and repainting they can be "individualised" and look even better. It is true by using these a lot of model railway layouts will have identical buildings, but it was ever thus with building kits, and besides, for instance, my 1930s house is very similar to 1930s houses the length and breadth of the land.

The majority of these buildings are "generic" rather than being absolutely accurate scale models, however with model buildings this can be credible whereas with model rolling stock such an approach tends to be glaring. Firstly the majority of us do not have barns or aircraft hangers in which to locate our model railways, so modelling locations dimensionally accurate is not feasible. Buildings and scenery lend themselves to selective compression and if done skillfully and sympathetically the eye readily accepts this artifice. Secondly common designs to buildings are common, but they are necessarily modified to fit their specific locations, so the sort of tweaks modellers need to make can be credible.

So if you want to model a specific location accurately these buildings are not for you. However, if you want to portray a location by its look and feel, these buildings are a big help.

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Bachmann 44-043 Lineside Transformer Site - please click for a larger picture

Bachmann 44-043 "Lineside Transformer Site".

In Southern Electric terms this is actually a 1930s electrical sub-station with rendered walls (brick versions were also built by the Southern). Both the building and switch farm are very much compressed and simplified. One of this type of sub-station at Willingdon can be viewed from Broderick Road footbridge at near Hampden Park.

Bachmann 44-069 Electrical Substation - please click for a larger picture

Bachmann 44-069 "Electrical Substation".

Unsurprisingly collections of photographs of railway electrical sub-stations are not abundant and the webmaster has not yet had time to search for suitable photographs for comparison. However this model has elements - albeit considerably compressed - of the larger "cathedral-type" sub-stations as seen at Raynes Park, Barnes Common, Hampton court junction, Grosvenor Bridge , Elmers End, Lewisham, Plumstead and Twickenham.

Bachmann 44-038 Carriage Shed - please click for a larger picture

Bachmann 44-038 "Carriage Shed".

This model is regularly illustrated with one of Bachmann's 4Cep models peeking out. Being only about one car's length, this model has cover pieces which allow sheds to be joined together.

Unlike this model a fair number of Southern asbestos clad sheds had about half a dozen course of bricks at ground level but, with or without, this definitely has echoes - albeit selectively compressed - of sheds at Gillingham, Grove Park, Orpington, Littlehampton, Bognor, Ore, Fratton, Farnham, Bournemouth, Clapham Junction and East Wimbledon.
Bachmann 44-061Z LSWR Type 4 Signal Box (brick) - please click for a larger picture

Bachmann 44-061Z "LSWR Type 4 Signal Box (brick)" exclusively from Kernow Model Rail Centre.

Of all the models illustrated here this is believed to be the most authentic. The Kernow Model Railway Centre commissioned this representation of the signal box at Bude, just about as far off the Southern Electric system you can get , however similar examples were/are throughout the electrified area of the south west division. So this will look very at home in a small to medium sized location on the south west division provided the line was not one of those built by the Southern Railway in the 1920s and 30s!

Bachmann 44-064 Art Deco Signal Box - please click for a larger picture

Bachmann 44-064 "Art Deco Signal Box"

The Southern Railway built many stylish brick and concrete signal boxes in the 1930s which are popularly referred to as "Art Deco", "Odeon" or "glass house". This model bears a strong resemblance to the signal boxes at Dorking North, Bognor Regis and Templecombe. Accordingly this model will look perfectly at home on any Southern Electric layout representing the 1930s onwards.

Hornby R9729 Deal Signal Box - click for a larger picture

Hornby R9729 "Deal Signal Box"

This represents another - smaller - Southern Railway Art Deco signal box, as at Deal (on Hornby's home ground!)

Bachmann 44-064Z Kent Coast Signal Box - please click for a larger picture

Bachmann 44-064Z "Kent Coast Signal Box" exclusively from Modelzone/The Signal Box Rochester.

The signal boxes introduced during the Kent Coast Electrification Scheme had common themes about them and compare with our picture in our East Kent resignalling feature and you will see this is very close, but not quite identical, to the signal box at Faversham.

Buy the from Modelzone.

Hornby Terminus Staion Buildings - please click for a larger picture

Hornby R8713 "Terminus Station Building" and R8714 "Terminus Station Offices"

these pictures courtesy of

These Skaledale buildings were sold separately as a centre building and a pair of wings.

The Southern Region's diesel electric multiple unit operation was considered part of the electric fleet and as such we can include buildings on non-electrified lines served by DEMUs. This collection of buildings is identifiably Rye station, albeit selectively compressed and significantly undersized. The chief compromise on this model is the centre building's roof being about half a storey lower than on the real thing. When set alongside other scale model buildings this also unfortunately appears diminutive, whereas the real station dominates its vicinity.

Hornby Terminus Staion Buildings - please click for a larger picture

Note, certain other Bachmann buildings are either misleadingly publicised with Southern Electric models, or mistakenly believed to be of Southern types. The "Art Deco Station" collection of buildings is actually a representation of a 1930s London Underground station in the style of Charles Holden, and the "Hampton Hill Signal Box", which also has a strong Art Deco look, is a London and North Eastern Railway type 15 design of 1944.