Kitbashing the Ameri-Towne General Store

by Utz Kaufmann

The Ameri-towne/Buildings Unlimited General Store kit is very inexpensive and is great fodder for a kitbash. Utz recognized this and has kitbashed the kit into a great looking building with two storefronts. Let's see how he did it:

The Original General Store

I like to kitbash. One reason is I do not like to have just the same buildings as everybody else has and I am not good at scratchbuildig. The second reason is, often you get more for your money.

My Layout, the Lyman Timber & Coal / Lyman Transport Company, is a shelf layout mostly around the walls of a basement room. So I seldom have use for the backsides of the buildings and often can use them as additional fronts doubling the size of the building.

The General Store from Ameri-Towne is an even better bargain. It did cost me around $10 on ebay. It is plastic and not very sophisticated but - it has two fronts and two backsides!

The Original Parts - though one front is already shortened

For my merchant row (well, row is a bit exaggerated, there will be only three buildings) on River Road right across the Sedro-Wooley station I needed some shops. I saw the General Store, I saw the price and I knew I had to have one. And the surprise: without much work I could build two stores out of it.

Here we go:
First I painted all parts. The front store is green, the back store a fading white. One store would go together almost as intended. Only for one wall cardboard or styrene sheet has to be used. The second store should not look like its neighbour so I shortened the false front. Also to have the right shape for the odd space it had to occupy one side had to be made longer and the back shortened. One cut through the second backside of the kit did it. The window went to the side, the door stayed at the back.

The Modified Parts

Since the River Road has a grade the back store had to be a bit higher than the front one. I used 1/8" plywood as the base for the back store. The front and back side of the front store were attached to the side of the other store, then the second side of the front store was added.

Because I wanted to put lights into the buildings I used black silicon to a) reinforce the joints and b) prevent light to come through the seams.

The partly assembled stores

The next stage was the floors. I wanted to have a somewhat detailed interior so I made a floor for the front store out of cardboard. The back store already had a floor: the 1/8" plywood. Both floors were covered with wooden boards - don't ask me for the size, it was not scale lumber.

Neither were the boards used for the side and back walls. The front store got an interior wall with a door - the small back compartment may be the office of the owner. Since the back store is one big room it had to get a back door - one can see it from the back of the completed buildings. The interior part of the door is just some boards glued to the back wall (I told you, I am not good at scratchbuilding).

The interior of the back store

The front store should get some more interior parts. It is a shop for fishermen who want to fish in the creeks around town or are on their way to the resort hotel near Cokedale. You can buy fishing rods here (there are some fishing rods offered but they are hard to spot in the pictures), and everything else you need including worms. Yes, the worms. There will be another story (and some pictures) in the future about the worms business.

The fishing rods are at the right - no one will see them when the buildings are set into the layout ...

Now for the roofs. The back store got the original roof - I am a lazy guy. The front store had to have a new roof. I made it out of cardboard (you guess it - I love cardboard!) and put a skylight into it (out of my HO scrap box). Then the roof was covered with strips of - no, not cardboard but tissue paper that I painted flat black. That shall look like tar paper. On the underside of the roofs I installed some small bulbs for the lighting. The flat roof of the front building got some more boards as ceiling. Some small pieces of lumber were glued to the inside of the walls to support the roof.


The side of the front store

There was a visible seam on the side wall so there had to grow some more shrubs, hurriedly!

The gardener did his best.

That's it. Enjoy the pictures!!

No, that is neither the owner of the fishermen shop nor his son up over the door. It is just a sign for those who are unable to read but want to fish nonetheless.

There is a narrow alley behind the stores leading to some industrial buildings and a wharf. I wonder how a truck should go through there ...

Looking out of the baggage door of the station to the storefront

Lazy sunday afternoon ...

There must be a bird looking down somewhere!

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This page updated August 27, 2006
Webpage © Lawrence Rickert
Photographs © Utz Kaufmann