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Tinplate Textures. Add a classic tinplate look to your railroad with lithograph-inspired graphics.Return to Big Indoor Trains(tm) primer pageOn30 Display Trains
O Scale Accessories
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Written by Paul D. Race for Big Indoor Trains™



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This page, new for 2009, contains free, downloadable patterns that simulate the lithographed printing used on classic tinplate train accessories in the early 1900s. I started creating these patterns in early 2009 for the Tribute to Tinplate(tm) projects that Howard Lamey and I have been assembling to help readers build vintage tinplate-style buildings and accessories to go with O, S, and Standard Gauge tinplate railroads. I based the first patterns on the brick, stone, and shingle patterns of specific antique tinplate structures. It wasn't long before Howard Lamey, who has created many vintage-style buildings with and without my help, figured out how to make his own patterns and apply them to inexpensive cardboard buildings for a classic look. In fact, once we had a few of these patterns available, it was relatively simple for Howard to "repurpose" designs he had originally made for other kinds of projects into tinplate-looking structures. As an example, a water tank Howard designed for a Halloween-themed railroad just needed a bit of new "wrapping" to take on a very vintage look.

Click to go to the Spook Hill(tm) Water Tower project.Click to see bigger photo.
The original Halloween-
themed water tower
The "Tribute to Tinplate Version"

Our Tribute to Tinplate projects include additional patterns, such as the storefronts shown in the photo above. But we have provided the patterns on this page to help you design your own vintage-style buildings for your railroad or Christmas village.

Note about Scales - Most tinplate buildings made to go with tinplate trains were not built exactly to scale. Like the trains themselves, most of them were a bit undersized. The doorways, on the other hand, were often large enough to admit scale or oversized figures. Brick and siding patterns were also often oversized, to make them easier to see from across the railroad. When you are planning a project, print sample sheets to decide which doorways and patterns will look the best with your trains and with any buildings you already have.

Please let us know if there's some particular texture you need. We may have a preliminary version available that we could "move up in the queue" for your benefit.

Legalese

Note: All of these images are the copyrighted property of Family Garden Trains(tm). By downloading a graphic resource from this web site, you accept the following conditions:
  • You are allowed to download it for your own use and to make signs for your friends.
  • You may not alter these image except for resizing them for own use. You may not load them on any web page or resell artwork made with this artwork.
  • If you wish to share this resource on a web page, please link to this page, rather than copying these images to your site, which will be an infringement of copyright, and not a very nice way of rewarding our hard work.


Roof Textures

Tar Paper/Flat Roof

Tarpaper 1 pattern. Choose a scale from the list below.
Tarpaper 2 pattern. Choose a scale from the list below.
Tarpaper 3 pattern. Choose a scale from the list below.
S Scale (1:64)
O Scale (1:48)
1:32(larger)
S Scale (1:64)
O Scale (1:48)
1:32
S Scale (1:64)
O Scale (1:48)
1:32

Tile Roof

Red Tile 'Fish-Scale' pattern. Choose a scale from the list below.
Green Tile 'Fish-Scale' pattern. Choose a scale from the list below.
Slate Tile 'Fish-Scale' pattern. Choose a scale from the list below.
S Scale (1:64)
O Scale (1:48)
Large Scale/
Standard Gauge
S Scale
O Scale
Large Scale/
Standard Gauge
S Scale
O Scale
Large Scale/
Standard Gauge

Note: Additional tile roof patterns are available on the Halloween and Fall Textures page and on the Christmas Building Textures page.

Shingle Roof

These roof patterns were originally designed for use on specific houses such as the Vintage Tin-Style Cottage. So they have a "break" in the middle for the point of the roof. If the roof of your structure is larger, you will have to cut and paste to get the coverage you need. Also, the Large Scale/Standard Gauge (1:32) versions of these files are huge - too big to leave on our site indefinitely.
House Roof (red). Use the text link below to download the roof in the correct scale for your project
House Roof (green). Use the text link below to download the roof in the correct scale for your project
S scale (1:64) (red)
O scale (1:48) (red)

Large Scale/Standard Gauge (1:32) (red)

S scale (1:64) (green)
O scale (1:48) (green)

Large Scale/Standard Gauge (1:32) (green)

House Roof (gray). Use the text link below to download the roof in the correct scale for your project
House Roof (blue). Use the text link below to download the roof in the correct scale for your project
S scale (1:64) (gray)
O scale (1:48) (gray)

Large Scale/Standard Gauge (1:32) (gray)

S scale (1:64) (blue)
O scale (1:48) (blue)

Large Scale/Standard Gauge (1:32) (blue)

Walls

For a more toylike look, try using one size "up" from the actual scale of your structures, especially on the bricks and siding.
Select the appropriate scale below.
Brick Wall. Choose a scale from the list below.
Dark Red Bricks. Choose a scale from the list below.
Stone Blocks
S Scale - O Scale -
Large Scale/Standard Gauge
Bricks
S Scale (1:64) - O Scale (1:48)
Large Scale/Standard Gauge
Dark Red Bricks
S Scale (1:64) - O Scale (1:48)
Large Scale/Standard Gauge
Note: Additional brick patterns are available on the Halloween and Fall Textures page and on the Christmas Building Textures page.

Tan Dutch Lap Siding. Select the appropriate scale below.
White Dutch Lap Siding. Choose a scale from the list below.
Green Dutch Lap Siding. Choose a scale from the list below.
Tan Dutch Lap Siding
S Scale - O Scale -
Large Scale/Standard Gauge
White Dutch Lap Siding
S Scale (1:64) - O Scale (1:48)
Large Scale/Standard Gauge
Green Dutch Lap Siding
S Scale (1:64) - O Scale (1:48)
Large Scale/Standard Gauge
Sepia Dutch Lap Siding. Select the appropriate scale below.
Yellow Dutch Lap Siding. Choose a scale from the list below.
Sepia Dutch Lap Siding
S Scale - O Scale -
Large Scale/Standard Gauge
Yellow Dutch Lap Siding
S Scale (1:64) - O Scale (1:48)
Large Scale/Standard Gauge

Note: Additional siding patterns are available on the Halloween and Fall Textures page and on the Christmas Building Textures page..

Doors and Windows

For a vintage look, consider using the O scale doors for structures that are to go with most holiday villages or O gauge tinplate railroads, even if you have S scale or smaller trains.
Office Building Windows. Choose a scale from the list below.
Train Shed Windows. Choose a scale from the list below.
Doors. Choose a scale from the list below.
S Scale (1:64)
O Scale (1:48)
1:32(larger)
S Scale (1:64)
O Scale (1:48)
1:32
S Scale (1:64)
O Scale (1:48)
1:32

Others

This section will a place for related resource materials. Click to see building textures for Autumn or Halloween.

Christmas Building Textures

If you want to design your own buildings for a Christmas railroad or village, check out this brand-new addition - roof and wall patterns for making your own holiday-themed structures. The Christmas Building Textures page includes brick, siding, and roofing tile patterns in colors that are ideal for Christmas and other midwinter decorating. Patterns are available in three scales for all of your "big train" and Christmas village needs.

Click to see building textures for Autumn or Halloween.Halloween and Fall Textures

If you want to design your own buildings for a fall or Halloween village, the Halloween and Fall Textures page includes brick, siding, and roofing tile patterns in colors that are ideal for fall decorating.

Water Tank Wrap

As shown in the introduction to this page, this "wrap" and the stone block pattern above were used to transform Howard Lamey's "Spook Hill" water tank project into a Tribute to Tinplate project with no added time or expense.
Select the appropriate scale below.
Wrap for vintage water tank:
S Scale - O Scale
Large Scale/Standard Gauge

    Please stop by every once in a while - we have several other textures to upload when we get a chance. Again, please contact us if you would like to see a particular texture.


Return to the Resources for BIG Indoor Trains™ page.


Related Lithographed-Style Projects

  • Click to go to articleNew Feature! - "Tribute to Tinplate" Articles Here's our summer, 2009 "Blockbuster," a series of projects that pay "Tribute to Tinplate," based on the tinplated-steel trains and towns of a century ago. Free downloadable commercial-grade graphics and instructions will help you inexpensively add an authentic vintage look to any indoor railroad. Most projects have multiple pre-scaled plans and graphics, plus scalable graphics for the smaller scales, so you can easily add a vintage look to ANY railroad or holiday village, no matter what size your trains and towns are. We have more on the drawing board, so be sure and check back.

    • Click to go to article Building the Tin City Bridge - Add an eye-popping feature based on the classic Lionel Standard Gauge bridges. Works great with collectible villages, vintage O and S-gauge trains, On30 trains and more! Free downloadable plans, graphic files, and step-by-step instructions are provided. New, October, 2009!

    • Building a Vintage Tin-Style CottageClick to go to article - This project is inspired by a popular pre-war tinplate house that was made to go with standard gauge trains, like the early 1900s-era Ives and Lionel. Our own commercial-quality graphics and instructions, as well as Howard Lamey's plans and assembly details are all free, to give your railroad a vintage tinplate look with a few cents' worth of materials. Many options are available, and most graphics and plans can be downloaded directly from the article. New, July, 2009!

    • Building a Vintage "Lithograph" Station Our first "Tribute to Tinplate" article pays tribute to the lithographed stations of seventy-to-ninety years ago. Click to go to articleThis particular project was inspired by an American Flyer station that was made to go with O gauge trains during the "golden age of toy trains." Free downloadable commercial-grade graphics and plans are available in several scales. Instructions for building this project inexpensively from scrap cardboard are also included (although you could build it from tin if you really wanted to).New, June, 2009!

    • Click to go to articleBuilding TinPlate-Syle Store Fronts - Not one, but three buildings! The West Brothers' tinpated candy boxes saved money by using one plan with multiple sets of graphics to get maximum use out of their pattern expense. We've followed their example with projects inspired by three of their most popular buildings. Use our free downloadable patterns and plans to add a vintage-style business district on your railroad or display village. New, July, 2009!

    • Click to go to Article Building a Lithograph-Style Switch Tower Every big railroad "yard" had one of these "control towers" that let railroad men watch and operate the switches so trains could be built up, cars could be sorted out, and everyone went where they were supposed to. This "Tribute To Tinplate" with graphics by Paul and assembly tips by Howard Lamey is easy, inexpensive, and impressive. Includes free plans, instructions, and vintage-inspired graphics in three different sizes you can choose from to match your existing trains and towns. New, December, 2009!

    • Click to go to articleNew Feature - Building a Tinplate-Inspired Lamp Post The ideal accessory for the Lewis Park Station, or any station or city hall on your railroad or holiday village. No, they don't actually light, but they are cheap and easy to build and add a great deal of vintage interest to any setting. Free downloadable plans are available in several scales.

    • Click to go to articleNew Feature - Building a Tinplate-Inspired Watchman's Shanty Back in the day before automated crossings, these were common sites alongside busy rail crossings. Howard's exclusive design pays tribute to a series of tinplate structures that go back a hundred years and include three different scales. His free plans and instructions will help you dress up any indoor railroad or holiday village.

    • Click to go to articleNew Feature - Building a Tinplate-Inspired Railroad Crossing Sign This is the ideal accessory for the Watchman's Shanty project. Based on a series of products that are now available only as expensive collector's items, this easy and almost-free project will add texture, interest, and period to any model railroad or holiday village.

    • click to go to Building Textures pageTinplate Textures - This section includes brick, shingle, siding, door and window patterns inspired by the tinplate buildings that Lionel and other companies made to go with their toy trains a century ago.

      The Tinplate Textures page provides most patterns in three different scales to help you find the best sizes for your existing railroad or holiday village.

  • What is a Glitterhouse? - Click to learn how to build vintage-style glittered pasteboard buildings.Click to learn how to build vintage-style glittered pasteboard buildings.Remember when Christmas Villages were made of cardboard instead of china and resin? Get a head start on celebrating the original Christmas village tradition! Articles on collecting and building authentic, vintage-style pasteboard houses, just like the ones we had growing up. Sure, they're not scale, but they are lots of fun! Updated, September, 2008.

    This section includes several articles on building glitterhouses and typical accessories, including:

    • Building a Glitterhouse - A detailed primer on building your own vintage-style cardboard Christmas house, includes bonus "church conversion" plans for making the same core structure into a small church. Includes free downloadable plans and directions. Updated, September, 2008.
    • Click to see detailed directions for building this vintage-style pasteboard house.Click to see detailed directions for building this vintage-style pasteboard house.Building the Little Charmer - A new glitterhouse project that is a step up from our beginning glitterhouse. Includes free downloadable plans and directions! - August, 2008.
    • Building a Picture Window House - Another new glitterhouse project. This one includes unique features such as a sand finish and picture window that reveals a "Christmas scene" Includes free downloadable plans and directions. September, 2008. Click to see free downloadable plans,  directions, and graphics for this vintage-style Christmas house.
    • Winter Trees from Floral Picks - A quick and inexpensive way to add interesting textures to your winter railroad or Christmas village. December, 2007.
    • Building the Union Station - This original project by designer Howard Lamey is inspired by two traditions - the cardboard Christmas houses that were popular in US homes between 1928 and 1965 and the Lionel station that was popular for most of the 20th century. October, 2008!
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Note: Big Indoor Trains(tm), Big Train Store(tm)m Family Garden Trains(tm), Big Christmas Trains(tm), and Garden Train Store(tm) are trademarks of Breakthrough Communications(tm) (www.btcomm.com). All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are Copyright (c) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 by Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically forbidden.
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