A.G. Smith Buildings Converted to Sketchup

A number of years ago, I bought a series of books published by Dover Publications (New York) in 1983. The book discussed here is, “Cut & Assemble MAIN STREET – 9 Easy to Make Full-Color Buildings in H-O Scale” by A.G. Smith.

At the time, I believe my intentions were to make a couple of these for a home holiday display. But then, after attempting to build one of the models, I realized I was over my head. Frankly, it’s not as easy as it looks.

In any event, just a short time later I had a brainstorm: Why not model these in Sketchup? But here’s the twist: I printed out an HO scale ruler I found online, measured the building from photocopies I made (and then marked up) and then built them in Sketchup using the “real-world measurements”.

I made one complete model depicting the buildings that are intended to be placed on Main Street, while leaving the train station and the restaurant for later. I also made slight simplifications to the designs, for fear that I could get frustrated and quit halfway through!

Another very unexpected and very cool sidebar to this project is that the prototypes of a couple of these buildings actually still exist, and you can locate them with Google Earth. If anyone is interested, I can give you links to these. Finally, I’ve been posting some pictures of the buildings to my Facebook page, and naming some of the buildings after friends and family! Folks are getting a big kick out of that.

Big thanks to A.G. Smith, for creating the genesis of this project. He (I’m only assuming he is a he) has an Amazon Author Page, to which I gratefully point you to, if you’re interested. Amazon Author Page for A.G. Smith

Finally, I’ll post pictures if you’re interested. Thanks for reading!


Bruce Jennings
Shaker Heights, Ohio

SketchUp is great for model use like that.

Years ago I used a building from the 3D Warehouse to make a card stock model in N-scale. I flattened the full sized building in SketchUp and then used LayOut to create a properly scaled version as a PDF file. This could be printed on heavy paper, cut out, and folded. Since I left the original model at full size, it is simple to change the scale of the viewport in LayOut to match other model scales.


HA! You did what I did, but completely opposite! Well played!


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Thank you. And to you, sir.

If you can find suitable buildings in the Warehouse, you can make the scaled models from them. You might also have them 3D printed if you want to go that route.

I was thinking about that as well…Which would lead me BACK into model railroading! Too many hobbies, too little time!


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Yes, indeed!

Your buildings look good. Perfect for the model railroad you are building in your basement. :smiley:

I’ve used SketchUp to assist in working out parts of prototype layout and other things, too. This one was done for another railroader.

Traced out at full scale.

And then scaled to N-scale and shown with the table overlay. I disremember how big the table panels were.

No, I’ve sworn off model railroading a long time ago; Sometimes, I think that Sketchup replaced it.