Written by Paul D. Race for Big Indoor TrainsTM
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fact, once we had a few of these patterns available, it was relatively simple for Howard to "repurpose" designs he had originally made for other kinds of projects into tinplate-looking structures.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.
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.
LegaleseNote: 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:
Tar Paper/Flat Roof
Shingle RoofThese 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.
WallsFor a more toylike look, try using one size "up" from the actual scale of your structures, especially on the bricks and siding.
Doors and WindowsFor 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.
OthersThis section will a place for related resource materials. 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. Halloween and Fall Textures page includes brick, siding, and roofing tile patterns in colors that are ideal for fall decorating.
Water Tank WrapAs 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.
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.
Related Lithographed-Style Projects
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
Big Indoor Trains(tm) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
For more information, contact us.