The Clever Models Kit

Clever Models – “P.N S43, American Steel Pipe (AMPIPE) is typical of mill buildings found all over the U.S. It is a low-relief kit, meant to fit against a backdrop. It is only a few inches deep.”

O Scale $9.95, S Scale $7.95, HO Scale $5.95, N Scale $3.95 – since you are able to print off as many as you need – which you can modify or extend .. I find it hard to beat the price.

I don’t model HO but my friend Gary Wise does so I did this for him (after badgering him to purchase Clever Models kits)

Foam Core REAR

If you assemble the structures from Clever Models per the kit it is simply cutting, folding and gluing various tabs to create a paper/cardstock model. I like my own method which creates a sub-shell from Foam Core (purchased at my local WalMart) and gluing the printed structure to that shell. I print off a copy of the model on my Brother laser printer in black and while and cut the walls out. I then glued these walls to the Foam Core and when dry cut out the walls. I then proceed to cut slots and tabs by eye to create the shell.

Here, I have the two sides (low relief) and the front slotted and tabbed. The slot and tab construction is pretty strong and holds together simply by friction. Simply adding white glue makes it very sturdy.


The black and white copy is glued to the Foam Core with white glue. Foam Core is foam sandwiched between cardboard so use whatever glue makes you do the happy dance.

To cut the slots and tabs I simply held a piece of the Foam Core along the edge and drew a vertical line the thickness of the Foam Core on the model. You can see that pencil line along the inner edge of the slots. The horizontal cuts for the slots/tabs was eyeballed. Cut the slots out .. place the piece against the front and mark their position. This only takes a few minutes.


You can see the slot and tab construction of the shell. It doesn’t matter that I cut into the design since this is the shell and will be overlayed with the colored print. There is a very large window area which I cut out. There are other areas like doors and venting that can also be cut out.

Just how far you go is up to you. This structure has two large industrial doors, a vent and a smaller personal door.


I added foam for the roof and a scrap piece below the window as a brace to stiffen up everything, This is NOT complicated!


The model was printed out a couple of times. I have one of those $49 Canon printers I picked up at WalMart for this. Works fine. The windows are glued to the window section I cut out and recessed a bit. Same thing with the industrial doors and the personal door. I have cut out the vent too.

I probably printed off three copies on cardstock. If you look you can see where the corrugated material overlaps the panel lower down. Simply think about it and cut where needed. In the areas around the industrial doors I cut the corrugated sheets wide so a bit would wrap around the recessed area. Those industrial doors again are glued to the cut out door area which is recessed a bit.


The completed model. I made a vent assembly from styrene and put some styrene above the large doors. Pretty easy to do .. took very little time and what you have is an excellent low-relief background model on cheap. Here .. I am using ‘cheap’ as to the cost and not to how well the model looks.