MODELING: Recreating Browntown

Fans of the late Paul Larson will remember an article the was in the Railroad Model Craftsman in 1968.   Paul Larson started out in HO and was a staff member of Model Railroader and later the editor.  After leaving Milwaukee he changed scales and started working in 1/4″ scale.   Paul developed an elaborate track plan and start to construct equipment and structures.  One of his early choices was a simple two-story depot built for the Milwaukee Road in Browntown, WI.

Enter Robert Leners and his quest to build models of the Larson classics,  One of Robert’s favorite depots is the Browntown structure.  I found a few pictures of the depot at the Wisconsin Historical Center.

The train depot with a creamery next door, Browntown, Wisconsin, 1913. (Photo by Sherwin Gillett/Wisconsin Historical Society/Getty Images)

One last prototype picture was scanned from the July 1966 Railroad Model Craftsman.  I believe it was taken by Paul Larson.

There were drawings of the prototype in the RMC issue.   Robert used the drawings to build his model from styrene rather than basswood used by Larson.

Two walls were assembled with the back and far end to follow. The board and batten was made by bonding strips to the sheet styrene.  The windows and doors came Grandt ( San Juan Model Company).  The roof is covered with laser-cut shingles.  The basic structure was primed with a light gray color.

Robert painted in his home road colors rather than the Milwaukee Road gray.  He still has to build the train order signal.  Like many modelers, he worked on the depot along with lots of other projects in parallel.


I want to thank Robert for sharing his most recent work with us.





4 thoughts on “MODELING: Recreating Browntown

  1. I have long been a fan of Paul Larson models. When we were in Wisconsin we visited Mineral Point. On the second floor of the station was a museum. Besides an HO layout scene of Mineral Point they had the 4-4-0 that Paul built in a display case. Several years ago I scratch built an O scale stock car based on the article in RMC that Paul did back in 60’s. One of my favorite scenes from his HO days was the one of his version of Mineral Point in the December 1959 issue of Model. It was unfinished in the picture. I wonder if he ever finished it.

  2. Thank you for posting this Gene! wish there was a list of all of Paul Larson’s building articles. He had some great ones over the years!

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