go figure (scale figure resources)

edited June 2020 in Resources
Okay gentlemen, I ‘gotta ask. It’s about the LP, the never-quite-correct figures, et al. For an active, not entirely derelict, and properly lit dio (thank you, Mark), just ‘taint right to be sans folk. I am working in O scale, for the record.

Accepting that few can model these characters convincingly (Joel!), and along with the loss of dang near every other detail we all want/need/wish for, here’s my question:

Where should I go for the figures? I have a few coming from Aspen, and (don’t hate) Woodland. I don’t care if they are resin, white metal, kryptonite, or nuclear waste. I just don’t want another squadron of WWII flyboys or a tank crew.

I am, frankly, apprehensive about this. I think figures are required to bring about the image I’d like. I also know that nothing is undoable (thank you, Karl), but there is something about adding LP to the scene that speaks to an artist that I am clearly not.



  • I have been accumulating a list of suppliers of various items. Aside from the ones you mentioned, here are two links:

    I have not ordered from either one, so I can't vouch for them.
  • Buffalo Landing has some nice ones. The logging series is quiet good. They are modeled.
    And here: They are scanned and 3D printed after live people.
  • I love adding figures to my builds. Have gotten them from many different sources. Most out there are not very crisp in their details as you describe, but there are some gems. Sometimes you have to be creative also when adapting them to "action" poses. For example: adapting a 2-man saw team to move levers on a machine. Even something as minor as changing the angle of the head on an LP can add the sense of motion or dimension: have him look up and to the left for example.

    I have searched extensively over the years for sources. Searching for 1:48, 1:43, 1:50, O scale, etc. Its funny what comes up some times. I recently found a construction worker carrying a cement sack from MAIM. Never heard of them before. He fat and shirtless with "plumber pants". He will look good on my current build. I also have a shirtless figure with a 6-pack leaning against the wall. I think it will be funny to have the fat guy working while the skinny guy watches him work.
  • edited May 2020
    This thread is a great resource and a question I am asked often - "where do I buy figures?" I don't place figures on my pilot models since they're not included with my kits. I find it a very misleading to picture a bunch of figures on a pilot model as it creates the expectation that they're included. To each their own but for me - not gonna do it.
  • Tom,

    One manufacturer of nicely painted figures is Arttista. They sell both O scale and S Scale figures. Lots of different poses shapes (stout to thin) are available from Arttista. Their standing figures tend to be in the 5'6" to 6'0" range in 1/48th scale. You can order direct from them by phone or find many of their scale figures for sale on E-bay. A link to their catalog is:

    Buffalo Landing figures are great figures. They are unpainted white metal. My go to source for these figures is Coronado Scale Models in Phoenix, AZ. Brothers, Stan and Sheldon, are O-Scale modelers themselves and have been in business for a very long time. They generally run an ad in in the Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette. This issue (May/June 2020) their ad on p.20 has several Buffalo Landing figures and sets listed. Phone#: 602-254-9656 E-Mail:

    Later, Dave S Tucson, AZ
  • edited May 2020
    I didn't know that Narrow Gauge Modeler was a supplier so I might try them first. As Ed has said these figures are 1/43 scale so they are a bit taller than 1/48th scale figures I seem to recall that a standing figure measured about 6'2" in 1/48th scale.
    Later, Dave S.
  • The biggest problems that I see are finding figures that look like they are really doing what you want them to do. As for detail on the me it depends on "where" they are going to be. Less detailed figures work fine as "scene fillers".....background if you will. A lot of the 3D printed figure have really good detail and it still comes down to....are they believable in doing the task I am asking them to.....without doing a lot of modification....
  • edited May 2020

    The biggest problems that I see are finding figures that look like they are really doing what you want them to do. ....without doing a lot of modification....

    I hear what you're saying, but sometimes modification can be essential. After all, we modify all the details we receive in one degree or another, figures are just another detail.
    Make them what you want them, they are probably some of the biggest details you'll work on.

    Mike Chambers.. RIP, and thank you.


    Twist an arm, tweek a leg, cut the head off and change the angle, no limits !!!
  • Thanks all for the information and input. I'll share my adventure as it unfolds. Brett, your not including figures is the correct call; they are not for everyone, and could suppress imagination.
    Karl, is the Jet Ski for your O scale Riverfront?
  • edited May 2020
    I've made a few attempts to modify a few plastic figures...and they came out good......did one metal one....looked like he go hit by the train.....I need to practice more...
  • edited May 2020
    i've struggled just gluing the arms on the resin lps. i suck at it.
  • i think i have some body parts laying around from past attempts. no heads, but legs and arms and arms and legs. i've had one guy that was supposed to be a telegraph operator, but i wanted him for something else so i modified him a bit (i think) and when i went to glue one of the arms on, i screwed it up so bad i tossed him in the trash. i suppose could you could say i trashed him.
  • if you're asking me, i personally don't like figures that have separate arms, because the joint is never clean and always looks terrible. but that's me. there's guys on here (robert and others) that are artists with figures. i should just shut up and let them answer....
  • The joint can easily be made clean with a little filler, a little sanding, a little work.

    Kevin O'Neill used to spend about a week (or so) on a single oil drum, 10 mins making an arm fit right aint no biggie...
  • Karl.A said:

    The joint can easily be made clean with a little filler, a little sanding, a little work.

    Kevin O'Neill used to spend about a week (or so) on a single oil drum, 10 mins making an arm fit right aint no biggie...

    in recent years my fingers have become thumbs, and i have a real hard time holding the figure to work on it. honestly, they really do feel like thumbs. i tried to play a guitar last night, and man.........
    i just can't do it anymore.
  • Kevin, drill a hole in on the bottom of the foot of one of your figures and stick a toothpick in it which should make it easier to hold on to.
  • edited May 2020
    steve, i did that for hammering man, and it's just not in the cards....
    it's one piece pewter lps for me.
  • edited May 2020
    kebmo said:

    in recent years my fingers have become thumbs, and i have a real hard time holding the figure to work on it. honestly, they really do feel like thumbs. i tried to play a guitar last night, and man.........
    i just can't do it anymore.

    I feel ya man, that's the main reason I stopped modeling 5 or so years ago, not my fingers, but my eyes, cant see no more, old age sucks a hot potato, but hey, I miss this stuff, an don't yall start talkin glasses an stuff, I know, Bretts been all over me for years, acceptance is a bitch, I'll be back at the bench soon, but for now, I'll just look back and keep posting the little I know to try an help the rest of you out, and keep learning from those that keep elevating the hobby and posting the good stuff.

    Back to what I do know, and can share.... at the CSS2007 show when I First met Dave Revellia and he was doing his figure painting class...

    He would attach the figures to a 1" diameter dowel, (my opinion is use an old cut down broom stick, cheaper) to handle.
    I got amazed but bored when he started painting eyeballs on O scale figures (although I did do a few later) and went and sat with Brian Nolan and learnt about weathering barrels, stone walls and some other things...

    Cut that broom handle to 6" lengths, attach the figure to the top, either a pin, or super glue,
    easy to hold, easy to manipulate, easy to twist, easy to work on.

    Pop the figure off when you're done, maybe this will help with your "all thumbs" situation, after all, you're modeling is top class, if holding the smaller pieces is a problem, find a solution.

  • i've got about 3.5 or 4 feet of a 1" dowel. i'll have to give it a try. no eyeballs though.
    i've gotten new glasses every year for the past 7 or 8 years, and none of them have ever worked. i suffer from css and can barely find the eyes on the lps.
  • edited May 2020
    The reason I switched from HO to O was because my fingers got too big.....and my eyes got too small. I had cataract surgery done on my left eye in January.....and basically regained 20/ a distance. You get a choice with the new lens. I wear 2.00 strength readers whenever I model.....and I have magnifying glasses that go as high as 15X magnification. Makes all the difference in the world. You just need to remember to take them off when you walk away from the bench.....the bruises have since healed.....
  • edited May 2020
    I did the loco and service shop + donkey repair..

    After i finished that dio i called Brett and told him.. no more HO-! It's too small... and i'm "only" 41...

    I can see O scale just fine. It amazes me to see what the HO guys are doing...

    aside from from my eye sight i really tried to have enough patience for HO and basically failed... :wink:
  • I appreciate all this input on figures, but it does engender some comment. I too, have CSS and wear a magnifier (#3, I think) OVER my 2.00 readers nearly all the time. I’ll support Karl – let’s grow up. Your guys model stuff that few can see with 20/20, and you do so as part and parcel of our craft. The figures are just another part of the craft – it’s not clear that I’ll ever have any success with them, but I’m ‘gonna try.

    That any of us have taken a time out is understandable, but it is wonderful that many have returned, infirmities and all. Remember Kevin, George Martin was nearly deaf for decades and Brian Wilson never heard in stereo after his childhood. I’ll not go on to George Shearing or Stevie Wonder.

    If the small figures offend, I reference the musician’s phrase, ‘when in doubt, leave it out.’ Just don’t stop sharing your skills with us – all ten thumbs worth.
  • Hey Brett, does this thread mean we shouldn't look to see any N gauge kits soon?
  • 6
    i'm not afraid of lps, i just don't do surgery on them very well, but i'm gonna try if and when need to
  • yeah, but he's been m.i.a. since he rolled over.
  • thank you ed.
    [bowing to the crowd]
  • OK then...…..
  • And.... another worthwhile thread gets de-railed... lets try and keep it (mostly) on topic...

    Let us know when those figures show up Ed, it would be great to see how the production reality values measure up to the website images.

    Dave Revelias 'theatrical' painting of his O Scale figures won him, (and Brian) many awards, I guess it depends on what you're aiming for. In person viewing or close up photography.

    In person viewing you want maximum contrast for effect, detail is unimportant, close up photography obviously requires more finesse.... Dave has mastered both situations and uses his immense skills masterfully for each relevant situation. (and he still keeps getting better!)
  • I was/am thinking about adding figures to the woodcutter i'm working on.

    However, i'm unsure where to source them from it in the states... However, lucky they can be incorporated later.
  • Ed, have you gotten your figures yet?

    I ordered 12 or so from them, tracking says they just arrived in the states.

    Heel and toe i hope.. Especially with green arrows....
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