O Scale Trains Magazine
Review of Evan Designs Model Builder Software
Review May/June '07 - O Scale Trains
A Review: Model Builder Softwarefor Windows OS;
Evan Designs, P.O. Box 2044,
Broomfield, CO 80038
Reviewed by Gene Clements
For all the model railroaders who have computers, I would think most of us have experimented with some form of design software at a previous point in time. You may have designed your layout, your dream home, or played around with a C.A.D. (Computer Aided Drafting) program. So let's take a look at a new software program called "Model Builder Software" from Evan Designs. The software is designed to operate on any PC running Windows 2000, ME, XP, or Xp-Pro. Requirements for your system are as follows: an 850 MHz processor with 250 MB of RAM and 150 MB of available hard drive space. With all the technical data listed, let's look at what this program can do.
If you have ever drawn out a structure for your layout with pencil, paper, and a ruler, then you will like this software. Size or scale does not matter, as you can work in any of the popular scales. Your options for various building materials include almost everything you see in use today, as well as options for weathered materials such as wood or metal siding. The same is true for roofing materials. Both residential and commercial door and window designs are available. The software also has the ability to alter or change colors of the materials you wish to use. there is even a section for trim work, as well as ornate design pieces used on commercial buildings. The program functions like most Windows programs, with drop boxes and selections for multiple design options.
Once you have your master creation completed, you can send it to your printer for a B&W or color print of you r entire structure, including the roof. You have the ability to save the structure file you just completed, for that day when you may choose to change or add to it.
I just had to try this [Model Builder] software since I have a background in design drafting. Just remember I'm the person who's still trying to outwit the onboard computers on the MAC-70s. Installation of the software is simple; insert the disc and follow the prompts from the "Installation Wizard". In a matter of minutes you're ready to design. I choose to design a simple metal garage, 12' x 17' with windows on three sides and a double garage door. Within an hour I had the structure printed on three sheets of printer paper. It took another hour to cut out the sides and roof, glue the pieces to illustration board, and assemble the structure with balsa bracing. The photo that accompanies this review shows this structure as well as the software package and manual on my layout.
One thing to keep in mind, larger structures need more printer paper. Since this program uses 8 1/2" x 11" paper, printing a large structure design may limit you to doing a side at a time.
If you are into scratchbuilding structures, kitbashing, or any other form of structure construction, or you have that odd space on the layout that needs some form of building, then you should consider this [Model Builder] software. You can take field photographs and dimensions from that prototype structure you've always wanted to model, transfer the design, the materials, and other details to the program to produce a set of model plans. On the other hand, you can just simply sit down and create; your only limitation is your imagination.
While writing this review, I couldn't help but think of Mr. E.L. Moore. He was a very well known model railroader, scratchbuilder and author from the 1950's and 60s, whose articles, designs and structures where photographed and published in many of the model railroad publications of the era. I can’t help but think that Mr. Moore would have liked the computer age, especially software like this product. I can only imaging how many more structures, plans, and articles he would have been able to give us.