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O gauge Built-&-Ready structure line from Woodland Scenics

A look at three structures, ready to place on your layout
Three Built-&-Ready Structures from Woodland Scenics
Price: varies by product, see review text. Features: Fully assembled, painted, and weathered. Built-in illumination, additional add-on detailing, wired for transformer power but fully compatible with the Just Plug lighting system.
My preferred method for building a city on my layout is opening a box and putting a structure in place. If I’m feeling especially creative, I may rearrange things a bit for a more logical setting. But the key point is that I’m not using five paint bottles and two tubes of liquid cement to create a masterpiece. When it comes to spare-time allocation, I’d rather be running trains.

With the Built-&-Ready series of O gauge structures from Woodland Scenics, your greatest concern is finding real estate for the eye-catching models. Lets review the basic building elements:

Exterior variety

You may think bricks are bricks, but Woodland Scenics takes great effort to avoid a one-style-fits-all design. All three of these structures have bricks (in spite of the a stucco look of the theater). But the differences are striking and pleasing.

The bricks on Dugan’s are all painted the same color. Those on Sully’s are mostly red (the area below the frieze front has four groups of four bricks near the top painted tan for an added design element).

The theater has a special detail feature. The structure  was at some time covered with a gray/tan stucco material that shows wear and tear with sections cracked or fallen down, revealing the bricks beneath. The brick color is wild, with the majority being blue, with a seemingly random pattern of red and light brown bricks.

None of the structures looks to be newly erected, and Dugan’s bricks seem to have the natural accumulation of dirt and grime you’d find on a lighter-colored structure after a few decades. The second place in the wall grime race is the theater.

The buildings have an interesting variety of architectural details. I don’t believe I’ve seen duplication in this line in any of the structural features, such as cornices, friezes, stone banding, or window frames and heads. The structures have recessed entries, and unique doors.

All the buildings have faded exterior signage, such as advertisements for paint, bread, and lager! This sort of display is rapidly vanishing in most of the areas I regularly travel.

Added detail pieces

The Built-&-Ready O gauge line has an array of common items that make them look just like any building you might walk past. On some previously issued structures, you can find strategically placed flowerpots on balconies, air-conditioning units in windows, the occasional fire escape, bikes leaning against the wall, window treatments, and askew blinds.

You’ll also find a variety of rain gutters, water meters, and electrical power boxes and conduits (these three structures had three distinctly different utility hookups).

The top of the side walls of the theater, for example, mimic ceramic tile.

The rooftops are varied; most are flat, although the theater’s is raised. All have detailing, such as air vents, pipes, and access hatches.

While these buildings are pretty robust, the extra details usually extend from the structure (dummy lights, signage, or trash cans) and are glued to the structure. The details make these structures distinctive, but they can be fragile.

If there is a part that can be broken off of a locomotive, freight car, or building, my fingers will find it. The only caution I can offer is that some detail parts on these structures may break off with extra handling. For example, the photo shoot for this session resulted in two of the add-on pieces being knocked off (and reglued), and the Dugan’s sign taking a bump, and the top wall support breaking. So just watch where your fingertips are!


These buildings are all compatible with the Woodland Scenics Just Plug lighting system, but don’t worry if you don’t have it. The buildings come with two wires plugged into a board. Just connect it to a power supply, or insert a plug from the Just Plug system.

One advantage of using Just Plug is you can adjust the brightness on each building at the lighting hub. This arrangement beats having the same power level feed out from a small transformer.

For example, you can have the theater lighting set high, Sully’s tavern a bit dimmer, and Dugan’s Paint nighttime security light dim. It all depends on th level of stagecraft you desire.

A second advantage is you can use one outlet to plug in a series of Just Plug terminals to create a small electrical grid just for your structures.

The built-in illumination is for the lower front to show the interior decoration. The top floors are otherwise dark. However, you can easily add stick-on LEDs from the Just Plug line.

Across the board, in regular light, the LEDs assist you to clearly see the interior; in darker lighting the effect can be even more stunning.

The lineup

The Built-&-Ready series permits you to make a re-gentrified downtown or  the  hard working dirt-under-the-nails community of your choice.

Sully’s Tavern, a locale for lavish libations: This is a neat little structure that looks to be a home away from home for people who don’t care if anyone knows their name. The interior looks nice and packs atmosphere. You can see a bar and stools, along with a back bar with rows and rows of colorful bottles.

It appears to be a trouble-free establishment, and the only time the police are around is when Sergeant Burke needs to sell tickets for the policeman’s ball!

Window decoration includes a very subtle “Sully’s Tavern,” along with hours of operation. Cardstock decoration on the left side of the recessed door is a pay phone, and on the right is a mirror.  

The Theater, a tower for titanic tales and tense tear-jerkers: This is a good representation of a small -own, single-screen movie theater like those I knew first hand in Melbourne, Fla.; Grand Forks, N.Dak.; and El Reno, Okla. It has a art deco era façade and signage and a well-illuminated marquee proclaiming the current feature. If you’ve seen Atlanta burn once already, then you can gaze upon a poster for the upcoming attractions (Attack of the 50-foot Woman).

The interior is a visual twofer. You have a classic ticket booth (the glass is etched for a speaker and a small gap for the cash to go in, and the tickets to go out), and a lobby counter offering typical movie food.

The marquee proudly announces the main event is Gone with the Wind starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. Oh, Vivien is misspelled “Vivian,” which might be okay if it was starring Vivian Vance, but not Vivien Leigh.

There isn’t any lighting above the marquee, but I don’t think it would be too tough a project to slip some stick-on LEDs behind the Theater lettering for a little low-light accenting and run the wires into the building and out to a Just Plug hub.

Don’t fret about the theater or the playlist not fitting in on your layout. This will work in a town set anywhere from the 1930s to modern times. In the 1970s I frequented a retro-theater in downtown Orlando and saw films like Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, and King Kong on a large theater screen!

Dugan’s Paint, a castle for creative and colorful commodities: My grandfather occasionally took me with him when he went to buy paint, and it was usually to a store with one of those signs with the can of Sherwin-Williams paint spilling over the globe! Wow. Such are long-lasting first impressions!

This is the first thing I thought of when I took Dugan’s out of the packaging and saw the can with the red paint starting to ooze out of the jumbo can. It truly was a delight for my inner eight-year-old to see.

On the rooftop corner pieces you’ll find lions, and in the center you’ll find the building’s construction date: 1920. The three upper-story front windows and the entryway all have nice green awnings.

The cardstock interior features shelves of paint and a service counter. The window has signage for Dutch Boy, Glidden, Omar, Pittsburgh Paints, and other paints.
Dugan’s has pedestrian benches out front, crates and a bike against the left side, and a water meter on the right. The rear has two boarded-up windows, some trash detailing, a fire escape, and a sign posting delivery hours. How often can you say a building looks good from the back?

Woodland Scenics continues to make a wonderful building line, each of which is an original. All you need to do is open the packaging and place them. If you never run trains in the dark, you don’t even need to wire it up.  So if you have the space, the Built-&-Ready structure helps you create a unique town you could only have dreamed of when you were a kid!


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