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Woodland Scenics post office

Built-&-Ready O gauge structure

Price: $129.99 (BR5864) Features: Fully assembled and decorated, illuminated interior, cardstock interior, freestanding mail box, designed for use with the Just-Plug lighting system.
Back in the early 1990s, I was driving between Who-Knows-Where and Nowheresville, New Mexico. The terrain was bleak and, except for the road and utility poles, there were few signs of civilization. Then out of the blue, there was a small United States Post Office building out in the middle of absolutely nothing. I was pretty impressed.

When I opened the box from Woodland Scenics and saw the firm’s newest Built-&-Ready O gauge structure, that lonely sentinel of American communication was the first thing that came to mind.

Those snow-and-sleet guys are everywhere – including an isolated outpost along the highway to Nowheresville. That is pretty neat when you think about it.

Opening the box

This is a delightfully detailed structure that could easily be used on a railroad modeling any period from 1900 to today. This would look right at home on landscape ranging from Vermont to Oregon. It isn’t specific to a timeframe or a region.

The design is a conventionally constructed wood structure with what looks like about three layers of stone as a foundation. The front has a porch with a single step. The shingled roof is supported by two posts and has visible supporting beams beneath the overhang. The porch has a wood texture top. Over that you’ll see a U.S. Post Office sign and a vent.

The front of the structure has a door with a window and three front windows and a window looking in from the left side. All the window frames and the door are what I’d call a Kelly green. This contrasts nicely with the white of the exterior walls.

The door has a sign showing the hours of operation, and there is a street number sign.

Looking through the windows you’ll see a cardstock interior with a postal service window, FBI wanted posters, a doorway to the postmaster’s office, and a batch of post office boxes. It catches all the key points (or clichés) of a small-town mail center. You also get a tried-and-true blue mailbox to place anywhere it suits your whimsy.

Around the corner
On the left side of the building is an electric meter with a conduit rising up the side. A bit farther back is a stairway rising to a platform and door that must be the employee entrance. At this point, the foundation raises about six levels of stone.

Turn the corner and you’ll find a wall with a roof vent at the top. Turn the corner again and you’ll find a two-door loading dock for mail trucks. The delivery doors have a wood panel texture, brass tone handles, and one sign advising “Notice” and the other “Authorized personnel only.” There are safety stripes on the bumper.

The wall to the left of the doors looks to be behind the post office boxes. Hang a right turn and you’ll see a neat detail: a rolled up water hose (probably for washing delivery trucks). Take a few more steps and hang another right, and you’re back around to the front.

If you didn’t notice it before, now you’ll see the best “wow” inducing detail: an American flag stylized as waving in the breeze. A lot of toy train flags are straight as a board, but this angles downward and billows as if there were a light breeze. There is a light from beneath the roof, aiming toward the flag it. Stunning.

The U.S. Post Office from Woodland Scenics is a superbly crafted structure. It may not work on a New York City-focused layout, it will look right at home on the other 99 percent of America’s three-rail layouts.


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