Just Plain Folk barber shop

A 1:24 scale assembled and painted resin structure
Kevin Strong
1:24 scale (approximately) assembled and painted barber shop
Just Plain Folk
818 Lincoln Ave.
Palmyra NJ 08065
Price: $79

Large scale, cast-resin structure; fully finished and painted; no interior. Dimensions: Depth, 9" (excluding front sidewalk); height, 9"; width, 7"

Pros: Good exterior detail; good paint and finish; open bottom and removable floor allows for building interior to suit
Cons: Resin thin in some spots, may allow interior lights to shine through at night (black paint inside would help this)
Trains running through the garden are great but it’s the buildings that add a sense of place. We buy or build structures to create towns that our railroads can serve, and those towns give our lines character.

Just Plain Folk has been providing our towns with people for quite a number of years. Now they’re branching out to give those people places to live and work. The first building in this series is a barber shop, but only because it comes with a barber pole and stickers that say “Barber Shop.” Otherwise, it’s a generic storefront with a blank sign that could serve any purpose you want it to on your railroad.

The building comes assembled and painted. It’s made from spin-molded resin and is supplied as one piece. Also included is an interior floor panel, to which you can add whatever interior detail you might like, and a front sidewalk that will add about 5" to the total footprint. (You can cut this back if you don’t need that much sidewalk.)

There is a large window on the front, so you can see into the building. The paint and finish look good, though the finish on the wood sidewalk is a little glossy. This is nothing a shot of matte finish couldn’t fix.  

My review sample had some minor warpage on the walls but this is only noticeable on close inspection. Once in the garden, the building blends in and, in truth, I’ve seen prototype buildings of that era with more pronounced warping on the wall, so you can make an argument for it being prototypical.

While there is no specific scale stated for this building, it’s ostensibly built to around 1:24, which is also roughly the scale of Just Plain Folks’ line of figures. At that scale, the building’s footprint measures around 14' x 18'. On one hand, that’s a pretty small building but, on the other, it’s appropriate for a small c. 1890s shop, as this is intended to represent.

When I judge the scale of a building, I tend to use architectural features with which people would interact, especially doors and windows. On this building, the doors measure 33/4" tall, which is 7'6" in 1:24. I model in 1:20.3, so the door is about 6'3" tall in that scale. While this is a little short compared to a modern 6'8" door, it is prototypical for doors I’ve seen on some early buildings. As such, this building is as suitable for 1:20.3 railroads as it is for railroads built to the smaller scales (even 1:29, though the door will be noticeably tall in that scale).

No interior is provided with this building but, because the floor of the building is a separate piece, you could easily build an interior on it. The windows on the front are large, so an interior would be clearly visible. I would recommend that, if you do install an interior, or at least interior lights, you paint the underside of the roof black. I noticed the resin on my roof was a bit thin in places and I could see a little light shining through. This is the result of the manufacturing technique, so it may be more pronounced on some buildings than on others. Also, if you live in an area that is prone to hail, these thin spots may pose a risk of breakage. I’d recommend applying some spray foam to the interior to give the roof more support.

Overall, I think this building has a good deal of character. Just for fun, I set it across the street from one of the depots on my railroad. Just adding a single building gave the place more of a “town” feel. It’s a small structure so it won’t overpower a scene. Still, it’s large enough that, if it’s sitting by itself with some landscaping around it, it


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