Kitbashing is the word given to the art of taking an existing manufacturers kit and using the parts in whole or in part to create your own unique item. Most commonly used to create structures and prototype buildings it can refer to any action that uses pieces from any pre-existing kit however.
Many times the term ’scratchbuilt’ will be used, which actually refers to the art of building a model or structure from scratch but is commonly applied even when some components from existing kits are incorporated which technically means the project is a ‘kitbash’ and not ’scratchbuilt’ … in truth most enthusiasts do not care how the end result is achieved, it is the level of detail and how well it reflects the artists intention that make or break a project.
A quick query will return hundreds of sites on kitbashing, and even more proud hobbyist sites which detail the efforts they went to to change a boring pre-existing kit into a unique one-of-a-kind work of art. The advantage to kitbashing vs. building something completely from scratch is that you are freed from much of the scale calculations and math and can focus almost entirely on the art and design. If you have a kit that is approximately the right shape and is to scale for your purposes why not use that frame and add or subtract to match your end-goal? What is gained by ‘recreating the wheel’ so to speak?
Some examples of kitbashing projects that are worth reviewing include:
There also are several books dedicated exclusively to the art of kitbashing, including the following:
So if you can’t find the perfect kit to create that station house you always wanted don’t despair – find one that’s the right scale and modify it! The results will be unique and all yours – and isn’t that what model railroading is all about?