Author Topic: So...picking a locale and prototype is hard.  (Read 2271 times)

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2-8-8-0

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So...picking a locale and prototype is hard.
« on: June 20, 2010, 12:09:37 PM »
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Yeah. First, let me thank *and curse* Spookshow for his incredible website; the loco information and the layout writeups are a godsend, but damnit, the classic American "downtown" he replicated so well is just so appealing, you just gotta wanna model it!

Diesels rumbling through midwest Americana has a lot of appeal; probably moreso due to the fact I live in midwest Americana, and see diesels rumbling through it every day. Sigh. So I have amassed a huge array of steam locos, coal hoppers, and other C&O centric whatnot, but an Appalachia based layout dosent seem to have as much appeal for a teensy layout *nor be as small layout friendly* as Midwest Americana.

Modifying tiny expensive N scale engines has never been a favorite activity of mine either. Painting and decals? No problem. Moving walkways, air pumps, headlights? Blech. I love the result, but doing it just sucks. Maybe time to put the C&O stuffs on the back burner, and just work on...well, a small town smallish Americana layout! I can handle painting a -9 black and applying decals...

6x3 or so is realistically the largest I could work with, given that I live in a small apartment (small enough to stand on its smaller end and put in the corner) Roundy round (much like Spookshow, I enjoy watching trains simply run!) has its appeal, but I would like to have a couple of small industries; maybe a feed mill or small plastics plant, on the edge of town *both seem to be pretty common here in Ohio in small towns* and perhaps (unprototypical in a small town, but who cares, its what I want) some sort of intermodal facility (enough for some 3 car well car units, perhaps? Those just look great behind some gigantodiesels!) and maybe even a bit of street trackage through part of town, which seems to still exist in a few places.

What is the smallest radius Kato's SD70s and 9-40CWs will operate reliably on? I figure NS is my favorite of the modern roads, so may as well go with that; going from mallets and small 40 cars to big diesels and 80+ foot cars is kind of scary. Plus, a couple Dash 9s and maybe one SD 40 or GP 38 for "the local" will keep the loco spending to a minimum (and a layout this size shouldnt swallow endless amounts of rolling stock either) though I must admit the cost of a good Kato diesel is about 1/2 of the cost of a Bachmann mallet...and it runs better.

And, I must admit, the thought of flat Ohio/Indiana type scenery seems much less overwhelming for a first smallish layout than does the mountains of Fayette County, W Va.

Sigh. I have the attention span of a goldfish, but this does sound more reasonable to me than coal mines, mountains, and mallets...at least for now.
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Rossford Yard

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Re: So...picking a locale and prototype is hard.
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2010, 12:18:56 PM »
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Or you can do a urban terminal road and not have to pick a railroad to model.  Or, use the old Rail Model Journal "Scene Site" concept and put in a few removable buildings to change eras, locales, etc.

I am a big fan of very narrow shelves.  An MRR Planning issue a few years back showed how you could put a mainline on a 6" shelf and use photo backdrops as nearly your only scenery.  To cover the joint of wall and benchwork, you simply need a fence, tree line, etc.   While the photo enlargement isn't cheap, it saves money on every other aspect.

The same technique could be used even more easily for urban layouts.  As Armstrong pointed out years ago, once you start looking at a moving train, its amazing how little the scenery matters, so go narrow.

up1950s

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Re: So...picking a locale and prototype is hard.
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2010, 12:31:20 PM »
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Yes it is hard , and it is because we don't want to eliminate era's and stuff . It's one of the crappier parts of the hobby , but if you want a realistic snapshot in time you need to do it . Exceptions to your self decided rule will not destroy the world , but will always bother you to some degree . We don't get all this hobby pleasure for free , hard choices are the down side .

2-8-8-0

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Re: So...picking a locale and prototype is hard.
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2010, 01:37:10 PM »
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As I live in a rental apartment, any sort of shelf, even one 6" wide, is pretty much out of the question; It also dosent help that I will be completing my bachelor's in about a year, and will be relocating to whereever I attend grad school; Kent, Columbus...who knows.

Whatever I build has to be portable and reasonably small. I like the idea of a shelf down the wall in a room, but atm, it simply isnt possible=(

Hmmms.
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John

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Re: So...picking a locale and prototype is hard.
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2010, 02:44:36 PM »
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What is the smallest radius Kato's SD70s and 9-40CWs will operate reliably on?


Smallest radius does not bring "rumbling" through the mid-west to mind .. don't compromise on radius to squeeze more track in ..

wm3798

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Re: So...picking a locale and prototype is hard.
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2010, 03:04:50 PM »
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Yeah!  That's MY JOB!! ;D
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Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

2-8-8-0

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Re: So...picking a locale and prototype is hard.
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2010, 03:28:26 PM »
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What is the smallest radius Kato's SD70s and 9-40CWs will operate reliably on?


Smallest radius does not bring "rumbling" through the mid-west to mind .. don't compromise on radius to squeeze more track in ..

Smallest in my case does not mean curves and switches everywhere; id love to have it straight as can be with sweeping curves. However, If i want to run them round n round, they need to turn around somewhere. A train that moves a whole 6 feet before needing to stop and back up also dosent bring "rumbling through the midwest" to mind.

I dont want to squeeze track in; Im looking at 3-4 turnouts max, with most of the "main" being single tracked (most of NS around here is single track) with one "passing siding" down one straight (probably combined with the feed mill) and the town down the other, with 1 or maybe 2 sidings for small businesses; thats it. Im not going any smaller than 14" or so radius (big locos and cars look like crap on sharp curves) just wondered if thats big enough for kato's big diesels. No 9 inch curves here, and will probably limit cars to 60' (sorry autoracks, but you just want BIG curves) so I guess I answered my own question.

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SkipGear

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Re: So...picking a locale and prototype is hard.
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2010, 08:54:28 PM »
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You don't have to scrap your steam. Use the topagraphy to your advantage. Use the mountainous terrain to your advantage as a view block, similar to Dave Vollmers Layout.

If you want want a more urban theme, use the H4 and H5 as pushers. The H4's were used in Cincy pushing trains out of the Mill Creek valley on their way to Indiana.

You just need to open your mind a bit. If you do modern, larger radius is needed. For a steam era layout, especially using the articulateds, you can get away with 11" radius just fine. There won't be any thing longer than the ESM gondola's to cause problems on the curves. Over the counter C&O steam includes your 0-8-0, H4, H5, 2-8-0, Heavy Mountain and Berk. The Berk and Mountain are the only ones that might even slighly grumble about an 11" radius.

Hide the radius on the ends behind mountains, stetch out the straight runs as long as possible and have fun.
Tony Hines

2-8-8-0

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Re: So...picking a locale and prototype is hard.
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2010, 09:24:56 PM »
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Your I-1 opened my mind Skip. I do love my C&O mallets, so Im gonna put em to use.

Decided to go ahead and rip the cab off my Lifelike 0-8-0 and get to work makin it more C&O...and just have signed up for a crash course in steam loco guts 101. Good news; the cab isnt cemented to the sides of the thing, just a press fit and held in by the rear grabirons (preparing to be ripped loose as we speak!)

The bad...needed to loosen the pilot to get the steps to clear the cylinders, and lets say i now have a set of cylinders, seperate from the loco, whose drive rods and et cetera are just kind of hanging here, looking at me. And i have also (tho i never even TOUCHED it) managed to misplace the screw that holds the drawbar to the loco. Dumbest. Design. Ever. One area where bachmann definately smacks all other companies down is their tender attachment.

Quickedit: Surprisingly those dangly bits went right back in place. Gonna test run the chassis and make sure it works, but wasnt anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be!

So, now trying to figure out how to get four *count em* dangly wigets back in their respective places. At least the boiler is off. Suppose I need to learn sometime...if anyone has any ideas, i am all ears.

PS...uh, anyone happen to know the thread size and pitch of the tender attachment screw...?
« Last Edit: June 20, 2010, 09:29:03 PM by 2-8-8-0 »
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Chris333

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Re: So...picking a locale and prototype is hard.
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2010, 11:48:33 PM »
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Did the drawbar screw have a washer on it or just a regular screw?

I might still have my screw, I just have no idea what it looks like.

Chris333

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Re: So...picking a locale and prototype is hard.
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2010, 12:02:21 AM »
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Think I found it, but I modified my drawbars so I have no idea if this is the correct screw. But it does thread into the frame hole.


If it looks right PM me your address and I'll send it out.

FloridaBoy

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Re: So...picking a locale and prototype is hard.
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2010, 04:40:09 AM »
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I can sympathize with some guys who are considering their respective venues for their next layout.  For me, the decision was already made before I even thought about it.  I like a lot of other older model railroaders, model the train-rich hometown of my childhood.  Sharon/Sharpsville, PA on the western border near Youngstown, OH.  We lived near the Sharon Steel steel mill and our family house compound was next to the PRR/Sharon Steel storage yard, where I wandered and raifanned as a young'un.  In my tiny town a whole bunch of trains rolled through on their own rails, including NYC, B&O, Erie and others. Nearby were great train towns like Greenville (home of the Bessemer), Transfer, Clarksville, and Fredonia. All great train venues for both operation and scenery.

Ever since I was six, I modeled either the Bessemer and Lake Erie or PRR, and now using the real Shenango Valley where all of this takes place, I encompass both. 

But I am a somewhat impulsive guy and should stick to my knitting with age/location/era appropriate locos and rolling stock,  I have an abundant supply of SP, UP, SF SRR, and other raillines I totally admire and show that admiration by building consists and running them. 

There is nothing more beautiful than an intelligently contrived consist of trains traversing through scenery.

Ken "FloridaBoy" Willaman

Philip H

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Re: So...picking a locale and prototype is hard.
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2010, 07:50:03 AM »
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I continue to sing the praises of Carl Arnedt's website for small layout designs.  He's got a ton of atuff in all gauges - many surprisingly faithful to the prototype.  http://www.carendt.com/index.html

Lance Mindheim also has a lot of good ideas, and his books are easily digestible in an hour on the poorch.  http://www.shelflayouts.com/bookstore.htm
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2-8-8-0

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Re: So...picking a locale and prototype is hard.
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2010, 07:54:18 AM »
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Thanks for the offer of the screw, PM has been sent! Yep, it has a little plastic washer with it, searched for it for maybe 20 minutes or so before deciding it went bye bye. Dumb teensy screws!

My hometown of Ashtabula, Ohio certainly qualifies as train-rich...but also would be pretty hard to replicate in any interesting fasion on a small layout. I was born in West Virginia (B&O country, not C&O, but modeling C&O is much easier :P) so it was a logical choice for me; plus, I like steam.

I do enjoy seeing NS trains, and the coal operation in our harbor is mindblowing, but as I have all these C&O steamers and hoppers and such, may as well see what I can do with them.

Thanks again Chris!
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lock4244

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Re: So...picking a locale and prototype is hard.
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2010, 11:50:27 AM »
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After bouncing between freelance or prototype for a good number of years, I finally decided like many others, the pull of memories of my youth and early exposure to train watching was too strong. Though I'm going to avoid modeling any particular line since I don't like the idea of being forced to give up one type of operation or industry over another because they didn't do that or have one on this line or that, I'm going to try and capture the feel of things back then (mid-late 1980's... essentially the 1987-89 period) in southern Ontario.

MLW C424's and their big 6-axle bothers, SW1200RS's, a mix of unrebuilt and rebuilt GP9's and RS18's, GP40-2L's, SD40's, FP9A's, F40's, and hopefully (someday) a few LRC's from Rapido. Lots of boxcars and covered hoppers, vans on every train, ex B&O and Chessie GP40's, ex MoPac SD40 leasers, and weekend warrior GO Transit GP40-2W's on CP, SOO SD40-2's and maybe an SD40A running through on the 500 series railrunners, branchlines (I want to model a CN and a CP branchline to the same terminus, but on different levels, the CP line will drop down to the terminus, the lower level, at the end and enter town on a large bridge). This is a huge endeavor, but I've got some years ahead of me to pursue it.

I agree with Ken that for most, the inspiration comes from your youth.
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