Author Topic: Marmion Valley - HOn30 2 x 4 Layout  (Read 13609 times)

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timgill

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Marmion Valley - HOn30 2 x 4 Layout
« on: May 12, 2014, 04:01:09 PM »
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I have been inspired to start a micro-layout project in HOn30. Over the past couple years, I have become increasingly interested in modeling narrow gauge; the down-home, unique nature of the equipment has a lot of charm, and narrow gauge modelers seem to emphasize attention to detail and a high level of modeling.

I've been a dyed-in-the-wool N scaler my entire life, so doing a project in another scale is new territory for me. I conisdered Nn3, but the scarcity of equipment and high price points of entry for motive power was off-putting. HOn3 was the same story; beautiful stuff from Blackstone, but it comes with a high price tag, and only offers options for Colorado narrow gauge equipment. I really enjoy the selection of On30 stuff, plus the options for getting into superdetailing, but I have no room for an appreciable layout.

HOn30 was appealing, since I already have the skills and equipment to handlay 9mm track. Minitrains' latest release of the F&C 0-4-0 in HOn30 tempted me even more, and this brass/white metal kit that Toma Model Works recently released sealed the deal for me:



This body kit improves the look of the Minitrains loco from toylike to approaching a convincing, albeit freelance, prototype Baldwin loco. A larger, more realistic tender is also available on Shapeways.

I have benchwork built for a 2x4 layout sitting in the garage, so I figured that this would be a fun opportunity to try my hand at a freelance HOn30 layout. I'd like to really shoot for a high level of detail, as well use it as a workshop for some lighting and sound projects that I haven't tried before. Here's the track plan; simple and straightforward racetrack.



I am recycling a freelance concept that I used for a previous N scale layout; the Marmion Valley Ry. Is a Central California short line, circa 1928, moving passengers, produce, and lumber between a small agricultural region and an interchange between the Southern Pacific.

Scenically, I am still sketching out ideas. I know that I would like to emulate the rolling hills and lush, scrubby vegetation of Central California; so a central land formation to serve as a scene divider seems natural. Near the spur, I would like to have a small/rural depot, water tank, and perhaps a couple other buildings of clapboard/board and batten construction. On the other side of the layout, the track should give the impression of following the path cut though the valley by the riverbed.



I'd appreciate any input on the design, and any ideas about how to lay out the scenes more effectively; not really sold on the development of each area yet. I am still tossing this idea around as I await delivery of the body kit from Japan and the loco and rolling stock from Europe.
-Tim Gill
Subscribe to/Visit my Model Railraoding blog: www.marmionvalley.blogspot.com

Chris333

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Re: Marmion Valley - HOn30 2 x 4 Layout
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2014, 04:25:48 PM »
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Ah, but you are looking like at least $220 for that loco and the kit.  I've been eyeballing it myself, but I need another project like a hole in my head  :|

You can test it on your N scale layout to get going. I scratchbuilt a small HOn30 0-4-0 a while back:


/>
Has for the layout I would just keep it very simple so you have the most chance of getting it done.  ;)

timgill

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Re: Marmion Valley - HOn30 2 x 4 Layout
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2014, 04:56:54 PM »
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Quote
Ah, but you are looking like at least $220 for that loco and the kit.  I've been eyeballing it myself, but I need another project like a hole in my head

Yeah, I'm planning on picking up the set with the passenger cars; I ordered the kit already from Toma. It will end up being around $300 for the loco, kit, and 4 coaches, but to me that's still cheaper than around $500 for an HOn3 Blackstone based on a prototype I'm not modeling, or trying to hunt down an appropriate mechanism and kit for an Nn3 build.

I really like that Porter. What mechanism did you base that on?

Quote
Has for the layout I would just keep it very simple so you have the most chance of getting it done.  ;)

Bingo! If I do get this project off the ground, I have to split my time between it and my shelf layout.
-Tim Gill
Subscribe to/Visit my Model Railraoding blog: www.marmionvalley.blogspot.com

Chris333

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Re: Marmion Valley - HOn30 2 x 4 Layout
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2014, 05:01:24 PM »
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What mechanism did you base that on?


Pretty much everything but the wheels, motor, headlight, and stack were scratchbuilt. I etched a bunch of it myself at home and turned some parts on a lathe.


Keep us updated.

BTW still working on your small N layout?

timgill

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Re: Marmion Valley - HOn30 2 x 4 Layout
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2014, 05:18:18 PM »
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BTW still working on your small N layout?

Yeah, finally getting some free time to get the momentum going again. Posted an update in the thread here: https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=30464.45
-Tim Gill
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timgill

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Re: Marmion Valley - HOn30 2 x 4 Layout
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2014, 12:00:38 AM »
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My body kit arrived from Toma. I spent the last couple evenings working on it. This is my first brass/white metal kit, and, as I found out, it's in no way a beginner level venture...

IMAG1636 by timgill1983, on Flickr

This $^*&@#(% little thing has given me so much grief...

...but that's OK, because it's cute.

Some of my favorite moments were:
1. Irreversibly breaking off the drill bit in not one, but two pilot holes
2. Sending the cab roof flying across the room with my Dremel
3. My voyage of discovery learning that etched grab irons bend if you look at them funny. Or breathe on them. Or if you are in the same room as they are.
4. Playing a fun little game called "Let's drop this on the floor several times and completely flush $80 down the drain."

*Le sigh*...but, alas, all turned out well. Still have to (re) attach the cab roof, install the pop valves/whistle (going to paint them separately), and install the bolt covers for the pilot braces. The smokebox front and headlight will come from the donor locomotive.

I am hoping to pick up the actual loco/mechanism and coaches this week or next. Have them on hold at a hobby shop about an hour from me.
-Tim Gill
Subscribe to/Visit my Model Railraoding blog: www.marmionvalley.blogspot.com

Chris333

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Re: Marmion Valley - HOn30 2 x 4 Layout
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2014, 12:10:41 AM »
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Man I was re-eyeballing that kit last night. Looks good!


timgill

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Re: Marmion Valley - HOn30 2 x 4 Layout
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2014, 12:05:18 PM »
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You might be interested in this:
http://www.shapeways.com/model/1884040/parts-to-convert-f-c-loco-to-2-4-0.html?li=more-from-shop&materialId=62

Yeah, I was looking at that. I'm not sure yet if I want to alter the frame of the locomotive as much as I would need to to install the new pilot and lead truck.

Also had my eye on this:

http://www.shapeways.com/model/1696823/small-8-wheel-tender-for-hon30-f-c-loco-ver-a.html?li=user-profile&materialId=62

Almost looks big enough to hold a micro-tsunami and speaker...hmmmm....
-Tim Gill
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timgill

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Re: Marmion Valley - HOn30 2 x 4 Layout
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2014, 01:13:36 PM »
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Taking another stab at scenery. I've added a small switchback spur, which will be a small enginehouse/service scene.

Marmion Valley - Scenery V2 by timgill1983, on Flickr

Not sure exactly what the industry along the spur will be. I suppose it could be a general service freight house, a cannery, or somesuch thing.

The buildings along the street are also up in the air at this point. I want to avoid the "generic model railroad block of storefronts" look, but I'm not really sure which direction to take it.

The depot will be along the lines of this:

-Tim Gill
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timgill

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Re: Marmion Valley - HOn30 2 x 4 Layout
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2014, 01:51:33 AM »
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The trains have arrived!

(Blanket apology for grainy cell phone pics shall apply herein)

IMAG1673 by timgill1983, on Flickr

Stem to stern, the locomotive and 4-car consist is 21", perfect size ratio for the layout.

As cartoony and toylike the stock loco shell is, it's really finely tooled and has "heft" to it. The loco runs like the proverbial Swiss watch, with a whisper-quiet motor. Seeing the outside-frame counterweights flash as it creeps by is an added bonus.

IMAG1675 by timgill1983, on Flickr

IMAG1674 by timgill1983, on Flickr

I also really like the fact that there is a footplate between the cab and tender, a detail that most model steamers seem to flagrantly omit.

IMAG1676 by timgill1983, on Flickr

Now, I am at a bit of an impasse, as the new shell I have built requires me to cannibalize the headlight, bell, and smokebox front from this little gem. Smokebox is no problem, just clips right off; I assume the bell is press-fitted, but it might be glued. However, from what I can tell from a cursory inspection, I'd have to hacksaw the headlight off of the molded-on bracket; For whatever reason, I don't want to chop up the original shell.

Sooo, it's off to eBay for some brass detail parts. I'm thinking of getting both a box-style oil lamp and a more modern electric headlight, maybe fit a steam generator onto the boiler in that case. While I'm at it, I'll probably grab another bell as well.
-Tim Gill
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timgill

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Re: Marmion Valley - HOn30 2 x 4 Layout
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2014, 01:54:09 AM »
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Also, I might add my little gripes; wish they would have put actual openings for the clerestory windows in the coaches.

Oh, and those funky couplers.
-Tim Gill
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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Marmion Valley - HOn30 2 x 4 Layout
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2014, 03:28:26 PM »
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I don't see the point of the siding in the plan. If you're just trying to have somewhere to run something visually interesting, save the space and money for more scenery and equipment.

Chris333

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Re: Marmion Valley - HOn30 2 x 4 Layout
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2014, 03:55:24 PM »
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Do you know how tight a curve it will go around?  If it will make it around my little layout that would help me buy one  :scared:


timgill

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Re: Marmion Valley - HOn30 2 x 4 Layout
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2014, 04:10:29 PM »
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Do you know how tight a curve it will go around?  If it will make it around my little layout that would help me buy one  :scared:

Here's someone else's video of it running around Tomix 103 mm (4.5") curves:

/>
I don't see the point of the siding in the plan. If you're just trying to have somewhere to run something visually interesting, save the space and money for more scenery and equipment.

You make a good point. The siding(s) don't really have much operational interest, other than to maybe drop or pick up a car every now and then. The shorter switchback is intended to be a small engine service area, where a second small loco could stay parked. But again, how often will these spurs be used in an operational capacity? Little to nil.

Really, I think of the spurs as a scenic feature. They create leading lines visually and different opportunities for "sub-scenes;" the long spur to the freight house/whatever industry, the small enginehouse/service spur scene, etc. While I won't operate them, they can be used as photo ops for posing rolling stock/etc.

All that said, it is tempting just to make this a racetrack with no spurs, since the primary function here is a display layout. Since I'm handlaying, omitting turnouts does have the attraction of less time commitment; the $$ factor is negligible since rail and ties are cheap.
-Tim Gill
Subscribe to/Visit my Model Railraoding blog: www.marmionvalley.blogspot.com