Author Topic: Adventures in the Dark Side: building an On30 switching layout  (Read 2793 times)

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k27463

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So, most of my life I've been in large scale...at a rather large scale.  I've ended up with around 20 locomotives and around 80 cars, all narrow gauge prototypes.  I have enough equipment that I do a temporary display at a St. Louis area train show every year...



While that's been fun, I graduated college just over a year ago and ended up moving into a small apartment.  While I can take out an 8x15 loop of track and set it up on the floor, it makes the dining room unusable.  Cue this:



Five years ago, I decided that I wanted some standard gauge equipment but wanted something more prototypical than most of the large scale equipment.  I took an N scale board layout that had been in the basement for probably most of my life (I'm 24) and added new Atlas track and the bane of my existence, Atlas manual #4s.  While it's served me fairly well, it really isn't good for much outside of running in circles (thanks Atlas #4s!) and with my burgeoning N scale collection, I've started to run out of track space and start moving my equipment onto shelves.




In the meantime, I've also been looking into yet more scales...this time On30.  While I've picked up a few pieces here and there, the real catalyst for my On30 collection was at the Narrow Gauge Convention last year, where I acquired two locomotives and three cars.  This left me with a fairly good size floor layout, which unfortunately lacked operational interest due to space constraints.



So...I decided to build an On30 switching layout.  A few months back I acquired some Micro Engineering track and turnouts, and last Wednesday I picked up some lumber.  As of tonight...the benchwork is complete, and the foam has been cut.



As it currently resides in my kitchen, I'm going to finish up a few projects in other scales and move it into the end of my dining room.  It'll probably be a few days before I make much more progress, but I'm hoping to be laying track by this weekend.  As the only other experience I have with building any sort of layout is the N scale layout, I've spent some time reading up -- I have a Woodland Scenics foam cutter to make scenery hopefully a bit easier (and yes, I have been practicing with it), and a few ideas of where the track plan will end up.  I'm planning on building a small town somewhere in the Rockies (I'm somewhat obsessed with southern Colorado...), with the potential to expand into a larger layout if I move in the future.  This will split into two 20" x 8' sections; if I build spacers to stack them together they'll fit in my Corolla, which should make moving a breeze.

Any thoughts or comments are greatly appreciated -- I'm a total noob at this and honestly have very little idea what I'm actually doing!

I'll try to keep this updated through my trials and tribulations -- I'm not expecting it to be easy, and I'm ready to go buy another sheet of foam or whatever if I completely bugger this one up.  Thanks!

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Adventures in the Dark Side: building an On30 switching layout
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2015, 11:01:58 PM »
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Oh *****! You have the transformers train!

That was an excellent part of my young memories...

Also, I dig the real layout too. Finding something to fit into my apartment was the genesis of my old Apartment Layout, which was a great place to hone my "style".

k27463

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Re: Adventures in the Dark Side: building an On30 switching layout
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2015, 11:11:20 PM »
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Oh *****! You have the transformers train!

That was an excellent part of my young memories...

Yup!  I used to work with a guy who collected vintage Transformers...he found that on eBay for $5 and gave it to me.  The Tyco engine made it about five feet before going up in smoke.  Oh well; it's not like I don't have enough other stuff to play with  :D

Dave V

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Re: Adventures in the Dark Side: building an On30 switching layout
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2015, 11:23:08 PM »
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Ooooooo...Colorado narrow gauge...



Can't wait to see it progress!
Silver San Juan Scenic Line

Member SlimRail Modular Colorado Narrow Gauge
http://www.slimrail.net/

mcjaco

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Re: Adventures in the Dark Side: building an On30 switching layout
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2015, 09:12:21 AM »
+1
Contemplating a jump to On30 myself for a shelf layout.  Thinking Hawaiian Sugar Cane Plantation RR.

Interested to watch this one pan out.  :)

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Adventures in the Dark Side: building an On30 switching layout
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2015, 10:21:02 AM »
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The Tyco engine made it about five feet before going up in smoke.  Oh well; it's not like I don't have enough other stuff to play with  :D

Sounds exactly like mine...

Scottl

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Re: Adventures in the Dark Side: building an On30 switching layout
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2015, 11:47:18 AM »
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Must be something in the water.  I have been playing with some On30 equipment too  :facepalm:

k27463

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Re: Adventures in the Dark Side: building an On30 switching layout
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2015, 10:56:07 PM »
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Well, I listened to a guy I know instead of doing my own research, and I dun goofed.  Turns out 3M Super 77 eats pink foam and my (theoretically) glued together foam sheets in fact have a giant gap in the middle.  Any thoughts on how to fill that up without restarting from scratch?  I won't be able to pick up another foam 4x8 until May or so (brother comes home for summer break with his pickup).

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Adventures in the Dark Side: building an On30 switching layout
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2015, 08:03:43 AM »
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Liquid nails for projects will do a good job of holding things together.

Then, you can use lightweight spackle to fill in and big holes.

k27463

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Re: Adventures in the Dark Side: building an On30 switching layout
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2015, 02:19:42 AM »
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Picture update from the PotatoCamĀ®:

Foam is fixed up, roadbed is being laid...



I think it's time for bed  :D

k27463

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Re: Adventures in the Dark Side: building an On30 switching layout
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2016, 03:34:35 PM »
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Long time no update!

I've finally started actually laying track and tacking stuff down - and started on my first scratchbuilt structure (a trestle, of course).

Picked up a few structures cheap -- they're actually perfect for what I'm doing.

What's there is wired and operational -- going to add a few toggles in the front fascia to allow shutoff of locomotives (even when I go DCC in the future, I think I'd like to have the option to power locomotives down to save power).

Feels pretty good!