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Out with the HO, in with the N





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#1 DanielB

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 06:21

Well, I've procrastinated long enough dabbling in the Horribly Overscale, and I've sold my entire HO collection and my layout to make space for a new N scale project.
 
I've tentatively called it James River, after the waterway in Virginia, but I wanted to make a rail/marine layout for a while, and figured why not? I've also been gawping at video and pictures of George Selios' Fanklin and South Manchester, and figured why not set this one in the transition era, to allow me to run my growing collection of steam locomotives?
 
On top of that, my wonderful wife Laura has allowed me to make use of some of the unused space in one corner of her crafting/computer room, so I've been able to set up my St. Charles, VA. layout up in there. This will allow me to expand on the operations of both layouts, with the St. Charles layout being the source of coal and lumber being delivered to suitable industries on the new project, and vice versa.
 
Here's St. Charles in it's new home:
 
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A nice bonus here is that I can now get access to the unscenicked coal mine scene on St. Charles to progress the build on that part of the layout. 
 
So, I had a tentative plan for the James River layout by combining a couple of Iain Rice plans, as you can see here:
 
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As it stands, I'm thinking of going back over the long section of the plan and completely re-doing it to put it all on a curve that comes out of the board at the front, like a mini-peninsula, to give me a bit of space at the back for some F&SM style city scenery. I think what I'll do there is build the benchwork to the space I actually have available, then figure out a trackplan that will actually fit into the space I have, rather than the space I THINK I have! 
 
In the mean time, I've been working on some structures and the basic land forms for the harbour area, and I'm getting to a rough mock up that I really like.
 
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Ignore the woodland scenics riser supporting the underneath of the truss bridges, I put that there temporarily so I could confirm that the gradient would actually clear the lower level tracks enough to not foul them if I ever wanted to run high cubes or autoracks.
 
Some of the buildings I've been working on will be posted whenever I am able in this thread, but here are a couple to get the ball rolling...
 
Scalescenes Stone Mill:
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Clevermodels' Juke's Boat House:
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Clevermodels' Wheelwright's Shop
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#2 Mike Kieran

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 14:28

Daniel,

 

Have you also looked at Iain Rice's Coalport Layout? that's a nice plan with lots of purposeful trackage for an HO 5x9 foot layout. Byron Henderson also designed a 6x1 foot layout in N Scale (Alameda Belt Line) that M.C. Fujiwara built with a sight tweak to the plan. The ABL layout folds in half for easy transport. M.C. Fujiwara takes it to shows.

 

I would love to build the ABL in HO (12x2 feet) as a transportable 6x2 foot layout (hello roof rack), but I don't have 12 feet of space anywhere.


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#3 F-UnitMad

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 17:06

Wot - no 'O' Scale..??!! :jester:

Will still follow this with interest, though! ;) :yes:
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#4 DanielB

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 06:31

Morning all,
 
Here's a couple more structure builds I've done for this project.
 
Clevermodels' Cannery:
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J L Innovative "McSoreley's Old Ale House":
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Clevermodels' Yard Hut:
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Don't worry Jordan, I've not forgotten about Piedmont Blues. Not by a long shot.

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#5 DanielB

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 20:22

Another quick update for today, to show you yet more of the structures I've been working on.
 
This is a kitbash of the Clevermodels "Lucky & Knott's Mining Supplies" based on a picture I found on Pintrest. Great source of modelling inspiration, that site!
 
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Next is a small double garage conversion, again based on a picture found on Pintrest. I was thinking of using it as part of a small boat refuelling station. Not 100% on that yet though.
 
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Lastly is the Clevermodels freebie kit of the Princeton Tiger Brewery building by John Kosma. This is designed to go on a concrete foundation, but I think I'll make one from stripwood instead.
 
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More to come later, likely tomorrow. :)

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#6 JohnR

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 07:31

Looks good. I'm interested in your views on  the change in scales, as I'm considering a move from OO to N.


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#7 DanielB

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 08:46

N scale fits a lot more bang for your buck, but OO/HO is a lot easier to model all those card kits I build, IMO.

 

I just prefer N scale as it allows for a much more realistic level of railroad to scenery ratio. :)

 

 
 
Beyond this, I thought I'd take a moment to explain the general idea of the theme of the layout(s).
 
The St. Charles layout is based - as previously mentioned - on the Southern Railway branch from the small yard at Appalachia to the mines surrounding the town of St. Charles, Virginia. There were over half a dozen coal mines served by the branch, the largest ones being at Pocket, Benoit, Mayflower, and St. Charles itself.
 
At St. Charles, there is a wye for turning locomotives, where the line splits into two more branches serving the various mine runs. It is still in use today by the Norfolk Southern Corp, though coal isn't as booming as it used to be. Just "south" of Pocket the line splits at what was known on the Southern as "L&N Junction", where the Louisville and Nashville branch into the area joined the Southern - the L&N having trackage rights to serve the mines in the area as well. This was - until recently at least - still in practice, but by L&N successor CSXT. With CSX's downturn in coal traffic, I've no idea if they still actually serve St. Charles.
 
The layout I have built is based on the Model Railroader project layout - the Virginian - with a few tweaks. Where the MRR plan had a spur coming off the layout leading to removable staging, I've got an additional short board with the St. Charles triangle and depot spanning both it and the corner of the main layout. The leg of the triangle that heads "off layout" will lead into staging, however I need to get that part of the layout built to fit it's new home, and get a DCC auto-reverser to wire into the triangle to avoid shorting out the layout. As such, the triangle itself isn't wired currently.
 
The yard on the layout represents the sidings at St. Charles, with the branch that runs up and over the main tracks on the plan representing the Mayflower branch - the mines of Dominion and Mayflower will eventually be represented on the layout. Dominion by the Walthers Diamond Coal Company kit, and Mayflower by - I hope - an N Scale Architect Lackawanna Mining Co kit (if I win the ebay bid I've got going!)
 
The only structure on the layout that's accurate to the prototype is the depot at St. Charles, which I kitbashed from a Blair Line Gerald Depot kit, using reference photographs of the actual depot I found online. The depot itself burned down in the early 1970's and was replaced by a smaller brick structure, but that's just boring compared to the old Southern wooden structure, in my opinion.
 
Operations will be represented with a little modellers licence involved. Real ops on the line were performed by the road power - St. Charles didn't have any dedicated switch engines. I'll be doing things a little differently.
 
The plan is to have road power from both the Southern and the Louisville and Nashville bring in empty hoppers and take away loaded ones, with a small switch engine - likely an MP15DC or a GE 44T - doing the actual mine runs and switching the yard. There will also be a local manifest freight which will come and go to make things interesting, serving the various company towns, team tracks, and a couple of freelanced industries added for interest - moving coal hoppers to and from staging will get boring real fast!
 
I'll add the plans/ideas for the harbour layout in a separate post. For now, here's a couple of video logs I added to YouTube last night:
 
 

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#8 DanielB

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 15:20

Another update on structures I've been working on, not many left to show off now!
 
J L Innovative "Woody's Tavern" craftsman kit. I'm thinking of using this as the harbourmasters building, shipping office, and lodging house for sailors.
 
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Scratchbuilt bait and tackle shop based on plans in the April 1987 Model Railroader:
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Clevermodels "Wood's Mill" kit:
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The prototype mill didn't originally have an external waterwheel - everything was internal. Makes things handy for me! :D
 
More work to come later.

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#9 DanielB

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 06:03

Morning all,

I recorded a new video last night with a tour of the St. Charles layout:


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#10 JAMO

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 19:37

Nice project Daniel!

 

You said: "I just prefer N scale as it allows for a much more realistic level of railroad to scenery ratio."

 

I think that too.


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#11 k-59

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 19:41

Welcome to Normal scale :P

 

Looks like you off to a great start, I love Mr. Rice's plans!


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#12 DanielB

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 23:44

Not much progress, other than a couple of video updates:

 

 



#13 DanielB

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 04:27

Whilst I think about it, I've just realised I've not posted progress on the sail makers factory!

 

Naughty!

 

Here we go:

 

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#14 DanielB

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 20:28

I've made the decision this week to focus on the St. Charles part of the layout as that needs some immediate work which - when those jobs are finished - will allow me to run a full ops session on the layout whilst I work on the scenery and such.

At least it'll allow me to play trains as a break from all the building work!

I have decided to add a small expansion to the front of the board on the coal mine side of the layout, just adding about an inch to the layout width in one place. This will allow me to add a short spur to the lower track after it crosses the river bridge, which will allow me to represent the small loading point/truck dump at Valee. There was a small branch off of the Bonny Blue/Mayflower branch on the line which served two small loading points - Valee and Dominion. Whilst I don't have room for Dominion, I can represent Valee, at least, with a short spur to fit two or three cars in.

In the mean time, I've been working on applying decals to some locomotive repaints during my lunch breaks at work. This is the current state of the first one, a Bachmann SD45 repainted from Conrail. It needs touch ups on the paint where it's chipped, and the white warning stripes on the pilots. I was originally going to add the Southern Railway crest to the hood ends as per the prototype, but I found a 1968 photo of the locomotive I'm modelling which didn't have them, so I've decided to leave those off.

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#15 DanielB

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 22:56

This arrived today from the USA. $35 plus $25 shipping and customs fee.
 
Hornby Arnold U25C. I've got another in L&N colours on the way to go with it. I'm told that the L&N favoured the U25C in consists of 3 to haul the heavy coal drags out of the Kentucky coalfields. Due St. Charles being pretty much sat on top of the Virginia/Kentucky border, I'm using modellers licence to have them run the mine trains on my layout too. The L&N used to lease a lot of power from the Penn Central, so this locomotive being in the consist isn't all that far fetched either. :)
 
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#16 F-UnitMad

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 17:32

I've made the decision this week to focus on the St. Charles part of the layout as that needs some immediate work which - when those jobs are finished - will allow me to run a full ops session on the layout whilst I work on the scenery and such.[/size]At least it'll allow me to play trains as a break from all the building work![/size]I have decided to add a small expansion to the front of the board on the coal mine side of the layout, just adding about an inch to the layout width in one place. This will allow me to add a short spur to the lower track after it crosses the river bridge, which will allow me to represent the small loading point/truck dump at Valee. There was a small branch off of the Bonny Blue/Mayflower branch on the line which served two small loading points - Valee and Dominion. Whilst I don't have room for Dominion, I can represent Valee, at least, with a short spur to fit two or three cars in.[/size]In the mean time, I've been working on applying decals to some locomotive repaints during my lunch breaks at work. This is the current state of the first one, a Bachmann SD45 repainted from Conrail. It needs touch ups on the paint where it's chipped, and the white warning stripes on the pilots. I was originally going to add the Southern Railway crest to the hood ends as per the prototype, but I found a 1968 photo of the locomotive I'm modelling which didn't have them, so I've decided to leave those off.[/size]36700289046_62f8907abf_o.jpg[/size]36350994700_7bfbd26494_o.jpg[/size]

Try some Micro-set or Solvaset decal solutions on that "Southern" lettering - it'll help get rid of the 'silvering' over the panel joints.
Oh & $35 for a 6-axle engine - Show Off!! :umbrage: :mad: :D ...yeah, I can see some attraction to the "tiNy scale" :sarcastic: :jester:

;)

Edited by F-UnitMad, 25 August 2017 - 17:32 .


#17 DanielB

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 20:02

To be fair Jordan, I only paid £50 for my Weaver RS3, so it's not much of a difference.









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