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On30 - can it really be that bad?


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There is nothing at all wrong with any modeller choosing to build any layout they wish, in any scale/gauge combination they choose to adopt. The concept of freelance modelling has always prospered with NG modelling and there have been many superb fictional lines, so why not a USA 2' 6" gauge one, perhaps using some stock re-gauged from other lines. 

 

Perhaps the biggest danger with the Bachmann range is that there do seem to be a number of identikit US Narrow Gauge layouts appearing at shows. They are all built with the line along a step on a steep slope, they all have a river at the bottom with a logging facility and they all have the timber trestle bridge and lots of tall trees. Very often, the obligatory novelty bear is seen lurking in the woods and there is the old flatbed truck waiting at the level crossing and the layout is complete with the sound effects of "clang-clang" and "whoo-whoo".

 

I have seen the odd layout here and there where the sheer quality of the scenic work lifts it to another level but I have seen many more that are very similar in scope and design.

 

I genuinely think that the RTR range could easily provide an excellent basis for a layout but that such a layout needs a deal of careful thought to make it original and interesting, otherwise it will be easily forgettable in amongst all the others.

 

Of course this is all totally irrelevant for a home based layout, where all that matters is the satisfaction the layout gives to the builder!

 

Tony

 

Yup, agree with all of that, especially the last two sentences.

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many of the Bachmann models are very accurate reproductions of prototypes - the 280 Mexican (and 2'6"), the outside framed 4-4-0 is brazilian (and 2'6"), the 2662 is dominican (and 2'6") - there is considerable variety in 2'6" american equipped lines all over central and south america, not to mention Cuba. They certainly aren't 'toys'. Even the garishly liveried christmas sets are jackson & sharp coaches with a C&S mogul, and just need a repaint to look good. I agree there are quite a few overly cliched layouts out there, but the rolling stock is well detailed, well priced and runs beautifully (provided the gears don't split). Think a little outside the Colorado/west coast logging box and there is a huge potential for some great layouts. I bought a fair bit of stock a while ago to build a freelance line in eastern nicaragua (fruit company controlled general carrier - there were quite a few of those in the countries nearby!) but realised that I lacked space and money to do justice so had to sell on the stock in the end.

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The Bachmann On30 locomotives are certainly excellent quality and have been compared to Japanese brass models for about a quarter the price. They are die-cast with lots of added detail making them chunky and robust. Take no notice of the prices on the Bachmann web site as they are available for much less on eBay etc. It's also nice that the DCC equipped ones run on DC.

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If you want to see what can be done to 'improve' Bachmann On30 models - browse through some back numbers of Narrow Gauge & Shortline Gazette. 

.

For a number of years I subscribed to NG&SL Gazette - what is/was a first class magazine - BUT - I tired of reading every month  "How I built my Colorado based 3'0" gauge empire" - I got to realise how UK modellers must have felt during the 60s and 70s reading never ending articles about GWR BLT's.

.

Got two boxes full of 'em cluttering my shed.

 

Brian R

Edited by br2975
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Here's my small roundy logging line, I loosely set it in West Texas, yes its a bit of fun but I learnt quite a lot from building it. Mainly how to build models from strip wood, something I enjoyed greatly after years using plasticard. Only 1 kit built building everything else is scratched. I have fun with it and its done a couple of shows and a mag article. Its not prototypical but hey its On30. I thought the moto was On30 is funner... (from a yahoo group I think.)

 

post-683-0-16615000-1385677019.jpg

 

 

To be honest On30 is just like anyother gauge/scale it really is just what you want it to be. Accurate, wildly fantastical, a close approximation or a loop of track around a Christmas tree. 

 

regards

 

 

 

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Dear On30 modellers,

 

Some furthur references for not-RTR-plastic On30 offerings:

 

Foothill Model Works

http://www.foothillmodelworks.com/

 

Boulder Valley Models
http://www.bouldervalleymodels.com/

 

Obviously, Backwood Miniatures
http://www.backwoodsminiatures.com/

 

Grandt Line
http://grandtline.com/

 

Ian Lindsay Models (some US outline, some Aussie PBR)
http://www.ianlindsaymodels.com/

 

Mountain Blue Miniatures

http://www.mountainblueminiatures.com.au/

 

Mount Blue Models
http://www.mountbluemodelco.com/products.htm

(Love their more-brawny On30 diesel conversions for B'mann Alcos and S-Helper SW9s)

 

Wisemans Model Services

http://www.locopainter.com/

 

...there are plenty more, but these were just some that readily came to mind...

 

Happy Modelling,
Aim to Improve,
Prof Klyzlr

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I'd suggest searching for Paul Scoles Pelican Bay layout, it's Sn3 but a wonderful variety of scenery and inspiration for creating a credible freelance line. The latest On30 annual also has two nice conversions of the Bachmann 440 that change it from the normal model subtly. The Bachmann porter is a cracking starting point and I've used it for a uk loco with new bufferbeams, smokebox, chimney and cab, also a Darjeelingesque A class tank so you certainly can make its parentage difficult to guess.

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I had a short conversation with somebody at the Warley Exhibition just passed (no names - no packdrill) about the relative merits of On3 and On30. he was adamant that On3 was the true way (my words not his) and that the Bachmann On30 range are toys that bear no resemblance to a real railway.

 

Which is why you should be wary of people who make dogmatic assertions like this - quite often they have no idea what they're talking about. Sounds like your mate at Warley is one of these people.

 

While it's true that Bachmann's original 2-6-0 and the later 4-6-0 are based on 3' gauge prototype locos, and the small inside-frame 4-4-0 is based on a 2' gauge prototype - which was delivered to the Cornwall & Lebanon RR only 8 days after it was ordered! - the rest of the range are all based on real 30" gauge locos built by Baldwin:

 

2662_Ingenio_9.jpg

 

trem2+592.jpg

 

2012992211_AlderGulch12.jpg

 

I don't know enough about their freight cars to comment, but their clerestory-roof passenger cars are very close to those built by Jackson & Sharp for a number of South American 30" gauge lines, in particular the Ferrocarril Antofagasta & Bolivia.

 

I'm firmly pro. If you were to build a layout set in South America, or even parts of Africa, you would have something that was reasonably accurate in both gauge and stock, and you'd also have something rather different as well.

 

Cheers,

 

Mark.

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Even I have the odd On30 stock although no intention of building a layout in this scale as it was obtained to run on a friends layout.

 

I bought one of the Bachmann BLI C16's and it has since been much modified repainted detailed and weathered. It normally resides on the friends layout in his shed these days but its reliable and has a great feeling of chunkiness that US outline narrow gauge has.

 

There are many kits available to improve or radically alter the basic Bachamnn  locos to make your stock that little bit different.

 

If it wasnt for already modelling numerous different scales etc I would build one.

Edited by roundhouse
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I bought one of the Bachmann C16's

 

That I would like to see given Bachmann have never produced a C16.

In 0n30 the two ready to run ones have been Broadway Limited, (quite crude, lots of moulded on detail such as handrail but with QSI sound) and AMS (more recent metal one, very limited numbers, expensive when initial released now half as much again)

 

Seriously - I would like to see it. Guessing its a BLI one they can be made really nice with a bit of effort. I did one myself and re-gauged it to 0n3 (lets not start the 0n3/0n30 debate again - I started modelling in 0n3 before Bachmann upped the popularity of 0n30). I sold it a couple of years ago when a couple of nicer 0n3 C16's joined my roster.

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That I would like to see given Bachmann have never produced a C16.

In 0n30 the two ready to run ones have been Broadway Limited, (quite crude, lots of moulded on detail such as handrail but with QSI sound) and AMS (more recent metal one, very limited numbers, expensive when initial released now half as much again)

 

Seriously - I would like to see it. Guessing its a BLI one they can be made really nice with a bit of effort. I did one myself and re-gauged it to 0n3 (lets not start the 0n3/0n30 debate again - I started modelling in 0n3 before Bachmann upped the popularity of 0n30). I sold it a couple of years ago when a couple of nicer 0n3 C16's joined my roster.

Sorry

 

It is Broadway Ltd Imports. I did chop off a lot of the moulded pipes and replaced them.with wire.

 

Ian

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Afternoon All,

 

I've only just picked up on this topic, but to reiterate what many of others have said, I find it difficult to see how many of the Bachmann/Spectrum locos could be classed as toys. The 2-8-0 is a work of art, as are many others of their offerings. Admittedly not in the same league as the MMI locos, but still far from toy status.  

 

The midway house between the San Juan and Spectrum Rolling stock has to be the AMS rolling stock. Not as detailed as San Juan, but clearly based on more of a recognised prototype than the Spectrum stuff. Also has the ease of being able to switch coupling height easily between On30 and On3, although it has to be said the AMS couplers are complete tripe, so require replacement for reliable operation.  

 

Cheers,

 

Stephen

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Which is why you should be wary of people who make dogmatic assertions like this - quite often they have no idea what they're talking about. Sounds like your mate at Warley is one of these people.

 

Mark.

 

Hardly a mate Mark. I walked away when I realised what line he was taking.

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Well, little did I realise how much discussion the OP would provoke.

 

I will in fact be building a layout using mostly Bachmann equipment. I have a couple of the Broadway locos to add to the mix. The gauge issue has never worried me in the slightest.

I was rather taken aback to hear the opinion expressed so vehemently at the Warley show and was hoping that forum would provide a contrary view - and it has - thanks for that.

 

I did do some work in On30 eighteen months ago before laying it aside to concentrate on my exhibition layout Dock Green. Here are a few snaps to show some of the (unfinished) stuff I did...

 

P1010627a700x246.jpg

 

bents for a trestle - stored in a box and waiting for a site

 

trestle1.jpg

 

trestleprogress2.jpg

 

small curved trestle - since dismantled as this first layout has been abandoned

 

girderbridge7.jpg

 

Kibri HO girder bridge widened, rebuilt as a pony truss bridge on a skew

 

girderbridge5.jpg

 

clearance test with a Bachmann mogul

 

P1010817a700x629.jpg

 

P1010848a700x359.jpg

 

railcar conversion of a Bachmann combine using Backwoods parts

 

P1010449a700x388.jpg

 

...and a forney conversion. I love those little locos but I don't like that Forney design - so this was the obvious move.

 

Chaz

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Here's my small roundy logging line, I loosely set it in West Texas, yes its a bit of fun but I learnt quite a lot from building it. Mainly how to build models from strip wood, something I enjoyed greatly after years using plasticard. Only 1 kit built building everything else is scratched. I have fun with it and its done a couple of shows and a mag article. Its not prototypical but hey its On30. I thought the moto was On30 is funner... (from a yahoo group I think.)

 

attachicon.gifrmLLresize.jpg

 

 

To be honest On30 is just like anyother gauge/scale it really is just what you want it to be. Accurate, wildly fantastical, a close approximation or a loop of track around a Christmas tree. 

 

regards

Like that, Dave.  What are the baseboard dimensions and the radius of the curves?

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Thanks Barry. Hmmm. I think that I am already committed to On30 - as I have probably bought enough stock to operate the railroad I intend to invent. Once I start laying track (I intend to spike code 83 to wooden ties) that will fix things.

 

Chaz

Chaz

 

if you are hand making track and intend building scale buildings why us the Bachmann offerings? As Paul (EDM) mentions the models available for On3 do make the Bachmann offerings look quite small - in which case try On2-  

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...and a forney conversion. I love those little locos but I don't like that Forney design - so this was the obvious move.

 

Chaz

If that is the tender designed for the little Porter, the proportions certainly look better when behind the Forney.

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If that is the tender designed for the little Porter, the proportions certainly look better when behind the Forney.

 

The tender is a kit from Backwoods Miniatures  - I don't think it was intended for a Porter - as you imply it would be a bit big for such a tiny machine.

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Chaz

 

if you are hand making track and intend building scale buildings why us the Bachmann offerings? As Paul (EDM) mentions the models available for On3 do make the Bachmann offerings look quite small - in which case try On2-  

 

Because the Bachmann offerings suit me. They are reasonably priced, good runners and don't involve me in lots of time kit building. "Hand making track and building scale buildings" is going to take plenty of my time - in fact as much as I have got to spend on this project. Nuff said?

 

Chaz

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There is the answer for you, after all it's your layout, no point in making it for others. :this:

 

Absolutely agree, that's alway been my philosophy. 

 

One thing I've noticed over the years, the sort of blokes who are critical of your choice of scale/gauge/prototype seldom, if ever, have built anything themselves... 

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Hardly a mate Mark. I walked away when I realised what line he was taking.

 

Sorry Chaz, I was being facetious. He doesn't sound like someone who'd have too many friends with that sort of attitude. From looking at your photos, you're doing some very nice work - I'm sure I'm not the only one here who'd like to see how your layout progresses. Don't listen to the knockers! 

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