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 55n3 Reboot - Proof of Concept

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
hminky Posted - 07/10/2018 : 1:09:22 PM
The first 55n3 site was put on the web in 2010. Due to medical problems I couldn't pursue this endeavor further. Time went by and I let the domain lapse. Now my medical problems have been under control, none of which were life threatening, just debilitating.

Been in and out of the hobby since 2010 and can't believe how such a short period has brought so much change. Most of the items discussed on the 55n3 website are no longer available and have to be sourced on E-bay.

I write web-articles on the net. The satisfaction comes not in praise or an "atta-boy" post but someone using the information that was presented. It is nice to see someone applying the techniques that I bloviated about even if no credit is given to me. Stuff comes up in magazines that I recognize as my contribution to the hobby.

It was warming to see Ronald Halma's American Civil War 55n3 Layout on the net. Ronald showed the concept of 28mm war gaming items and On30 Bachmann equipment is a viable concept.

Thank you, Ronald

Vist Ronald's blog:


There are videos of Ronald's efforts two at:



Our 55n3 website is now 55n3.info and no longer 55n3.org


28mm gaming has grown and there are more figures and vehicles available.

Thank you if you visit
15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
hminky Posted - 12/02/2018 : 7:09:34 PM
While out rubber gauging I remembered this conversion of the Bachmann HO 2-8-0.

This was a conversion that showed up in the early days of On30. The mogul body can be adapted to the HO Bachmann Consy or the Mogul cab and domes can be used on the HO boiler to make a 55n3 SP style consy. The drivers never scaled well for Scale48.

hminky Posted - 10/25/2018 : 6:51:10 PM
Haven't been here in a while. Found this in one of my wanderings looking for something else.

HO locomotives translate to small loggers and plantation locos in 55n3 better than any other scale. Always knew there was a loco that would match the HO Bachmann Alco 2-6-0. A good match for the Godchaux #4 2-6-0 sugar plantation loco.

"I see narrow gauge"
hminky Posted - 09/22/2018 : 09:02:23 AM
Referring to my previous post about the Bachmann passenger cars being 10'-3" in Scale55 brings up a question.

Were there any 10'-3" narrow gauge cars?

Going south of the border the answer is yes. The Mexican narrow gauge lines had tall narrow gauge cars in both wood and steel.

The Bachmann cars work as issued.

Bill Gill Posted - 09/21/2018 : 3:45:43 PM
Harold, It's nice to see your passengers won't have to pay a leg & a leg to ride . They do fit well in the seats!
Will you shorten the height of the car to 9'-3" or is it close enough as is?
hminky Posted - 09/21/2018 : 2:29:00 PM
Wanting to retain my PcalRwy passenger car lettering that I had done earlier in On30.

Searching references the Bachmann passenger cars are 10'-3" high in the body, most narrow gauge cars are about 9'-3". Standard gauge cars match the 10'-3" height of the Bachmann cars.

Works for me.

The Bachmann passenger car's interior is actually Scale55. These Scale55 figures fit the seating. O scale figures are too big.

hminky Posted - 09/20/2018 : 4:25:09 PM
Feeling in the mood to think about building a 55n3 layout, I re-examined PECO 0-16.5(On30). Love PECO track, sturdy, robust and available. Something for the ham-handed.

How close is PECO track to 55n3, the ties are 8 inches wide x 6 feet long on 26 inch centers?

The D&RGW had these specs:

"The ties have a cross section of (HxW) of 6"x8" (15.25cm x 20.32cm), regular ties have a length of 6' "

"It seems that 30' long sections of rail were most common, 16 ties were used for such a section, resulting in a distance of 22 1#8260;2#8243; from mid of tie till mid of tie. For 33' long sections of rail a distance of 22" and for 39' long sections of rail a distance of 21 1#8260;4#8243; had been defined."

The Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette Nov/Dec 89 had an article on track and the PECO track fell within many railroads parameters.

Even got some figures painted.

hminky Posted - 08/17/2018 : 09:14:12 AM
The hardest part about an off-scale is determining if an object is the right size.

Found this site with cars and trucks listed at 1/64. They sell this paper model garage. I took the picture of the garage and scaled the photo to 1/55 using a figure height of 30mm.

Looked like the cars would work in Scale55. Ordered one. Upon receiving the kit the car looked small but placing the parts on a set of scaled plans the car was Scale55.

Love scrounging for stuff, that is what makes odd scale modeling so much fun.

hminky Posted - 08/09/2018 : 10:33:34 AM
My original intent with 55n3 was to build 1870s three foot narrow gauge. Then someone asked if On30 Bachmann equipment could be used for 55n3 and got diverted to that tangent.

Scale55 is the only scale that early three foot narrow gauge works easily. Being HO gauge the use of HO mechanisms and locomotives come into play.

The MDC/Athearn 2-6-0 is a good fit for 55n3. The straight boiler is typical of early D&RG locomotives. New smaller drivers are available from UK suppliers.

Wondered if my stockpile of IHC/Rivarossi 4-4-0 could be used as 55n3.

Found a early porter drawing and compared. Yipes! We have a seminal 4-4-0. Sound can be added like my HO Bachmann
4-4-0 upgrade.

The PBL Sn3 cars are a close match to the Ohio River and Western Box and other early narrow gauge boxes. The Sn3 cars are more about the gondolas and cattle cars.

Making gons is very labor intensive compared with house cars.

The trucks can be regauged easily.

Now your question will be "Why not just Sn3?", because Sn3 and the other scales don't have motive power for 1870's narrow gauge.

hminky Posted - 08/07/2018 : 10:28:20 AM
Looking at the S Scale American Models hopper, the question becomes:

What about a EBT Mikado?

The old BLI On30 C-16 has an almost right mechanism, boiler dia and tender. Bowser HO 69" drivers at 44" are close to the 48" prototype. The axles are .125 on the Bowser and the BLI are .109 but that is an easy fix. The BLI has separate bearings.

Not quite a match but close.

hminky Posted - 08/07/2018 : 08:39:00 AM
The American Models S Scale Rib Side hopper scales 8ft wide x 28ft-6in in Scale55.

The Myner trucks fit just right. The American Model trucks can be regauged.

The mogul is close to the EBT moguls.

Brian Budeit's excellent HO model

hminky Posted - 08/02/2018 : 3:18:27 PM
The 55n3 is linked at the bottom of the old On30 Pacific Coast Air Line opening page.


55n3 is a separate website.


mabloodhound Posted - 08/02/2018 : 3:09:35 PM
Nice stuff Harold. I was just on your website this week, trying to find the 55n3 stuff for a fellow modeler who was interested. Now I will refer him here.
hminky Posted - 07/31/2018 : 5:56:49 PM
Going thru my old On30 stuff, found a Bachmann On30 Inside Frame 4-4-0 boiler. Allowed me to check the S Scale cab from the "Willy Monaghan S Scale" shop on Shapeways as a replacement for the funky original cab.

Makes the 4-4-0 closer to this 1897 Rogers.

hminky Posted - 07/31/2018 : 12:01:50 PM
So, what size figures would you fine fellows recommend? 28mm, 38mm, or 1/50th or something else ???? Kyle in DFW

Speaking of Preiser figures. This is a picture of a Preiser 1/50 from my On30 OF 2-8-0 article compared to other Scale55 figures:

The Prieser can be shortened in the legs and mid-section to make him shorter. Being styrene it is fairly easy mod.

hminky Posted - 07/30/2018 : 12:30:41 PM
The 2-6-6-2 was one of the locos I bought in the On30 fire sale of 2010.

Another loco no one in On30 wanted but a great little 55n3 loco.

Not in Bachmann's catalog but still out there and with shopping available inexpensively.


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