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An Old Man Contemplates an Old Man's Layout

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  • I bought it from a dealer on eBay for $16.90. With taxes and shipping it came to about $22, which I thought was reasonable.

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    • Holiday Greetings To Everyone.

      The other half of the domestic situation grew up with O/S size Plasticville, so this year the Christmas display features some of their white picket fence and three telegraph poles to go with the regular Dollar Store stuff and the static On30 Bachmann trolley car.

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      • Pointillism As A Form Of Scenery

        In its pure form, Pointillism is a method which uses small dots of various colors that, at a suitable distance, become blended into an image by the viewer’s eye. A seller on eBay offers an assortment of dotlike, self-adhesive static grass tufts, so I figure, what the heck, why not try it on the layout.

        My layout canvas is a mat made by Woodland Scenics that is a muted shade of green called Summer Grass. As paintings are in two dimensions and layouts are in three, what I need to create a natural vegetative look is to add an assortment in suitable heights and diameters and various shades of green.

        The ones decided on for the layout are light green, plain green and forest green, in heights of 4 mm, 6 mm and 8 mm. As each color and height combination comes mounted on a separate card containing about 120 pieces of various diameters, I see myself as becoming a scenery pointillist.

        Walthers offered similar products as HO Scale Botanicals in their Scene Master line, but they have to be attached to the layout with some form of glue, plus they are relatively expensive for what you get. However, they did offer an assortment of one inch long and two and a half inch long straight strips in several shades of green, so I purchased a 949-1104 Spring Grass Tufts & Strips at a recent train show to fill in any bare spots in the background and around the edges.

        All the best to everyone.

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        • Just Checking In

          Outside of acquiring packs of self-sticking fuzzy green dots, whenever I can find them, in preparation for pointilating the scenery, I have not done anything on the layout since before Christmas.

          With the pandemic dying down, local train shows are appearing on the calendar again. One is this Sunday and another is on the first weekend in April. As I always look at the layout every time I go by, I hope the shows will revive my lagging active interest.

          Subconsciously, I am starting to realize that the layout is nearly finished and I am not sure I want it to be, which may be the problem. I sure as heck don’t want to start another one.

          The other day I actually considered the feasibility of adding more track to the present layout, but only considered. Getting myself motivated is quite another thing.

          Psychologically, I seem to be in gridlock, but this too shall pass…or not.


          All the best to everyone.

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          • Hi Dan,

            Don't worry, well all get into a modeling funk from time to time and there is nothing like a train show to get the juices flowing again.

            Ron Newby

            General Manager

            Clearwater Valley Railway Co.

            http://cvry.ca

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            • Dan, Currently I share the same furrow....

              but this too shall pass…or not.

              Philip

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              • For the first time in two months, I operated the layout. The Bachmann bashed critter was the last loco used on the layout, so I continued to use it. I flipped the AC power switch on and everything worked! That certainly brightened my day.

                I even added a bit more track, which took all of about five minutes. My tiny, non-operating two track yard got a third track. I had a Chinese made Atlas code 83 Snap Switch from the beginning of the layout and it was always a piece of junk, so it was replaced on the layout by a Peco code 100 Electrofrog turnout which has been flawless.

                Serendipitously, (Yep, it still works.) the Snap Switch fit where I wanted it to fit and now I have an unexpected extra ten inches of yard track, so things are finally looking up.


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                • Dan the extra room in the yard should really help operations quite a bit. Glad things worked out; have fun.
                  Owner, General Manager, and all around "chief cook and bottle washer" of the Caz Coal-and-Wood Railroad

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                  • I watched the live stream virtual railfan video of the Strasburg RR freight diesel pushing the snowplow to Paradise this morning to open the line after the snowstorm last night. Although my layout never does have snow, it does have a snowplow (actually a track cleaner disguised as a snowplow) and, like on the Strasburg, it makes a good looking train whenever it runs.

                    A volunteer fire company near where I live was supposed to have a train show yesterday, but it was cancelled at the eleventh hour because of the snowstorm. Nevertheless, the local dealers, twice stymied by Covid restrictions over the holidays, held a downsized, old fashioned flea market in its place with free admission, coffee and donuts and lots of bargains for anyone that made it through the storm, which around here was not all that bad.

                    I picked up a Corgi Classics 1914 Model T tank truck and a 1935 Ford pickup truck for the layout. They were a buck a piece. For the same price, I picked up an HO bobber caboose and a Tyco tank car for possible future bashes.

                    I have reconciled myself with the layout being completed soon and I am now looking forward to it. The various vignettes that can be changed out and a couple of non-layout bashing projects on the shelf, will keep me interested and busy.

                    All the best to everyone.


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                    • You scored some great deals!
                      Philip

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                      • Greeting everyone,

                        There was another BIG train show at the state fairgrounds this past weekend and, as usual, there was a lot to look at in general, but not much to buy for an elderly On30 modeler on a fixed income, during a time of inflation. While my modeling pockets were never as deep as the Marianas Trench, they have become reduced to mere tidal pools, the habitat of small bills and loose change.


                        I was hoping to find another used Bachmann HO Plymouth MDT loco to have some spare parts for my well-worn critter drive. These surprisingly scarce locos were made with at least three different drives, so finding the right variation was the challenge. Low and behold, I found a nearly new one right off, for the bargain basement price of $20, so I was a happy camper for the rest of the show.

                        The original one that I bashed into the layout critter was initially a poor runner until it was tweaked, but I attributed that to it being old and worn. The one that I bought at the show was also a poor runner, so it seems to be the nature of the beast and, perhaps, that is why they are now scarce, along with the fact that there is no prototype for this six wheel loco.

                        The prototypical AHM and other four wheel locos, were originally cheaper and better runners out of the box, but for pulling power at slow running speeds, the Bachmann in question is better overall after conversion to DCC and a proper braking in period. When I did the original bash, the motor, DCC converter and the wiring harness became a separate assembly and this was easily transferred to the new drive.

                        I was also looking for one or two of the Bachmann On30 V-shape dump cars. As they will be stationary in the background on the layout, pre-owned or even somewhat damaged ones would be OK. However, no used ones seem to be available, anywhere, and they are rather pricey NIB, up to $140 for a box of three, so I will try to bash something together out of my parts box.

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                        • Dan first off hope you enjoyed the train show. Twenty bucks for that loco was a steal compared to brand new.
                          I have basically the same loco by AHM that I bought back in the mid 70's only a 4 wheeler and that was never a great
                          runner either. After tinkering with it and making sure everything drive wise was clean it doesn't run too bad. I bashed it
                          into a On30 critter. The one thing I do find though is that the more I use it the better it seems to run. Oh ya I only us DC
                          on my layout.
                          Owner, General Manager, and all around "chief cook and bottle washer" of the Caz Coal-and-Wood Railroad

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                          • The entire Bachmann On30 line are selling as coveted, 2-3 times higher than MSRP.

                            Nice score!
                            Philip

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                            • Thanks Larryc and Philip,

                              My experience with cheap locomotives is when they start running good they are near to wearing out, which is why I was looking for and bought the second MDT, although I don't think that they will give me problems.

                              Curiously, not all of the Bachmann On30 line is overpriced. The 2-6-0 "holiday" passenger sets in their horrible looking custom paint jobs can be had for a song - 15 to 30 dollars - at the last two train shows I attended. However, as each was jumbled in a shoebox and labeled "as is" the loco has probably died. I believe the earlier 2-6-0s had plastic gears with later ones being changed to metal gears. Perhaps Bachmann used up their left over early locos on the "holiday" sets.

                              The passenger cars with "traditional" paint jobs have held their value as have similar freight cars, which prompted me to experiment with stripping the "Kincade" paint job off of a coach and combine and got a good looking passenger train at a cheap price.

                              I sure am glad that I bought what I bought when I bought them, as I would be hard pressed to afford them now.

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                              • Click image for larger version  Name:	On30 Car2.JPG Views:	2 Size:	83.9 KB ID:	991325

                                Serendipity Strikes Again.

                                Instead of paying upwards of a hundred dollars for a couple of V-shape Bachmann On30 dump cars to be a static display at the back of the layout, I bashed a couple of suitable cars for essentially nothing. While there are several available kits that will do, my compromised hands are often not up to the task of dealing with details.

                                I reused two of the old HOn30 two axle bodies that were laying around and replaced the wheels and axles with spares from equally old AHM HO 4-4-0 tender trucks. While the plastic truck frames are crumbling into pieces, the HOn30 car bodied are still intact and usable. A few whisks with a small file to enlarge the axle holes and treating the replacement wheel and axle sets with JAX blackener was the major work needed.

                                The wheels are small, only about 15 O-scale inches over the typically deep AHM flanges, so they look quite good under the bodies. The car bodies are three feet wide in O-scale, so the new wheelsets just fit under the V part of the bodies.

                                The photo shows how the cars will be displayed on the layout at the end of what is a dead storage or scrap track. On many prototypes, the endmost car is often derailed, accidently or on purpose, and acts as a bumper.

                                These cars represent the small stone hauling cars from the original factory railroad that used a local quarry. When a larger quarry was opened several miles away, the original line was abandoned and a new “mainline” was built, which used much larger side dump cars. No longer needed, the last of the small cars were left to languish at the end of what was the original line.

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                                Last edited by Dan; 04-09-2022, 08:01 AM.

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