December 23, 2015
The Bachmann Skarloey arrived today.
A very nice little engine. Its size indicates it is 4mm scale.
The couplers are on swing brackets. Looks like it will come apart easily.
Here are a few pictures.
|The New Bachmann Skarloey 0-4-2T from the Thomas the Tank Engine line|
| Skarloey by itself on the store test track. It runs well.
Conversion possibilities. The face is removable so a proper boiler front can be applied. A quick measurement says it is 43" (12.5mm) in diameter. The couplers need to be replaced with MicroTrains. The buffers have to go. It needs a more North American style cab. Have to wait until I have time to disassemble the model to see how practical this will be.
|Skarloey by with two MinitrainS locomotives. The scale difference is apparent but not insurmountable.|
|My next question was how does it look with North American equipment?|
|Skarloey does not look too bad beside a US box car. In some ways it seems more in proportion than the 2-6-2T from MinitrainS.|
|Here is the same scene from above. Looks pretty good.|
|My initial impressions are that this is a good model, well worth having.|
December 21, 2015
It has been a long time since I have done much in HOn30. For the last few years I have been heavily involved in another fringe scale - TT-Scale, and have built a mini modular layout (TT- Tracks.org) based on the N-Scale T-Trak concept. I am working on adapting that to HOn30.
So what got me back interested in HOn30?
I have been watching the new MinitrainS releases with interest but was able to resist buying any until the Baldwin 2-6-2T was released. That model could not be resisted so one went home with me Saturday. Here are a few images on a HOn30 corner I built many years a go to sit on one of my HO Scale corner modules from the days when I was in a HO-Scale modular club.
|The New MinitrainS WW I Baldwin 2-6-2T|
| Here is the Baldwin 2-6-2T on my old corner section.
It looks pretty good as it is. It needs MicroTrains couplers but it is otherwise serviceable as it is.
For Maine Two-Foot service it needs a new cab, pilot and tender. I think I am going to have to buy another one for that conversion. I have looked at the Myner Models parts on Shapeways and think that is the way to go.
|My next question was how does it look with various types of North American equipment?|
|Here is my Baldwin 2-6-2T with a short two car train. The 2-6-2T is a bit dwarfed by the long cars but looks OK. I think adding a tender will give it a bit more presence and make it look better.|
|Here is the Baldwin 2-6-2T with a box car (Poly Mold I think). The 2-6-2T is dwarfed by the box car.|
|The Baldwin 2-6-2T does look better with smaller cars, here with a string of the long discontinued Grandt Line Koppel cars. It does look good pulling the MinitrainS four wheel cars so will be great in an industrial setting.|
|HOn30 Trak Modules|
| As mentioned at the start I have been toying with adapting the T-Trak concept to
In T-Trak they use Kato UniTrack and use the UniJoiners to hold the modules together. Of course there is no HOn30 Unitrack.
You could use N-Scale Kato Unitrack on the whole module and try to disguise it with paint, ballast and scenery.
There are other ways. You can use the Kato conversion track (UniTrack to flex track) or you can cut up a piece of Unitrack, remove the rails and slide the HOn30 rails into the Unitrack. I have discovered that Peco Mainline Flex track rails fit perfectly into Unitrack
| Here are two modules. The one on the right was started years ago and uses the Kato
conversion pieces with Peco HOn30 Mainline flex track and turnout. The track is on a four inch
spacing (four or eight inches from the front of the module), here at eight inches.
The module on the left uses cut pieces of Unitrack and was made to try out a three inch spacing (three, six or nine inches from the front of the module). After looking at it, I have decided to go back to the four inch spacing. It gives more scenic space behind the track if it is at the eight inch mark. I will rework the left module.
|Here is the Peco Mainline Track in the Kato N-Scale UniTrack. A layer of Midwest N- Scale cork brings the Peco track up to the right height.|
|Provisional Standards. See following image.|
| Basic Straight modules are built on a 12" x 24" piece of Woodland Scenics
Track on both ends of the module will be spaced at either (or both if you wish) four inches or eight inches from the front of the module.
A one and one half inch piece of Kato N-Scale Unitrack with joiner (alternate Kato Conversion piece) will be glued to the edge of the module centered on the four or eight inch mark. Track on the module will be Peco HOn30 Mainline track and turnouts.
The Blue lines show straight through routes. The red lines show routes that change their entry/exit points.
| I use the WS foam as it is easily available. Any
hobby store can get it.
The same with the Peco track. If you use the Kato conversion pieces you could use other track, including hand laid. As we will be using short wheel base locomotives, turnouts should have live frogs.
Turnouts will be manually controlled.
You will note that the ends of the modules are designed so that a module could be flipped 180 degrees and still fit in a layout.
A module can be a multiple of two feet long.
There is no reason why non-mainline track cannot cross a module edge at other than the four inch or eight inch marks. Connecting those tracks to adjacent modules is up to the module owner.
A module could be deeper than 12" as long as the 12" interface section with connecting track(s) is maintained on each end.
| For layout planning purposes straight modules
will be designated by their Entry (left side) - Exit (right side) tracks.
For example a module that has a straight track from the 4" line on the left to the 4" line on the right would be called a 4-4 module. This module could be flipped 180 degrees to become an 8-8 module.
If there were multiple Entry or Exit tracks they would be a 48- or -48.
Similarly a module where the track Entered at one line and Exited at the other would be a 4-8 or 8-4.
| Corner modules are 24" square.
Track on both connecting edges or corner modules will be spaced at either (or both if you wish) four inches or eight inches from the front of the module.
| If you cannot get a properly cut 24" square piece
of foam you can layer WS foam sheets to make a 24" square.
If a 24" square is too large to store or transport easily you can cut the back and front corners off to make a trapezoid. See the green area on the diagram.
If you really want a minimum size corner you can split the trapezoid from point to pint to make two half sized corners. These are only suitable for the smaller radius curves.
The curve radius shown are what fit after the Kato adaptor pieces are added. The dotted red line inside each curve shows a slightly smaller curve (14" instead of 14.5" and 18" instead of 18.5") and would allow for a small amount of easement. If you are using the small half corners I would use 14" or maybe 13" to get the track back from the edge.
| Other Standards.
The modules will be three inches high.
They should be painted a dirt brown so no white foam shows through the scenic covering.
Ends should be painted a green.
Front and rear will have a 2.5" deep fascia made from styrene painted Hunter Green (readily available in a spray can).
One corner should have a power connector.
Power could be DC or DCC. Obviously DCC would allow more trains to run but not everybody (including me) has their HOn30 equipment converted to DCC yet.
| Thoughts and Considerations
|A small layout idea. See following image.|
| So where am I going with this ides - I don't know
I do have the two straight modules, a four foot station scene from my old HO Modular days that could be modified to the standard , and the curved piece that could be modified to fit on a trapezoidal corner (all the green modules). I would only need two more straight modules and three corners to have a functioning layout.
We will see what the New Year brings.
I have been working on stations.
The first is the Alna Center Station by Portland Locomotive Works (now Banta . . .) The model went together well. Needs the smoke stack (can't find the suggested piece), a door knob, signs and stuff on the platform. Don't know if anybody makes the correct type of milk container. For now I may use cut down CMA cans.
I have been working on a model of Headtide Station. The basic structure is a laser kit made using the Kitomat Software. This gives a basic box (walls, roof panels, doors and frames, windows and frames) to which much needs to be added. The structure has progressed further since the pictures were taken but there is still a lot to do.
The roof braces need to be finished. All of the trim around the edges of the roof needs to be done, as well the rain gutter at the front of the building. A platform needs to be built and signs and other details to bring the station to life need to be added. The freight doors need to be planked (done). After painting the windows are too large for their openings. The openings need to be filed a bit larger. Needs a chimney - suggestions?
Being my first attempt at using the Kitomat software to make a structure a few errors have creeped into the model. All of the windows are supposed to be the same height off the ground - one is six inches higher than the others. The two freight doors should be the same height - one is a foot taller than the other.
Still I am pleased with the results. Learning much on how and how not to do things. Most errors are being caused by working too fast. Was in a rush to get the station ready for photographing at a show just passed. I made it but the station is not finished and has errors..