29 March 2012

Steel Wheels

One of my hobbies is model railroading.  Yep, I'm a train geek. I've blogged about it here occasionally, but I've long since established another place for it.

But it's worse than that, oh yes. Rather than model in a reasonable scale I'm one of "those people" who go for the small stuff.

Not the smallest stuff there is, by any means, but the small stuff just the same.

My name is Larry, and I am an N scaler.

But wait, there's more.

Not contented with the small stuff,  and being a big fan since boyhood of the East Broad Top Railroad, I had to go one bigger (smaller?) and get into Nn3 as well. Narrow gauge, N scale on 1/4" gauge Z scale track using Z scale locomotive mechanisms as the basis for my N scale narrow gauge locomotives. The two on the top in the center of the photo are narrow gauge consists, surrounded by standard-gauge trains.

 (Note on scale and gauge: gauge is the distance between the rails, scale is a designation representing the size ratio between the model and the real thing. N is 1:160, Z is 1:220, standard gauge was 4' 8 1/2" with narrow gauge being anything below that, usually 3' in North America.)

Five locos and counting; one American built from a standard gauge N scale Bachmann locomotive, one Mogul and three Mikados built on Marklin Z scale chassis, with two more Z Mikes in the box awaiting sufficient materials to convert them from German BR41 Z scale locomotives to East Broad Top Nn3 locos.

Most narrow gauge modelers, regardless of scale, model the western railroads like the Durango & Silverton or the Denver & Rio Grande, so most of the modeling supplies and equipment are geared towards that end of the country. I'm one of the crazy persons select few that model roads east of the Big Muddy.

It only goes downhill from there.

Not satisfied yet with being a niche modeler in a niche scale, I had to go one even further and set my sights on a long defunct never completed railroad in Perry County, PA.  This gets problematic for a couple of reasons, the primary one being that research materials for a tiny railroad that went out of business before the second world war are kind of hard to come by.

Imagine my delight in finding a new book from the Perry Heritage Collection about the Perry County railroads. It got here today, it's nice and thick, and I am going to sit down and look through it.

I'm torn, though. It's a beautiful day, high 70's, perfect top-down weather.

Maybe I'll sit in the car and read it...


Quizikle said...

If you take it slow, it might be curable...

Not the train part - that's hopeless ... but maybe we can get you up to at least HO ... if not S. Good for narrow gauge.

There IS hope.

(My problem is that I prefer the pre-1890 stuff. Those 1850-1870s engines were works of art)

Larry said...

Yep, the ornately decorated locomotives right after the Civil War, lots of gold leaf and fancy paint, sure made some beautiful locomotives. I do so like the looks of large steam, though, and IMO the most beautiful steam locomotive ever made was the Norfolk and Western J class.

Thanks for dropping by Q!

kfg said...

Ahhhhhhh, when I were a wee lad I adored trains and had two HO setups. One for late 19th century stuff and one for big steam.

Then I got into slot car racing and couldn't afford the space or money for both and dropped out of trains.

Later I got into R/C; then I ran out of money. R/C'll do that to you. Sometimes I think it would have been cheaper to run Formula Vee.

But lately I've been thinking about trains again and have been pondering the possibilities of doing the De Witt Clinton in N.

MSgt B said...

HAd no idea you were such a no-holds-barred, hardcore Geek.

I love that about you, man.

When I wanted to do model railroads as a boy. my dad made me go N-scale. He said "If you're going to do it, don't be a wimp about it."

It was worth it.

Larry said...

kfg, I knew a guy that did model airplanes, the RC kind. That can get expensive quick!

MSgtB, if you're gonna do it, do it all the way!

Thanks for dropping by!