Monday, January 31, 2011

Grain elevator comes along

I've spent a couple more hours here and there working in the elevator project and I think its starting to look like the real thing. It's all styrene sheet, strip and tubing. The head house tower stands 135mm tall thats about 200' scale feet to give an idea of the size.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

just for fun (part 2)

Did you guess what it was?
Given my location in the USA it was probably pretty easy to work out that it would be a large concrete grain elevator. This one in Red Wing, MN to be exact. The real thing is about 200' tall so should present a pretty impressive model even in T scale. I've made a start.
Here, just for fun is a picture to give you an idea of the size of the structure. In this picture you can see, from right to left: A kit of a US false front store made last year. Next to that is my rural wooden grain elevator from last year also. Then next to that is the progress on the Red Wing elevator. On the track in front is the ongoing RS-1 model if you can't see it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Everything in Moderation

Earlier this week I was approached by T scale pioneer David K Smith owner of and asked if I would consider becoming co-moderator of the Talking T gauge forum. As T scale grows in popularity and the forum membership grows he finds himself with less time time to watch over the forum. Not there is much to do. It is one of the most well behaved forums on the internet.
I was honoured to be asked. I'll see you over there.
Oh and behave yourself... :-)

Just for fun

Last night I embarked on a new T scale structure modelling project. I'm not going to tell you what it is yet.
All I will say is it is using three unopened packets of 12.7mm diameter evergreen styrene tube for starters.
In the words of the immortal Rolf Harris.
"Can you guess what it is yet?"

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wither Japan?

The world of scratchbuilding in T scale has been on fire over the past few weeks. This weekend particularly so. Not only was there my Alco RS-1 project underway. But there was also (are you ready for this list?)
A Fairbanks Morse H24-66
A Stanier Jubilee class steam locomotive
Experiments with T scale British outline tank engines (yes, engines two of them...)
A Finnish class SR1 o/h electric locomotive
I did also make a start on my Geep Project but got carried away with the Alco.
In addition to this there is some very impressive 3-D modelling being done for a British Railways Class 42 Diesel hydraulic loco project.
You have to be impressed. I know I am. The enthusiasm and abilities of all T scalers never seems to amaze me. I'm proud to be associated with all of them.
But like the title of this post says. Wither Japan? What are they doing in T scale? All the projects outline above are taking place in the US, Canada and Europe.
What are Japanese T scalers doing? I and many other T scalers would love to know.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hankyu chassis mods

The key to the RS-1 (and indeed my up coming Geep) model is being able to place a shorter body on top of the boxy chassis. A couple of simple cuts make this possible. It is something that even the most hamfisted modeller could do.
The H9000 chassis has a pair of locating pins on one end that engage into a pair of holes on the car body. At the other end the electrical contact strip folds down to make contact with terminals on the LED's that illuminate with the direction of travel. It is simplicity itself to slice the locating pins off with a sharp modelling knife and cut the folded down pieces of contact strip off with a track cutting disc and then slice of a couple of plastic ribs behind them with yuor modelling knife. Doing this you can shorten a body by approaching 6mm or about 9 scale feet.
Above: Finished chassis with pins and contact strip cut off.

Alco RS-1

So, with my rediscovered enthusiasm brimming I set about on a construction project. Not the Geep I thought I might do. But an Alco RS-1. There are many pictures of the class in Don Hofsommers book on the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railroad and plans are easy to hand in the internet so I was well sorted with reference materials.
For the project I chose to covert a Hankyu 9000 power car. I had a "kitbashers set" that I had bought from Train Aids A quite a while ago. They sell units specifically for the crazy kitbashers in the T scale world who want to scratchbuild. Yes the loco will be a bit oversize and the bogies will be in the wrong place. But even in the early days of HO, N and Z there were models around that were not scale reproductions of the real thing. So as long as this looked like an RS-1 and folks recognised it as such then that was fine by me.
Above: The first task was to shorten the passenger car body. About 6mm was cut out of it to get closer to scale length. I also filed off some of the details on the bodywork along the way.
Above: Next came the addition of the cab. The sides were represented by some lengths of 4.5mm x 1.5mm evergreen strip and the distinctive roof profile was cut out of a section of 12.5 mm evergreen styrene tubing.
Above: The next task was to set about the body with some filler putty, filling in the cab and the roof to change that to a better profile. The final piece of work for the day was to add the walkway around the side and a little below floor detailing, representing fuel tanks, to hide the Eishindo chassis.
So far, so good. I'm pretty pleased with it. It has already been recognised as an RS-1 on Talking T Gauge so my aim has been achieved. The next task will be to give it a light coating of primer so I can see just how it really looks.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Just looking

I've just been taking a look at some of the pictures of Gonou with regards to seeing if I could "Americanise" it. That is, with the replacement of a few buildings make it look like something that viewers at the upcoming Granite City Train Show could relate to.
As I was looking at the pictures I began to realise that I've never actually looked at the layout. I've always studied it. That's different. I've been deciding where to place things, deciding what looks right. "Should more trees go in here" for example.
I've never looked at it like a person at a train show looks at it. I doubt I'll get that same sense of wonderment again that viewers get when they see the small trains for the first time (I do well remember what it was like for me the first time I opened the box though).
But just looking at it as a model. I can do that now. Probably because I haven't studied it for a long time. I can look at it with a fresh pair of eyes.
You know what? I think it isn't half bad.
You know what else? I don't want to Americanise it.
I guess that means I'll have to build a new layout...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Done it now.

I just mailed in my confirmation to take a layout to the Granite City Train Show and in the space that said "scale/gauge" I drew 2 lines.
A vertical line topped with a horizontal one. T.
I'm not saying I'm taking Gonou, though I more than likely will. It's just that the track plan gallery over at the T gauge website was a little bit inspirational and I've been messing around with track parts seeing what would fit on the 20" x 30" piece of 1/2" foamcore I happened to buy over the weekend.
Not content with that. In order to get myself back into the T scale frame of mind I was looking at my spare H type chassis and contemplating fitting a GP7 body over it. It would be a bit long of course and a tad over wide but just how much over wide would depend on the thickness of material I would use.
This is what I mean about the T scale frame of mind. Because the scale is so small (.677mm to 1 foot) the very thickness of the material you use can have a very pronounced effect on the scale accuracy of your model, .75mm styrene sheet has a prototype thickness of about 15" in T scale. So to a certain extent (for me anyway) scratchbuilding in T has to be about creating the right effect. So if my GP7 turns out to be three feet too wide and eight feet too long so be it. It will be worth it when someone recognises it for what it is.
Alas, I have nothing to show for my efforts this afternoon other than some good ideas and more importantly a belief that a GP7 is a goer.
I think it's safe to say I'm back.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Thats the T scale bug biting.
I thought I was done with T. I really did.
I couldn't see the road vehicles and my power pack gave up the ghost just before the Saint Cloud Christmas Train show. I was pretty convinced it was all going against me. I'd had a couple of good showings of my HO scale layout I was figuring it was a sign to stay with HO. I could see everything and the trains ran well.
Then the St. Cloud train show came and even though I took the HO layout and had great fun with it. People missed the T gauge. I was taken to task about it by several people. The local radio interviewer even asked me about it on air.
Now it also turns out that fellow T scalers miss me. It's all rather humbling. I certainly don't consider myself anything like as skilled as many of the other T scalers out there. Those guys who are using their skills to make locomotives and cars to pop onto Eishindo chassis even cutting up chassis in the process. People making laser cut building kits that are beautiful.
I am not worthy.
I'd better get working again to catch up. Things have really moved on even in the couple of months I've been absent. The building kit, the locomotive and freight cars, the new layouts.
A track plan library. This is as inspiring as anything out there. I just can't think in set-track terms when planning. This may well help me come up with a new layout idea.
I've got a lot to do. I really do.