NOOB; On another layout along time ago.

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Wulfmann, Dec 14, 2006.

  1. Wulfmann

    Wulfmann New Member

    First post. Have been out of the hobby since 1984 and am just curious what has been happening as I wait for SHIV to be released and I can start killing Japs in a Gato class USN Submarine.
    I joined the Lauderdale Shore Line in 1977 and quickly found my calling with a Pasche air brush. Back then weathering was unheard of and if it didn’t look real, IMO, it looked like a toy so I started going crazy earning the nickname “Mr Weather” before someone else copyrighted the name a year or so later. Jerk!!
    I bought many freight cars for 25cents at an auction, weathered them and took them back getting $5.00-$15.00 each. Good times, for me.
    Then I blew it by giving clinics on how to weather and now the whole blasted country knows so I make nothing. How I suffer!
    Well I joined with two other guys and a Lawyer (You can guess this didn’t end well) and we built a LGB layout for the National Enquirer Christmas display. That was in 1981. The Lawyer and one other partner started a new corporation and outbid our corporation and screwed us royally.
    What a surprise.
    I got disgusted and left the hobby.
    I had moved from Steam in 1977-79 to 1980 B&O Chessie System because being a professional photographer and a painter I based all my models on real engines and cars
    And in Chicago photographed all the stuff I needed for many trains.
    Of course I made stuff for others like the FEC (No such thing available back then) and various stuff.
    In 1977 I bought an entire HO layout and moved it to my garage. The Crooked Creek Railroad was a logging line that became a mid 50s coal branch of the B&O and I sold the CCRR engines and rolling stock for what I paid for the layout. In Hindsight the 3 truck shay, climax and Heisler well, wish I had them now but WTF I have a 3 truck unpainted PFM in a box again!
    Below is a couple pix. One is my LSL GP-9 and SD-9 running through module 3 of the LSL layout about 1982 and the other is of the CCR with the first loco I ever painted a Q4d Mike.
    What I want are some answers to this upside down new world:
    How in the heck did I buy a SD-9 brass shipped for less money than a plastic one cost?
    How did I get a SP brass SD-45T-2 for $100.00 shipped when that is what a common (decent) plastic one sells for.
    In my day (you know those better than today because they were my day days) a brass diesel went for five times what even a great repowered CP plastic one went for.
    Lousy punks ruining the kalldarn hobby!
    Well besides the insanity of the brass prices what would someone waking up from a 20 plus year sleep want to know about today’s MRR world.
    What is happening today in HO?

  2. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!


    Welcome back from your Rip VanWinkle-like slumber. I'm not sure what to say about the brass loco question. Perhaps some one else can help with that. I imagine if you browse the hobby store or online suppliers you'll find that the range of products and prices in HO has continued to expand. You'll be able to find excellent running locomotives for under $100 but you could spend a fortune if you wanted to as well. DCC and onboard sound effects have come of age. Oh, and we DO like weathering. :)

    Glad you could join us,
  3. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Welcome back. Things have changed.
  4. Wulfmann

    Wulfmann New Member

    We had very nice PFM steam sound back then but the Diesel was crappy.

    What is DCC and what sound options are there now for steam and diesel.

    And, I am still curious why I could buy those two above diesels so cheap on eBay. Are prices down right now or is that a normal all year price?

  5. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    The sound nowadaze has the old PFM units beat hands down. However, when surrounded by sound equipped units at the club, I fight an overwhelming urge to smash every one of the little locos with a brick. The only sound I like from my little beasties is the faint whine of a well tuned gearbox:thumb:

    DCC is basically digital commands passed thru the rails to an onboard reciever in each locomotive. It has revolutionized how model trains are run by allowing the command and control of individual locos and consists anywhere on the layout, regardless of polarity or track blocks, which have been essentially eliminated. This, I would say, is the single biggest and best change in the hobby to date.

    With the availability of well detailed, prototype specific plastic locomotives DCC and sound equipped available for under $200, older brass has gone the way of the nostalgia trail. There's still plenty of long coin to be spent for todays brass though, with their finely tuned mechanisms, complete working lighting, special paint schemes, road specific detailing and very, very limited issues, usually less that 100 units each run. Those are nice pieces you have, just crude as a stone ax compared to what is available in plastic today.

    You left the hobby when I would say the turn started. More and more high dollar limited runs (remember $35 Fine Scale Miniatures kits?) are made now and todays modeler tends to be more particular, more prototype specific and more into ready to run equipment then us old folks taught by the likes of John Allen and Gordon Odegard. Nothing wrong with that, just a great deal different from the old days. Twenty years in this hobby nowadaze is a long, long nap. There are still plenty of folks even here at The Gauge who are what I call old school, and plenty of new folks to guide you thru todays toys.

    Welcome aboard, I especially like the pics of your work from those daze, took me back a bit. Hope to see more of your work in the coming year:wave:
  6. Wulfmann

    Wulfmann New Member

    Can DCC be added to my oldy Atlas and or brass diesels or even my 3 truck shay hey?

    I assume this requires a new power pack for DCC.
    I still have the two we built in 82 when the only way you got really good packs was to make them.
    Most pulsed back then (For the instant 40MPH open frame motors)and we were importing Sagami can motors before it was in vogue but pulse could harm them so we built ones that were tuned to low .10 amp can motors.
    We even had remote contols but, corded of course.
    Funny I remember us discussing using radio waves to control locos instead of blocks but that was as I was leaving the hobby.

    Yes, I noticed the runs of 15 on eBay and those Chessie GP-40-2s going for about $500.00. Guess that explains a few things, thanks

  7. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Digital Command and Control requires several things... A command station, a power booster, the digital throttles (some setups allows you to upgrade to RF or IR wireless throttles, even), and decoders on-board the locomotives and rolling stock to control their speed, lighting and sound effects. Better decoders have functions like programmable back-EMF settings that can allow even some instant-40MPH motors to crawl.

    Most older locomotives can be converted to DCC but some will require extensive soldering and mods.

    Personally I like the possibilities presented by DCC. That's definitely in my future.
  8. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    DCC requires an electronics degree. Just from the little bit I've seen on the forum, I'm convinced that it is the technological work of Satan designed to make us old schoolers feel inferior. DCC is a dark and scarey place. :( (Slightly tongue in cheek sarcastic.)
  9. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    Cannonball, actually DCC is easy. The biggest problem I have seen with it is people not reading the instructions (me included), I burned up one decoder that way. But I learned from it and just finished a 15 min job of converting and old Atlas GP40 to DCC. Where the hard part is is programing from what others have told me. But that seems to be a compatibility issue with some computers. But as far as the actual system, no more blocks for the most part, just 2 wire to the track and you are ready to run. I got the Bachmann system cause it was cheap just to try it out and I know in the spring I'm going to upgrade to a better system with more features!

    Oh by the way, I'm an old schooler! I got sold on the tech-no stuff when they gave me an M1A1 tank to play with and the fully computerized fire control system that is so good that first round hits are 98% fact of life and the 2% missed rounds are most often crew error.

    Let go of your emotions...use the force....LOL

  10. CRed

    CRed Member

    Did you just buy that DM&IR SD-9 off E-Bay?Your a lucky son of a gun if you did,I was going to bid on it,but I ended up not being at home at the end of the auction.And I was willing to go a bit higher.Good deal for you though,it's really nice,especiallly for what you paid for it if it's the one I think it is.

  11. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    The only limitations are patience and practicality. Big open frame motors are notorious producers of "magic blue smoke", the sorry byproduct of a DCC chip being lunched by a high amp motor, so re-motoring may be required on some locos. Most other locos in HO can be modified by isolating the motor from the frame. This way the DCC chip receives power from the track then passes it on to the motor per whatever commands one sends thru the rails. It also requires an initial stretch of the budget as there is nothing that either DC or DCC share. DCC is 16 volts continuous AC current with a carrier signal thru the rails. A good setup will set you back $200+ but that is a one time thing. Chips for each loco will set you back $25 and up depending on the geegaws you'd want.

    BTW, Sagami is gone, having been destroyed in the Kobe earthquake some years back, gotta go thru NWSL now, but hey, we still got NWSL:thumb:
  12. Wulfmann

    Wulfmann New Member

    Well this is all fascinating stuff. I am a freeware modder for CFS3 so am not afriad (anymore) of new tech things. I basically get the idea the open frame motor should be trashed in the 3 truck shay but that is not big deal. I still have a couple extra can motors in my spare parts

    So My brand new Sagami flat cans should be worth big bucks????

    CRed, yep and it is likely worth 3 times what I paid and I only bought it for that reason as we have 4 MRR shows a year in East Central Florida so I am sure I can dump it for $125-150.00.
    Actually the SP SD is worth much more but they both require someone that wants them and I can wait for that
    But, I do not do this for income per say just am a sucker for a good deal but find I get suckered half the time so am lucky to break even on my hair brain schemes. I paid $350.00 for a unpainted PFM 3 truck shay that I now find will need a new motor to use with DCC.
    What can someone say about the Spectrum/Bachmann 3 truck shay? It is DCC ready and looks good for the price.

    I use to do a lot of remotoring.
    Long ago a guy started makng Athearn chassis with Sagami motors called Protopower. I worked a little with him when we thought we were building a new HO layout for the National Enquirer (Went to LGB) so had over 100 made. I had him use the flat can for mine and add a hole in the bottom so the brushes could be changed without removing the motor as we were looking at 12 hours a day constant running and I am a reliabilty freak.

    Here is the only one I have left from that batch of road Geeps. This Athearn obviously has its nose chopped and has other added details as well as the flat can. I never finished it. The weathering is not done and I didn't even add the windshield or crewman. Runs super.
    I copied this from a photo I took of the prototype and always felt the smoke stains did not look real even though that is actually how they were in real life.
    But I can only put leeds on it at this point. No track at all. Well I do have a few Shinahara turn outs. Those were the best back then. What are considered good switches today and what kind of switch motorss are being used? We use to use the old selinoid ones but I remember new slow moving switch motors were coming out as I left the hobby.

  13. CRed

    CRed Member

    Have you tried running the SD-9 yet?If so does it have lights,how does it run?

    I'm trying to collect all the diesels the DM&IR has had on their roster and have been looking for a undecorated DCC ready SD-9 to have painted for the DM&IR.Not having too much luck,I don't think there is such a thing to be honest.

    I've found an SD38-2 and SD45T-2 for the DM&IR,but no SD-9 and I believe they might have had some Geeps on their roster at one point,but I'd have to research that.

    Anyways,$125 would be a good deal for it I think.

  14. Wulfmann

    Wulfmann New Member

    I admit, CRed, this road has a nice scheme. Did you buy one of those unGodly expensive SD-38-2s???? Only 15 made and boy they were nice but wow. I would not run something that collectable.
    Here is the SD-9 now at my house enjoying a Florida winter. Notice the chipped paint on the top of the trucks but the body is very nice. Does anyone know if this is a factory paint job??
    No lights (non working) and I would put a can and directional lighting in myself if I keep it.
    DCC if I was to build a layout

  15. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Wulfman: almost any loco can be converted to DCC if you can break both connections between the pickups and the motor brushes. The other problem with it is finding a spot for the decoder -- some of those beasts are so jammed with weight that there's no room left. (The fellow that markets a decoder that looks like an air conditioner will make a bundle.) Decoders come in all sorts of power ranges and all sorts of settable outputs. An O gauge decoder might be the ticket for the old motors.
  16. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    As a matter of fact, yes, they are. Earlier this year, I sold one that I got in a junk box still in its package for $75 on feEbay...I bought the original lot for less than $20. My heart always skips a beat when roving thru train show junk boxes every time I see that gun metal blue can. As for turnouts, Peco and Shinohara are still around, Shinohara being the more prototypical for American rail lines. Atlas has a great line of code 83 out there as well. Tortoise is the king of slo-mo switch motors currently though Rix puts out a reliable heavy single coil snapper.
  17. CRed

    CRed Member

    I'm guessinng it's factory painted,and a good one at that.Yeah I think it's a very attrctive paint scheme,not too garish but very nice.Plus it's the school colors for the U of M Gophers and the U of M Duluth so that's cool.I may want this,but I'd have to get rid of something first.I sent you a PM back and you can skip sending me a picture since this one is pretty good.

  18. Wulfmann

    Wulfmann New Member

    Well, more great info and I thank you all, very cool stuff.
    I might have to build a test track layout at least and knowing me it will have to be completely detailed.
    I have pulled down some parts boxes that may not have seen light for 20 years.
    I found two Sagami flat cans (both 1833) TRO.
    I have one in the GP-9 above and in at least one of my Atlas GP-40s. The old Atlas that was good in its day but had to be tweaked for us anal runners.

    I have also found little treausers like Central Valley sprung trucks and new Kadee wheel (33" frieght) and various little stuff. I even found a bunch of Sagami flat can brushes (I like to inventory spare parts)
    So at least I have spares for my 60 or so cars and few locos I kept.
    Well, the below United 3 trucker arrived yesterday. I can't even imagine what they would have to get to make this in brass today nor do I know if the $350.00 was good or too much to pay but, hey, its Christmas and I can only buy so many Mausers.
    It also dawned on me when I found a couple of NMRA guages how similar the logo is to NRA!sign1



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