What do you think?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by trainwhiz20, Dec 28, 2004.

  1. trainwhiz20

    trainwhiz20 Member

    Well, I at least owe you guys this much after posting some threads that didn't get anywhere and some threads with some rather odd questions... :rolleyes:

    I decided to wait until after Christmas and I got back from my cruise to post this, and I'm not bragging, but I honestly want your guys' opinion on this. After all, folks here at the Gauge are highly respected in my book.

    First off, here's my "layout"... some Bachmann E-Z track with some Atlas thrown in there to complete the siding. I have piles of *new* snap track and cork in a box once negotiations with parents have been completed for a more permanant layout. Yay!

    ^ This shot is quite a mess. You can see my Amtrak fleet, and boxes from the Superliners. Not to mention my wonderful train-related school backpack. :p
    Keep in mind, this isn't all. I use the desk on the left to store ALL of my trains, since the obviously don't all fit on the layout (or even the floor) at once!

    Hey... the setup works. Better than nothing. Also allows me to put my Atlas Master DCC system to use. It's great for even a tiny layout like mine. If I'm careful, I can get all three trains running at one time...

    A closer shot...

    ^ Here we see the latest addtion, an Atlas Master DCC Dash 8-32BHW Amtrak #514 Phase "Pepsi Can". It came Atlas Master DCC equipped, which is what I needed. I hate installing decoders myself, I've failed numerous times. Factory installed is so much easier. The detail on this thing is dumbfounding! It took me all afternoon to put the front and back handrails on. I mean, there are so many tiny, prototypical parts on this engine. In fact, I bought this off Ebay (Santa reimbursed me...), and I was, again, surprised. No problems, and instead of paying $132 as seen at a recent train show, I paid $72 (including shipping!) for the exact same thing! This was my third success for model railroading off Ebay.

    ^ These three are my pride and joy. A P2K GP7, Santa Fe Zebra Stripes, a Bachmann Spectrum 2-8-0, Santa Fe, and the previously mentioned Dash 8. These three are decoder equipped, and can run on my floor layout. The 2-8-0 has the Soundtraxx decoder, so it also has sound. I've been working on the 2-8-0 for a while, refitting the Soundtraxx board, replacing the coal load to a more realistic one, and so forth. I was even able to put the Digitrax decoder in the GP7 by myself! (Yeah, yeah, yeah... it was plug n' play...:oops: )

    As I've said before, I'm aiming to model an ATSF fictional branchline, but an occasional Amtrak train is a familiar sight to those who see what I have.

    Usually the Dash 8 either pulls the 5 Phase III Amfleet coaches, my 4 Con-Cor Superliners, or my American Orient Express (my personal favorite...) :D

    The 2-8-0 can be seen alternating with the GP7 with either frieght cars or some or all of my 11 ATSF heavyweights.

    My entire fleet has knuckle couplers, but I haven't made a trip to the hobbyshop to retrofit some of them.

    Whew. Probably way more than you needed to know, eh? Well, hopefully now you see what I'm working with in my posts. Easier to understand I guess. Any replies to this thread would make this 15-year-old model railroader thrilled. Thanks for listening. (Or reading... hmm...) :thumb:

    EDIT: Sorry if the photos are too big, but my computer doesn't have the capability to resize them right now. Ooops...
  2. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    :thumb: :thumb: Keep us posted :thumb: :thumb:

    Would those be American Orient Express Cars in the first pic?
  3. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    You need to make your pictures smaller for the people with dialup and lower resolution monitors. Fred
  4. trainwhiz20

    trainwhiz20 Member

    Sorry Fred. I DID mention my computer doesn't have the capabilities at the moment... I need to reinstall the photo software, and I haven't had time. My bad. If anyone else could resize them for me, I'd be grateful.

    Thanks Shaygetz. I too, again, mentioned the AOE in spots in the post. It's so big it's hard to take it all in! :p

    The American Orient Express set is one of my favorites. It was one of the first HO items I bought, and it certainly had drained my account for a while. I refitted the cars with McHenry's, and put the E8's away in storage. (Nice scheme, but the real train doesn't operate with them, and I couldn't install DCC in them... too much of a battle.) That's where the Dash 8 comes in. Normally, the AOE is hauled by AMD's, but when I was in Rhode Island once, I happened to see it with a Dash 8! In RI! Amazing! :eek:

    So yep. That's my story.
  5. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Thought so...I'm currently retrofitting Kadees onto a set that belongs to one of the female members of our club. DCC wasn't too bad an install, runs great with it. Didn't know that E8s weren't original to the train, pretty enough set to forgive the discrepency.
  6. trainwhiz20

    trainwhiz20 Member

    Ah yes. I thought installing the McHenry's were a snap. At least, that's what I used.

    It's hard for me to install a decoder on a non-DCC ready locomotive. I can't solder worth a darn, or follow this-wire-goes-here-while-this-one-goes-to-the-other-here...

    Actually, the E8's were original to the train, I believe. The box has a picture of it. However, after like a short time, they stored them somewhere or something and removed them from the train. Just cheaper to use Amtrak, I supose. Beautiful paint scheme, I might add. One reason I love the set, the blue and cream really stands out among the Pullman green!

    But anyway, the current American Orient Express, Ltd. has two trainsets on different itineraries (sp?) around North America. Motive power is, of course, supplied by Amtrak. And, the track is supplied by whichever railroad owns it. :p

    I find the train to most often run with P42's, but it varies from train to train, depending on what Amtrak has available. As I said, I saw it once with the Dash 8-32BHW, so that justifies my using it.

    I will say, the train is quite the conversation piece. :thumb:
  7. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    There is hope--------

    Well, it's good to see a 15 year old interested in model railroading compared to all the others who are only interested in video games. Someday, you will look back and appreciate the skills you learned from this hobby. It a shame the department stores don't have giant layouts at Christmas time anymore. In the 1940s, it was there way of merchandising the product but for us youngins at the time is was sheer delight. Young man, you have lots more than this old man and you ought to presuade your parents to get it up off the floor. :) How much room can you spare?
  8. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    one helpful hint: keep the locomtives off the carpet! Electric motors love the taste of carpet lint but it gets them very sick...
  9. trainwhiz20

    trainwhiz20 Member

    Thanks guys. Really do appreciate the comments!

    Yes, I'm trying to bargain for a table at the foot of my bed be rearranging the room. The politics is the interesting part, but I may pull through. It will most likely be small, maybe 4x6/4x8. This is my inspration: http://www.midcentral-region-nmra.org/Atkinson.htm

    Jetrock: Yes, I know. Keep the trains off the carpet. At my age, that was the first thing I learned. I look at it this way: the trains aren't directly on the carpet, they're on the elevated roadbed; not to mention I can't put them anywhere else!

    To compensate, the carpet is very tight (not many loose fibers) and I check the locomotives regularly. Not much of a problem. Besides, they get some good running time on a club layout once a month, and that keeps them in shape. :thumb:
  10. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    I think Jetrock meant the photo of the locos sitting right on the carpet...

    In any case, it hasn't been that many years since I had the same negotiation with my parents (at 35 I'm rather on the "young" side of model railroading -- a sad comment). Keep your negotiating position open by keeping all your options open. Remember that basement is a possibility, as is an under-the-bed-slide-out, as is a fold-down-from-the-wall. Some of my favorite layouts are shelf-style - maybe you can negotiate for a 1' wide shelf along one wall of your room?

    In the end, though it shames me to admit it, I got my way by positioning it as a "bonding" thing. My parents were divorced when I was young and I was building this at my dad/stepmom's house, so I played up the angle that it was something Dad and I could do for father-son bonding time... As it happened, he got bored once the carpentry part was done (was that part of the plan? I'll never tell...) and left me to the train part myself...

    Nice roster you're building up there! Keep after it. Remember, college is but a short time away and there you can discover the joys of off-campus housing. Remember that the rental classified use "LR" or "Living Room" as short for "big room where the trains go".

  11. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Crisy Crinkles...all these 'lil whipper snappers are takin' over the joint :rolleyes: ;) :D

    It's great to have such a level of conversation with a 15 year old modeler. It reflects more than just a passing fancy but someone who truly enjoys what they're doing. This is a hobby that can go everywhere with you and the things learned along the way come in very handy outside of the hobby. I keep muttering this to myself as I adjust the drive linkage in my model steamers...AGAIN :mad: :eek: :rolleyes: :D ;)
  12. trainwhiz20

    trainwhiz20 Member

    Thanks guys. Means a lot. I'm truly honored. :D

    kcronister- Oops. I must've misinterpreted Jetrock. I promise those trains will never touch the carpet again! ;) I'd love to bargain to take over the basement with my trains, unfortunately, being here in Florida, there aren't any! Hehehe. I don't know though, I'm pretty sure the Black River will aquire some property at the foot of my bed, with an extension beside the bed (along the wall) for a Union Station & Platform to house those passenger trains. Maybe, just maybe.

    Shaygetz- Me? A 15 year old? Have intelligent conversation? Never. :p Yes, I will use what I have learned in this hobby in my life. Connecting Atlas Snap-Track will certainly come in handy in later years! Hehehe. Just kidding. You know what I mean!

    I must say, after a few days, I'm still stunned by the Dash 8. The ditch lights are incredible, they, along with the main headlight, are extremely bright. It's one of the smoothest locomotives ever. Very cool. Looks great coming down the track with the lighted Amfleet cars.

    Now I need to think about finding a AMD103 in Amtrak phase II, IV, or V. Hard to find. Not to mention, none come with DCC installed. Shall be interesting. No rush though, my parents think I've spent enough money on my "trains" for quite a while. That's what they think! :thumb:
  13. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    ...and quick on the draw, too. :thumb:
  14. trainwhiz20

    trainwhiz20 Member

    Hehehe. Of course Shaygetz! :D

    Okay. Mom has approved the "foot-of-the-bed-layout". Still need to confirm with my dad.

    Now, some photos to give you an idea: (Pay attention! :p )


    Here's the back of my room with which I have to work. No layout in the study (where my floor layout is) due to my work area and desks. Pardon the mess. The dresser you see will be moved out, and put against the other wall, so it would be out of the way, and that back corner will be cleared.


    Okay, this is a closer shot. From the foot of the bed to the wall (where the window is; behind the dresser), it is approx. 4 1/4'. And the bed is 5' wide. However, I can go beyond the bed, and make the layout 6' or 7' long. The 4' is enough for a HO radius turn I think. I really want to try to squeeze in 24", but in the long run, I'm better off doing 22" or so. I know, this will leave me no mobility back there, but I'll find a way around. I'm pretty skinny and agile.
    If I work this right, I might pull of a decent layout. To keep things cheap, for benchwork I might use two sturdy sawhorses, some plywood from local Home Depot, and homasote. (Luckily we have 2 4x8' sheets in the garage from my young Lionel endeavours, so we're covered there.) Hmm... interesting.

    This might even allow for an extension along the ball (beside the bed) to allow for long straight tracks for some passenger equipment. I don't sleep on that side of the bed anyway, so I wouldn't come in contact with it... (Maybe too much information? :rolleyes: )

    You guys have to remember, I'll need your help every step of the way! I'm new to this whole PERMANANT layout thingie. I want to enjoy the hobby and give my trains a nice home, other than the carpet. :thumb:

    EDIT: Dont' want to be rude, but there is always that die hard N-scaler who will recommend me switching to N-scale to get more out of my space. That's great. No offense or anything, and no hard feelings by all means, but I'm an HO modeler all the way. I'll make due. Thanks for thinking of suggesting it though! ;)
  15. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    I enjoyed N scale for a while. Price and availability (and my eyes) sent me back to HO. A very good HO layout can be built in 4x6 feet, John Allen's great Gorre and Dephetid got its start in 4x6 1/2 feet.

    Have you considered either a roll under the bed type road or even a bunk bed type arrangement, putting the layout at say, 52"?
  16. trainwhiz20

    trainwhiz20 Member


    Yeah, there have been some pretty impressive small HO layouts.

    Bunk bed won't work: too much construction and my parents don't want this, what they would call a "monstrosity", dangling over my bed.

    Roll under won't work: Under my bed is valuable storage that I can't afford to lost. I had considered an under-the-bed layout at one time, but it's too much bending over even for me. :rolleyes:

    Thanks for your interest Shaygetz. I never thought anyone would be so considerate to a youngin' like me! :thumb:
  17. trainwhiz20

    trainwhiz20 Member

    Sorry for posting again...

    I feel like I'm posting WAY too much in my own thread! :oops:

    Anyway, I'm off to Home Depot to see what I can find for sawhorses. Any suggestions? Maybe I should also get a 4x8 sheet of 1/2" plywood for the base under the homasote.

  18. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    It's your thread ;)

    Yes on the plywood, homasote needs support. You will be putting this all in a 1x4 frame, right? Position your framing in such a way that it rests on the sawhorses about 16-24" in from each end. I'd get the folding plastic kind as they fold really flat for storage.

    BTW, you're a fellow modeler regardless of your age. At your level of knowledge and interest, as a visitor to our club, we'd hand you a throttle and a set of train orders with no reservations.
  19. trainwhiz20

    trainwhiz20 Member

    Hahaha. Thanks Shaygetz.

    Okay. I'll look at the plastic sawhorses. I'm sure those Home Depot guys will know what I'm talking about! :D

    Um... what do you mean by resting it on a 1x4 frame? I'm having trouble understanding...

    So, you agree it's okay to just put the plywood and homasote on the sawhorses? What about glueing the homasote to the plywood?

    Muchas gracias!
  20. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    I'm having trouble finding homosote. Let me know if Home Depot stocks it.

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