EMD trainman's G scale train section 2008

EMD trainman Jun 2, 2008

  1. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Hi, I thought I would start a new section just for thoughts, reviews and opinions about different products. I've been into G scale modeling since 1999. I started off with a small Bachman big hauler Rio grande set and that was it, I couldn't stop buying. Today I own 16 G scale locomotives and 85 rolling stock in which I operate indoors on 300 ft of track. Of course all of these trains won't fit at the same time on this little amount of track, so I divided my trains into 6 sets in which I can run 3 sets at the same time without incidents. I just couldn't bring myself to spend all of this money only to have them outdoors, especially on the Atlantic Coast side of NJ.

    Let me start with my first thought to start the thread, I noticed there was a 1:22.5 next to the G scale sign in the heading. I have to say I must argue with that since how there isn't any standard G scale size like there is in O scale. For example USA and Aristocraft trains are 1:29 size but still considered G scale, Marklin, MTH and some Accucraft are 1:32 scale and are G scale. Accucraft and Bachman uses 1.20.3 scale for all the narrow gauge trains, but are still G scale, Hartland Locomotive works uses 1:24 scale for G scale. So it's important to figure out what equipment you want to run and what brand name you like if you are going to buy commercial products so you don't have mismatched sizes on your layout. Remember, just because it says G scale, it doesn't mean it's all the same size scale ratio wise. The 1/32 scale has grown in popularity due to it's "fine" scale or "museum" scale. Out of all the scales, 1/32 is the most accurate scale ratio you can get which is why it's called a "fine" scale, take a 1/32 scale model and blow it up 32 times and it will be just about dead accurate on measurements. I chose 1/29 scale, although not as accurate, I liked that fact there was many commercial models available I liked in that scale. I'm not in any way a craftsman, so I don't build my own models
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    This is interesting reading. I've seen little in the way of personal impressions by G equipment owners.

    At times I've entertained thoughts of G. Space is unfortunately a major drawback. What size of room do you have, which allows 300 feet? Must be a basement?

    Boxcab E50
     
  3. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    To boxcabE50, yes,I have a basement in my house that is near finish but still in the works of being completed and I'm building it around my trains. In the basement the walls are studed with 2 x 4s, insulated with R22 and also the masonary work was prepped with concrete seal blocker. I take pictures of the indoor train show, the East Coast large scale train show and will pretty much the same thing they do for scenery. They put there track on module sections of plywood, each section, about 8ft the legth of the plywood, they create a scenery on it, grass is usually saw dust that has been dyed in green color and glued on, houses and buildings were mainly commercial bought houses and 1/32 scale diecat vehicles which look just right on just about any G scale railroad are plentiful and cheap. Having a G scale indoors like the train show makes it nice, you don't have to worry about weather conditions or about constant track conditions and UV rays hurting your equipment.
     
  4. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Pics from East Coast show

    Here is a couple of pictures from the East Coast large scale train show to show an example of a module built scenery, all of the scenery are built on modules so you can tie them together and change them around later if you choose.
     

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  5. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    G scale railroading, getting started

    I can't tell you how to get started, you have to make up you own mind what you want to model. Some model a certain year or time period, some model a certain place and some just make up thier own railroad. This is my story how I got started, the mistakes I make and progress that was made. In 1999 started out with a Bachman big hauler train set in which I ran on a home made hanging elevated ceiling system and I added about 4 cars to it. There was one mistake I made, I never put up any side railing on the system such as pleyglass or wood rails as I thought this detracted from seeing the train. Well, one day one of the track nails came loose from vibration probably, the train hit it and the locomotive fell off from 7ft high and smashed into many pieces thus ending my elevated train layout idea. I sold the remaining bachman cars on ebay and planned another layout, this time floor level with 4ft diameter curves, I was able to run Aristocraft Alco FA units on the track but another mistake was made. Newer and bigger diesels were coming out and the minimum radius for them was 5ft diameter. So I sold off all of my 4ft radius curves on ebay and bought all new 5ft diameter curves. My track and train collection started getting bigger and I needed more power. So I chose Bridgewerks transformers to run my power, another mistake I made was using the original 18 gauge wire to run power from my new transformers, this made the new transformer blow out as the wire could not handle the power. Dave at Bridgewerks recommended I run 10 gauge wire instead and that ended any transformer power problems. Some people run battery power, but I decided track power was best due to I knew I was getting into some heavy locomotive freight trains. The layout grew to 300ft of track, there are 3 different mailine tracks for the trains to run on and a kidney shaped small track for a trolley. Well track #1 has a S curve in it, now it maybe ok to put 1 curve track to the left and the next curve to the right to make your S curve for a small critter locomotive and small cars to go thru, but don't try these big diesels or big freight cars on it because disaster will hit and derailments will happen. I found when running big diesels by experimenting that there should be at least a 2ft straight before putting curves the opposite way to make your S. Small diesels such as the USA NW-2 will only need a 1ft straight in between opposite curves. Then came out even bigger diesels yet, the Aristocraft SD-45 and the USA SD40-2, both needing 8ft diameter minimum curves, so to cut cost I only replaced curves on track #1, but I found this limited the train to where it could go, so I bit the bullet and converted everything including the trolley track over to 8ft diameter curves and sold the 5ft curves on ebay. Of course this drasticlly changed the layout, I lost 2 yards and downsized 2 yards due to the new room space that was neede to run these curves. I also had to convert all of my 5ft switches over to X-wide which is a 10ft diameter switch. This was a very costly change over, so I suggest you plan on what you want to run before you buy anything. Planning the layout indoors was fun and easy, there was no weather changes to worry about, I didn't have to stake and string out my track plan as I could lay it out on a fly and if I didn't like it I could change it, working on this at night was not problem since how I had plenty of lighting. One mistake I didn't make that others do is to tie down a G-scale railroad. Coming from HO or N scale I can see why you would naturally want to tie the trac down, but you have to remember, you are using brass track now and not nickel silver, brass contracts and expands constantly, especially in wild weather changes. Tieing track like this down would be disasterous, you could end up with buckled and warped track, the best thing to do is let it float and don't tie it down unless really neceesary, let the rail joiners do there job. There is also expansion track available in G scale for those who live in continued changing climate areas. I think it expans up to 1", this is great for those who want to be out doors. UV rays are also a danger to your eqiupment outside, using a clear UV protectant spray such as dull coat may be this problem.

    Final note: I got into the hobby to have fun, today I own 16 locomotives, 85 rolling stock, 3 Brigewerks Mag100DL transformers 1 Bridgewerks MAG15 add on and operate on 300ft of track indoors. I'm not a fine scaler or a rivet counter, I just wanna have fun with family and friends who enjoy trains. All of my locomotives are old to modern day EMD diesels which I love. I have 6 different trains made up, but obviuosly van only run 3 at one time. So I decided to changed them around seasonally as swapping trains around is alot of work.
     
  6. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Hi, I see I have captured some intrest in my thread, so I will post a daily review on every product I bought during the years of operating my G scale lay out. I will start out with locomotives first and then go on to review rolling stock.
     
  7. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    EMD trainmans G scale small tour

    Here is a very small tour of my indoor G scale trains and mind you we are still under construction for the trains and basement. I wanted to post some pictures so everyone would know that I'm real and really have an indoor G scale layout.

    Picture #1 is the USA SD40-2 triple header I run that I just reviewed
    Picture #2 and #3 is the USA F3 ABBA set waiting on the siding for its next weekend scheduled run
    Picture #4 and #5 is the USA SD-50 double header I also reviewed
     

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  8. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    EMD trainmans G scale small tour 2

    The above posted pictures are just on a small section of my big basement. Here is a few more pics.
    Picture #1 is my USA GP-30s, next for review.
    Note: when I eventually add a removable back drop and layout scenery modules that I talked about in my past thread, this layout will look more real than it does now.
    Picture #2 my USA GP-9s, also next up for review
    Picture #3 my Bridgewerks transformers I always talk about
    Picture #3 and #4 is my shelf storing system I built to store off season trains since I lost 2 of my major yards and had to downsize 2 more yards due to changing curves

    Well, thats it for now, enjoy.
     

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  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wow. That's really nice. Thanks for sharing those photos!

    Boxcab E50
     
  10. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    BoxcabE50, thanx for the nice comments although its still work in progress, I think I'm pretty much done buying road equipment and can now dedicate money towards the finish of the basement and the train layout. Although G scale stuctures can be costly commercial wise.
     
  11. Dave Winter

    Dave Winter TrainBoard Member

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    ....and I've enjoyed your comments very much.

    It's nice to see/hear from another 'in doors' G scaler because the problems (are there really any?) and solutions are very different from regular garden railway types or the typical small scale layout in the basement.

    I was glad to move inside about 8 years ago and never looked back.

    Hope to see a lot more of your work.

    Dave at Winter Valley Regional Railroad - Welcome!
     
  12. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Dave Winter, thank you very much. My G scale never made it outside and and just couldn't bring myself to running trains out doors after spending all of that money. People don't realize, yes they are a indoor/outdoor use train, but even though G scale trains use a enclosed motor block, there is still wear and tear on the wheels due to dirt, the constant after keep on track conditions and not to mention how fast pain fades on equipment kept outside due to UV rays. Even when keeping these items in a shed, they will eventually fade. I have even see regular water such as from a sprinkler system actually fade the paint after some time.
     
  13. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Touring with a EMD SD-50

    Today were are double heading with a EMD SD-50 and what a awesome sight it is and a nice long string of modern 55ft tank cars and 55ft centerflow cars.

    Picture #1 were are heading from the main basement area into the laundry room
    Picture #2 although fuzzy you can still appreciate those LED lights, cab lights and bright lit number boards
    Picture #3 55ft in G scale really adds up in length as you can see
    Picture #4 Yes that train is rounding right off in front of a very operational wood/coal stove. I plan on installing fireproof zipper bricks in the stove area, also a new laminate flooring will be installed after the scenery modules are built, the flooring will go right up to the modules.
    Photo #5 We finally reach the end of this long, long, long train, as you can see it ended up in whats the living room area of the basement, this are will be completed this year except for the drop ceiling.

    This completes our tour with a EMD SD-50, plans for budgeting a purchase for the heritage series SD-50 Rio Grande are under way.
     

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  14. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have read and heard that amongst the G manufacturers, there is some variance in those scales used. Is it very noticeable? Or are they close enough that it's difficult to notice?

    Boxcab E50
     
  15. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    BoxcabE50 - G scale reference chart

    Hi BoxcabE50, that is a good question. There are many different scale ratios of G scale between manufactuerers and will make a quick reference chart for all. I know this sounds confusing about scale ratios. Let me explain it this way, If you are into HO and N scale, no matter what manufacturer you buy from, they are all pretty much the same size scale ratio wise, HO is all the same size, N scale is all the same size. In a G scale world this is way different. There is nothing, I mean nothing standard in the G scale world. When a product advertises its a G scale that could range from a 1:20.3 scale ratio all the way to a 1:32 scale ratio, everything in between those scale ratios are considered G scale. Now here is the manufacturers chart I promised.

    USA Trains Ultimate Series 1:29 scale ratio
    USA Trains American Series 1:24 scale
    Aristocraft 1:29 scale ratio
    Hartland Locomotive works 1:24 scale ratio
    Accucraft Mainline products 1:32 scale ratio
    Accucraft Narrow gauge products 1.20.3 scale ratio
    Bachman Narrow gauge products 1.20.3 scale ratio
    Marklin Trains 1:32 scale ratio
    MTH Trains 1:32 scale ratio

    When you go to buy these above listed trains, they actually list their specific scale ratios either on the box or on their specifc web site

    There are manufacturers who produce non specific scale ratios which are just advertised as G scale and could range in different ratios from the same manufacturer.

    Bachman non-narrow gauge - scale not specific
    LGB trains scale not specific.

    Now to answer BoxcabE50s other question, if I take for example a MTH 40ft reefer which is a 1:32 scale ratio and hook it up to my USA Trains 40ft reefer which is a 1:29 scale ratio, yes there would be a big noticable difference which is why you have to choose manufacturers before you just go out buying G scale trains.

    Not to confuse anyone any more, but G scale is also known as #1 Gauge, but as far as commercial track goes, the width of course is standard at 45mm, but even the track comes in many different styles. Aristocraft makes European and USA style tracks for example, there is also narrow gauge style track from custom track manufacturers. But this isn't the end yet, LGB has different profile height tracks they sell. The biggest height profile is 320mm which both LGB and Aristocraft make. LGB also makes 250mm, 160mm and 140mm height profile tracks, mixing these around would also be disasterous. I personally like the 320mm and the reason why I choose Aristocraft is because ALL Aristocraft track is 320mm and they don't make any other size. The 320 is a more dependable track to run on, but purist railroad modelers would say that profile track is not realistic to my scale of train and thats the reason why LGB make som many different profile tracks because there are many different ratio scales and they wanted to capture the whole G scale market sales. Technically, the railroad model purist (also known as "rivet counters") would be right if I was a purist in which I not, but if I was I would have to run my 1:29 scale trains on 250mm track to be scale perfect, but I'm in it for the fun and dependability.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2008
  16. Route 66

    Route 66 TrainBoard Member

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    USA Trains supplies two different series
    "Ultimate Series" is 1:29 Scale
    "American Series" and "Work Trains Series" are 1:24 Scale
    LGB @ 1:22:5

    EMD Trainman,Good and informative article
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2008
  17. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    G scale in a small space

    I originally came from a Lionel O scale world and like many others, when I first saw G scale I loved it, but said, "Wow thats so big, where would I even put trains those size at?" Today I laugh when someone says they don't have the room for G scale. If you are a HO or N scale modeler, like many other modelers you put your layout on a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood, well guess what? You can cut that piece in half to a 4 x 4 square and still have room to put a G scale train set on it and run it, I'll explain how in this thread.

    Let me explain G scale track curves first since how curves take most of the room on a G scale layout. O scale rates curves in 027, 032, 052, 072, HO and N rates I believe rates curves in degrees, such as 33 degrees. G -scale curve ratings are very easy so you can manage the space you need. The G scale curves are rated in feet diameter, for example Aristocraft makes a 4 ft diameter curve which means you need a 4 x 4 ft area or 16 sq ft area to make a complete circle which is why I said you could actually run a G scale train on that cut in half plywood. The most common size diameter curves are 4ft, 5ft, 8ft, 10ft and 20ft and what you need depends upon how long of a train you are running and how big of a locomotive you want. I run 8ft diameter curves with 10ft diameter switches for extra room switching. Switch diameters only run 4ft, 10ft and 20ft. There are custom switch builders who will build what ever you want however.

    Lets get building that G scale train layout based on a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood that a HO modeler would use on a budget. The wood work and frame design for a G scale table would be the same except you would use 2 x 4 studs instead of 1 x 2, you would use 1 x 4 sides and cross supports with 1/4 inch lag bolts, remember you have to hold more weight now. Also use the heavier 5/8 plywood and srew it down to your frame work For the HO modeler, he would visit the hobby shop for grass mats for the table, we are going to Home Depot or Lowes and get some indoor/outdoor green carpet, it's perfect for G scale. Next we have to decide on what track to use and in this application I would choose LGB 320mm profile track. The reason why I chose LGB for this project is because they offer vinyl road bed material to fit perfect under their track where Aristocraft doesen't because they think everyone models outside and it would get covered in real ballast anyway. Of course we will have to use 4ft diameter track due to space limitations. Remember not to tie this track down with too many screws, it needs to contract and expand a bit becuase you are working with brass track now. Screwing every other 2 tracks down with only 2 screws should do. Now we have our track work done, lets check out some railroad models available for our application. Aristocraft has a nice variety of small 20ft freight cars available for around $28.00 a piece. They also have a small diesel critter locomotive, a small center cab diesel locomotive and a small Rogers 0-4-0 Steamer for those who don't like diesels. If 20ft freight cars are not your thing and seems too kid like, then USA trains has a EMD NW-2 starter kit, it comes with a EMD NW-2 disel switcher, a American Series box car and a full size caboose. You could probably add another 3 Amercian series freight cars on this layout and still look good. All of the above are good porducts that run on track power and are not like those cheap battery operated G scale trains you would find in Toys R Us. Now that we have our trains, lets move on to the scenery. LGB makes building kits which are expensive and time consuming to build. Aristocraft has already pre-made buildings at a good price. So we will put Aristocrafts farm house on one end of the layout and Aristocrafts Freight shed on the other end. Also Aristocraft makes a wide variety of G scale people. Now for the vehicles, we are going to that toys R Us and buy a 1/24 scale diecast car of our choice and preferably a 1:24 scale stake body truck. I say 1:24 scale because that is the closest scale diecast available to our 1::29 ratio trains we are using. The car you put next to the house and the truck goes next to the shed. Now for the roadway, you go back to home depot or lowes again and get 320 grit sand paper for a belt sander, this makes a perfect roadway for G scale cars. Lifelike also makes a G scale railroad crossing signal which we will add, add some trees and now you have a fun fully operational G scale layout on the same space you would have put your HO layout on, it may not be totally accurate or to scale, but we made this on a budget and for fun. You also made not be able to make a empire builder in G scale on a 4 x 8 area, but hey now you do at least have a G scale layout, the possibilties are endless.

    If you really are confined in space and have a very low budget, you can have a fully running train set for only $235.00 that would fit in the corner of your porch or sunroom. Hartland locomtive works has a Barrel train set kit in which the train runs around on top of a barrel, you just add flowers to the center of it. I've seen these in person at the East Coast Train show and they are neat, you can visit Hartland and check these kits out at
    www.h-l-w.com
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2008
  18. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Route 66 thanx for the correction, I'm so use to just buying the USA Ultimate series that I forgot about the American series.
     
  19. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Small tour on a small railroad

    My little one has a G scale train set in the bedroom, it's completely 100% Aristocraft. It features a Aristocraft 2-8-0 steamer which is kinda an overill, but the little one wanted that steamer, 5 20ft Aristocraft freight cars, a Aristocraft shorty bobber caboose, all Aristocraft track with 5ft curves. Now, remember what I said in last article, know what you need to run your equipment, well since the little one had to have this steamer, I had to use 5 ft diameter curves which is the minimum requirement to run this particular locomotive, the transformer is made by Crest which is also owned by Aristocraft, now for the tour.

    Picture #1 is the entire train which goes around the whole room, yes that is also a thomas the Tank train set next to it.
    Picture #2 is a close up of the locomotive
    Picture #3 is a close up of the 20ft freight cars, as you can see the railroad graphics are great
    Picture #4 the end of the train with the bobber caboose
    Picture #5 Shows the train can be tucked away safely behind the bed and out of the way when not in use

    I hope this inspires more to wanna get into the hobby of G scale, you don't need anything big, fancy or expensive to get in it and have fun.
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2008
  20. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I've been exploring some of the provided links. It appears to me that if you've a bit of a layout, track is one of the larger expenses?

    Also, I saw track listed as brass, and steel. After my lengthy tenure in smaller sizes, I am used to seeing nickel silver rails. Do they use this is G?

    Boxcab E50
     

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