New here, looking for advice on On30

ArtFan Oct 22, 2009

  1. ArtFan

    ArtFan TrainBoard Member

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    Hey all :)

    Well, like the topic says I'm new around here and looking for some tips on modeling in On30. I have no prior experience in model railroading but it has been my dream to build one. I fell in love with On30 after seeing a Mountain Model Imports K-37 (which I own) and now I've been planning out my design for a 7 by 10' layout.

    I'm here wondering if there are some certain things I should look out for and be aware of in On30, or even with my K-37 (such as what kind of turning radius she'll work best on).

    Any help y'all can give is greatly appreciated; I look forward to chatting with all of you.

    See you around :D

    P.S: Does anyone know how to remove the pilot from the front of the MMI models? I'd really like to install the snow plow but the switcher pilot refused to come out even after removing the screws that were visible. Any help with this would be great, thanks.
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Welcome to TrainBoard! And to model railroading!

    You are doing one of the best things, by asking questions. Take your time. Which will save you money and frustration.

    I do not have a loco such as you own, my few pieces of On30 are much smaller. I am wondering about the radius your MMI will require, for a 7 by 10 area?

    There is a lot of stuff available in On30. Kits, conversions. Excellent track.

    Boxcab E50
     
  3. ArtFan

    ArtFan TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Boxcab, and thanks! :D

    I'm not entirely sure what the K-37 will be able to handle, which is one of the things I want to ask of this community because I see others here who own one as well. I have nothing to run her on right now so its hard for me to say. But I told myself I was not doing a layout unless I could get that engine, so now I'm moving on full force as it sits on my shelf in a display case lol.

    The plan for my layout right now looks like this: [​IMG] I did this with the free track planning software Atlas offers (I could not figure out the other programs for the life of me). I figured since a K-36 in On30 needs a minimum radius of 28-30, a K-37 would be almost the same since she's not much bigger. So I planned the track with 36 inch curves for now.

    But as you can see it is not very complex. Just something small for my first layout ever. A simple oval with a small yard and spurs. I'm just not sure what theme I wanna do for yet; something D&RGW inspired, and I'm also not sure what kind of scenery and structures would look best in On30. I know O scale would technically work but from my view many O scale structures seem to big. Maybe some of you guys know better then I do. The general idea is to use the small space that is the other side of my parent's tow car garage. I'm sure I'll have lots more questions when I start building the benchwork, but this is what I'm working with right now. Any advice will be totally welcome (and is needed) :D
     
  4. Trainlane

    Trainlane New Member

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    Welcome to On30!

    I'm Chris Lane, the editor of the On30 Annual, a publication devoted exclusively to On30 model railroading. (Home Page)

    When you say you are new to model railroading, I have to ask HOW new? If you haven't really done any, starting with the MMI K-37 is a bit like jumping in a Ferrari with a learner's permit. You can do it, but you will need some help to keep from crashing. For starters, the K-37 is about as big as they come in the narrow gauge world, and you are going to need a pretty large radius. The manufacturer states 28" but K-37s are notoriously stiff, and I think you are really going to need a 30" as a dead minimum, and 32-34" would be much better. The good news is that is still much better than if it was On3, in which case 40" is dead minimum. With a 7' layout you can go 36" radius, turn the corner and still have room for scenery.

    I'd also highly recommend buying some Bachmann HO EZ Track with 33.25" radius and their #5 or #6 turnouts. This will give you a sense of how much space you really need for track and you can test some sample track arrangements with your equipment before you commit to a design.

    Finally, go the my website and look over some of the equipment reviews and other resources we've posted there. Of course, I think you'd really benefit for picking up some back issues of the Annual, but no hard sell here. Just a suggestion that you may find some valuable information there. You are also welcome to contact me directly VIA the website with other questions, and I'll be glad to assist if I can.

    Chris
     
  5. bookemdanno

    bookemdanno TrainBoard Supporter

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    HI ArtFan,

    Yes - welcome to the hobby and Trainboard! I have four MMI locos, all K types. (Inside valve K-27, K-28, K-36 and K-37.) All have 36" radius in On3. I assume it will be the same for On30 since it's the length of the wheelbase and the fact that all drivers are flanged. Trainboard member Swissboy has run his same On3 locos at 34" radius however.

    Regarding removing the pilot, it should come off after removing the screws. I haven't done this to any of mine yet so I can't tell you any more. Sometimes there are tricks to know - I broke the cylinder pop valves on my K-27 when I tried to remount the boiler. However, call PSC and ask for Mark. He's the expert there and he can let you know if anything else needs to be done. He can also confirm your radius question.

    www.precisionscaleco.com

    Have fun!
     
  6. ArtFan

    ArtFan TrainBoard Member

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    Hey Chris, thanks for the reply.

    How new am I? well...

    I'm as new as they come, put simply. I've never even attempted anything like this before so I know I've got a long road ahead of me, and I fully anticipate this taking a while; I don't plan to rush. I actually do have a copy of On30 Annual that I got from my hobby store, and I'll be looking into getting more. It has been very insightful so far.

    I didn't realize Bachmann made that kind of radius curve, so I'll also try to get a good amount of track from them and test my design a little. Thank you for that pointer :)

    I'll definitely keep you in mind as one of the key people to contact once I start this thing, like I said I will for sure have a lot of questions when the time comes.
     
  7. DSP&P fan

    DSP&P fan TrainBoard Member

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    For RTR, San Juan Car Co and AMS offer D&RGW freight cars.
    For kits, SJCC, Trout Creek Engineering, Grandt Line, Rio Grande Models, and Wiseman Model Services offer D&RGW cars. I'd recommend getting one Grandt Line (styrene), one Trout Creek (wood), and one Wiseman (resin) kit to start off with, and try your hand at building a car. Here's a build log from a Grandt Line C&S car: Building a Grandt kit - TrainBoard.com
    SJCC cars require 34" curves, or so their website says...
    For many locomotives, it is actually the lead truck's ability to swivel in between the cylinders that causes the minimum curve radius, not the drivers (which are the usual cause on real locomotives).

    For photos of the Rio Grande, I recommend the DPL's website:
    Denver Public Library: Western History Genealogy: Digital Images
    For example, here's an Otto Perry photo I've not taken notice of in books:
    00008703

    The Rio Grande is extremely common and so you should have a very easy time finding info about modeling it. To paraphrase a comment I recently heard, Rio Grande modelers can complain about not having enough photos and kits of every single track side structure, while the rest of us (a small minority) are just happy to know what was there...let alone a decent photo...and what is a "kit"! ;-) That's to your advantage as you don't have to reinvent the wheel and far more options exist for you to create your layout.

    Since you are new, I'm going to guess that you might not know the time line of the D&RGW, and hence, laying it out, might help you to decide to focus on a particular era. I probably don't have all the dates correct, this is mostly from memory and I'm not a Rio Grande enthusiast:

    Time periods to consider: 1920s, this was when the D&RGW was formed and the modern 2-8-2 fleet was completed. The Great Depression saw the creation of the last named narrow gauge passenger trains: The Shavano and the San Juan. It also was the period of freight cars with little more than car numbers. The Chili Line, last bastion of T-12 4-6-0 trains, received K-28s during this period and the Chili Line was abandoned in 1941. It was also at the end of this time period that the Scenic Line of the World (aka, the "toilet seat herald") was replaced with the "flying" Rio Grande. The early 1950s saw the demise of the other lines and 2-8-0s, leaving just the San Juan Extension and the two branches out of Durango in place...operated by 2-8-2s. The last hurrah was operating pipe trains on the Farmington branch in the 1960s...and the growing tourist business on the Silverton branch. All but the Silverton was shut down in 1968, with the mainline between Antonito and Chama being purchased by Colorado and New Mexico...the Cumbras & Toltec.

    Michael
     
  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    And welcome to you, too, Chris! Great to see you with us. There may not seem to be a lot of On30 action here, but believe me, I have seen them register, and there are actually quite a few aboard, lurking.

    I have every Annual to date, and this year will be no exception!

    Boxcab E50
     
  9. Jack28

    Jack28 TrainBoard Member

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    Being new has it's advantages. For one, we don't have to learn blocks and have a very complicated switch setup to do 'our thing.' Additionally you probably have been involved in some sort of other hobby and can bring those skills with you.

    We shall learn together, although I did 'play' with trains, it was back in the early '80s, and much has changed, much has not. DCC was what brought me back,.....and some boredom with RC helis and planes.

    I think ANY NG is what trains is about. Yes, in today's world they are a terribly important part of the distribution system. The nostalgia of the NG is the draw. Having lived near Durango for several years, there has been a latent need to do a mountains type setup. Hence my thread on Dunton.

    Hoping to share ideas with you.
    Jack

    Chris,
    You looking for previously published writers/authors?
    Jack
     
  10. bookemdanno

    bookemdanno TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hi ArtFan,

    Getting lots of good advice here. Add this to your list. The best publication in my mind for NG in general is the Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazzette.

    www.ngslgazette.com/

    I have every issue from the mid 1970's.
     
  11. Allamuchy Joe

    Allamuchy Joe TrainBoard Member

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    Holy Moly! You really jumped in with both feet. A Mountain Model Imports K-37. I started with the cheap Bachmann 0-4-2 Porter, a low side gon, a flatcar and a caboose. My addiction grew from there, of course.

    The name of the game in On30 is FUN. Have fun doing it, as it both realistic and whimsical at the same time. Check out the Yahoo Group the On30conspiracy -- there are folks of all skill levels and there are tons of pictures to help get you inspired.

    Joe
     
  12. swissboy

    swissboy TrainBoard Member

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    I admire your approach getting a K-37 for starters. :)

    Now, I'm sure you'd also love to see it move every once in a while. With On30 you have the advantage of readily getting sectional tracks, whereas I had do do them myself from flex-tracks for my On3. So get enough of those tracks Chris suggested to allow yourself some fine running experiences. That will also keep you from rushing into a suboptimal layout simply to see that engine running. At any rate, the 36" radius you plan for your definitive layout should be just fine for your K-37. Enjoy!
     
  13. ArtFan

    ArtFan TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks guys.

    I've been busy with a lot lately, but I've been continuing to plan my layout. Me and my dad are going to begin clearing space in my garage this weekend and I have a friend with tons of wood he can give me to do the bench work. So things are looking up for the Artfan branch of the D&RGW. :D

    Just for the heck of it, I decided to take some pics of my baby and put them here. I can't wait to see this thing run (and I wish I had a better cam cause these pics do the engine no justice lol):
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Looking at that thing just makes me so anxious to start building...
     
  14. EricB

    EricB TrainBoard Member

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    You might think about posting your track plan in the layout section of Trainboard so you can get some input there. I think there is alot you can do with your space with some good planning. Is your layout going to be free standning? The reason I ask is because it would be really difficult to build a layout that is 7' wide if you couldn't reach the back part of the layout. Just a thought.

    That MMI is a beautiful loco and I am sure you will have fun with it. I guess if you are going to jump inot this hobby, might as well do it with both feet. Enjoy,

    Eric
     
  15. ArtFan

    ArtFan TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Eric.

    I went ahead and did just that; hopefully I can get some good input. I actually posted two track plans; I been thinking of going smaller to fit in my space. And I'm not sure if it will be free standing. ...I'm not even totally sure what that means in model railroad terms though I have some kind of idea, and I'm not sure its something I wanna do. I hope to get more info on it before I think about it.
     
  16. DSP&P fan

    DSP&P fan TrainBoard Member

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    Freestanding: it is like a table with legs. By contrast, a shelf layout can be anchored to wall or a the layout may have a different system (sat on a table/appliance for operation or suspended from the ceiling).

    Here's a [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uElKx7iuBSw"]YouTube - Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, 1/3[/ame] providing helper service up Cumbras, the only K-37 to operate since end of common carrier (functioning, real railroad vs. tourist operation) days. Along with her in the clip are K-27 #463 and a K-36. I (and many others) rode behind the 497 in the mid-90s. In addition to Colorado, you can also experience D&RGW steam in Michigan (K-27 #464) and California (C-19 #340)...if you find yourself in those locals...

    Michael
     
  17. mhampton

    mhampton TrainBoard Member

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    After looking at ArtFan's pictures, I KNOW he could be a great person to know. Not only is he a model railroader, he's a Clive Cussler fan (or at least somebody in his house is)!
     
  18. ArtFan

    ArtFan TrainBoard Member

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    haha I was wondering if anyone was going to notice. Yes, all those books are mine; I'm a HUGE Cussler fan :D
     
  19. DSP&P fan

    DSP&P fan TrainBoard Member

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    I lost two days of my life to The Chase...he needs to do more historical fiction like that...one of the top 5 popular fiction books I've ever read (the other 3 being Clancy and a 4th being a James Hilton book). When they Telluride can up, I was screaming at Cussler for messing it up...until he didn't! What a magnificent story! Just why or why did he reverse the numbers on the atlantic and pacific after nailing so many other historic events?

    Michael
     
  20. mhampton

    mhampton TrainBoard Member

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    Cussler has a sequel to The Chase coming out before the end of the year. I don't recall the title off hand, but I've already got my reservation in at the local library.


    Update: I checked my reservation and the title is "The Wrecker."
     

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