O/On30 / On3 101 Primer?

TwinDad Oct 14, 2015

  1. TwinDad

    TwinDad TrainBoard Member

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    Hey y'all!

    I'm considering jumping into O scale, probably either On30 or On3 narrow gauge, to do some dioramas or a "small" layout type thing, to enjoy some scratchbuilding and fun outside of my main N scale layout work. Most likely at the moment I'm leaning toward an On30 pre-WWII coal or lumber branch in WV, since my N scale era is "last week".

    If I execute this, I don't want to get too crazy with the rivet counting, more having fun with something relaxed (hence the favoring On30 over O or On3), but the whole point will be to work on something big enough to do some high level of detail in the model.

    Anyway, the point of this post... I know next to nothing about O, beyond it being 1:48. I was wondering if y'all could point me to some good sources of "primer" information on the scale so I can get up to speed on the basics - things like common rail codes, scale-specific tracklaying techniques, common sources of scratchbuilding and detail parts, that sort of thing. Whatever might go into a "O Scale 101" class.

    I would prefer to read up on some reference material and get caught up before (a) deciding for sure whether to take the plunge and (b) pestering the forum with tons of truly basic questions.

    Thanks in advance!

    - Mark (TD)
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Not on line as such, but Carstens used to do an "On30 Annual". They were beautiful publications. I'm not certain if White River picked up that when they got the other magazines. Might be worth taking a look. I no longer have mine, as I sold off all my On30 several years ago.
     
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  3. TwinDad

    TwinDad TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, Boxcab. It does appear that White River is still selling the On30 Annual. I may pick up a copy. Two things are piquing my interest in this path... a friend's On30 layout, and the Model Railway Podcast talking about the Annual in (at least) one of their episodes...
     
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    The Annuals can seem a bit pricey, but unless something has changed, were printed on really nice paper, with crisp photos, etc. And if Chris Lane is still in charge, he is an On30 person as well.
     
  5. TwinDad

    TwinDad TrainBoard Member

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    Oh, I don't know. $20 is half the price of a discounted sub to MRR, and I bet there's a years worth of content in there, from what I hear...
     
  6. HOexplorer

    HOexplorer TrainBoard Supporter

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    The On30 Annual is well worth the money and actually will serve quite nicely as a primer. My avatar is On30 as is this photo below. You may recall I started in Z, then N, then HO, and have finally found On30. What a great scale to work in and with. I am currently building a 4'x6' On30 layout and it may turn out to be the best one yet. Jim

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. JimJ

    JimJ Staff Member

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    Mark, I also dabble in the dark arts of On30 and I use Atlas code 83 flex track. I remove some of the ties to increase tie spacing and paint and weather the track. If I ever start over I'll try Micro Engineering On30 flex.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. TwinDad

    TwinDad TrainBoard Member

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    That's a nice Shay, Jim. And your track looks pretty darned good too. I like how the weeds are growing up between the ties. Darned hard effect to pull off in N. I'm actually thinking about handlaying... just because. But that stuff looks good!

    So... actually... I guess that's one thing I'm a little confused on I guess... there isn't really such a thing as "HO" or "O" scale rail... at least it's not sold that way... it's just that, for example, Code 83 rail scales out to just under 4 inches on O (1:48), which is about 55lb prototype, and in HO (1:87) it is... 7.2" high, which is somewhere north of 130lb rail. So the exact same rail can either be heavy mainline track in HO or very lightweight narrow gauge track in O, am I right? Or am I missing something here?

    So to handlay this track, I would just pick how heavy a rail I want, maybe C83, maybe C100, whatever, buy some O scale ties, and start spiking them down at 0.65" spacing?
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015
  9. HOexplorer

    HOexplorer TrainBoard Supporter

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    Code 83 is about right. It covers use of the 26-0 in my avatar for sure. I'm using ME Code 83 On30 flex track and turnouts. Not an endorsement, just filling in some blanks for you. Jim
     
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  10. JimJ

    JimJ Staff Member

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    Thanks Mark. That's a Heisler. Here's my Shay. It's a Boulder Valley Models kit that converts a Bachmann HO Shay into an On30 version. On30 is a fun scale!
    [​IMG]
     
  11. TwinDad

    TwinDad TrainBoard Member

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    Ah. so it is. I missed the cylinder head sticking out on the near side and thought I saw the gears on the far side. My bad :)

    Sweet!
     
  12. HOexplorer

    HOexplorer TrainBoard Supporter

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    Here is another picture of On30 possibilities. As my arthritis gets worse I find this scale most enjoyable. Even HO is way too small these days. This a fun scale for kids as well, 'cause nothing breaks the minuite they touch something. More somethings to think about. Jim

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. JimJ

    JimJ Staff Member

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    Beautiful modeling!
     

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