"KC Lines: West Bottoms" in HO Scale

Discussion in 'General' started by Coonskin, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. WindsorSpring

    WindsorSpring Member

    Magistrate wrote: " ...the key to staying happy in retirement is staying busy." True. Stay in touch with friends and you will not look for things to do, they will find you!
    Ozarktraveler and Joe Lovett like this.
  2. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Thanks for the well wishes in regards to my retirement come next June.

    I see that some time ago I mentioned I would share some more pictures of KC&G motive power. Well... I'm a bit long in doing so... but here's another pic for now.

    What you're looking at...


    The Geep trailing the FA1m is the previously shared (in this thread) GP7 #412, a modified Front Range kit that was re-powered (Mashima flat can), re-trucked ("tweaked" Athearn trucks w/plastic sideframes) , re-wheeled (NWSL 40" nickle silver), and other tidbits. Still runs great after all these years. (I think all of my surviving completed KC&G engines were made in the mid-1990's?)


    #203 is supposed to represent a home shopped (at the KC&G's "Magnolia Shops" at Magnolia, AR) EMD re-powered Alco FA1, which the KC&G re-designated as an FA1m to denote the change. The model started out as a Freteschi FA1. "Back when" I chose the Frateschi FA1 as a starting point because, at the time, I felt it had the best proportions, hood/nose contours, and cab windows, etc, of all the FA's available at the time. (Bear in mind the P2K FA1 was not on the market.) I knew the stock mechanism was a disaster from looking at it, running it only proved my suspicions: Pure junk. So, I gutted a cheap and plentiful (at the time!) Atlas RS3 and all of it went into the Frateschi chassis. It now runs... well... like a Kato! Sweet. Eventually, for roster variety, I will be modeling KC&G FA1's that were left to run out their miles with their original Alco 244 in place. #203 is wearing one of the "simplified" schemes the KC&G applied to various of their cab units. There will also be FA1's on the KC&G still wearing their original scheme... EVENTUALLY (I hope!).

    Enough drivel... the pic:


    All fer now!
  3. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Andre, I'll echo the other congratulatory thoughts on retirement. My retired father and father in law both have to keep busy and do a pretty good job of doing so. Friends and a good hobby are good basis for happiness, I reckon.

    A very wise statement. It's finally dawned on me that if I'm ever going to do any modeling of consequence, I needed to both model with my current skills, knowledge and materials on hand. I've spent too much time filly-farting around waiting to either get this part or to learn this facet. And, I've not found myself thinking "Gee, I wish I'd waited to put down that east team track until I found this photo, etc."

    Looking forward to more plans and photos.

    Best Regards,
  4. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Well... drat... those pesky steam thingies aren't going away quietly into the night.

  5. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Time for an update:

    As you might have surmised from my last post above, indeed, I seriously pursued getting a fleet of TOC19 cars and some engines ready for what I really thought I was going to do: A 19th Century Colorado layout.

    Well, it's a LONG and SORDID story getting to where I'm at now... so I'll spare you the details and hit the high points:

    * Experimenting with trying to paint Colorado backdrops wasn't going well enough to please me. Gonna' take a long time before I would be accepting of my efforts.

    * Experiments actually SWITCHING (instead of running a TOC19 engine back and forth on a test track) and HANDLING the tiny HO TOC19 equipment was quite eye opening. Here's a picture that shows one of the tiny HO scale TOC19 steam engines sandwiched by a 40' boxcar and a small HH660:


    The cars were around 30'. It's like tiny HOn3 narrow gauge. My experimentation revealed that the engines are VERY sensitive in regards to electrical contact. AND the some of the cars didn't want to track well. Even once the cars are fine tuned, I concluded that trying to operate under the electrical contact circumstances I was seeing was going to be frustrating and not fun.

    Conversely, experiments with my diesels upon the same switching "test layout" once again indicated flawless performance, and zero issues handling the equipment.

    SO... I've pulled the plug once and for all (I hope) on the idea of modeling HO TOC19 steam, and I'm returning to my HO diesels, of which I have a "few". :D

    My freelanced KC&G will once more be my primary emphasis.

    I've just started the process of designing a fresh track plan for the KC&G that will replace the proposed TOC19 steam layout that was to be in my out building. At this point, I'm looking at one of two themes for the KC&G:

    * Continue with the "KC Lines" concept I conceived some years ago, which emphasizes an urban/industrial setting (think "West Bottoms").

    * OR... continue to reconsider a return to modeling a portion of the KC&G's Ozark Division of its theorized route to the Gulf. This was the avenue I pursued originally with my KC&G theme (back in the mid 1990s) and had a ton of fun doing so.

    I currently have a main line w/stages roughed-in for the Ozark theme, but I'm not too pleased with way the route is having to deal with the confines of my room. (Surprisingly, for a 16' x 20' out building... there are several things to dodge, such as the HVAC, one of the front windows, my work bench, etc, etc!)

    If I cannot come up with a KC&G in the Ozarks theme track plan that I like, then I will return to finalizing a "KC Lines" track plan.

    So, there you have it. As soon as I can develop a track plan I like... there's lumber stacked on the floor of the out building waiting for me to start sawing!

    OH... anybody want to buy some HO TOC19 equipment? ;)

    gjslsffan and Ozarktraveler like this.
  6. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    We have a local modeler, Don Ball (not the famous photographer), that models the Stockton & Copperopolis Railroad in 1895 California. I'll send you his contact info via email; he might be interested.
  7. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Hi Keith!

    Thanks. I haven't talked with Don in a while. He does superb work.

    I haven't gone public with my decision among the TOC19 ranks I frequent... sort of dreading that part of it. However, they will be my best market to move the stuff when I'm ready to commit to selling off. (I typically want to hoard if I'm not diligent to NOT do so.)

    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  8. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    I sense within me an underlying excitement about my decision to return to my KC&G concept. (Still looking at the possibility of designing a portion of the KC&G's "Ozark Sub" to inhabit my out building... but it's slow going among the other things I'm trying to get accomplished.)

    My sincere hope is to keep my appreciation for TOC19 railroading channeled through V scale (computer simulation) and NOT, under any circumstances, allow myself to dabble with modeling it again. I lost WAY too much time and spent WAY too much hobby resource into that over the years, and especially over the past year or so. Y'all pray fer me that I can stay on the straight and narrow way, fer wide is the way that leads to distraction! :p

    Anyway, I have just finished re-purposing my work bench for the switch over to diesel era modeling. All the TOC19 details/supply parts are duly sorted and packed into their boxes or parts drawers, all TOC19 in-process rolling stock projects were sorted and placed into their boxes, the tools on the desk top were sorted and the desk top dusted. So, my work bench is ready. Next will be to open the box labeled "Diesel Details", sort them, and place them into handy parts drawers, labeled for easy future access. I'm not going to start the long process of selling off the TOC19 stuff just yet... just way too many other things I want to accomplish first.

    FWIW: Just about nightly I end up firing up the temporary track that's in place on the bench work in this computer room layout area... and simply run one of my DCC/sound equipped engines back and forth and groove to the sights and sounds. Just the other night I opened the box of an undec Atlas Gold GP7 that I've had for a year or so (never been opened! was too consumed with chasing TOC19!) and placed it on the track. Sounded SO sweet to hear the EMD sounds emanating from it! Today's diesel products run SO nice and smooth, creep also so nicely, and sound great in the process.

    Okay... enough drivel for this one.

    Later gators!

    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  9. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    How bittersweet. :(
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  10. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    I understand, Jim.

    I've wanted a TOC19 Colorado layout for sometime... but it just isn't to be. Fortunately for me, I have V scale and it's PERFECT as a way for me to indulge in my fetish for TOC19 railroading... but it's not the "tactile" modeling that 99% here appreciate much more so than V scale.

    I need to update all of y'all soon on where I'm at on my KC&G theme.

    Ozarktraveler and Joe Lovett like this.
  11. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Okay... "I feel the need... the need to UPDATE!" (Said with no apoligies to that flake Tom Cruise.)

    Once I experimented and decided that the finicky nature of the small TOC19 trains would lead to more frustrations than enjoyment, that sent me running back to my HO "Kansas City & Gulf" theme. Upon making that decision, the first thing I "assumed" was that I'd pick up my "KC Lines" theme for it, and model a layout loosely based on Kansas City's West Bottoms area and all would be good. That decided it was "Outta' the way! Move it! Move it! KC in the early-to-mid 1960s here I come!"

    NOT so fast there, bud...

    Since I essentially have a "clean sheet of paper", so to speak (no lumber has been cut as yet)... then... wonder if I could cram the Ozarks into my available space and return to mountain railroading (that I've loved for a long time)?

    The idea of returning to modeling the KC&G's "Ozark Sub" was very attractive. Now, upfront, I'll let you know that IF I wanted to fill my out building with LAYOUT, then I wouldn't foresee any issues creating an "Ozark Sub" layout. However, that is NOT what I would be willing to do by a far stretch. So, I compiled a list of "Givens n' Druthers", and see what I could come up with that will respect them. The crucial "givens" are:

    * I want open space for my work desk/station. I absolutely DO NOT want to have a small desk under benchwork and all the pains in he arse that involves. (Been there, done that. Don't want no more of it.) Plus, I've learned that (for me) IF my work station is PLEASANT, then I tend to enjoy the work station experience more.

    * I want plenty of space BEHIND my work station. I detest scooting back my chair and bumping (usually my head) on the benchwork that's too close BEHIND me. I do NOT want a "cramped feeling" around my work station. In a nutshell, I want my work station area to feel like a small "room" and not something crammed into a tiny, tight space that it has no business being crammed into in the first place. (That's basically what my work stations have been before this layout.)

    * There is ONE window in the available layout space that must be accessible and allowance must be made for it to tilt inward for cleaning/maintenance.

    * The HVAC of my lower wall mounted unit (think: like a motel room's HVAC) must be easily accessible for filter/coil cleaning/maintenance AND the airflow cannot be obstructed.

    The above pretty much dictates that the BULK of ANY layout I design THAT INTRUDES into the inner portions of the building MUST comply with the above "givens". That pretty much means that all the room intrusive stuff must be to the right of the entryway, for my work station area is on the left.

    So, I was essentially looking at having access to: The right front wall (8'), the right side wall (15') the back wall (19') and IN MODERATION, the left side wall (15'). The left front wall is where my work station is located. (All this will become more readily assimilated once you view the track plan.)

    My "druthers":

    * Decent staging that can accommodate at least 4-5 trains each way during an operating session.

    * An acceptable "crew change" point w/town at the "southern" exit point (track to the corresponding stage) of the layout. This would (hopefully) include a couple tracks for any "shorts" that are going to arrive/depart the layout, and (again, hopefully) a very small engine service area. (Think: A single sheet iron 1 unit engine house IF space is available, or at the least a sand/diesel/tie up track.)

    * Acceptable curve radii for the visible track.

    * Tighter track radius on the hidden/unseen track if needed.

    * Acceptable mainline run length.

    * Enough small mountain towns (w/pass tracks) along the way between the "southern" stage area and the "northern" stage area to offer some variety in "meet" locations, as well as adequate "local work".

    * Some decent mineral-based industry such as a gravel plant, and maybe a lime plant.

    * Provisions for smaller ("peckerwood") sawmills along the way and/or other small operations of some type.

    Armed with the above, I used 3/4" to 1' and began trying to see what I could do in regards to a mainline alignment that I could be happy with. IF I could accomplish that goal, then it would be time to migrate over to 1.5" t0 1' scale, and start designing in sincerity. (Note: Won't do you any good to suggest a track planning software. I've tried them, and I MUCH prefer the tactile experience of designing on paper with a pencil, compass, templates, etc.)

    The idea is: See if I can come up with an "Ozark Sub" layout I could enjoy for the long term, then push the plan aside and return to the track plan for my "KC Lines" concept and finish it up. Then compare the two before I make a final decision. I think I will find:

    * The "KC Lines" layout will likely offer more pure "operation" in regards to yard switching and industrial switching, etc. It will also offer the ability to see all kinds of different railroads represented thereon because of the fact there was something like 13 Class 1 RR's in KC back in the early-mid 60s. Bottom line: It is a great concept and would translate into a fun layout. The track work needed for a KC Lines theme would take a bit longer to lay because of the complexity of the design.

    * The "Ozark Sub" layout would get me back to my mountain railroading, and in so doing would offer helpers, local work (freights), "turns", small town settings (that I also like) and through traffic on a single track main through the mountains. The fact that it's mountain railroading also brings in the "drama" of same that can be capitalized upon. Mountain railroading has been my "home" in model railroading since about 1974. The bench work needed for an "Ozark Sub" theme will be more involved than the bench work for a KC Lines theme, but I suspect it will consume notably less switches than the KC Lines theme.

    Okay... that's it for now. Soon to come will be a tentative "Definite Maybe" track plan for the Ozark Sub.

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