With the start of construction on my new layout combo project unknown at this moment, since all the other "new home" projects superseding hobby pursuits, I hope to at least have my modeling work table up and running very soon. Besides taking measurements of the new train room and beginning track planning to scale, I have another locomotive project I'm itching to get underway: A sound-equipped 2-8-0 logging tank engine/tender conversion - from an unused Bachmann HO-scale engine into an uber-cool woods switcher.
With my On30 logging Diesel "critter" just about completed (save for weathering, final detailing and decals) I am ready to start the steam engine project. I have "stripped down" the HO steamer as much as I possibly can, leaving a box full of parts and components. Armed with a fist-full of photos and scale drawings of a number of logging locomotives, I'm feeling confident I can build a convincing On30 loco "On-The-Cheap" for my planned On30 Swamp Logger layout.
I know I'll likely need to purchase a few commercial detail parts for my logger, like generator, air pump, bell, headlights, whistle, stack, back head details and a set of On30 tender trucks. I'm thinking of using a section of PVC pipe as the base of the wrap-around saddle tank adding front and back plates with added rivet details. I will add the steam and sand domes from the HO loco, unless they look overly small for 1/4-inch scale. I have a few cigar tubes on hand that I can use as the larger-sized domes. I'm also planning on scratch-building the open-air cab typical for the hot and humid environment of the swamp. Converting the front pilot and walkways are still under R & D.
I will keep the tender with the loco to use the extra "space" for the power pick-up, DCC components and speaker. For the tender, I'll split the tender body apart lengthwise to widen it to a typical narrow gauge 7-to-8 foot girth. I will bridge the gap with filler pieces and mount body onto a widen chassis. Since the loco will be an oil-burner, I will have to fashion a bunker for the fuel oil to fill out the tender, adding sander bins, toolboxes and a rear headlight mount. Drilling some air holes to the floor of the tender will allow sound to 'escape.'
One of the things that has changed my "Diesels-Only" modeling mentality, especially for this new Swamp Logger layout to include steam engines is sound! Having worked on and around a life-size operating Shay and 2-8-2, the one thing I remember is the "breathing" of the engine...the sounds of the air pump, and generator, the escaping steam. Any steam loco that goes onto this On30 layout will have sound.
Working on a limited budget, I'm hoping to keep the final total cost way under $70. Since the loco has been in a box, unused and the DCC decoder sitting in the parts bin as well, I'm ahead cash column. When I shop the websites and ebay listings for sound-equipped On30 steam locos and see the prices upwards of $200 -$300, scratch-building a few logging engines to get my layout up and running is the only way to go!
If this scratch-building project goes as planned and I'm pleased with the results, I might want to purchase one of those awesome re-released HO-scale Mantua 2-6-6-2T logging Mallets and convert it to On30. Banta Model Works makes a laser-cut cab for that engine which would make the conversion a piece of cake.
So as I plan this On30 Swamp Logger, I am happy the contrast will be huge compared to my modern-era HO scale Big Island & Pacific RR layout that will be built above the larger-scale pike. This will give me a lot of opportunity for model railroading hobby variety!
Please check my BIRR website: www.bigislandrail.zoomshare.com.
Thanks for reading!