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"HONGZ" stands for HO scale, N scale, G scale, and Z scale.

Post your non-O scale stuff here!

Just arrived from USPS.

I bid at an online auction for some old wood kits.  Nobody else bid on them and got all 6 kits for 45 bucks, delivered: can't beat that   

campbell's mine head frame

campbell's sand house

campbell's fire house

Anderson's icing platform

Quality craft models Haydenton covered depot

Alexander coaling station.

All the instructions are included and they look complete.

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Last edited by samparfitt

Logging railroad:

Spent all day and the layout still looks the same!

Electrical work:

I've broken the logging area into two sections so two engineers can, now, operate the logging railroad: the upper section (yard, business section, GN interface) and the lower section (3 switch backs, 'run around' and small 2 lead yard).

Nothing fancy: Used some toggles to route to either of two power sources: PFM sound (wired extension throttle) or the 'normal' wired extension throttle.   Used a terminal connector to route both throttles to each new section.  The logging was originally on just the PFM sound system.   A transformer, bridge rectifier and an old radio shack metal box with direction and throttle that I had laying around for 20 years is the new throttle.  I need to get some green paint for the fascia.

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Upper section:

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About 10' from the upper yard, I cut the rail to divide the two sections.

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Lower section:

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Last edited by samparfitt

These are so cool!

Miller signs.

miller signs 01

Up at 5:30 this morning, figured I might as well do some railroading 

A dremel cut off disk was used to cut the slot for the base.  The hole was made small and then filed to needed size to get a snug fit and then was glued in place.

I used Zap Gel PT27 as it remains flexible and more easily removed, if needed.

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The ribbon wire is about a foot long to the electronic end where the on/off switch is located.  The battery (3 AAA) pack is connected to the electronics via about a 6" pair of wires.  The battery pack was cut off and a 2 prong connector was soldered to it.  The electronics come with double contact tape so the electronics were adhered to the inside of the building.  Another pair of wires with a connector was routed through a hole in the scenery and routed to a central location.

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I got a wall converter that miller sells, cut off the end jack and routed the pair of wires to a terminal strip.   The converter will handle up to 10 signs. The hot side must be connected, correctly, to the circuit board so a red/green set was used for continuity and ease of connecting the wires.  A toggle switch was routed to the layouts fascia to easily turn on/off all the signs at once.  The converter puts out about 5 volts.  One down and 5 more to go!

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Miller signs.

Finished installing the remaining Miller functioning signs.

I had a large curved building wall so I put them on it.

Tied all the wires together for one feed:

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One knot in the feed line to insure it isn't pulled out by accident.

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The signs are back so far from the main isle that I dispensed with any sign frames.

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Plus one for the GN's main office

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I've been wondering where that old coal mine building from the 60's  'went to'!

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Always nice when you get three packages delivered

1.  Tomar caboose marker lights came in.  Got a few more cabeese to 'finish off'.

2.  Seven central valley passenger car trucks.  Bid on these and got them cheap.

Back in the 60's they were expensive at $3.25 for a set.  Three of them had the foam rubber deteriorating and stuck to the truck wheels.  I used a tooth brush (don't use yours, use the spouses!) and some denatured alcohol to clean them up.

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Before cleaning:

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After cleaning:

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3.  Climax logging engine from united.  No box so I'll have to make one up.

Put her on the track and she didn't run.

Wire to one truck was broken.

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Still didn't work:

Heard the engine running but not gear movement.

Took the frame off from the super structure.

Two screws up front and one in the back in front of the back truck made for easy separation.

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Found the screw holding the motor to the frame was loose causing the front of the motor to shift so the worm drive was not engaging.

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Put the boiler back on the frame:

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Also, cut the back of each kadee coupler pocket as they were very close to the truck ends and would probably prevent rotation.

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All working, again!

The seller said the engine was tested: I guess all those things could come loose in transit.  With 50 years of patina on that boiler, antique road show would say, don't touch it!   

Presently, with that large stack, the climax will be only working the upper level as there are some large over head rocks that are going to have to be trimmed for any running on the lower level!   I've got a Heisler coming in next week to 'round out' the logging roster.

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Not pretty but functional!

The climax didn't come with a box (not sure why someone would throw it away!) so I used a one piece box where the top folds into the bottom versus the traditional two piece box (mainly that's what I had!).  Lots of 3M spray glue and printed sheets of united 'blue weave' paper and foam cut out for the interior and the interior sprayed white.

While doing this, been thinking I'll probably paint the engines up in a GN type paint scheme and put a dark green boiler and a red cab roof on them.  Logging engines were strictly utilitarian but mine are going to have a GN family resemblance. If I remember, correctly, I believe GN did own a logging company. 

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Three more package arrived

1.  30 RF chokes for my sound system

2.  GN heavy weight baggage car.

Thought I'd build a heavy weight set.  I had 10-12 of these back in the 80's, all painted, and traded them for a Tenshodo NP Z-8. 

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3.  Heisler 65 ton by united.

Runs great and the box looks new.  I like the either N scale or scale HO scale couplers on it.

With the logging now able to have two engineers, need some more power.  Now have 3 shays, 1 climax and a heisler.  Like to get a Vulcan (non spock type ).

Heisler, 65 ton, united 01Heisler, 65 ton, united 02Heisler, 65 ton, united 03Heisler, 65 ton, united 04Heisler, 65 ton, united 05Heisler, 65 ton, united 06Heisler, 65 ton, united 07Heisler, 65 ton, united 08


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You pick the best one!

Tree one:

Copied from Jack Works tree making from the 60's using asparagus fern.

I've had the fern since the 70's.  Not sure if it can be bought anymore.

The fern was brown so I rattle can spray painted it using rustoleum hunter green and olive.

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I bought some dowels but found that, 40 years ago, I already made up a bunch of tree trunks.  They are redwood, easy to drill holes via the dremel for the limbs.  I probably used walnut stain.  I also sprayed them with rustoleum weathered wood.

Hunter green was the main color for the limbs and then olive added as a light spray for some variation.

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Tree two:

Furnace filter material.  A few years ago, I bought some cheap green furnace filters.  I cut them in different sizes, partially separating them to be less dense and then shoved them down the truck.  A little trimming of the corners plus cutting directly into the filter gave them a more realistic look.  Some really cheap hairspray was sprayed on the limbs and then some conifer green foam was sprinkled from the top.

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Tree three.

Made using caspia that I bought at Michael's craft store.

I have three different types and they all say caspia (who knows!).

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The glue is still wet in the picture.


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The final 3 trees (left to right); caspia, furnace, asparagus fern.

The trees are 15-17" high.


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Last edited by samparfitt

Pine tree making:

The green furnace filters are the quickest and easiest to make.  Have to watch when cutting it as some trees don't look right after I took a picture of it (some trimming will be needed).

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Plastic paint pan works great for catching (and recycling) the foam sprinkled on the trees.  I find it best to put the foam on all the trees to give them more 'body'. 

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Got quite a few done and installed:

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I had trouble removing the old pine trees that needed refurbishing, but as destroying the landscape so  I just cut them off and left the stumps as they were needed for a small trestle a few miles down the railroad


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Last edited by samparfitt

New arrival for the logging railroad.

Sierra 2-6-6-2 by United.

A very nicely detailed engine, especially for the early 70's.  Has a coupler on the tender but it hasn't been run much.  This is one of the later builds with the sound ready tender and gear covers and all nickle plated wheels (earlier ones had no gear covers and at least some of the wheels were bare brass).  It will get a green boiler to mimic it's GN roots.

The pilot is broken off and the front porch a little bent but nothing that can't be fixed with some resistance soldering.

Sierra 2-6-6-2 01Sierra 2-6-6-2 02Sierra 2-6-6-2 03Sierra 2-6-6-2 04Sierra 2-6-6-2 05

Lots of detail on the boiler.

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Even has a bell lanyard.


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There is no room in the inn!


The roundhouse is full with no way to expand so 3 tracks at the far side of the yard (shortest tracks) were broke down into four 18" long blocks to store engines (mainly those railroads that interfaced with the GN railway). 


Toggles used to control each block to disable each engine in that block.


Ta Da!

The nearest track is also the caboose track.

ps: it would be nice if the web site's software posted the vertical pictures, vertical, instead of rotating them 90 degrees!



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Eight more trees on the logging railroad.

Kept them around the building area and away from the turnouts where hands may need to go.

There's a mesh on one side of the natural furnace fiber material that I remove.

I found that one can just use the cheap hair spray (instead of a paint can) to secure the foam foliage to the limbs.

I like the 'furnace filter' trees, especially where they may be bumped, as they are quick to make, and sturdy.  I think the 'asparagus fern' pines look the best but take longer to make, having to drill holes and glue in each limb: not an overly lot of time, especially for a good looking pine, but a lot longer than the 'shake a box'  'furnace' trees.

I really like how they enhance the railroad scene.

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A day well spent

Got the bulk of the trees in for the logging railroad and it only took a half a day (12 hours!).

Besides the 'furnace filter' and 'asparagus fern' pines I used the 'caspia' with it's own main stem as the tree trunk and used a lighter color foliage for the leaves.  Since they are sparse and thin, I thought they would be good for the rock cliffs where it would difficult for trees 'to make a living'.  Not sure if they look like trees but no harm in trying (plus it's cost effective!).

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All that ground clutter is from 37 years of abuse!

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Train show at Montgomery fair grounds in Dayton, Ohio.

A good break from the basement.

Picked up some nice books (10-15 bucks each), 1/16" shrink tubing, several flat car, hopper loads for 5 bucks (total), a cheap power pack for lighting lights.

Good price on the books;

PFM northerns

SP cab forwards

NP railway

Northern pacific : got home and found out I already had this one, but only 15 bucks out.

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Enough conifers, on with the deciduous!

Now that the pacific northwest is done, we need to populate the ST Paul, Minn. area!

Back in the 80's and 90's when I painted engines for other people, one fellow from the south west sent me an engine to paint.  I asked him if he could get me some sage brush and he sent me a box of it.

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They make incredibly realistic tree trunks and limbs.

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Several years ago a NMRA club member was selling black fiber fill so I bought several bags:

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Mix the two together gets:

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Add some cheap hair spray, a dark foliage for the bottom and a light foliage for the top gives:

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These trees are 75-100' tall, which is a good size for scale trees.  These are my first large scale trees.


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Last edited by samparfitt

Thanks, Mike,


Deciduous trees.

A learning curve on making these.  Initially, I thought the fiber fill would stick to the tree but the weight of the spray and foliage makes the fiber fill want to flop around.  I thought some of the cheap hair spray on the limbs before attaching the fiber fill would work but same results.  I had to use the 3M contact spray in a can to secure the fiber fill.

I also found that the fiber fill only needs to be  'wisper' thin on the trees.  I was using too large and too thick of pieces on the limbs.  Making the fiber fill super thin also makes the bag do a lot of trees.

A little production line on making the trees. 

deciduous trees 12deciduous trees 13

Got 29 made and spread them around the two yards and along a road and houses.

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New arrivals.

2 coaches, 2 pullmans and a diner to go along with the baggage car.

All heavy weights: will be painted dark green.

Saturday, I'm having an operating session (1st since last century).  Put all the tree making stuff up and all the other junk that was on the floor and got the floor cleaned.  Now onto the layout track!

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Track cleaning for Saturday's operating session.

Besides 'cleaning pads' for areas that can easily be reached, a couple old ulrich track cleaning cars work well on track that isn't overly dirty inside the tunnels.  Some enamel reducer on the pads seem to work well.  track cleaning cars 01track cleaning cars 02

Forty years ago, those turnouts 6' in from the table's edge didn't seem to be a problem!  Had to move 4 engines to get access to a faulty turnout.  Had one short in one block that took awhile to find: wires touching on contacts for a switch machine.  Another block had a rail break right inside a tunnel so I ran another wire lead to the track where I could get access to it.  Had about 4 breaks along the drill track for the Seattle yard.   An additional wire routed to the tracks leading to the turntable as the main power could access the tracks but the yard power couldn't access the tracks.   

All went well, after that, until I got into the St. Paul yard and one of the turnouts on the incoming tracks need adjustment (later, too tired now!).


Took a few photos from some 'pop ups' in the layout where I don't usually get to see from this angle.







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Thanks, Mike.

Seattle, Washington GN yard.

Fourteen tracks built on a curve, 23' long holding about 500 cars. 

Two track mainline leading into the yard.  The drill track is to the right of the mainline.


The drill track parallel's the mainline for about 20' so switching doesn't 'tie up' the mainline when trains are coming  in.


After the double cross over, the yard expands to the right.  To the left of the yard is the 'cabeese' track.


The yard then curves to the right.



The yard dead ends going under a road and building with a mirror under the road.

The right 3 tracks are the incoming tracks for trains and turnouts at the end so the engines can uncouple and 'escape' to the roundhouse.  The switcher, sitting on the drill track, can now grab the caboose and put it on the caboose track, left of the yard, and sort the freight cars into the yard.


Tracks leading to the roundhouse:




Next to the freight yard, to the left, is the icing station for the reefers.


Next to the icing station is the passenger platform with the station above the tracks.


Also, leading off the drill track is the GN ore dock:




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WOW All I can say is WOW! I want to thank you so very much for the time you took to give me a tour. With that just being one aspect of your layout, you must have several years into your build. The section here is just mind blowing! I didn't know you could fit that many tracks in that amount of area!

I am looking at building some of Seattle railway, but never planned on something to the extent that you have! I don't even know if I could. I am going with to lines with a small yard and a oil field area for ND. and god who knows what else. I guess I will figure it out once I get to start building!

Thanks again for the great Tour!

Couldn't pass it up.

My first Santa Fe engine: A united (PFM) 2-10-4 texan.  I like northerns and a Texan is a northern on steroids!  This engine was made in 1972 and has never been run, until now.  A 45 year old engine that's been in the box since it was made.  I bought it for what it sold for in 1972 ($250); another reason I couldn't pass it up.  $250 today was worth $43 in 1972.

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Nicely detailed:  Not even any tarnish.

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Engine and tender are huge; almost as long as my GN Z-6 4-6-6-4 challenger.

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Had to cut a new center piece of foam for the box.

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No back head detail but I have that covered along with a cannon motor.

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Some decals and she's ready to paint.  The seller also had some GN decals so I bought those, also 

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