A modeler posted on some other forums I go to about using HO scale track to do an odd non-scale he called 55n3.

I thought that was kind of a cool idea, so I jumped right in and began to kitbash an old GI Joe switcher into a whole new loco.

There are also people doing 35mm with HO scale, and that is also tempting, as it works for Gilpin 2' gauge trains.

If you happen to be a GI JOE train collector, do not look a these photos. You will have a heart attack seeing this "Collector Model" being abused.

I realize this is an O scale forum, but there isn't exactly a huge fan base for 55n3 out there, so I thought I would share my experiment here.


I'm not very experienced with kit bashing, so the experts will probably think this is pretty sloppy work. But I am having fun. Besides, I have squadron putty to fill any and all flaws!

I think I will modify the rest of the set to make a wood gondola, a water car, and a Gilpin style caboose. 

Original Post

A suggestion, use Tamiya putty instead of squadron.    I have found that squardron tends to shrink over time and crack.    Also, I found it easier to feather the tamiya to a finer merge with the surrounding surface.

No bearing on what you are doing really, but ...

Nice site to look at; I wouldn't want to read there. 

  To say there was nothing but 30"g in America is nonsense unless you exclude logging and mines. I could take you to remains in Northern Mi woods.

I'm glad you got inspired, but I couldnt even keep reading. 

Yeah. I found that site interesting but limited. The way it is laid out is a bit old school 1991 AOL web design. And the attitude comes off as my way is the best way.

I do a lot of things, I try a lot of things. Done G scale (gave it all to a friends little boy) , still have my 3 rail tinplate train, my AF S scale things, have my HO scale things, got my N scale things stashed away. I am just exploring something different is all.

In a perfect world, I'd have 4 small layouts to run all my trains on. Come to think of it, I'd need a table for my 60's lego train too.  

I realize my title for this thread could be mistaken as the same kind of "my way is the best way", but it really is meant as: did not feel right to me. Not saying everyone should decide I am some kind of scale-centric messiah.

As I said, I posted here because it is an off scale. The site has an associated organization, but they want 10 pounds to join.

Now off to file some of those window pieces so they match  up better. 

No, you didn't come off that way at all. Especially with that signature line

I liked what I saw as well. It was strictly the site's text that had my eyes rolling.

I look forward to seeing this come to completetion.  I love bashes and scratch builds, scale to tinplate.  I have some personal running issues with other scales, but that's unrelated to what others do. I have lightly dabbled in HO and N and G. N is too small, G was too big, HO gives me "Tyco nightmares"... but has improved 300% since tyco days.  I have two of each, though the G is just battery op.

Treating the boy to a train negates almost anything you do wrong for the rest of your life anyhow  

As a side note. the Denver Public Library digital collection means you never have to be bored. 

check out this image:http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15330coll21/id/9854/rec/26

Use the yellow bar to zoom in and then try to count the people.

Oh, and there are not one, not two, but three trains in this image! 

Interesting, and followed the links.   I have been using Kato HO Unitrack with selected Bachmann On30 locos and cars.   So I guess I have been doing 55n3 without realizing it had its own category (but without switching out truck or wheelsets  - leaving the oversized flanges)?  Glad to know!

I went and bought strip wood and paint so I can continue with a variety of not quite prototype Narrow Gauge. 

The Special Forces Gondola has had all it's extraneous details carved off, so that it can get a sheet of thin lumber and look like a solid wood gondola. I found this thin veneer at the Art Supply store. It will become the wood sruface on the plastic tyco model and hide everything plastic. 

Ok, so I decided the loco was far enough along to get some paint. I can always go back and drill holes and add details if I want, but for now I want to move onto other models.

Now is when I get stupid. I do all my spraying out doors and I don't own an aribrush; it's all rattle cans from the hardware store for me.

So there I am carefully spraying light passes and I decided to move some mullein weeds that were next to my spraying area.

Exhibit - A

(take note of all the mullein seeds embedded in my freshly painted loco cab roof and other places.) 

I feel like I deserve some special kind of moron award for this little adventure.

Anyway, moving along with the creation of a new fleet of weed covered trains.  

As I ponder what is next on the loco, I decided to begin covering the Tyco HO Gondola. The photo doesn't really show the individual boards, It will need weathering for that. 



I need to add some vertical braces to give it the proper look. So far the model project is costing very little as I am not bothering with any pre-cast detail parts. 

Last edited by Traingeekboy

Well, the Loco rebuild is nearly done, but I am missing a warm day to do some more painting. I don't plan to go crazy on details, as I just want to get something up and running and maybe build a small oval layout to play around with.

I should say that this Loco rebuild cost so little. Certainly less than a commercial loco. And, for those of you who do On30, there is no reason not to make one of these Cheap-o Diesel rebuilds yourself. I didn't even use a scale rule on the model to determine how tall the cab should be. I just fudged it to the dimensions that appealed most to my Idea of a what a small critter should look like.

Anyway, as I explore crap building, yeah it's not quite a scratch build, it's so far off prototype I don't even venture to call it Scratch building. Job numero uno right now is that I need a train!

I had been messing around with a Tyco gondola to make a sort of narrow gauge-ish car for my loco to pull around. So I built it and it didn't look right. A bit of thinking and I realized a real Gondola is a flat car with wood walls. So I took off the lowest piece of wood and slipped a chunk of wood with the grain facing out onto the side of the car. Now it looks like there is a flat car deck on the gondola. Of course this is just fakery, there is no deck.

To the experts out there, this kind of crap building is no big feat, but I am having so much fun actually making things. My last planned layout was a modern HO european layout, that was more about shopping for things than actually modeling. 

I use a lot of things that happen to be at hand. The fake deck peices are just upside down Ho siding. Some of the spacers between the plastic car and the plank are coffee stirring sticks. 

Really, none of what I am making is any different from On30 aside from the fact that I will be using slightly shorter figures, and running curves that are 15" in radius to save space.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend.  

Messing around with the Gondola ends.

I kept the horn hooks, but cut off the excess to make them into sorta knuckle couplers.

All this really needs is some vertical side braces and will pass for a narrow gauge gondola in whatever scale. On30, 35N2, or 55n3. 

There really was no designing involved, it's just covering up what looks like a TYCO HO scale gondola. I even left the rivets visible on the inside; perhaps this is a steel plate lined wood car? 

Still playng around with the low detail, but play-able 55n3 models.

Added some braces on the gondola. It looks much better. Mind you this is all seat of your pants, so I sort of eyeballed the locations. 




The low profile hides the modern HO trucks too. 

For many years I loved very close to the original caboose hobbies. I could walk there whenever I needed something for my layout.


Of course things have changed. This is part of why I am just building low budget Narrow Gauge from old TYco trains.

After looking at my car a bit, I realized that you see how thin the veneer is on the car ends. SO I decided to put more braces there to hide that. The whole model has been like that. Look at what is there. Use what works. Hide what doesn't. Hope it looks like a real train car.

This is when things got weird, and I broke my ow rule about super detailing this practice model. 

As you can see the Super Detailing is just a break wheel, and it has teeth, and yes it came from an old broken watch! 

Could this pass for a On30 model on your own layout? It was a super cheap build.

Now to find the half dried out bottle of cheap Testors paint in a box somewhere and finish this sucker!

I like "what's on hand" builds and seldom measure anything myself. The gear is pretty cool. A file could rid you of the teeth; or maybe some thick paint would help fill them. (Id etch primer it first. Ive never had good luck painting brass; it always flakes on me without etch.)

It is a paint type. The etch is in the primer already.  Most automotive stores and painters supply shops would have it in a "rattle can" (spray)

   Do you do washes or powders? (I just use craft acrylics and thier dirty brush water for grimey weather washes. Blk/brwn/grn but with pigment specs of "every color on earth" or in it, or around it, swish the water around and start pouring, lol. ( I actually mop brush it some to fill corner and edge detail well, then pour. It can take a few dumps so I recover it in a glass pan sometimes)

 I'm wondering if one of the model paint companies offers a small bottle of etch primer? And they do make quarts you could brush from but its kinda rare to see it on shelves really. And owch... how do I get a splinter in the top of my foot while sleeping?  I gotta go...

CN6167 posted:

Cool work. Check the "freerails" forum and the "railroad-line" forum for more of the odder scales.

I've been mirroring some of my posts on FreeRails. I just like talkin' trains, doesn't have to be my layout either. So I wander around to wherever people seem active.


Last edited by Traingeekboy
Adriatic posted:

   Do you do washes or powders? (I just use craft acrylics and thier dirty brush water for grimey weather washes. Blk/brwn/grn but with pigment specs of "every color on earth" or in it, or around it, swish the water around and start pouring, lol. ( I actually mop brush it some to fill corner and edge detail well, then pour. It can take a few dumps so I recover it in a glass pan sometimes)

 I'm wondering if one of the model paint companies offers a small bottle of etch primer? And they do make quarts you could brush from but its kinda rare to see it on shelves really. And owch... how do I get a splinter in the top of my foot while sleeping?  I gotta go...

I used to do scales where all my stock and locos were pre-painted. I've played with both washes and chalks. The model is painted with cheap testors paints. I mixed a red, rust, and white till it seemed sorta like what I see on DRGW gons. Seems like if I go more than one coat I will lose some of the wood granin, so maybe I'll poke some nail holes into the wood and do a dark wash to cover any missed spots. Then I might do some dried dirt all over it. 

Traingeekboy posted:
Could this pass for a On30 model on your own layout? It was a super cheap build.

Yes, except for those craplers. In fact, I have a couple of former HO cars that were modified/rebuilt into On2½ cars and they fit in quite well.

PRRMP54 posted:
Traingeekboy posted:
Could this pass for a On30 model on your own layout? It was a super cheap build.

Yes, except for those craplers. In fact, I have a couple of former HO cars that were modified/rebuilt into On2½ cars and they fit in quite well.

Yes, but old watches don't have craplers in 'em when ya take 'em apart. 

Instead of scratch builds, sCRAP builds .... I resemble that remark   

I like to weather toy-like things most. "Rankin & Bass do a Tool music video using Fisher Price toys". This tanker had some cheap black ink wash in it. On silver, it picked up an odd purple/blue tint like old metal pickling. It puddled black.IMG_20180801_140154

Below, Waaaaaay in the back, horizon level, between water tower and plateau's far left pine, on the incline comming out of the "Happy Mizer Mine ( stay away!..mine, all mine! Oh boy, I'm a happy mizer ...{Daffy Duck}),... zoom in.

  The (derailed) oil tender is the actual power truck. Home spun vertical boiler. Unfinished truck plates on Life-Like (4 wheel) E or F War Bonnet's drive. A metal plate being attracted to the motor magnets holds the false tank top on at the rear, and assisted by a deep tab hidden by a false, raised up bottom in a small wood tool bin, medium height sides & corners, with a stepping/standing width "paper tray" droop cut front & center, leaving a spot to step up, almost like a ladder rung, or a figure to sit in/on if the box is empty. (all just fantasy builds, mostly "junk bin" stuff, never measured, craft paint, etc.. but folks love to stare) 

  The water tower is from some old table saw, board triming scraps, glued onto cloth then into a cylinder held round by wire "bands". Then the cylinder was glued onto a square tower frame. 

A doll house's thin siding scraps for big roof slats, and red fireworks tail sticks for the roof frame/joint lumber's edges.  Roof slat stain is red brush water, while brown brush water is on the walls, also hit with Liquid Gold dark furniture polish while barely still wet, catching dry high grains, black washes followed. IMG_20180917_220352

The lowered 0 steam is narrow gauge mine inspired (inspired by a similar but  tank engine by a master modeler and special effects guy, in G,...actually a "Krampus mine engine")(The "socially retired", non-PC, old German "demon" or monster that goes out kidnapping bad children on Christmas Eve, forcing them to work the mines, or whipping them, etc. I.e., Germans had a "heavy handed" side kick to St Nick, who kept him at bay from the world with promise of this yearly sadistic treat...he actually wishes to repent but is still kinda mean because he is a demon, etc etc..( many versions, but the other reason for kids to be good, preasents or not, was that the Krampus might get sent to visit you, lol.)   

   The pilot beam is colored by partially set brown acrylic from the lid, pushed by thumb into a stack of carry out chopsticks wrapped in heated styrene, Poked by ice pick, screwdrivers, & razor. A couple of old carpet/ upholstery tack spikes and a few nice key chain links, lol. The light bracket is an electrical crimp connector,  (loop type for screws, circle "washer" shape filed straight, narrowed flush to the the lamp base's sides; stright lines)


 I'll  get back to the Krampus or Vertical boilers side frames some day..adding woodgrain to "old log" font,weathering the dice cup oil tanks some more, etc..





Images (3)
Last edited by Adriatic

oh no, no piccies. It just says no found...

I finally got around the doing the Tank car. A lot of thinking went into how to best do it.

I sanded and prepped things not long ago. Took maybe an hour to get everything cut and glued. Yet is still needs more detail work, and my nail holes are kind of uneven.  

Still using my narrow gauge training wheels, but having fun. 

Last edited by Traingeekboy

Well, Phooey. My whole plan was to modify an HO model. I figured I'd do that odd scale that was suggested.

Guess what? The model really does not look right in that scale. It is better as a On30 or larger model.

Here, I took my next project and printed out a plan to scale and held it up against my loco. I even added a famous soccer goalie to the drawing to help get an idea of scale.

As you can se the critter looks more like a hog. Not what I wanted at all. 

I needed a person and I am huge Italian soccer fan, so I chose Gigi Buffon as my test subject. His diving save out of the caboose window is one of his most memorable plays. He also prefers the added distance gained from a gaol return off the back porch of a Gilpin 2' gauge Caboose. 

Nope, this won't do at all! The thing is too big!

I am going to get some 1/35th scale figs and see if that looks better.

And if that is too big, then it's down to O scale!

Last edited by Traingeekboy

I am still up to no good.

Long ruminations about scale forced me to go with the 55n3 because my HO scale Tyco wheels are roughly 20" wheels in that scale.



My orver eager pressure with the blade caused me to split some of my siding. It is all being re-glued to paper now. 

   I think you are linking to photos somehow vs using the attachment tool that appears at the bottom of the composer box as soon as you start the cursor.

 Using the tool puts a copy of the photo on the forums system. Otherwise access can be lost by you simply regrouping or renaming a file, or your not being online, security program, etc. etc.  

If you use the tool they will stick around.

How tall is he in life? (likely in his stats somewhere). That would give you a scale.  Same as the cab door.  I'm not so sure there is a mismatch to the caboose there either.

The figure looks ok on the deck, and appears like he'd work for the cab too.

To me the cab seems too high up somehow, vs too big; but the door size (and partially the window's height tell the scale imo.) 

Yeah. I began messing around with things without really measuring anything on the loco cab. The whole point was just to build stuff even if it was not living up to my OCD standards.

That loco cab is just too tall for the scale, but whatever, I have a loco for now.

I think the cab would actually be about right for On30, as it comes out about 11' tall from the rail top. Yet, I am doing Crap Building. This means I am not using anything for detail parts or expensive trucks for any kind of fidelity. I am only using garbage old tyco trucks, wheels and couplers which I can find really cheap. the lumber is not scale lumber, but rather just cheap strip wood of the .30 per piece kind. I had my scribed wood sitting around in a box for years.

Back to scale issues. I really struggled with what scale to go with. What finally pushed me back to 1/55 is that a Tyco wheel comes out to about 20" in 1/55. When I tried using my models in 1/35th the wheels were more like 14". Also, my loco looked wrong next to 1/35th figures.

Ok, to embed it in this site... err... I can't seem to figure it out.

I am addicted to finding cool things to model now. Just resized this plan as my next model once the caboose is finished. 


Embedding relys on a constant source, i.e. a computer or site that never shuts off. I.e. It is a fancy link that allows you to not switch sites to see it.  If you use a photo site, embed. If the pics are on your equipment, upload them with the tool.

Open the composer, type or get th cursor flashing in place. Now in the box at the bottom in the blue there is a blue paperclip "add attachment "; click that.

Now find the photo (you may have to allow it).

  Wait for loading, wait for processing, wait for "sucesss".  Now more can be loaded if you choose (actually you can search for the next while one in loading, a good browser will let it form a que.).. but once the loading is "resting" (success) another small print line & check box appears in that box(mid box).  It says "insert into text full sized" check that or wait. You can load more or press finished. Photos will begin loading into the composer with any text once you hit finish if you checked the insert box.

If you wait, once you return the main page, at the bottom there are thumbnail views of what you loaded.  At the bottom of each thumbnail box, there is another "insert" option. This option allows a choice of three sizes.  Failing to insert any pics results in only thumbnails at the bottom (not always accessable by some OS-s, like mine, so inserting them is nice)  The collapse option, closes the thumbnails from our view (an asthetics option).  

Waiting will also let you ad photos one at a time if you typed a bunch of text already. Each photo will insert where the cursor is; allowing placement whever you want.

A bad placement? Backspace erases the photo, but not the loading. Try again.

(you must use the trash can and confirm the delete to erase a loaded pic.)


this is me loading the pic above for this post. (The above has my junk platform 0n30, static again on its foot of track as I think I want to turn it into a stationary steam engine/ winch system for ore cars. When I find the better shots I'll show you. (note everything here is basically junk, scrap and cheap Applebarrel craft paint from Wally's World.  "Good enough for my house" I wouldn't trade it for a storebought look at any price....(well I would, but I'd sell and build another junker.... way more fun


Note the new line & chk.box under "choose"



Images (3)

It works for video on your computer too. About 30 second limit unless you lower quality.  These will play on our hosts player.

  Longer video you see are embedded from Youtube or photo sites etc. (that never shut down )

While adherence to scale is nice, I get the feeling you don't really need it so much as you need it to look correct. Follow the scaler ruler and you have an accurate model;  trust your perception and it's art. Both are neat, but actually tend to prefer the latter and find it more alive, though less lifelike 😲..😁

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