I had a couple requests to post some pics and info about my KC Lines West Bottoms layout that I'm slooowly building in S scale. I'm more than happy to oblige. Please ovelook the poor quality of the pics (my model photography skills are not good), and also, the repost nature of them. I'm trying to get all the bits of info I have scattered in various threads at these forums gathered in one thread to talk/discuss/share. I hope others can find things to enjoy within, but mainly, I think it helps motivate to share and receive encouragement from other modelers. That so... here we go!
How It Came To Be:
Ever since discovering mountain railroading in November of '74 aboard a Frisco freight from Van Buren, AR to Winslow, AR and return, I was a mountain railroad modeler. All my layouts after The Trip were set in the Ozarks, with two of them being based on the Frisco's Fort Smith Subdivision.
A move in 1998 predicated dismantling my final Frisco FS Sub layout of 11 years. My final HO layout was a tri-level with about 200' of mainline w/hidden staging loops. Modeled from Ft. Smith to Fayette Jct, with the north loop representing points north, and the south loops representing the Arthur Sub. The entire layout was housed within a 24' travel trailer modified for layout use.
Once settled into our new home, my only immediately available space was in my combination hobby/computer room, a paltry 9' or so by 12'. Not much.
I tried a couple of things in this room. First was Sn3. I quickly saw there was no way to model mountains and expanse in such a small area. Not Colorado, not the Ozarks with HO diesels, nothging. Nope, mountains, expanse, and 9' x 12' just doesn't cut it. I had to leave that behind and search for a new theme.
I then had the idea to go to O 3 rail, and simply have fun... deciding to create somewhat of a "Kansas City" look. The thinking was that being O 3 rail (since they're "toys"), it didn't HAVE to be realistic. Plus, density was expected in a "city scape" layout. To boot, there was to be a bit of industrial switching to go along with the double track roundy-loop mains. This idea began to shape up and worked "okay", until I grew tired of the compromised look of the traditional 3 rail trains.
So, I tried to convert it to O 3 rail "Hi Rail", that is, scale sized equipment... with semi-realistic scenery. Purchased some items and tried it: No way. Once I started going with trains that were more properly proportioned... I wasn't happy with the tall rail height, the "less than Kato" performance of the engines, and the killer: That third rail running down the center of the track. Serious stagnation resulted. Too many years of "serious" scale modeling, me thinks.
At some unknown point in time a few years ago, I had the brain storm to seriously look at S scale. This I did, purchasing a state-of-the-art engine (an S Helper Service Frisco SW9), a couple of run-of-the mill boxcars, and some flex track.
Wow! It was more than I hoped for! The size was perfect, the SHS SW ran BETTER than my HO Kato (and comparable HO stuff), and I could simulate 110 lb rail and 90 lb rail using code 100 and code 83 track and switches.
By converting to S scale, I could have a NICE little switching layout that hearkened to my childhood memories and impressions of the West Bottoms area of Kansas City. By elaborating on the KC Lines theme, my layout could play host to ANY railroad in KC during the early-mid 60's that I wanted to tackle.
My concept was to model a small industrial yard in the West Bottoms that was part of a larger KC area railroad. This primary railroad would switch customers on their tracks in the modeled portion of the West Bottoms area, while other KC railroads could come onstage and set-out/pick-up into, and out of, the small yard of the host railroad via transfer runs/etc. Using this scenario, the primary railroad could be the Frisco or Missouri Pacific or Kansas City Terminal or... whatever I wanted! The other roads would be used for the transfers. Any of, or all, equipment could be utilized at any given operating session! Perfect for a guy like me that has a hard time modeling only ONE railroad.
At this point, I'm leaning toward my primary railroad being my own Kansas City & Gulf proto-lanced theme that I concocted during the final year or so of my HO tri-level layout mentioned above. Doing this would allow me to avail myself of the available S scale models without heavy kitbashing or other time consuming projects. I theorized this would allow me to get into business quicker than kitbashing to specific prototype models. Good plan, but thus far I'm enjoying creating/obtaining models of the prototype KC roads!
Okay, enough rhetoric, let's get to a few pictures.
First up, is a close view of my 12th St Yard.
I created the backdrops with photos that I took in the actual West Bottoms area then photoshopped them, and this is the result. Given the 24" benchwork depth, and intensity of track, I figure I will need to lean heavily upon the backdrop to convey the urban industrial look, as well as "expanse". So far, so good.
Next up is an overall view of the incomplete 12th St. Yard scene.
I want to point out that I gained about 33%-35% more layout by switching to S SCALE from O 3 RAIL. I like the train-to-scenery ratio MUCH better, and the feeling of "expanse" that I also gained via a switch to S scale. (Plus, I still get BIG TRAINS to boot!)
Next picture is of an in-process kit detailing project I have on the workbench. This is American Models Baldwin S-12 model. It runs nice, but I felt the details were a bit "coarse" out of the box, so I set in to fabricate scale sized hand rails etc. Into this will eventually go a Soundtraxx Tsunami DCC decoder w/Baldwin sound. (You have GOT to hear the Baldwin sounds at the Soundtraxx website!!) This S-12 will either become a KC&G unit, or a Mop S-12 in Jenks Blue.
Below is a comparison of the in-process detail project alongside an out of the box AM Baldwin S-12 to illustrate some of the modifications I'm making:
Next will be a few pics of my Frisco #306 SW. This is an SHS product that has simply been painted/decaled/weathered to reflect the prototype engine. All the details and other stuff is pure SHS. This one also has DCC w/Tsunami sound. (All my engines will be sound equipped.)
I mentioned my proto-lanced KC&G theme as possibly being used as my "primary road". I have yet to get any S scale equipment into KC&G paint, but for the sake of illustration, here is an HO KC&G switcher I modeled over a decade ago that helps to visualize what I'm contemplating:
Lastly, below you will find a trackplan for you to puruse. As with all trackplans, it is a work in progress, and the final product will not be as drawn. (Note: I don't know how to add an attachment of the full sized track plan to avoid the default resizing this forum software imposses.)
Well... that's about it for now! Long ways to go on the layout and equipment... and there have been many periods of inactivity... but overall I think I've found a great way to enjoy a variety of my favorite roads in an acceptably plausible setting... all within a small room! I will be revisiting this thread and updating/etc over time as progress is made, especially if some of you should find it interesting and questions are asked. Sharing and comments helps to motivate!