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I am slowly trying to learn some things about modeling. One of my plans is to build a layout of Utah railroads in 1925 and 2025. As I am still in school, I want to start learning how to do some custom modeling. I want to scratchbuild a locomotive that was built by the Emigration Canyon Railway (see A photo is attached.

My questions are:

Where do I find material on how to get started with scratch building?
Where do I find a chassis, trucks, etc?

I know this may sound quite elementary, but if I can just get a jump start, I could get going.



Fleeing from Al
Peter, what scale are you using? You've certainly picked an oddball for your first scratchbuilding project. :) Assuming you are using HO. you might start with a GE boxcab locomotive for the frame and trucks. Roundhouse made a model of one that still shows up on e-bay. It looks like about the same length and the trucks, although they won't be exactly right, could be made to look close enough with a few modifications.

It looks like the cab is of a fairly simple design so some sheet styrene with windows cut into the sides and more sheet styrene cut to match the curve of the roof should give you the basic shape. You can get trolley pole assemblies from Walthers to complete the roof.
Simple First step


Yes, it is strange, but as you noticed, it should be pretty simple for a first project. I will look into the locomotive you suggested. I am doing HO scale. Do people usually buy and modify prebuilt locos or are there sources of locomotive chassis, trucks, etc. for scratchbuilding?


Fleeing from Al
Peter, most folks get their feet wet by using an existing chassis and starting from there. There are sources where you can get sideframes, motors, and other scratchbuilding supplies but the chassis either comes from an existing model or you have to mill one yourself. It's all possible to do but I wouldn't recommend it for a first try.


Crusty Old Geezer
My first scratch build was a CF7. I no longer have it, sold it for WAY more than I had in it, including my time spent. I'm not one to walk away from a fool and his money.

I started with old Athearn Box engines and proceeded from there. I had my Model Railroader magazines for the directions.

I did screw up a couple of times and had to use about three different engines until I got it right.

Boy, is this thread waking up some memories of my early ventures in engine "rebuilds".



BN Modeller
Whoa, awesome little critter!
Maybe I'll follow along and attempt this in G scale. :D
OK, Box?

I am feeling a bit greener than I thought now. What do you all mean about "box engines"? I have been a train fan all my life, and have been collecting very lightly since I was 7 (although my collection is Marklin, I have decided I want to pursue my home country's style and price :). I have just started to get into the forums and look through various catalogs, so my vocab is just beginning.



Fleeing from Al
I think Bob meant an Athearn Blue Box engine. Those were the long running Athearn models that came in blue colored boxes, before the RTR era, when the boxes became blue and yellow with a cellophane window to view the model.


Gandy Dancer
the OTHER one!

Although I model circa 1941, I'm more interested in hearing about the engine from 2025! I hear fins are making a comeback. :D


old school
most scratch built items I build start with evergreen Styreen sheets. you can get them in all diffrent thickness, flat or ribs added to them. Then find a good chassi that is close to the prototype, look on ebay for a engine that is simmilar in length and truck locations. The truck side frames can be removed/ replaced to simulate the prototype. companys like details west has metal cast parts that can be added to the model to save time.. get a good hobby knife with spare blades and start making parts. I advise using testers glue for any of the framing parts for the cab and the crazy glue for small added details. Just remember to have fun with it, dont let a rivet counter derail your project...


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