Tinplate or Hi-rail? Yes!

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Guy64

Member
No Greg, those are AM caboose trucks. SHS rb caboose trucks weren't around when that caboose was done.

I'll probably get around to ordering at least one pair of SHS trucks, tho. The AM bay window caboose that gave up those trucks will need modern replacements. :cool:
 

Guy64

Member
Oh yeah! I've already got several pairs of freight roller bearing trucks from SHS, some of which ended up on Lionel triple deck auto racks. SHS is good about so many things, aren't they? (Except about making a truly modern locomotive! ;) Oh well, you can't have everything, I guess. :eek: )

Moving along, we come to the "backside" of the city, which I haven't figured out a name for, yet. The buildings are mostly "Girder and Panel" building sets of assorted vintage, from 1960 to 1996. Obviously, much work remains here. Looks like Jim shoulda brought more cars, too.
 

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Guy64

Member
The other side of town...

The oldest Girder and Panel building we have is the orange and yellow "Corbu-ish" office structure, built from a 1960 #8 set. It's the only building made from the instruction book. All the others are original designs. The twin towers nestled in the horseshoe curve are from a 1977 set. They are not patterned after the World Trade Center (unlike the WTC they're one building), but after the Arco building in downtown Los Angeles. Nevertheless, somtimes folks do think of Manhattan when they look at this area. Once an elderly lady asked me, "Is that supposta be Noo YAWK?" I got the feeling she wasn't impressed.

The slim, very rectangular building near the center is from a 1975 set, inspired by the Seagram building which IS in NYC. The tall silver tower with the vertical blue window array has no prototypical inspiration, nor does the low, roughly triangular building in the previous view. Both of these last two were built from 1990s sets. At the right, also from a 1990s set, is the postmodern building with the peaked roof. It was built by Jim, who prefers to expose the "granite" (reverse) sides of the 1990s wall panels.

Miscellaneous leftover land parcels were "developed" with Hot Wheels and Matchbox buildings (we like to be current) and a prewar Marx Grand Central Station (we also like to be nostalgic.)
 

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Guy64

Member
Due to our odd location at the 2000 TTOS convention, it was hard to get good camera angles on certain areas. To get a better look at the industrial module, we'll step back to 1998, when the system was set up at a local mall.

The city was much smaller, the layout being four feet shorter overall. The industrial module begins at the right of this view.

The warehouse-like structure partially shown at the right is a distribution center for "National Frammuss and Muffler Bearing, Inc." Actually, it's a false front made of wood and hardboard that hides AF controls and provides a setting for the AF loading platform. The building was intended to project a "Minicraft-ish" look, but I couldn't bring myself to make things quite so... uh, uneven. :rolleyes:

Yeah, I know. It's a blessing.

And a curse.
 

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Guy64

Member
Looking the opposite way, into the industrial module.

The Marx Grand Central Station at the left is one of Di's favorite accessories. Lithographed sheet metal does have a great deal of charm, and I certainly can't complain about the "free" people included in the artwork.

The Amtrak train is an American Models set done in the mid '90s. It came out just as the GM F40-PH was being retired by Amtrak. I'm still waiting for AM (or somebody) to do the F59-PHI. It could use the same chassis as the loco in this pic! Waddayasay, AM? :D
 

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modelbob

Administrator
I remember those girder and panel sets well. I had one as a kid, we got it second hand and boy did I ever play with it. The panels were pretty fragile, and most of them were already gone by the time we got the set anyway, so most of my structures didn't have walls, but I sure had lots of fun building bridges and building and who knows what.
 

Guy64

Member
Bob...

I also had a couple of G+P sets as a kid. Weren't they a blast? You're right, the panels in the '58-'63 sets were quite delicate. Sometime in the '70s (I think), Kenner changed the panel material to a much tougher plastic. Unfortunately, they also ceased to emboss them, so they didn't always lay flat. The orange panelled building was built from the #8 set of 1960, though it uses none of the powered features. The blue buildings are made from '70s Kenner sets with the tougher panels. The silver buildings are built from Irwin sets of the '90s.

I also have a Skyrail set from '63, but it hasn't been integrated to the system yet. That will probably entail building another pair of straight sections.
 
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Guy64

Member
Not to cause whiplash, but this angle reveals a more complete view of the National Frammuss building (at right.) Though a false front, it does have some depth, (about 5" worth), and includes a loading dock. Each roll-up door has a light recessed into the roof above it. A couple people have commented that the doors are "too big for S", but they're actually 13x12 S scale feet. Oversized, yes, but big things are stored here. Muffler bearings can be quite large!
 

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Guy64

Member
Back to our eastward trek...

At the East end of the yard is another false front, this chemical research facility. Nobody knows just what kind of research is done here, but it calls for frequent spotting of tankcars and gondolas, as well as regular loading of barrels. Louie the Loader tends to the barrels.

The Gilbert AF Oil Drum Loader is a crowd favorite, and amazingly reliable. Even if a delinquent barrel jams up Louie's fork lift, forcing him to "park" in one spot for an hour with the power on, the induction motor takes the abuse in stride. Repairs have never been needed.

Since the building was meant to set off the accessory, it was painted the same colors: yellow with brown accents, a green roof. The foundation matches that odd "tan" (or whatever it is) color which I think Gilbert meant to depict concrete. One evening, while I was painting the green on the roof, working in the dim light of the garage, I had one of those "flashbacks." Not a drug flashback, a hobby/model/toy train/gee-this-is-fun flashback. It was as if I was back in 1960, just as content as can be, not a care in the world. Nothing I ever did with my trains when I was a kid was anything close to this elaborate, so I know it wasn't a recalled memory. Kinda weird, but relaxing.

I guess that's what hobbies are for, relaxation.
 

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Guy64

Member
Back to 2000...

This "helicopter view" shows how different the industrial area looks after "paving in" the yards. Much easier for trucks, forklifts and such to navigate... and collide with a locomotive! :eek: Guess I better put down some caution stripes.

It was always intended that at least one more section be added between these two. The whole module would be much more useful. Just need to get a round tuit.
 

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Guy64

Member
In post #32, the mainline running East in front of the chemical research building connects the industrial zone with the "desert", which in 1998 covered a single corner section. For 2000, the desert grew an additional straight section inserted beween the yard area and the corner. Featured on the new section is a reproduced AF "Track Gang" accessory. The all metal device includes four crewmen, two of which jitter constantly at trackside as if operating hand-held ballast tampers. Another stands further from the track with a caution signal, and the fourth "tends" to the compressor cart. When a train approaches, the two tampermen stop shaking and move away from the track, while the signalman rotates in a 90 degree arc, showing the signal to the engineer. The compressor guy just stands there. He must be the lead man on the gang. (Actually, he's the on/off switch.) After the train passes, everybody scoots back to their normal positions and the "work" resumes. All this is controlled by two relays actuated with AF pressure trips attached to the outer main.

I neglected to get a decent snap of it, but it is hoped this upsampled pic will be regarded as better than nothing. :eek: The track Gang is to the left, set in the green area next to the outer main. The yellow patch in the midst of the green is the end of the compressor. Squinting may be necessary to make out the crew. Sorry.
 

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Guy64

Member
A clearer view of the desert corner...

This is the only corner in the system which uses AF track. (Although the wide radius curve sections are K-Line.) All the other corners used Gargraves flextrack when this photo was taken. Since this outing, all Gargraves track on the C+D has been replaced by American S Gauge track using solid code .172 rail.

Nothing to look at but sand, cactus, tumbleweeds, oil wells and railroad. It works for me!
 

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Guy64

Member
The Farm Module (west end) in 2000.

All sections on the C+D which are laid with AF track are theoretically designated "tinplate" areas. Structures are usually made of sheet metal, or at least possess a "toyish" appeal. Operating accessories are more likely to be found in these zones, as is lithography. Scenery often consists of plastic "two dimensional" trees and cloth ground cover, and everything is generally "clean."

Areas with American S gauge track (Gargraves in this pic) are designated "hi-rail", and are intended to be more realistic. Buildings and roads are weathered, Detail is deeper and more correct, proportions are more accurate. Scenery (what is finished anyway, which isn't much) is more realistic.

In practice, these two approaches turned out to be somewhat difficult to segregate, as is apparent with "Bossy's Farm", a three section module which straddles both concepts. The west end seen here is blatant tinplate, featuring more operating accessories than any other section built so far. A turnout, crossing signals, stockyard, and milk canister unloading platform each contribute to the action here. A very popular accessory is Bossy the Bovine, an oversize cow that jumps into the outer main at the worst times, forcing any approaching train to stop. The trains are supposed to stop in time to avoid hitting Bossy, which they usually do with unprototypical success. To get the train running again, visitors are invited to push a button, which makes Bossy leap from the track, allowing the train to "mooove on." It does so, automatically. Lotsa action for the push of one button!


At the corner (right), track changes abruptly to Gargraves (in this pic), and continues as such for many scale miles eastward. Still, toy structures continue to show up as we move east, though they are more realistic structures with accurate proportions (the barn is HUGE), and scenery features yield gradually to greater realism.

But here, near her pasture, Bossy rules. Already she's blocking the eastbound main...
 

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Guy64

Member
For a better view of Bossy, we must return to 1998...

The polyethylene cow is about 8 scale feet tall at her shoulders, much too big for a normal cow. I have often considered replacing her with a 1/64 Ertl Holstein. Two things have prevented the change: First, my wife won't hear of it!

Second, as she is, Bossy is an excellent gauge to measure the philosophy of adult visitors. Are they a rivet-counting scaler or a who-cares tinplater? A scaler will usually make their awareness of the scale discrepancy known immediately. "Hey! That cow's WAY too big!" A tinplater will usually just smile and watch their kid's reaction.

Since both strains (scaler/tinplater) run through me, I avoid any crippling internal crisis by reconciling the anomaly with this stipulation: Bossy is a 1/64 scale giant 8 foot tall cow, the tragic result of genetic modification gone wrong. This explains her excess bulk as well as her suicidal tendency to jump (and I do mean JUMP) in front of moving trains. It also explains the unusually high success rate at which engineers stop in time. That chunk of beef could derail anything!

Any visitor dropping their jaw upon hearing this explanation is confirmed as a "hopeless rivet counter."

Here she is, doing her best to upset the C+D schedule. Farmer Wendell ponders the situation from the front porch of SP 432.

98cot1.jpg
 
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CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Hm! Looks like Bossy is showing them who's boss, nice pictures. I've been following along as you post them Great stuff, hope there's more to come.
__Willis___CB&CNSfan
 
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Guy64

Member
Thanks Willis, glad these are enjoyed.

The Cow on Track is a very popular accessory, especially with kids. They sometimes get so excited that shoving matches have occurred in the line to push Bossy's button. (And some say kids don't like trains.)

There is also an interesting spectrum of approaches to "Bossy operating." So far I've been able to identify five distinct patterns:


1. Worry-Wart

This type seems anxious to avoid any possibility of a mishap. If Bossy is over the rails, they will push the button immediately to get her out of the way, even if a train is nowhere close. "Forget FUN, the line must be cleared! NOW!!" The worry-wart can cause much frustration among the other types, who want to see the whole show.


2. By-the-Book

This type is a stickler for procedure. They want all the boxes checked. The sign asks, "Is Bossy blocking the train?" If there is no train stopped on the scene, Bossy is not blocking the train. Therefore the button should not be pushed. Not until Bossy is actually blocking a train should the button be pushed. It's only official procedure, after all. Bossy stands on the track, a train approaches, it stops. THEN the button is pushed. Bossy hops from the track, the train continues on its way, as specified. No problems, no incident reports, no extra paperwork.


3. Skeptic

Like type 2, the skeptic will wait for the planned events to play out. The difference is motivation. Whereas #2 just wants things to go according to plan, #3 wants to verify system integrity. They wish to see if the train REALLY stops in time, and if it does, who's REALLY in control. "I'll bet that guy stopped it!" The skeptic will often demand that my wife and I have both our hands in plain view before they will push Bossy's button. Sometimes they're still not convinced. "Hmmph! I don't know..."


4. Thrill Seeker

The thrill seeker will watch for all events to play out, waiting eagerly to see if the train stops in time to miss Bossy. However, they are visibly disappointed when it actually does. Bored with routine, #4 wants events, incidents, "hard news" and such. Their faces will beam with transcendent joy if the throttle is set a bit too high and the train coasts into the cow, shoving her aside. It doesn't matter to them that they've missed their chance to shoo Bossy away and restart the train at the mere push of a button, they've seen what you don't see every day: Bossy getting diced.


5. Meat-Grinding Thrill Seeker

Closely related to #4, #5 also allows events to occur as per routine, but #5 is sneaky! After pushing the button to restart the train, they will keep their finger in touch with the button, wait for the locomotive to pass Bossy, then lean on the button again in hopes of making the poor cow lunge into the moving consist before the train can clear. Disappointment is inevitable. #5 is the reason that only the "jump off" button is accessible to visitors. The "jump on" button is hidden where only a layout operator can get to it.


While it is doubtful that any "pure" specimens of the types above exist, here we see what could be a classic #2:

The train stopped, the button was pushed on cue, Bossy jumped away and the train resumes its journey with hardly a minute lost. Case study #2 (in Santa Fe T shirt) basks in the wake of a job well done, while absorbing a well-earned "Atta-Boy!" from Mom...
 

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CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
AND a

That is quite a set up, funny what emotions you can observe when you you give the curious a button to press, and my hat's off to those who go to the trouble of generating intrest for the young. I vividly remember one train show, where on the point of a well detailed and weathered consist of locos and cars there was this horribly painted silver colored F7, and I was thinking who did that and what were they trying to prove. Well the answer wasn't far away, there he was, a little guy about 6 or 7, beaming from ear to ear because his precious loco was at the head of the train, and at that point I knew why. Thats a great photo above, keep them coming if you have more.
Cheers Willis
 




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