The Hassle with HOn30

Yes, I titled my blog post in direct evocation of THAT episode of Star Trek‘s original series, and yes, modelling in 30 inch narrow gauge can be about as frustarating as being buried under a pile of the adorable but prolific little furballs, due only to one singular problem: finding decent-running and moderately priced 9mm gauge steam locomotive mechanisms. Everything else is snap-together plastic kit difficulty compared to this huge chore.

All right, I haven’t been totally honest. I still have to find the superstructures for the locomotives, and though locomotive, passenger and freight car shells can be had off of Shapeways, they are rather few and far between, and as I said before, YOU STILL HAVE TO SOURCE YOUR OWN CHASSIS!

Concerning other sources, the one place to get any other HOn30 stock is, under OO9. This is the British version of HOn30, and being OO scale, it is scaled 4mm to the foot as opposed to HO’s 3.5mm to the same measure.

This is no great problem when your locomotives are small, though with larger measures the disparity begins to rear its ugly head…

Oh well, I suppose I should be happy that there are in fact a few good-running N-gauge mechanisms available, and that they are in some instances reasonably priced

Until next time, John W. Cunningham


Musings on Model Die Casting

As of the present time, I have in my possession Model Die Casting/Roundhouse’s popular 0-6-0t kit, which is only partially assembled and superdetailed. Interesting about this kit is its predigee. MDC, it seems, also used the body shell assembly in another kit: their 3-in-1 series, which were essentially simply standard-production parts included in a box that could be assembled into one of three different models. In addition, they did not require nearly all the parts needed to complete the actual model! For further explanation, here are the instructions.

They got away with it by calling it a “craftsman kit”, which was in fact a fair description, because that at the time was the definition of the phrase! Rather superfluously, they are much harder to find than the 0-6-0 version, and it did not help that they were nonpowered narrow gauge (HOn3).

So, you ask, what is my idea? It is rather simple: I plan to build the 2-4-4-0 mallet version out of the equipment I have on hand, but in standard gauge! I will, however, need a few extra parts, namely a brace of  NorthWest Shortline Stanton self-contained power trucks (product number 1210). The only disatvantage is that they are eighty dollars each (maybe I should look for an alternative, or get them for a Christmas present!)

Anyway, it’s a nice, sound idea that, if carried out, will result in an attractive little Mallet tanker that will be equally at home in the woods or on a twisting industrial spur.