At Last, PROGRESS! (& Klingons)

Well, it has finally occurred; work has been started on The Forney. As of today, most of the frame & cylinders are completed in styrene, I having obtained plastic cement for the purpose yesterday. Actually, I don’t even know if it will even be a Forney, it having a distinct possibility for in fact turning into something like this or this. It seems to hinge on the obtainment of an N scale Diesel drive that will either power a tender or freight car that pushes along the engine, or the rear truck of the Forney, it depending on the type of power unit.

On a different tangent, I wonder about the off-screen railroad systems in Star Trek, and how one might contrive to build a Star Trek themed layout. Would it look something like the April 1978 issue of Model Railroader‘s concept? Somehow I think that it would have to be on a bigger scale (the size of the train, not the model scale). It would probably be built around the concept of a Klingon railroad agency, that is, Klingon Imperial Railways or tlhIngan DaHjaj ta’be’nalwI’ baSDujDevmey. It would, however, be a genuine challenge to come up with railroad equipment confirming to the Klingon design aesthetic (though Hodgkin’s Law means that some semblance to Human railroads is acceptable).

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Scratchbuilding?s

After the Yugo 0-6-0 conversion failed horrendously, I am considering, in all seriousness, scratch-building that Forney. Now normally scratch building motive power is considered to be something like the ultimate challenge of the Master Craftsman, but it does one good to bear in mind that Model railroading came into its own in the United States something like eighty years ago (yes, HO scale is in fact seventy years old in 2016), and our ancestors did not have the benefit of the Dremel Motor Tool and inexpensive and readily available Styrene. Back then, you either acquired one of the crude kits available (and effectively scratch built the darn thing using a few commercial parts, modified what was essentially a toy (even though it may have been marketed as an ‘exact scale model’, it would have been nessecary to carry out some modifications anyway), bought a ludicrously expensive custom model, or scratch built the model out of brass, tinplate, and/or wood, usually balsa.

Now, of course, the situation has changed. With our modern styrene, commercial detail castings, inexpensive precision machine tools, and 3D printed parts, one can easily and inexpensively build a model steam locomotive that would have been considered professional museum quality a mere 50 years ago.

The only thing lacking is the new craftsmen ready to carry on this grand tradition.