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Old West/Civil War Layout

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  • Member since
    December, 2012
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Old West/Civil War Layout
Posted by WSMIKE on Sunday, December 09, 2012 2:54 PM

I'm interested to build an Old West/Civil War layout but I haven't done anything since I was in my teens (seems like a 100 years ago!) and want to combine my interest in history with trains. I want to do something in the 1860's-1870's and know going in that there isn't as much available as later periods. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Mike V

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Posted by dehusman on Sunday, December 09, 2012 5:44 PM

First do some research.  If you think about this, the transcontinental railroad wasn't completed until 1869.  The first line across the southern route (SP) wasn't completed until the late 1890's early 1900's  

During the Civil War, the "old west' was Kansas, Missouri, Arkansa and Texas.  Jesse James operated in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Minnesota.  A lot of the "old west' aura is purely movie imagination or actually took place in the 1880's, 1890's or early 1900's.

I would check out BTS or Alkem models.  They have kits for that era.  Most engines will be 4-4-0's.  Updating the electrical picup will help them tremendously.

Dave H. Modeling the P&R and W&N 1900-1905, Iron men and wooden cars

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Posted by Soo Line fan on Sunday, December 09, 2012 5:50 PM

Hello Mike,

 This is a great place to start. Your right about the void in equipment, as I have heard some of the members complain. Anyway, hopefully some of the knowledgeable folks about this era will be able to help.

Welcome to the forums.Welcome

Jim

SOO

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Posted by richg1998 on Sunday, December 09, 2012 6:34 PM

Ok, CW era, say 1860 to 1865. Very little out West off the Mississippi.

In HO today, the Mantua Camel the last I knew.

I made a HO Winans Camel , 0-8-0, out of an old time Roundhouse 2-8-0 but it is oversize so it only captures the flavor of the era. The protoype had 43 inch drivers. Mine have 51 inch drivers.

I saw a CW HO layout back in the late 1970's at the B&O museum that had some Camels on the layout. A company many years ago sold casting for specifically this loco but are long gone. I made mine using styrene.

Some bashed a Mantua 4-4-0 into a CW era 4-4-0 in a Yahoo Old Time Group some years ago. No idea if that Group is still around as I left it over six years ago.

Prototype.

Rich

Some heard Trains when brains were handed out and have been on the wrong track ever since.

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Posted by richg1998 on Sunday, December 09, 2012 6:39 PM

Just remembered. I cut out the domes and made my own large diameter steam dome like the prototype.

The old time sand dome is a brass casting from PSC.

Rich

Some heard Trains when brains were handed out and have been on the wrong track ever since.

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Posted by richg1998 on Sunday, December 09, 2012 6:43 PM

PSC announced a Lincoln funeral train 4-4-0 about a year ago but I suspect if it is out, it will cost you your fist born. Only 75 will be made.

Rich



Some heard Trains when brains were handed out and have been on the wrong track ever since.

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Sunday, December 09, 2012 7:13 PM

Bachmann has 2  Civil War sets out, one for the North and one for the South, for 150 year anniversary of the Civil War.  You might want to look at them before they are gone.

Model Power's Mantua line has some 1860 freight and passenger cars.

There are probably some others out there as well.

Depending on how accurate you want to be, you may want to replace the couplers with link and pin.Big Smile

Good luck

Paul

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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Posted by richg1998 on Sunday, December 09, 2012 8:39 PM

I have a few link & pin that where sold some years ago for HO but really scaled out at S scale. I do not think they are sold anymore. You want an exercise in frustration, this will do it.

The coupler on the flat car was from Alexander Scale Models. The one on the loco, a brass casting from PSC.

Rich

Some heard Trains when brains were handed out and have been on the wrong track ever since.

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, December 10, 2012 8:28 AM

You might find it works better to use a larger scale than HO.  It's kinda hard to make a great running small HO engine. In O scale, B.T.S. makes some Civil War kits that would work well for your era.

http://www.btsrr.com/bts9507.htm

Stix
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Posted by Voyager on Monday, December 10, 2012 7:19 PM

Mike

There are already some serious Civil War era modelers and lots of information to help you model in the appropriate 1861-65 framework. As others have pointed out, however, the "Old West" is largely a twentieth century fabrication, with many differing perspectives on what that meant. For the most part, as others have noted, railroads in the trans-Mississippi US were built after the Civil War in the 1870-1880s by which time railroading and its equipment were much changed from Civil War stock. Take a look at the following online sites for a sense of the difference as reflected in some superb modeling.

http://usmrr.blogspot.com/
http://western-and-atlantic-rr.blogspot.com/
http://sandcrr.blogspot.com/
http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=35088

If you are serious about modeling in either of these these frameworks, you should also become a regular member of the Yahoo Early Railroador Civil War Railroad forums. Both offer a lot of information on historic prototypes, modeling techniques, and available kits and materials for these .

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Civil_War_RRs/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EarlyRail/

Be aware, however, that there are few accurate, ready to run models other than expensive brass (see especially SMR's line of excellent O gauge models for a high standard) for either of these periods. There is a good supply of freight stock kits in O and HO from suppliers like BTS, Alkem, Rio Grande models, Silver Crash, Amesville Shops, etc. But other than Labelle, there are few manufactures producing much authentic passenger stock. The situation is even more limited when it comes to locomotives. Though Bachmann still produces a late 1860s  4-4-0, it is crudely made and a poor runner. Out of production Rivarossi V&T engines are a bit better, but were built to a strange scale, closer to OO  than HO and have deep flanges. Oddly, the situation may soon be better for N scale. Micro-Trains is planning to produce Civil War freight cars, Republic produces N scale clones of the BTS larger scale early freight stock, and Atlas makes both a 2-6-0 and 4-4-0 appropriate for the 1870s. There are also a growing number of era appropriate N scale cars and parts available from 3D printing outfits.

In any case, good luck in deciding--and keep us posted of your ultimate decision.

Frank

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 8:15 AM

dehusman

During the Civil War, the "old west' was Kansas, Missouri, Arkansa and Texas.  Jesse James operated in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Minnesota.  A lot of the "old west' aura is purely movie imagination or actually took place in the 1880's, 1890's or early 1900's.

Some of us older folks (or fans of some of the "retro" cable TV stations) will remember that the classic Western radio and TV show "Gunsmoke" was set in Dodge, Kansas for example. For a period of time, Dodge was the farthest southwest that US railroads went, so Texas cattlemen would drive their cattle to Dodge to sell to buyers who would them ship the cattle east to Chicago (and other cities I'm sure).

(Which reminds of Hank Snow's hit song "The Last Ride": "In the Dodge City yards of the Santa Fe, a train lined up for the east. An engineer with his oil and waste was grooming the great iron beast.")

Also, don't overlook narrow gauge. Bachmann has some new On30 cars that look to be based on small 19th century freight cars for example. Narrow gauge lines were built in many parts of the US in the 19th century, not just Colorado!! Their 4-4-0 would work too I'd think....

http://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/news34.php?a=394

 http://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/products.php?act=viewProd&productId=1993

Stix

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