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The Civil War in HO

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  • Member since
    March, 2009
  • 1 posts
The Civil War in HO
Posted by rflow on Thursday, May 14, 2009 10:08 PM
I have considerable modeling experience with military miniatures and have built several wooden sailing ships, but am relatively new to model railroading (I built a small 4x8 layout a number of years ago with my sons, but nothing fancy). I thought it would be interesting to build a layout with a Civil War theme. I am looking to build this layout in HO scale. I have begun doing research and am thinking about using the Orange & Alexandria RR and the Manassas Gap RR as the prototype. I have even begun to look at hand building prototypical stub turnouts throughout the layout. I have found some rolling stock and have purchsed several 4-4-0 tyco and round house kits  If anyone has information on rolling stock, locomotives, or other sources for materials and/or ideas it would be appreciated. I know that this is not a heavily modeled era and anticipate doing a lot of scratching building. Thanks
  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: northern nj
  • 2,477 posts
Posted by lvanhen on Friday, May 15, 2009 6:27 AM

Go to .  This is a group that specializes in CW modeling.  Membership is free, and they have extensive links and photos of CW layouts.Smile

Lou V H Photo by John
  • Member since
    May, 2009
  • 115 posts
Posted by Atlantic and Hibernia on Friday, May 15, 2009 8:31 AM

Anyone who can build a wooden ship model will have no problems mastering the Civil War era railroads.

<> A few things I have learned modeling the 1830 - 1840s period:

<> <>1.  While the 4-4-0 was the most common type of locomotive of that period, many older wheel arrangements continued to be used in switching and branch line service.  Single diver types, 2-2-0, 4-2-0, 2-2-4 would be entirely appropriate.

<> <><>2.  The hardest part of modeling this period is finding information about operations.  While passenger time tables have survived finding information about freight operations is extremely difficult.

<><><>3.  Don't forget outhouses and wells.  It may sound silly but we are so used to indoor plumbing that these important details are easy to overlook.  Remember also that most houses in this period had multiple fire places.  Adding extra chimneys to building is still a skill I have yet to master.

<><><><><>4.  Plastruct's plastic fiber optic cable is a great way to light the layout.  The fibers are only a few thousanths of an inch in diameter and can represent an oil lamp or candle.  Not only does a single light bulb illuminate the whole layout, the lights are small and keeping with the period.

<><><><><><><>5.  Another hard to find item are scale figures representing women.  I got into the habit of buying hoop-skirted figurines whenever I see them at the local swap meets.  You may also want to experiment with forming long skirts on female figures from bits of paper, epoxy, Scultamold, whatever, and please, if you find something that works, let me know!

<>6.  You can always join a local club if you want to run modern equipment. 

<>Have Fun!





  • Member since
    January, 2008
  • From: Big Blackfoot River
  • 2,740 posts
Posted by Geared Steam on Friday, May 15, 2009 12:20 PM

BTS has some period items

and Alkem has some very nice cars





"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination."-Albert Einstein

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