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civil war layout

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civil war layout
Posted by vinman on Tuesday, February 09, 2010 3:59 PM

looking for any help i can get , im building an  N Scale   Civil War  Layout,  and  im having  lots of trouble  aquiring  era  correct  rolling stock , both  freight and passanger,  i havnt had a problem  finding   4-4-0   locomotives  but  hitting a  brick wall  with the  rolling stock


hope ya  can help me  out there



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Posted by hardcoalcase on Tuesday, February 09, 2010 7:48 PM

Civil War?  Oh, you must mean the "War of Northern Aggression!"

Why, I waz foeteen yeas old afore I found out thet "***" and "yankee" were two different words!



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Posted by lvanhen on Tuesday, February 09, 2010 11:46 PM

You may want to connsider HO for civil war stuff.  The smaller locos & rolling stock of the period will lend to tighter curves and smaller buildings - taking not too much more space than "normal" N scale.There's a ton of stuff in HO scale for the period, and there's a lot of 1/72 military stuff that can also be "made do" for HO.  Musket Miniatures is just one of the figure manufacturers, and Roundhouse make some neat very small passenger equipment that can "pass" for CW stuff.  There's a Civil War modeling group in Yahoo - I belong but dont have the link right now.  My My 2 cents

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 5:36 AM

 You'll probably have to scratch build most if not all of it in N.  Fortunately, that era had simpler rolling stock.  If you switch to HO, B.T.S. has some kits



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Posted by hminky on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 6:02 AM

 N-Scale is a reach as there is nothing available.

 Probably OO(4mm/ft) scale running on HO track like the British is a good bet. The IHC 4-4-0 locos scale out better as they are OO scale already. The Model Power/Mantua 1860's cars scale better in OO scale as they are oversize for HO in height. All the "HO" scale IHC old time and Bachmann old tyme freight cars are also OO scale. I once had a website discussing oldtime OO/HO.

The "HO" IHC 4-4-0 merged with a Roundhouse HO 4-4-0 with OO scale figures. The little guy on the running board is HO. Visit:

There are 1/72 civil war soldiers and equipment in the war gaming world that work better in OO scale, very little is available in HO and none in N scale. You can't use 1/72 people in HO they are way too big.

From front to back is an HO, 1/72 shortened to OO, S, Scale55, and Scale48 figures.


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Posted by PB&J RR on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 6:40 AM

in N scale the only tthing that comes to mind are Bachmann's Old Timers series, very limited rolling stock, but you can get it all unlettered. For building kits, I'd go rustic, but you'd have to go for craftsman kits because you might find 10 kits from all the plastic model houses that would fit your era.. As was stated earliuer it was a much simpler time, so scratchbuilding would be simpler... Get some Bass and Balsa wood, a few manilla folders and a pack of construction paper, get some photos and make a few buildings, it isn't hard and you'll get better. I did tax appraisals of real estate for several years, and I have posted extensively on standard measurements in stick and brick construction....

PM me if you need some help.



J. Walt Layne President, CEO, and Chief Engineer Penneburgh, Briarwood & Jameson Railroad.
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Posted by tcwright973 on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 7:17 AM

This is more of a question than a statement. Would you need a lot of rolling stock for a project like this? Maybe it's just a false impression I've gotten from the movies, but it seems like most trains only had a few cars on them. Any "historians" out there who can address this.



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Posted by pj1775 on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 7:43 AM

I know this is random but take a couple hours and watch Murder at 1600.   It is a great movie, and the lead character has a layout (no trains unfortunately), of what looks to be HO scale civil war reinactments.   It really wont help with your original question but it may give you some neat ideas.    One thing I noticed that was pretty slick is the legless benchwork.   It is supported by cables at the four corners from the ceiling.   

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Posted by vinman on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 7:50 AM

thanks  for the info i will check out the  yahoo ACW  group, im  really  kinda of  set on  trying to do this  in  N  as  i   have  too much invested in  N  already ,  appreciate  it



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Posted by Allegheny2-6-6-6 on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 8:44 AM

 Don't know much about N scale but I was going to suggest the Bachmann old times series of cars only reason I know about them is the wife picked up a bunch at a yard sale not realizing that they weren't what I run.

The Oct. 2009 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman features Thom Radice's  Civil war layout that is truly outstanding, It may give you some insight as to where he got his rolling stock etc.


Just my 2 cents worth, I spent the rest on trains. If you choked a Smurf what color would he turn?
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Posted by IVRW on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 9:37 AM
I think I remember a Byron Henderson Book sold by Kalmbach. It has a NS industrial switcher on it. I read it and I has a section about Modeling the Civil War which I really think would help you.


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Posted by andrechapelon on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 10:49 AM

I think I remember a Byron Henderson Book sold by Kalmbach. It has a NS industrial switcher on it. I read it and I has a section about Modeling the Civil War which I really think would help you.


Actually, it was by Bernie Kempinski and was called "Mid Sized Trackplans For Realistic Layouts". 

Kempinski's doing an O scale civil war layout.



When better models are made, there will always be somebody complaining about the price.


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Posted by BATMAN on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 1:53 PM

 Maybe the people associated with this layout could offer some suggestions. Don't know how you would get a hold of them though.Confused




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Posted by toot toot on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 2:32 PM

when i was in school, back in the dark ages before TV (1962), i did a Civil War RR diorama sort of after a photo i found in Abdill's book.  The main element was a bridge over a river with two tall masonry piers and an embankment leading up to it.  

I made the piers out of plaster which i carved to simulate stone blocks into with a kitchen knife.  I used wooden kitchen matchsticks for ties and timbers.

I had a Mantua General which had stripped a gear.  I removed the damaged gear and filled the hole in the bottom plate with plaster.  i had a bunch of wheels from accumulated broken cars. i scattered the wheels along the embankment, laid the General on its side half down the bank. i cut some short pieces of rail and wrapped them around "bottlebrush trees."  The bridge naturally was splintered pieces in the varnish "river." 

the embankment was made of cardboard and newspaper dipped in plaster of paris and painted.  i drilled small holes through the track.  under the diorama i had a box with a 40 watt light bulb in it.  I sprayed the bulb with baby oil and plugged the lamp in.  after a few seconds smoke started wafting out through the holes. 

it took first place in the history fair and was on display at the school for many years afterwards.  Nobody ever said anything about the little feet sticking out from under the General. 

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Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 2:57 PM
Link-and-pin couplers in N scale. Now there's something to consider.

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Posted by vinman on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 11:08 PM

that  was  an  awesome  layout ,   but i found  this  really  interesting  group of  videos on  youtube   , go to youtube and   search for    blue and gray ,  and  watch what  comes up .

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Posted by salt water cowboy on Thursday, February 11, 2010 2:48 PM

The Oct. 2009 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman features Thom Radice's  Civil war layout that is truly outstanding, It may give you some insight as to where he got his rolling stock etc.


And here's the you tube link to this layout if you haven't seen it already.



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Posted by vinman on Thursday, February 11, 2010 3:17 PM

Thank  Matt,  i  have  seen the  youtube   and it was  great,  also  found some other interesting  things on  youtube  regarding civil war and   RR   i posted  yesterday  a message  , if you go to youtube and  put in  Blue and Gray   you get  a  really interesting   5  episode home video complete  with  sound   on the  "General  and  Texas"  440  Locs  its  quite  fun  especially for   kids  .  but  very entertaining .




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Posted by Voyager on Thursday, February 11, 2010 9:10 PM

Those following this thread should also check out Thom Radice's blog for his HO North Branch Western & Atlantic ( for more inspiration on building a Civil War era railroad. Thom's layout was written up in the October issue of RMC and has been covered on several other websites (for example, the Garden State Central site: Another equally great blog on a Civil War railroad is Bernie Kempinski's (, recounting his construction of an O scale version of the U.S. Military Railroad. Bernie sells HO CW kits too on his Alkem business site. For more inspiration look through the Photo and Files pages of the Yahoo Civil War Railroad site ( Anyone attempting to model this era in N will need all the inspration possible, as there is nothing either accurate or very operational commercially available. Even as accomplished a modeler as Bernie abandoned earlier attempts to model in this scale. That's not to say someone else couldn't do so. But good luck trying.


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Posted by CNJ831 on Sunday, February 14, 2010 7:04 AM

Vince - I would advise hanging on to your ideas of building an accurate civil war era layout just a little longer, in spite of your difficulty in locating models of that era's motive power and rolling stock.

We are rapidly approaching the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States' beginnings and I anticipate that this fact has not been lost on the manufacturers. I was in the hobby back when the 100th anniversary came around and saw a plethora of civil war era locomotives, rolling stock, and assorted details issued in O and HO (N was in its infancy then). Some of the items were rather crude but today, with the hobby far more conscious of the accuracy of its models, I would expect anything new issued would be dead-on.

The only downside I can see in this would be the likelihood that these models will be available only in the current limited run fashion, therefore in short supply, and priced rather dearly.



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Posted by richg1998 on Sunday, February 14, 2010 9:14 AM

Quite a few years ago I was at the B&O Railroad museum in Baltimore MD and they had a small Civil War layout with three 0-8-0 Winans Camel locomotives. All Winans locos were built in the 1850s.

If you can find a steamer with N scale 43 inch drivers, it would be an interesting project.

Below is one I bashed in HO but oversize as it has 51 inch drivers but might give you and idea. The link & pin on the flat car is oversize.

Prototype Camel.




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Posted by Regulars on Saturday, September 03, 2011 8:29 AM

Civil War in N Scale is very easy to do.  

Republic Locomotive Works has a great selection of freight car kits passenger stock is somewhat limited with only Bawa producing 3 cars that were based on mid 1800 American design.

The locomotives are limited to the Bachmann 4-40 and the Atlas 2-6-0.

Throughbred has a selecton of mid century civilians (look for 10mm size)  As well as sailors.

GHO has soldiers in their War of Rebelion series.

Buildings are available from many sources.





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