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After years to procrastination I have finally started work on the Paltryville Ridge & Peak Railroad. My second railway in the garden, it will run close to ground level below Amblethorpe which is on a shelf about a metre above. Running on 16.5mm gauge track at 1:48th scale it is an American Narrow Gauge O Scale commonly known as On30. Paltryville is a fictional location found in The Miserable Mill, the forth book in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. The book begins with the children traveling on a train to Paltryville when they find themselves working as slaves in the Lucky Smells Lumber Mill. The Ridge comes from the design of the layout. The main run will be on a raised bed built from aerated blocks. The blocks have been carved to create a rock face effect, the railroad will run along the ridge. The Peak is in there because I like the interlaced alliteration and that the abbreviation P.R.& P.R. Ground works have begun. Blocks have been carved. Track is on order.
With The Paltryville Ridge and Peak Railroad now running services it is time to increase the size of the working loco fleet. Task one was to DCC a Porter I bought 3 years ago. For 2 years I thought it couldn't be done because taking it apart was next impossible. Turns out, it was quite easy. So I did that last year. Then I spent a lot of time trying to workout how to hide the chip and wires. As is my usual practice, I left it in a box in bits for year. Yesterday, with the new determination of lockdown life I had another go. This time it was going to happen. And low, it did happen. I chose a different location for the chip, between the pistons rather than in the cab. this simplified and shortened the wiring. It became a simple job: cut, strip and solder wire. More surprise than relief, it worked first time, headlight an all. So on to the next loco that has been in bits for a year, or nearer two. Good ol' Smokey Joe. Its a classic loco to convert to O-16.5 for UK modellers. I'm going freestyle American. I hacked the cab off with a razor saw, the buffers had been previously been liberated by the same tool. The digital calliper went to work on the dimensions and graph paper sketches were draw to get a feel of a design. Lots of prototypes were viewed until something I liked emerged. This afternoon I fired up the plotter cutter and knocked up a cardboard prototype cab and coal bunker. I'm adding a bogie to turn it into a 0-4-4. Seeing USATC 2253 "Omaha" on the NYMR last summer, I was taken with the design of having bogies under the tender. A trailing bogie isn't uncommon on US narrow gauge locos, and I had a spare... I plan to make the cab from styrene. This will be the first time I've used it with the plotter cutter so there will be a learning curve.
I've been looking for a small boat to sit in the scene on my On30 layout. I searched for a kit, doable but not a cheap option. Then twigged on that a child bath toy could do the trick but nothing really worked. Eventually I came across a children's craft kit for making your own boats. They're very basic, but provided me with the shape I needed. I bought them, dismantled them into their three parts, confirmed they were what I needed and then did nothing with them as while procrastinated for a few months. I mucked around with my plotter-cutter to get the shape of the deck sorted. Then struggled to work out what I wanted to go above deck. One morning I was staring at the Jim Edwards painting that hangs in our living room and received inspiration. I've always loved the simplistic, blocky way that Jim paints boats and realised that the structures on my On30 layout are simplistic and blocky. I now had something to copy. Several plotter-cutter prototypes later and I had a boat structure that fitted together and a few lessons on working in 3D had been learnt. I chopped up some cereal boxes and set the cutter to work producing 6 boat kits. All I have to do is build them...