Given and Druthers

Given and Druthers, a phrase used often first by John Armstrong, and ever since but just about anyone designing a layout. What does it mean? It is a planning process that Mr Armstrong developed. Given, your room size, prototype, or freelance, time period to model, scale, gauge, etc. Those things one would say are immutable. The druthers are your desires. The final plan comes down to fitting those druthers into the givens.

I sat down to make a list of Givens:

Time: The most important one that everyone overlooks. I have maybe 4 hours per week on average to spend on model railroading.

Time period: 1914-1950s. I like steam engines and in standard gauge I like the transition era. Have lots of favorite locomotives, especially the narrow gauge Mikados from the EBT to the WP&Y 70 series. My favorite k-27, #455 after the wreck. The post WWII years until its unfortunate scrapping. My all time favorite class of engines in narrow gauge is D&RGW’s K-28/ Oahu Rail and Land #’s 60, 70, 80, 90 (minus the air pumps on the smokebox front). I have always liked the ET&WNC’s ten wheelers, the big Maine 2 foot forneys, especially B&SR #7 and 8. The chunky Eustis forneys, and of course SR&RL #23

Space: Currently working on my space. in the end a 12 by 19 room with a further 21 feet down one wall to give a 40 foot run,  1920 scale feet in O scale or 2560 scale feet in S scale or a lengthy 6400 scale feet in N scale.

Scale: Well, S scale and O scale. However, Graham’s N scale has been an interesting side venture that I must admit I like as well.

Gauge: 24 inch, 30 inch, 36 inch. I like them all

Prototype: Way too many to list

Region: Hmmm, see above answer.

Operations: Several times a week. Switching, making up a train, servicing a locomotive. Would just be me, sometime Maggie and/ or Graham. I admire the folks who like to simulate the hectic pace of TT&TO operations. Not for me. My preference is actually a Farmer’s railroad, similar to my several  favorite local railroads, Stewartstown RR in standard gauge and the Lancaster, Oxford, and Southern in 36 inch gauge. I like mining, both coal and hard rock.

Trackwork: preferably handlaid, minimal switch is a #7, minimal radius is very large. I hate tight curves. Thirty inch looks good in N scale to me, 60 inches in On2 is good. Rail, what is prototypical and correct, code 55, 70, 83 maybe in On3. Track to be fully detailed.

Benchwork: Lightweight module that can be built at my desk. Preferably in four foot lengths.

Control: DCC

Next time, druthers.

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2016 National Narrow Gauge Convention

In September 2016, the National Narrow Gauge convention is going to be held in Augusta Maine. Recently had a chance to talk with Lee Rainey about the convention. There will be room for exhibition layouts at the convention. Question is, should we build an exhibition layout for the convention??

Let’s recount what we have. “Slow Train Down South”, a 42 inch radius On30 corner module and..nothing else. We have a Bachmann ten-wheeler and a few cars for “Slow Train”. I have an On30 outside frame American and consolidations for a future project in south of the border modeling. No cars though!

Staying with O scale, we have two On3 engines, a K-28, and K-27 #455 after the wreck for another project, “Copper City”. In checking the cabinet of rolling stock kits we have a few freight and coach  kits that need to be built along with the station for “Copper City”. We have a considerable amount of On2 motive power and two passenger cars, plenty of rolling stock kits.

Moving to Sn3, we have lots of motive power, passenger, and freight equipment. In Sn2, mostly disassembled motive power and a few kits.  Oh, let’s not forget, we have N scale standard gauge equipment as well and some motive power.

Does this sound like you? Are you a collector of  various pieces of model railroad equipment resting comfortable in boxes waiting for that some day to be built, to be put into motion outside of moving in a box from one pile to another.

As you get ready for this Holiday season, think if you need one more box, or does one box need to come out and the item built, or weathered, or put into working order for your layout. Do you have a pile of wood cut for your layout, are you working on a plan that always ends up as a ball of paper in the trashcan or fireplace?

Do you want to really challenge yourself? Build a small exhibition layout for the 2016 National Narrow Gauge Convention. If you start on January 1st you have two years and eight months to complete your layout. You don’t need to build an around the room layout to have fun. Let’s get started! As my friend Trevor Marshall says, just get modeling!

So, let’s get modeling, we have a show to attend and we need to get ready!