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Old 11-08-2019, 11:37 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 4
USA 3 ft gauge Consolidation in 55n3 scratchbuild?

Hello forum! I'm new. I'm 21 and getting back into model trains. Though I haven't a place to run them I do have a desk & room for empty cigar boxes so I have lots of room to build & collect the smaller scales like HO, N, & Z.

One thing I loved growing up was memories of playing on Argent Lumber Company No. 7, an ancient narrow-gauge Consolidation that sat in a shed in Hardeeville, SC as a famous roadside landmark in the park. It was very significant to that town and I got to play on it enough to get a feel for the age of wooden trains and iron men. It was so primitive that it didn't even have gauges for the water level.

I also loved playing Bachmann HO trains on the floor at home, with a very elaborate layout for a kid: porcelain buildings, any Matchbox car older than the 1980s, houses made of cardboard, and a model of Southern #722 that ran great.

My HO models are gone but the memories remain. And so does Old No. 7 in the park at Hardeeville.

Sorry this is getting long...but anyway I've been getting a powerful desire to have some models of Argent Lumber Co. rolling stock and maybe an engine or two--specifically #7 but perhaps some of the other beautiful old locomotives they used to have: the ill-fated #5, the tiny #4, etc.


I like HO track. So I decided to try 55n3, Harold Minky's scale that he did some interesting conversions in.


The idea for a logging locomotive is powerful, slow, low-speed operation. So I decided whatever was out there, wouldn't have a motor big enough.
I bought a 1970s TYCO "Chattanooga" 2-8-0 today for $20, a junker, and parted it out. The tender will probably become an HO diesel (it's tender drive) and the boiler might be an HOn30 "Mallet" if I can get some N-scale 0-6-0 or 0-4-0 mechanisms to go under it and some styrene to make a frame and a new cab! And if anyone needs a TYCO smoke unit...
But back to our Consolidations. Stripped of its smoke unit and toylike pretensions there are eight drivers and a cheap pilot truck. I'm going to mount a motor in the boiler like a good loco should have.

The plan is, double-shaft motor. I want to get a spur gear on one of the axles and a worm on the motor, then put a heavy flywheel on the other end of the axle. The frame is going to be filled with birdshot where I can put it.


No. 7 has a tubular boiler of a comically small diameter, an onion-shaped smokestack of the "balloon" style, a big wooden cab, link pin couplers, and a huge gap between frame and boiler.
No commercial model steamer I know of will look like that. So it will all have to be handcrafted and the motor hidden in the firebox.


Should be simple after I get the loco part started!

Anyway, if this sounds dumb, say so! I'm thick-skinned about this sort of thing. If it sounds fun, then you can say that too. if you like dumb and fun--we would probably be really good friends.
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:10 AM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 4
Okay...found some pictures of the prototype at rgusrail.net.

Now my frame was relieved of 2 leaf springs and the little cam that ran the smoke unit. I need to strip the valve gear down when I can get some proper modeling tools but rgusrail.net's recent color pictures of the engine are good quality enough for me to build the model from!

And since the firebox goes almost over the last 2 driving axles I can hide a motor in it, betcha.
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