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How can I get started in live steam?
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   How can I get started in live steam?
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   Author  Topic: How can I get started in live steam?  (Read 2139 times)
R/Cpullerdude
Chaser
Posts: 63
How can I get started in live steam?
 
« on: Dec 16th, 2006, 12:07am »
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I'm really interested in ride-on live steam.  I just need help on getting started.  There is a live steam club about 50-90 miles away.  My problems are the price and space.  It's not easy for somebody less than 15 years old to get enough money for one locomotive, along for a complete train.  Does anyone have any tips or know an easy way to get into the hobby?
 
Thanks.


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W.G McAdoo
Former Member
Re: How can I get started in live steam?
 
« Reply #1 on: Dec 16th, 2006, 12:12am »
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on Dec 16th, 2006, 12:07am, R/Cpullerdude wrote:       (Click here for original message)
I'm really interested in ride-on live steam.  I just need help on getting started.  There is a live steam club about 50-90 miles away.  My problems are the price and space.  It's not easy for somebody less than 15 years old to get enough money for one locomotive, along for a complete train.  Does anyone have any tips or know an easy way to get into the hobby?
 
Thanks.  

                                  Greetings! First of all, welcome aboard!! You surely will get some excellent advice from the dedicated live-steam hoggers here at Railfan.net. My good friend Bruce (ErieAtlantic7597) surely will be able to give you some good advice on the hobby; he's a true vet in the hobby and runs both a beautiful Atlantic as well as a Galloping Goose. He really knows his stuff and is truly dedicated to the live steam hobby. And, besides Bruce, there are other fellows here who are quite knowledgeable about live steam. Good luck in getting started in the hobby!!  John


« Last Edit: Dec 16th, 2006, 12:16am by RARITAN_CLOCKER » Logged
silver_champion
Historian
Posts: 888
Re: How can I get started in live steam?
 
« Reply #2 on: Dec 16th, 2006, 7:56am »
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Are there books or catologs onlive steam?

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TAB
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Posts: 1908
Re: How can I get started in live steam?
 
« Reply #3 on: Dec 16th, 2006, 8:09am »
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Hey R/Couplerdude...Try here for small, inexpensive, live steam G scale steam engines.
 
http://www.lgbpola.com/
 
At the top click on TRAINS then GARDEN SCALE then the ACCURAFT box (the first one) then LOCOMOTIVES then RUBY’S
 
…Tom
 
 


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Moderator...Scratchbuilding and Kitbashing
pockets
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Posts: 1224
Re: How can I get started in live steam?
 
« Reply #4 on: Dec 16th, 2006, 8:44am »
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R/Cpullerdude,
You already are started. You have expressed interest and desire to others in the Hobby.
 
There are two fundamental approaches to this insanity. You can buy or you can build. Neither is inexpensive. Buying gets you on the rails quicker. Building takes (usually) significantly longer, but  you acquire skills and tools that will carry you through a lifetime in the Hobby. Also, if you built it, you can fix it. It will need fixing from time to time.
 
You might also consider not starting with a locomotive. There is almost always a shortage of nice rolling stock at a meet or club. It's a relatively inexpensive way to show your sincerity and open some doors.
 
As your knowledge base grows, your passion for different parts of the Hobby will change. As an example, I've been messing with trains (real and model) for 33 years. I've been all over the map as far as scales and favored prototypes.
 
There are some nice kits out there, too. What we call kitbashing, in the smaller scales, is a way to get a specific prototype from something that you might pass by. Bruce has done this with excellent results and will probably weigh in, here.
 
As in any endeavor, and I'm sure that your parents have mentioned this; Read, Study and Learn by observation and asking. Although it might seem like it, there is no magic involved. It is all done with skills that almost anyone can develope, with some effort.
 
Welcometo a lifetime of comeradery and fun,
Greg B.


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R/Cpullerdude
Chaser
Posts: 63
Re: How can I get started in live steam?
 
« Reply #5 on: Dec 16th, 2006, 1:51pm »
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Thank you all for the support and ideas.  How easy would it be to add a Futaba radio system in a Ruby?  There's a couple of those that look nice, could be a good "Intro to live steam"  and I'd like to put a G scale layout around my R/C race/pulling track in the backyard.  The system I'd use is a 27MHz system for scale R/C's like Tamiya's big rigs and tanks.  As for ride on, where could I find someone to machine parts at a reasonable price?
 
Thanks.


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ErieAtlantic7597
Historian
Posts: 5838
Re: How can I get started in live steam?
 
« Reply #6 on: Dec 16th, 2006, 6:46pm »
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   Well my friend, here I go.  
 
   Live steam, as has been mentioned by friends of mine already, can be daunting.  
Even as Tab suggested, a Ruby needs care. Check with WM734 (Colin) on this particular end of things. He has developed quite a bit of expierience with his Ruby. And it runs up a storm to boot.  
   
   And also, as has been mentioned, the ride on scales, even beginner "kits" are a tad expensive. Greg (pockets) makes some very solid suggestions. Start with a car project. This will certainly add to your skill level .  
 
   Ride on live steam.........that is a subject that I could expound about for too long.
I've been a live steamer for almost thirty six years now. AND I learn something almost every time I either run my engine or am in amongst my fellow live steamers.
Tradeing ideas amd suggestions. Always a new wrinkle to an old problem.
 
   Finally, if you are serious about diveing into the live steam end of this very good hobby, try to find good spirited mentors. They will help and guide you. And stay away from folks that "know it all". They are useually full of themselves and full of somethine else too. Most time, these guys are no help to a new person in the hobby. They will scare you away with too much technology, and "know it allness".
 
   So, there are my suggestions, for what they are worth. I hope you develope into another enthusiastic young live steamer. Your already on the road.
 
   Take care, Merry Christmas,
   
   Bruce


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R/Cpullerdude
Chaser
Posts: 63
Re: How can I get started in live steam?
 
« Reply #7 on: Dec 16th, 2006, 9:23pm »
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What kind of car should I build?  Where can I get the parts?  What tools would be needed?  As far as ride-on live steam goes, my dream locomotive roster isn't all that large, three units.  Those three units are a 4-4-0 American in Atlantic & Great Western paint, a 4-8-4 Niagara in New York Central paint, and, the one that may be impossible, Norfolk & Western's "Jawn Henry" steam-turbine-electric. That's probably the order I'll get them in too, becase of price and complexity.  Are the side tanks on the Ruby functional?  Thank you for all the support, and I hope to see more admirable (sp?) trains here in the future like Erie #7579, a very nice example of live steam.

« Last Edit: Dec 16th, 2006, 11:39pm by R/Cpullerdude » Logged

moose_the_caboose
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Re: How can I get started in live steam?
 
« Reply #8 on: Dec 16th, 2006, 9:26pm »
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first of all, welcome to railfan.net's live steam threads!
 
second, you've already started the ball rolling.  the others have been giving you some great advice, so other than just saying "nice to meet you," here's my observation.
 
find a segment of the model railroad hobby that you are absolutely passionate about...and stick with it!  at your age, it's hard to stay focused on any one subject for long.  if it's g-scale, find a mentor that will spend time with you and teach you what will aid you in the future.  the same advice goes for the ride-on scales.  you need to build a firm foundation of how things work and are put together, not how they look.  bruce and greg have given some of the best advice possible from their long experience in the hobby.  i also echo greg's call for you to build your own, so build, build, build!  bruce, myself, greg, bobby, and a few others regularly post our work here on the live steam threads so that you will see how we are doing it.  we are also here to answer questions and offer different ideas.
 
when i say build, build, build, i'm not suggesting that everything you put your hand to be built from scratch, but that's how you learn.  your education needs to be on a firm foundation, as do your skills.  that's where a mentor comes in.  what ever you want to do in the hobby or in life, for that matter, needs to be learned in an orderly and safe manner.  you will make mistakes, none of us are perfect.  hopefully you will allow us to help you in your learning curve of this hobby.
 
i'm a wee tad partial to wood cabooses(okay, pockets, a lot tad partial ), but even they are built on a solid foundation.  if you're gonna do this, spend your money wisely and learn to be patient!   you'll be ahead of most adults.  a ride-on scale project could take several months to a year or more to complete.  take your time and enjoy learning to do new things.  they simply aren't weekend projects!  buy the major parts you can't possibly build on your own(like the couplers and trucks).  if need be, tuck them away safely and start dreaming of what you want to build.  i learned that if i could dream it, i could do it.  with proper planning and advice, the rest of your project can be done on a much smaller budget and in your own time.    
 
don't let the super-critical train freaks(the 'i haven't built one yet, but i'll tell you how to do its') cloud your vision or judgment.  it's your project, not theirs!  it's not about how it looks, but how it operates.  that's what impresses true live steamers.  visit successful live steam scale builders when you can, talk to them, learn from them, and share with them.  if you stay focused and apply everything that you learn, the better builders will  absolutely be willing to give their time to you and help out any way they can.  my friend bruce is living proof of that!  he has brought on more young live steamers than anyone else that i know.  
 
the live steam and ride-on threads were established not only to pique your interest, but to show you what you could accomplish.  that's what we're here for!
 
of course, i could be just some old flit who buys kits and passes them off as my own....nah!  who would believe such a thing after seeing photos of my equipment?!
 
the ball's in your court, now get goin'!
 
 
moose the caboose
 
 
 
on Dec 16th, 2006, 12:07am, R/Cpullerdude wrote:       (Click here for original message)
I'm really interested in ride-on live steam.  I just need help on getting started.  There is a live steam club about 50-90 miles away.  My problems are the price and space.  It's not easy for somebody less than 15 years old to get enough money for one locomotive, along for a complete train.  Does anyone have any tips or know an easy way to get into the hobby?
 
Thanks.  



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pockets
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Posts: 1224
Re: How can I get started in live steam?
 
« Reply #9 on: Dec 16th, 2006, 11:43pm »
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Okay, thoughts on your desires. You mention a desire for a 4-4-0, also known as an American type locomotive. Built from the 1840s to, I believe, the 1920s. (someone will correct these dates) Pick the era that interests you (I seem to remember mentining study...) and look at the appropriate rolling stock. Most 4-4-0s were mixed service locomotives, pre-1900. A nicely built boxcar, of the proper era, would be an excellent learning instrument, but would also serve a practical purpose as a toolbox/lunchbox at the track. Ol' Moosey can explain the fine points.
 
For the NIagra, I'll refer you to the Buckingham Central gang.
 
Just my $0.02,
Greg B.


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When the man at the door said," Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms", I, naturally assumed it was a delivery!
R/Cpullerdude
Chaser
Posts: 63
Re: How can I get started in live steam?
 
« Reply #10 on: Dec 16th, 2006, 11:51pm »
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Would it be OK to build a tender for a locomotive of the future?  I've thought about my prior statement of N&W's Jawn (I really think it's supposed to be John, could somebody please clear that up for me?) Henry probably being the last model that I'd build, and I actually think it would work to my abilities more than the other two.  My idea is to use large pipes that can handle more than 160 PSI welded together with endcaps welded on and a couple domes on top with 5 Bar-B-Q grill burners under it for the boiler.  I could the get a generator and replace the engine with a small, VERY well lubricated hydro transmission hooked to the boiler for the turbine/generator.  Then get four ALCo six axel trucks somewhere and twelve powerful motors for the trucks.  Any ideas for improvement upon this idea?  Any idea where I'd get the trucks?  I'm sure this will be a 10+ yr project, putting me at at least twenty four before it's ever finished, and twenty five before it ever runs (my birthday's in the middle of winter).
 
Thanks.


« Last Edit: Dec 16th, 2006, 11:57pm by R/Cpullerdude » Logged

R/Cpullerdude
Chaser
Posts: 63
Re: How can I get started in live steam?
 
« Reply #11 on: Dec 16th, 2006, 11:54pm »
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on Dec 16th, 2006, 11:43pm, pockets wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Okay, thoughts on your desires. You mention a desire for a 4-4-0, also known as an American type locomotive. Built from the 1840s to, I believe, the 1920s. (someone will correct these dates) Pick the era that interests you (I seem to remember mentining study...) and look at the appropriate rolling stock. Most 4-4-0s were mixed service locomotives, pre-1900. A nicely built boxcar, of the proper era, would be an excellent learning instrument, but would also serve a practical purpose as a toolbox/lunchbox at the track. Ol' Moosey can explain the fine points.
 
For the NIagra, I'll refer you to the Buckingham Central gang.
 
Just my $0.02,
Greg B.

 
WOW!  Do I type that slow?  I swear that post wasn't there when I went to post my above post.  Thanks for the ideas.  Maybe a tender and a box are in my near future.


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ErieAtlantic7597
Historian
Posts: 5838
Re: How can I get started in live steam?
 
« Reply #12 on: Dec 17th, 2006, 9:47am »
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   R/C,
 
   Man, you have some absolutely wonderful goals. As I've said to other young guys that visit this forum, and that have walked through my life,  don't let go of that dream. BTW, thankyou very much for the nice compliment on old Erie 7597. Oh, speaking of which, it took me a total of twenty two (22) years from starting the chasis to running on steam. And even after ten fun filled years of running, its still not finished. I've just been haveing too much fun makeing coal smoke to complete the project 100%.
 
   My dear friends Greg and George, along with a few other very good folks here, have made good suggestions to you. Now, of course, its up to you to make a decision on what direction your going to go in.  
 
   BTW, you have some very good ideas on the machinery for the Jawn Henry.  
 
   As we all have said, try really hard to get together with a few successful live steamers. Check out how their equipment is running. Through my years in this hobby I've found that the guys with the really good running stuff useually don't say much. THEY don't have to. Their engines/cars are saying it for them in volumes.
(Beware the guys with two broken arms. That happens when they pat themselves on the back too much) Heh,heh,heh. More trueth than ficition in this little joke.
 
   I'm sure I speak for many hear R/C when I say that if you need help, there are many here that can and will  offer assistance in a kindly fashion. Also, I forgot to say. its good to have you here at railfan.net.
 
   Take care, keep that dream alive, Merry Christmas,
 
   Bruce    


« Last Edit: Dec 17th, 2006, 9:48am by ErieAtlantic7597 » Logged
R/Cpullerdude
Chaser
Posts: 63
Re: How can I get started in live steam?
 
« Reply #13 on: Dec 19th, 2006, 8:21pm »
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Thank you so much for helping me and giving me ideas.  I still have some questions.  We'll start with a simple one, the local club I spoke of has a rule that states one must have a certificate for the boiler issued by either a Mini Rail member club or a state inspection, how could I get one of these when I build a locomotive?  Also, does anybody know what the most used brake system at the Lake Shore Live Steamers is?  Also, what kind of diesel locomotive would be the best start into live steam/ride-on motive power?  If it makes any sense, I'd use a small generator and electric motors instead of gas-hydro.   About how much would it cost to build a simple, all wood caboose?  Thank you all very much.

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B+MNW21201
Former Member
Re: How can I get started in live steam?
 
« Reply #14 on: Dec 20th, 2006, 3:03pm »
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R/C, this is a great hobby,but I would suggest moderation at first. It is very easy to go gang busters into it only to find yourself overwhelmed by it all. You risk losing interest prematurely. I agree with the others that a freight  car is the way to go. Though I suggest a simple flat car which you can ride on. You will have an easier time asking some other LS'r to allow you car to be hauled around the track and you have a reserved seat for as many rides as you want. The Phineas Phlatt car is a complete easy to build kit for less than $500.00. I have seen these being built and used and they are very adequate for someone just getting into the hobby.  
If you do stick with the hobby, then I would suggest you build a simple "critter" type engine. You can actually build one fairly cheap (less than $800.00) depending on how much work you do yourself and how much you can scrounge or get donated. Pete and I built one 4 years ago for my son and it cost about $400.00 for everything. It uses the same drive system as is on a go-kart. 5hp Briggs and a centrifigal clutch through a bi-directional transmission. Very simple to build and operate. We all have our dream locomotives, but the guys that have been around awhile will tell you that they did not start with that one, they always work up to it over the years. This is a hobby that will carry you through your entire life.  So grab on and hold tight, cuz its a fun ride!
 
Bobby


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R/Cpullerdude
Chaser
Posts: 63
Re: How can I get started in live steam?
 
« Reply #15 on: Dec 20th, 2006, 4:46pm »
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Thanks for the info.  I now have an idea.  A flat to ride on, a wood reefer to haul hot dogs and hamburgers along with toppings, and a caboose with a Bar-B-Q grill in it.  Samich the flat between the caboose and reefer, then, when I get hungary during a long day of conductoring, I can pull lunch out of the reefer, cook it on the caboose, then enjoy.  After I get more money and expirience, then I can build myself a critter, then work my way to NW 2300 and then up to a 4-4-0, then, finally, an NYC 4-8-4.

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moose_the_caboose
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Re: How can I get started in live steam?
  Mar02_01.jpg - 36940 Bytes
« Reply #16 on: Dec 20th, 2006, 9:09pm »
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hi r/c,
 
you've got a great imagination...it's very refreshing!  bobby's idea of the Phineas Phlatt car is a very good idea.  many, many good ideas here...,but the one that you need to pay heed to is the one where you study the hobby.  the hobby has a long history of folks helping folks.  back in the olden days, there weren't any vendors serving the hobby,  people passed their knowledge person to person just as we are now.  somebody got the great idea of publishing those helpful hints in a newsletter/magazine format.  looking through back issues of live steam magazine, model tech, ect, is a great way to gain inspiration.  try the 'econo-gon' for instance,  the article was written for people with limited skills and budget to create a nice looking gondola.  essentially, a plywood box with limited steel for mounting couplers and trucks.
 
my cabooses (the moose the caboose thread) are built using similiar materials.  you asked about the cost of building a caboose.  the largest expense by and large will be the trucks ($350 avg to $1500 for specials)and couplers ($75 avg).  you'll be out of $425 so far (once you have them, they don't eat no hay and will keep in storage until needed) and haven't started yet.  that's okay, now you can relax and think about what caboose you want to build.  this is where the fun begins, you get the chance to dream and make it come true!  the basic plywood box (caboose body) will cost $30 avg for okay plywood or about $75 for marine grade (no voids in the underlying plys).  depending on your thriftyness and willingness to create your own details (like windows, doors, step units, smoke jack, and railings, you might spend another $75 or less (a lot more if you don't want to do it).  there's also the 1"x2" steel centersill...$15 avg depending on the cost in your area and have someone willing to help you cut and fabricate.  conservatively speaking, you're about $555 to $600 into your caboose project.  it's a lot of money, until you remove the cost of the trucks and couplers.  if you are frugal with your money, a summer job will more than fund a home-built project.  the biggest expense isn't the materials, it's your time.  this isn't a weekend project.  first, it's a learning experience, and second you want to take time with your first project to build confidence for the next one.  there isn't an average build time, it takes what it takes to do a job you're pleased and proud of.  the goal being a railcar that operates well and the experienced gained in your new hobby.  it could look like the biggest pile of junk, but if it runs well, it will be respected.  there are too many 'roundhouse queens' and 'yard queens' that don't perform well to bother with.  bruce is right in telling you to seek out successful builders, their equipment runs, not their mouths.
 
reading threads like this one (visit the moose the caboose thread as well) will push you well on your way to building and maintaining large scale equipment.  no, we don't have all the answers (nor does anyone else no matter what they tell you), we're still learning new things ourselves (if you stop learning, you're either dead or a rivot counter...maybe both!?).  oops!  the last step was on to a soap box!
 
r/c, when you're ready, we're here to help guide you to the completion of a successful project.  your failure isn't what we seek.  your passion for the hobby and eventual ability to pass it to the next generation is.
 
how did i get soooo long winded?
 
btw, here's a pic of my first caboose project when it was under construction...a very simple basic box.  check out the moose thread to see how it turned out.
 
moose the caboose
 
ps   there's already a vendor building roll steel covered gon grills.  he cooked for folks at one of the meets!
 
on Dec 20th, 2006, 4:46pm, R/Cpullerdude wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Thanks for the info.  I now have an idea.  A flat to ride on, a wood reefer to haul hot dogs and hamburgers along with toppings, and a caboose with a Bar-B-Q grill in it.  Samich the flat between the caboose and reefer, then, when I get hungary during a long day of conductoring, I can pull lunch out of the reefer, cook it on the caboose, then enjoy.  After I get more money and expirience, then I can build myself a critter, then work my way to NW 2300 and then up to a 4-4-0, then, finally, an NYC 4-8-4.



http://Forums.Railfan.net/Images/LiveSteam/Mar02_01.jpg
Click Image to Resize

« Last Edit: Dec 21st, 2006, 9:26pm by moose_the_caboose » Logged

ErieAtlantic7597
Historian
Posts: 5838
Re: How can I get started in live steam?
 
« Reply #17 on: Dec 20th, 2006, 10:19pm »
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   R/C,
 
   Just to go along with what George T (moose the caboose) is saying. Take a look at the Goose Guts thread. The last few snap shots. These are home built trucks. One leading and one POWERING. So it can be done.  
 
   If you take a gander at the earlier photos that I posted, you will see what makes it go. Very simple, very dependable since 1992.
 
   Yes, the body was built by what I would call a professional modeler, but the entire mechanism, front to back, from the gas engine down to the rails, I designed and built myself. And all I am is an old fashioned mechanic. It CAN be done.
 
   Take care,  
 
   Bruce


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R/Cpullerdude
Chaser
Posts: 63
Re: How can I get started in live steam?
 
« Reply #18 on: Dec 21st, 2006, 10:37pm »
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Thanks.  
 
Moose the Caboose,
The price you roughly calculated was a lot better than I thought it would be.  That's the same price as my Pro-Stock tractor (a different hobby, I won't get off topic here).  Looking at the pic you posted, I can just see making the coupla removable, and hiding a cheap W Mart grill in it, the coupla acting as the top with a small propane tank hidden near the other end of the unit.
 
Erie Atlantic 7597,
That goose is quite the engineering marvel.  It gives me many ideas (as if I don't have enough already).  I hope someday to build a model of one of the ones that look like a truck with a box car.  Were those even built?
 
Thanks so much for the help.


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ErieAtlantic7597
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Posts: 5838
Re: How can I get started in live steam?
 
« Reply #19 on: Dec 21st, 2006, 10:59pm »
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   R/C,
 
   I really feel that you should take a better look at GeorgeT.(moose the caboose's)
thread. Some of the earlier pics for instance. They really show how to start on one of these projects of building a nice looking and prototype car. BTW, George does some very nice modeling in 1 1/2 inch scale. He has already completed some not often seen and very interesting car types. The Wabash "eyelash" caboose and the EJ&E caboose come to mind right off hand.
 
   As far as the Goose goes, thanks for the kind words. If you are referring to the other Rio Grande Southern Geese, #s 3, 4,5, and 7 had three trucks. The front was a Piearce Arrow automobile , with a truck body mounted between the center drive truck and the rear ideling truck. There are many pics of them. I chose #2 for my first from scratch project because I thought it would be a little easier to build.
 
   Take care, Merry Christmas,
 
   Bruce


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