"Your source for standard gauge modeling in 1:20.3"

Dave's Pages

Custom Machining


The Gauge 3 Galleries

Barry Bogs: Diesel Locos

Barry Bogs: Freight Cars

The F Gauge Galleries



Barry Bogs--The Gauge 3 Steam Locomotives

Barry Bogs is a prolific model builder residing in the Houston, Texas area, whose work has appeared several times over in Model Railroader, Garden Railways, Finescale Railroader, and the LGB Telegraph. In real life Barry is a technician for Pitney-Bowes; but in his off time, He models the Denver & Rio Grande Western in 1:22.5 scale, with both standard gauge and narrow gauge operations, much like the prototype. Barry uses Gauge 3 (2.5" between the rails) to represent 4'-8" standard gauge and Gauge 1 to represent 3' narrow gauge (what some are dubbing G and Gn3). Barry's large scale indoor railroad, the Colorado & Western, is now in its second incarnation and covers nearly the entire second floor, including the open foyer, of his substantial home. But aside from Barry's layout being itself visually stunning (as it tunnels through walls and crosses hallways via lift-out bridges), his most impressive talent is his scratchbuilt locomotives and rolling stock. Only Barry's standard gauge steam is presented here, diesels here. Please see the Colorado & Western site for pics of Barry's layout and his stable of D&RGW narrow gauge locomotives. Barry may be contacted at blbogs@yahoo.com

Barry & Gauge 3--An Apology of Sorts

Although Barry is not modeling in 1:20.3 standard gauge (he has far too large an investment in 1:22.5 scale to even think of switching), his work warrants a page on this website because (1) the Gauge 3 models he builds are themselves very close in size and concept to 1:20.3 standard gauge, (2) the techniques he uses are readily adaptable to standard gauge modeling in 1:20.3, (3) he has completed a number of my former Gauge 3 projects, (3) he's my friend, and (4) in some small measure I am responsible for getting him started in Gauge 3. Perhaps a personal anecdote to that effect is in order here.

Barry and I first met sometime in the early 90s while I was still in seminary, unmarried, and just beginning to dabble in Gauge 3. As has often been the case in the world of large scale, Marc Horovitz was the facilitator who introduced Barry to myself, having related to him that at least one other person was fiddling with two rail electric models in Gauge 3 but residing nearly a 1000 miles away in east Tennessee. Sometime after that, Barry visited me between semesters at my parents home in Knoxville where I had set up a workshop with a 24' long shelf layout for testing purposes. Those two tracks, with their #8 crossover, the as-of-then incomplete Canadia City Boxcar and 40' basswood flat, were probably the first Gauge 3 models Barry had seen in person, though he had seen photos of the hard-to-find Magnus products. He was hooked. Several years after this, Barry visited again, and I was able to place a handful of custom-made Gauge 3 axles in his hands. Since that time, he has adopted three of my Gauge 3 flat cars, completed an orphaned 2-bay hopper, transformed a box of disparate parts into a beautiful 2-4-4-2 mallet, built his own fleet of standard gauge freight cars, and constructed the largest indoor dual gauge layout in 1:22.5 scale in the country. Given his accomplishments, I'm now convinced either Barry does not sleep, does not really have a day job and is in fact independently wealthy, has a twin brother who also likes trains, or perhaps some combination of all three. Whatever the case, you may judge for yourself below.

Tools & Techniques

Barry builds his locomotives and rolling stock from a combination of styrene plastic, urethane castings (made from his own styrene patterns), metal detail parts, and where locomotives are concerned, LGB motor blocks and wheelsets, regauged if necessary to Gauge 3. He is able to work with incredible speed from--now get this--a roll top desk in his family room! The actual urethane casting process, as well as the painting of his models, is done in a non-air-conditioned garage (in stiflingly hot and humid Houston) and out-of-doors, respectively.

Because Barry's models are meant to run, and to run reliably, they are constructed somewhere between museum quality and semi-scale. For instance, since LGB provides the running gear almost exclusively, a given steam locomotive wheelbase may be off by a few scale inches, and Barry's typical wheelset is LGB off-the-shelf with its tinplate style high flanges (but most visitors, at least the polite ones, are not measuring his locomotives with a set of dial calipers). Likewise, brake rigging mounted beneath a car or locomotive is rarely duplicated because it is almost never seen and, well, gets torn off with very much use or handling. Those items for which no commercial parts are available (domes, cabs and such) Barry scratch- builds, and these parts do scale out on the money. Rivets for instance follow the pattern of prototype drawings and number in the hundreds for any given tender or freight car. What Barry has done, then, is to achieve a workable balance between reliable operation and proportional good looks.

Since LGB does not offer a plastic, Gauge 3 steam locomotive, Barry has had to go beyond the techniques of the typical kitbasher to arrive at something a little more radical, while still making use of a commercially available drive. The result is what might best be described as motor block sandwich. Simply put, an LGB motor block, with either its own or more likely after-market drivers of an appropriate OD, is regauged using new 6mm axles. A new styrene frame to match that of the prototype locomotive is cut out, spacers between it and the motor block are also cut, and the whole assembly is glued and screwed together. No new axle bearings are provided for in the sandwich; rather, the original motor block's own bearing surfaces suffice. New cylinders, engine truck frames, and such are then fabricated out of styrene and PVC tube and attached to the new styrene frame. Generally, there is no working suspension: All leaf springs, equalizers & levers are entirely aesthetic.

On some locomotives, such as Barry's first Gauge 3 mallet (a Denver & Salt Lake 2-6-6-0) a three axle LGB motor block was used and the same sandwiching technique carried out. On an eight-coupled locomotive, such as Barry's D&RGW L-131 2-8-8-2 simple articulated (now on the workbench) or his C-41 2-8-0, the relatively new LGB Mikado motor block (which is actually engineered as a 2-4-4-2, having a hinge between the #2 and #3 drivers) can be adapted just as readily. The only limitation with the LGB motor blocks is (1) wheelbase--unless one is willing to cut the motor blocks themselves apart, change the placement of motors and gears as needed, and re-glue the assembly together) and (2) driver OD. So far the largest LGB driver readily available is that of the Mikado which measures about 43" in 1:20.3 across the tread; the Mikado's wheelbase being about 51" between the drivers as well.

The Locomotives

Denver & Salt Lake 2-6-6-0

Built in 1916 by Alco's Schenectady works for the Denver & Salt Lake, a line absorbed into the Denver & Rio Grande Western in 1947, these 2-6-6-0 mallet compounds had 55" drivers and exerted about 77,000 pounds tractive effort (hence the D&RGW's designation L77). They were short lived on the D&RGW, all of the class having been dismantled by mid 1952.

Barry's model of this unusual class of mallet was intended mainly to demonstrate the startling difference between a mid-size standard gauge mallet and the largest of 3' narrow gauge equipment: the D&RGW outside frame K-37 2-8-2. It is his first Gauge 3 locomotive, and his favorite so far. #3375 was constructed with the help of an O scale brass model imported by Pacific Fast Mail (PFM) and a handful of scale drawings provided by the same. No readily available D&RGW or D&SL blueprints for this locomotive are known to exist.

The Tender

The tender body, shown below, was made from .060" styrene sheet, which was then wrapped in .010" sheet (in order to mask the rounded corners made from sectioned lengths of PVC pipe). Peco track nails were then applied to simulate rivets. The tender underframe is made from Plastruct channels, and the whole affair rides on cast urethane Andrews style tender trucks. LGB plunger type wipers are used for power pickup. The trucks are rigid since the high LGB tinplate flanges assure reliable operation on undulating track.

The Chassis, Boiler & Cab

Barry used two LGB Mogul motor blocks for the #3375's drive, each regauged with new 6mm stainless steel Gauge 3 axles and reequipped with LGB Mikado drivers (which were themselves modified with new counterweights). The main frames sandwiching the motor blocks are .250" thick Evergreen styrene plastic strip. Similarly the tender and cab are made from .060" styrene sheet.  The boiler is a length of 4" OD Plastruct tube. Cylinders and domes were fabricated whereas the stack was cast in urethane from a styrene pattern. Three couplers are mounted to both pilot and tender so as to facilitate dual gauge operation. The locomotive is able to negotiate a 5' minimum radius curve.

The Completed Locomotive


Little River Railroad 2-4-4-2

In the late Spring of 2005 Barry visited my workshop here in East Tennessee where we discussed our current and past projects. One of my past projects, from the Gauge 3 phase of my sojourn in large scale, was a series of Little River Railroad logging mallets, each based upon the first of the Little River's two mallets: #126 (The story of that project can be read here, near the bottom of the page). Barry left that evening with all the remaining parts I had on hand for the 2nd of what would have been four locomotives, which included regauged Palacina Productions drivers, spoked lead & trailing truck wheels (adapted from an LGB electric locomotive), the tender underframe, an incomplete tender body, Barry's own K-37 archbar tender truck castings, a couple of LGB 0-4-0 motor blocks, a brass smokestack, a bag of commercially available detail parts--including custom made builders and number plates by Robert Dustin--and photo copies of all the dimensioned drawings and research I had been able to accumulate for Little River#126, better known on the West Coast, and to the present day--since the locomotive still exists, albeit in pieces--by its Native American name, the Skookum.

The Tender

Barry picked up the baton where I had dropped it by first working on the tender, in typical Barry Bogs fashion: Build the tender first, so that if one grows weary of the project, he will not sputter near the finish line with a nearly complete locomotive but no tender. For those of you who would like to follow along and learn his techniques, Barry has provided a written narrative of the tender's construction:

Part I: The Trucks The first thing that I build is the tender trucks. If you can find some ready made side frames that will work for your engine, it will save time. Luckily, Little River 2-4-4-2 #126 used the same tender truck side frames as those on the D&RGW K-37 for which I had already made patterns and molds. When I pour casting resin into my molds, I drop preformed steel rod into the mold. This gives the casting strength, like steel rods do in concrete. I sand off the back side of the casting and drill holes into it to accept plastic tube with an ” ID hole. This will be the journal bearing that the axle will ride in. Small roller bearings are available, which would work for high use situations, but styrene bearings have been sufficient for all my locomotives. On these particular trucks, I used LGB metal wheel sets, with 3mm axles, which I regauged for Gauge 3 using new 3mm steel rod from Northwest Short Line along with a spacer tube to go between the LGB axle tubes.

Plastruct " X 9/16" rectangular stock is used for bolster material. I super glue (ACC is my adhesive of choice) the Plastruct bolster to one side frame and then glue a separate block to the opposite side frame. Using LGB screws, I then screw the assembly together on one side to make a rolling truck. Wheel sets are replaceable by disassembling one side frame from the bolster.

Since I use track power, electrical pickup is via bolster mounted wheel wipers; and here, I use LGB plunger style pickups. For Gauge 3, I added additional mounting blocks to the bolster and cut the LGB wiper holders in half. I then insert the brushes into the holders and screw the holders to the mounting blocks. I wire them after everything is built. Ozark Miniatures brake shoes were then mounted to plastic strip and glued to the bolster. Trackside Details makes chain mounting eyelets that I mount to the top corners of the side frames. I drill a 17/64” hole in the center of the bolster that a ” tube can go through. The trucks are done for now.

Part II: The Tender Deck I usually build the tender deck using plastic for the structure and metal castings for the details.  Since Dave Queener started this project, I decided to use the basic deck that he had made. Dave made the frame rails out of styrene channels with wood end beams and a wooden deck. Dave then added two 2-56 threaded rods running the length of the deck to make sure the end beams could not be pulled apart. The real wood looks good on this tender. I usually make my end beams out of large plastic strips and drag a coarse Zona saw across them to give the look of wood. Likewise, the deck is usually a sandwich of 0.040" Evergreen scribed siding (with " spacing) with another sheet on top aligned to the scribes on the bottom. I drag the Zona saw across both top and bottom sheets to make them look like wood.

With the basic deck done, it is time to make some decisions. Most plans and O scale models have very little or no under deck details. The O scale model I examined for this engine was no exception. In cases like this, the best thing to do is to take some pictures of a prototype tender about the same size or find another O scale model that has underbody details. I looked at a brass D&RGW K37 in On3 for some clues. What you see on the completed deck is what I came up with. The underframe braces, for instance, are cut from plastic strip and glued on. The next step is to measure the height of the top of the deck to the top of the rail on the plan. I slide the completed trucks under the new deck and start filling the space between the top of the truck bolsters and the frame rails of the deck with plastic strip, until I get the deck height correct. Once you find the correct thickness, cut and glue the strips to the frame rails the right length from the ends of the deck, according to the plan.

I use a " tube or rod to make the pivot point for the trucks. Drill through the center point of the plastic body bolster and through the deck, if it is plastic, to make sure the pivot rod is secured when glued in place. Glue the tube or rod in place and slip the truck over it. Mark the rod or tube about 1/16” above the truck bolster and take the truck off. Cut it at the mark and drill a small pilot hole for a screw and washer to hold the truck on. In addition, a metal ” rod is used for the draw bar pin on this model. To secure it, I use plastic block and strips glued to the inside frame rails, dilled to accept the rod.

Once the trucks are on, add all the piping and detail parts to the deck, according to the plan. With the bottom done, mark and drill for the rivet detail on the side rails. I use a #74 drill bit and Peco track fixing pins cut to about ” long, for rivets. These are used on all other areas of the engine that call for rivet detail. With the rivets on, add all remaining details such as steps and buffers. I mounted a Kadee "G" scale end beam coupler pocket and knuckle to this model, because it will be a logging engine. On most on my narrow gauge engines, I truck mount the coupler, to better couple and uncouple on tight curves. Body-mounted or truck-mounted: It's your choice. Finally, I added brass steps and cut levers to the rear of the tender deck. I drill the deck for both speaker holes and wiring once the tender is done. With the deck finished and rolling, it’s time to start on the tender tank.

Part III: The Tender Tank Now that the deck is done, the tank can begin. I design my tender tanks to be light weight, but strong. The basic design is a 0.060" sheet plastic box, with a 0.010" plastic wrapper. The reason for using 0.060" plastic is that Plastruct tube has the same wall thickness. The structure of the tender tank is made using this 0.060" styrene mated to quartered pieces of Plastruct tube on the "corners" of the tank. Start with your scale drawing. If you have a top view of the tender, match the curved sides of the tank with the correct diameter of Plastruct tube. The next task is to cut the tube to length. Mark a straight line along the side of the tube next. To do this, I lay it in a mini miter box and draw a line in ink with a Sharpie pen using the top edge of the box as my guide. I measure the circumference of the tube next and divide it in half or quarters, depending on the need. A fine tooth razor or Zona saw is then used to cut the lines drawn. Hold the tube in a vice while you cut it. Clean the edges, and it’s ready to glue to the sides. Cut out the tank side and end profiles from the 0.060" plastic sheet. Glue the corners with a butt joint, using super glue or ACC. Use a small square to make sure the box is square. 

I use ACC kicker to speed the setting of the joints. Be careful with the tank, as the super glued joint is all that is holding it together. Using more sheet plastic, I make a piece to go across the inside width of the tank, behind the coal door area. Glue it to the inside of both sides, and the front water legs of the tank. This one piece will stiffen up the tank to handle it. I prefer not to make the deep coal area of the tank. Instead, I put a full sheet of plastic across the area, all the way to the back end of the tank. I file the corners to fit the rear curves and glue it in place at the correct height from the top edge of the tank walls. ACC it from the bottom so the glue joint will not show. With this joint made, the tank will be much stiffer and you will have the basic tank done. ⅜" angle Plastruct pieces are glued to the inside bottom edge of the tank. This makes the bottom of the sides rigid. I then glue about an inch wide strip, the inside width of the tank, up on top of the angles, at each end. These pieces tie the side angles with the end angle and make the tank even stronger. With this step done, it is time to add the coal doors and additional structure around the area.

You now have the shape of the tender, but it has joints showing. I file the joints down to make sure they are smooth with either sandpaper or a file. Now is the time to make sure that the tank is correct to the plan and that no revisions need to be made. I test fit it to the deck and check to make sure it sits squarely in place. The next step is to apply the 0.010 " plastic wrapper. I cut out a piece of sheet plastic that is about an inch wider than the top and bottom of the sides of the tank. The length of the wrapper should be from the coal doors, around the sides, to the middle of the back of the tank. Starting at the coal door area, glue the edge of the 0.010" sheet next to the door area. Make sure that when it is glued, the rest of the sheet will cover the side and end. Now put ACC on the entire area of the water leg, around the front to the first joint with the side. Lay the 0.010" plastic sheet down and pull it around the front of the water leg to the side joint. Make sure that it is flat with no buckles in the plastic sheet. Hold the sheet until the glue sets. Be careful not to kink the thin 0.010" sheet, as it could break.  I had to fix a crack on one of my water legs, because the sheet was creased before I used it."

Barry's narrative ends at this point, but the remaining work chiefly concerns adding rivet detail to the tender body, beading to the edges of the tank's sides, and various detail parts. The end result speaks for itself.


The Chassis, Boiler & Cab

The remainder of Barry's 2-4-4-2 was built in typical Bogsian fashion: LGB motor blocks sandwiched by new styrene frames, side and main rods adapted from other LGB locomotives (in this case from both the Stainz 0-4-0 and the Mikado). The boiler itself is Plastruct tube. The cast urethane domes are Barry's own creations. The usual complement of Ozark Miniatures, Trackside Details, and Precision Scale detail parts round out this outstanding model. Now where can I get mine--in 1:20.3 Standard Gauge?

The Completed Locomotive



D&RGW C-41 2-8-0

Built in 1902 by Baldwin, the D&RGW C-41 was a heavy consolidation for its time, exerting 40,893 lbs. of tractive effort from its 55" drivers. Overall dimensions, with tender, were 63'-3" long, 10'-2" wide and 15'-1" tall (track to stack). Each tender carried 9 tons of coal and 6000 gallons of water. Stephenson valve gear and slide valve cylinders were original equipment on these locomotives; however with the advent of superheaters, many of the C-41s were rebuilt with piston valves and at least two locomotives (#1022 and #1024) were refitted with Walschaert's valve gear. Over time some of these engines even acquired Vanderbilt tenders, much like their larger 1916 vintage 2-10-2 cousins on the D&RGW.

The C-41's single claim to fame lies in the 1930 conversion of ten of this class to D&RGW K-37 narrow gauge 2-8-2s, each "new" K-37 receiving the rectangular tender, archbar tender trucks, boiler, domes & cab of its C-41 predecessor. New running gear--outside frames, 44" drivers, piston valve cylinders, outside bearing lead & trailing trucks, rods and such--were provided by Baldwin. Tender trucks were simply regauged, retaining their standard gauge bolsters while pressing new, smaller wheels several inches closer together on otherwise  standard gauge axles. Most likely new smoke boxes, petticoat pipes and stacks were applied, as was a new cab apparently patterned after those on the K-36, and hence, a bit shorter and more narrow than the C-41 original. In any case, none of the other twenty unconverted C-41s escaped the scrapper's torch; and to the best that Barry and I have been able to determine, no D&RGW drawings of the C-41 have survived either. If anyone is aware of either blueprints of these locomotives or pictures of the 1930 conversion, please drop me a note.

The Tender

Having built many a boxy conventional tender in the past, Barry chose to do something a bit different for the C-41, choosing locomotive #1022 (pictured above) as his prototype. This is the first Vanderbilt tender he has done; but much like the prototype, it rides upon the very same archbar trucks as used on the K-37, Barry having built several of these over the past number of years. Aside from styrene, Trackside Details parts, and the usual combination of regauged LGB wheelsets, the tender is essentially a 3" OD length of ABS tube from Plastruct, complete with end cap. Now that Barry has shown the way, let's see somebody build one of these in F scale!

The Chassis, Boiler & Cab

Barry's main interest in building the C-41 is to show what the K-37 predecessor looked like--a first in any scale to the best of our knowledge. The irony is that the construction of the model was the reverse process regarding the construction of the prototype: Barry began with narrow gauge components and regauged them to standard gauge! For instance, aside from the regauged K-37 tender trucks, the running gear for Barry's 2-8-0 is a Gauge 1, LGB Mikado drive unit. The LGB Mikado drivers were retained, with changes to the counterweights, but regauged using new 6mm stainless steel axles. A regauged LGB Gauge 1 wheelset was also used for the lead truck. Walschaerts valve gear from the LGB Mikado was retained, although several pieces were replaced with Barry's own castings to more accurately represent those of the C-41. The boiler is, once again, Plastruct; the domes and stack are urethane castings from Barry's considerable store of patterns. The engine has been equipped with a Digitrax DCC decoder and Phoenix 2K2 sound. It is capable of negotiating 5' radius curves, the minimum on the Gauge 3 portion of Barry's layout, and with its Vanderbilt tender, measures 33.8" long.

Barry writes in one of his mid-construction updates: "This week's work on the engine amounts to cab and backhead details. The cab is so time consuming because of all the rivets on it. There are more rivets on the engine, than on the tender! I used dimensions off the D&RGW C-48 2-8-0 for the cab's size, as it is so far off from the K-37. The back head is just a guess, and a poor one at that, so don't look real close. I am hoping to come up with an article on the C-41 and K-37, comparing them side by side, to see how different they really are. I never understood why the model brass importers did not build a C-41 and K-37 at the same time and release them together; but now that I have built them, I have found so much that is dissimilar, it would not have made sense."


The Completed Locomotive

During the second week of September 2007, Barry painted and lettered the C-41. He writes about this final phase of the project: "I really like the Vanderbilt tender on this engine, as it it is something different. I also used a crew from Woodland Scenics for this engine, instead of the same old guys as are in my other engines. The Woodland Scenics guys are already painted, so I guess it was instant gratification for me, if there is such a thing. The sound system is still mounted in the tender, but the speaker is in the firebox of the engine. Sounds good to me".

Barry also took a series of shots comparing the C-41 to his model of the C-41's narrow gauge successor, the D&RGW's K-37 2-8-2. Barry remarks about the differences between the C-41 and the K-37:


As most of you know, the K-37 NG engines were built from the C-41 SG engines by the Grande in 1928-1930 in the Denver shops. All of the K-37s had the box type tender, and not the Vandy one that I modeled. All of the C-41's with the Vandy tender were scrapped. I still thought it would be neat to see the engines side by side and compare them. Again, all I had for a plan for the engine is the two pictures at left, and an O scale model of the D&RGW's C-48 2-8-0, so I may be a little off on my dimensions. As you can see, the K-37 has a longer smoke box and a smaller cab than the C-41. The reason for this is when the D&RGW lowered the C-41 boiler onto the K-37's NG 2-8-2 chassis from Baldwin, the boiler had to be moved back in order for the firebox to clear the rear set of drivers (I had always wondered why I had so much cab swing on the K-36 / K-37 class engines around my own curves!). Of course the smoke box also had to be lengthened to fit the chassis, thus the K-37 NG engine is longer the C-41 SG engine! From what I can tell, the only thing that the Grande used from the C-41 was just the boiler only, and fabricated everything else in the shop, like the cab, rear frame extension, smoke box, etc. What a kit bash. I had always wondered why the brass importers never offered a model of the C-41 at the same time they made ones of the K-37. Well, I understand now. It is almost a totally new project! It has been a fun venture, but has it has had its moments with no real plan to work from. My best work comes from having an O scale model, 1:22.5 scale plans, and many pictures from which to work from. This project had few. You decide if the C-41 is on the money or not--I won't be offended if you think not. I hope to do an article on the conversion some time, but for now enjoy what I have come up.


D&RGW L-131 2-8-8-2

Built by Alco in 1927, the L-131 2-8-8-2 was the D&RGW's largest and most powerful class of steam locomotive, measuring 120 feet long from pilot to tender, 11'-8" wide, and 16'-1" tall; and boasting 131,800 lbs. of tractive effort from its 63” drivers. Each tender carried 30 tons coal and 18,000 gallons of water. Walschaert valve gear was original equipment on both the 3600-3609 series L-131, and the 3610-3619 series L-132 built a few years later in 1930. Like all D&RGW standard gauge steam, save for a lowly slide valve C-28 2-8-0 of 19th century vintage, the L-131s were retired and scraped, mainly over the period 1955-1956, having been replaced by FTs initially and then other EMD "covered wagon" first generation diesels.

Barry's 1:22.5 scale, Gauge 3 model is powered by modified LGB Mikado drive units using custom made white bronze drivers, but with  LGB wheels on all other axles. When complete, the engine and tender will measure 64” long and be capable of negotiating a 5' foot minimum radius curve. A Digitrax decoder and Phoenix 2K2 sound will be mounted in the tender.

The Tender

The Chassis & Drivers

One of the first issues for Barry to settle in planning the construction of the Gauge 3 L-131 2-8-8-2 was where to find suitable drivers. Nothing in the usual LGB or other Gauge 1 product lines even remotely approached the large 2.8" diameter spoked drivers he would need, that is, with one exception. The drivers for Barry's L-131 do have an LGB origin of sorts: Several years ago, LGB commissioned Aster of Japan to build a series of limited production NYC J1e 4-6-4s in Gauge 1. Barry was able to acquire several spare drivers from one of these locos and to modify its center from a boxpok to a spoked configuration. With the addition of crankpins, Barry's modified driver became a casting pattern. Yet another Texan, Dennis Mashburn (of K & D Castings) produced white bronze investment castings from Barry's master and then machined the tread on each of the drivers. Barry did not use separate tyres on these drivers; rather, insulation is accomplished using a delrin bushing on the shouldered end of each 6mm Gauge 3 axle. The end of each axle is knurled, the bushings are themselves machined for a .001" on the radius interference fit, and then the bushings have red Loctite applied to them before being pressed into each driver.

For the mechanism of the L-131, Barry is using two regauged LGB Mikado motor blocks which have themselves been extensively modified with respect to their wheelbase. With a hinge in each motor block, and then two motor blocks per locomotive which are themselves mounted independent of each other, though slung beneath one boiler, Barry is in effect building in mini-ature the proposed Beyer Peacock Quadruplex 2-6-6-2+2-6-6-2 (or "Super Garratt" is it has sometimes been called) that was seriously offered by Beyer-Peacock in 1927. Barry describes the conversion process in his own words:


"It was time to slice into the LGB Mikado motor block to lengthen it to accept the larger L131 drivers. I milled out some 1/4 X 3/4 plastic bar stock for the main frames to hold the drivers at the correct spacing. I then cut the motor block in four places to stretch it out. Next, I glued both main frames to the side of the motor end of the motor block. I then glued the short sections of the second and third driver axles, to the main frames. The hinge section was attached together and glued into the frame assembly, and last I added the other end between the main frames. I added spacers to keep the axles centered, and lengthened the drive tube between the two worm gears. I had to move the electrical pick ups from the original location, to meet the new wheels. New wiring wrapped up the loose ends and got the motor some power. It ran on the straight track of the test track OK, but the layout will tell the truth. I cut both sides of the main frame next, on both sides and this allows the motor block to flex on the curves and turnouts.  After a few adjustments with the wheel gauge and the hinge gap, it ran great. This is the start of the front engine. Hope to get the rear engine up to this point soon. The pictures above and below show the original block next to the modified one, just for reference."

The Boiler & Cab

The boiler on the L-131 is a large, 4" diameter length of PVC pipe with a styrene spacers and a sleeve of styrene sheet added to their circumference to match the dimensions and taper of the prototype's boiler jacket. Barry writes,

"The L131 is just big, so big that it is hard to handle. This will be the first engine that I do not have to add a metal weight to. Don't ask me how much it weighs, but it is heavy. the boiler is over a half inch thick at the largest point. The first pictures show the pipe attached to the engines on the layout, before I added the taper to it. Later pictures show how I added the strips to build it up and add the 40 thou thick jacket sheet to it. I then turned the boiler upside down and filled it with urethane, to make it solid between the pipe and the outside 40 thou jacket. The basic boiler is done and the running boards are going on next, followed by a bunch of foo foo to make it look good. I added the sound speaker in the fire box area, so sound will come from the engine, instead of the tender. I may add an additional speaker in the smoke box area, if I think it needs it. It has really been a fun project to work on, and I would like to have it done for the Lone Star Regional convention here in town, in the middle of June. We will see."

"I brought the engine up to the layout to test the distance from the tender and engine, as well as check the clearances around the curves. I thought I would have to do some major revisions to the scenery, but in only two places do I have to make changes, to accommodate the cab swing. I was worried about the pivot points from the engines to the boiler, but they are in the correct places to clear most all the scenery. Over all, I am please with how it runs and that I don't have to go back and make corrections. I am glad this is not my first engine to build! The hardest part of this engine project is handling it, or turning it around on the workbench. It is very heavy and long. I am not sure how I am going to hold the boiler to paint it."

The photos below were taken in April and May of 2008:

The Completed Locomotive

Without paint . . .(notice the narrow gauge C-16 in the foreground!)

Barry has this to say about the end of the project:

"The BLW shop crew has been very busy and finally got the L131 out the door and ready for the paint shop. All the foo foo is just about on it now and they have decided to call it a "Choo Choo". It is the largest piece of rolling stock that I have built, at 65 inches coupler to coupler, 9 inches high and 6 inches wide. Of course it runs on my five foot radius track and looks funny doing it, but hey, it's what I wanted. I have a little more work to do on the engines once I remove them from the boiler, and ready it for wiring and sound. The engine is very heavy and I don't always know where to lift it from. I will be glad when it is on the layout to stay. Over all, I am pleased with how it turned out. There were very few revisions to get it to run and all the planning and homework paid off. Would I build something this large again?   Well..... yes from the fact that I really enjoy large locomotives, no from the fact it is so hard to handle and it takes up so much space. (I would probably say yes, if you really want to know)"

"I want to say a big thanks to all who have helped me with this project. Dave Brown for all the great pictures of his PSC L132 O scale engine, Mark Gardner for the plans from the Colorado Railroad Museum and the pictures of his PSC L131 O scale engine, Craig Brantley for loaning me his O scale Max Gray L131 engine and reducing the plans for me, Ward Hammond for all the laser work, James Engle for the custom decals, yet to go on, Jonathan Meador at LGB of America for help with all the drive parts, and Dennis and Kathy Mashburn who cast all the drivers and Dennis who machined the centers for me.Without help from good friends, I would not be able to build what I do. Thanks Guys!"

"I was asked what I will do to top this project? Well, nothing soon, but I like large engines and a Big Boy has always been a favorite of mine."

Painted and lettered . . .(And in the last set of frames at the 2008 Lone Star NMRA Convention)

Last update: 20 January 2009

Hit Counter