A question for the 3/4 scale guys.

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Marty of FWF
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A question for the 3/4 scale guys.

Post by Marty of FWF » Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:10 am

This question is basically for the 3/4 scale guys, but feel free to share your observation if you think it pertains.
In the 3/4 scale aspect of the hobby, do you think new people are coming into it or do you feel that the participants are fading via attrition? Or is it staying about even, same number coming in as ones leaving or passing away?
When you reply, maybe validate your observation a little by stating the approx. number of members that you would consider "active" in your organization / club and maybe a general geographical location of your club. i.e. Northern Ohio or Western PA, ect.

Thanks in advance,
Marty

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Bill Shields
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Re: A question for the 3/4 scale guys.

Post by Bill Shields » Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:37 pm

In general, the number of 'steam builders' of all scales are fading by attrition (we are all getting old). Yes, there are people coming IN but are they a large a group that are 'retiring'.

For those that are active and building, I think more people are coming INTO or BACK to it because of the $$ of building and maintaining a monster loco is now out of the range of the average live steamer...at least here in the Mid-Atlantic / North East area.

On the east coast, NJ live steamers has started (completed?) reworking their 3/4" line. A few years ago I went there with a 3/4" engine and was the only person to have used the track in years. Now it is different.

Pioneer Valley (Southwick Mass), recently (in the last 5 years) has TOTALLY replaced their 3/4 - 1" line and it is heavily used. For years (decades) it sat there and decayed. The leader of the rebuild group didn't even HAVE an engine that would run on the track -> but he saw that he would never be able to afford the $$ of a 1.5 engine and was looking to the future.

An average run weekend Waushakum Live Steamers has more 3/4" locos running than many of the 'small scale meets' elsewhere in the country.

It is a question of economics and practicality.

Mortgage the house to build a big steamer (machines / castings / boiler) and get a vehicle to haul it AFTER YOU GET IT OUT OF THE BASEMENT or stay married? (divorces are expensive).

I have locos of both scales but A> had 99% of the machinery before my current wife and B> Built a house with a drive up basement entrance and enough space to house the entire shop in heated comfort.

I can honestly say that I have built my last 1.5" engine but am considering doing another one in either 3/4" or 1" - either of which would be of a weight that can be easily carried in a mini-van.

However I have to admit that the 1.5" 0-4-0 Reading Engine is a good compromise as long as you have a way to get it in / out of the house / shop. Even though you can carry it in a mini-van, LIFTING it up stairs is not really practical.
Too many things going on to bother listing them.

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Builder01
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Re: A question for the 3/4 scale guys.

Post by Builder01 » Wed Jan 20, 2016 9:11 pm

I am returning to the hobby after many years of building several stationary steam engines and lots of other long term projects. I wanted to build a steam locomotive many years ago, but did not have the experience and information was hard to come by. The internet has change all of that. I have chosen 1" scale for my build. There is an awesome 4-3/4" gauge track several hours from my house in western New York. The 1" scale group is quite active at the Finger Lakes Live Steamers and the layout seems like it is always being added to. Can't wait to visit other tracks and it's good to hear that other places are reviving their 1" and 3/4" scale tracks.

cp4449
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Re: A question for the 3/4 scale guys.

Post by cp4449 » Wed Jan 20, 2016 9:28 pm

Here at LALS we have seen a slow increase in 1". No increase in 3/4". New members have the same thoughts that you said, costs, and weight. I totally enjoy watching new members running their new locomotives.
C.P. Mahony
Former 1" Foreman
Los Angeles Live Steamers

DavidF
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Re: A question for the 3/4 scale guys.

Post by DavidF » Wed Jan 20, 2016 9:52 pm

Which scale has the most "off the shelf" parts availability? Thinking out loud here but from what i have seen there has been a growing numer of people setting up small home machine shops with smallish equipment. Maybe if kits were taylored to fit, for example sherline mills and lathes, there would be an influx of new small scale builders to the hobby?
I honestly dont know what is available, but from what i have seen 1.5" scale seems dominant.??

Marty of FWF
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Re: A question for the 3/4 scale guys.

Post by Marty of FWF » Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:08 am

I appreciate those of you who have responded. Thank you.
So, the reason for my asking was to maybe get a feel (if you will) about looking into doing a beginners kit in 3/4".
I have always admired the Mighty Mack, just for the looks and ease of operation, performance being good for a couple riders. And a fellow club member mentioned the loco as being easy to handle in the 1-1/2" scale and it may be a nice little "lunch box" engine.
I have a foundry and cast stuff for the 1-1/2" arena and see the MM shell castings, as do-able.
I just wasn't sure if the interest would be there, but like someone mentioned previously, wrangling a 7.5 gauge steamer around entails a bit more that it use to. And getting older does not make it easier. Admitting this really hurts, I building a Kozo 3 truck Heisler which sits at about 80% done. And looking at wrangling 400+lbs of loco is not motivating me to finish it.
So, Thanks again for the input and feel free to continue adding to it.

DavidF
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Re: A question for the 3/4 scale guys.

Post by DavidF » Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:35 am

If you have the dedication, and can afford the time. Go for it!! Food for thought indicative of the times, Perhaps offer minimal castings along with G code and documentation as a cut your teeth learning experience?

Mike Walsh
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Re: A question for the 3/4 scale guys.

Post by Mike Walsh » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:33 am

DavidF wrote:Which scale has the most "off the shelf" parts availability? Thinking out loud here but from what i have seen there has been a growing numer of people setting up small home machine shops with smallish equipment. Maybe if kits were taylored to fit, for example sherline mills and lathes, there would be an influx of new small scale builders to the hobby?
I honestly dont know what is available, but from what i have seen 1.5" scale seems dominant.??
1.5/1.6" Scale is quite dominant because it is larger, more stable, which results in more people converging on that scale. That translates to more tracks.

1" Scale is the runner up. We have three, maybe four, major suppliers in 1" scale. These guys are key to preservation of the 1" scale hobby.

3/4" market has two suppliers that I can think of -- Friends Models and Joe Tanski (who has the Raritan available for sale).

Then there is the 15-16" gauge market... Probably second to 1.5" scale. RMI, Hillcrest, Merrick Light Railway, Allen Herschell, Mammoth Loco Works... But that depends on how much you want to spend.

I model 1" because I have no interest in acquiring a F350 just to haul a 4-6-2 and it's trainset around. I plan on picking up a Tacoma soon and that, with a trailer, should be enough for a locomotive (or two) and a trainset. It's also much smaller. I have a shelf in the garage that is just wide enough for the 1" rolling stock, and it doesn't interfere with pulling a vehicle into the garage. Also nice to be able to take a measurement in feet, and immediately change it to inches by adding another hash mark to create an inch measurement.

3/4" would be even better... But the interest, as shown above, has tapered off significantly. Again, Friends and Joe Tanski seem to be the only marketers of the scale, and there isn't much available, really. However, there may be a resurgence due to families cleaning out estates and throwing 3.5" gauge equipment on the market for others to grab. Problem is that I think some of the younger members that really should be encouraged to get into the hobby just don't have the funds for the equipment. I'm just now getting started on my engines because I finally acquired some machining equipment along with a few other locomotives over the past six months and my wallet was able to forgive me. Never would have happened in college. My motivation has spiked drastically.

I'm selling one of my 0-6-0 frames to a friend who wants to model 1.5" narrow gauge (4.75" gauge) and I am really happy to give him that opportunity. If I know of a younger, aspiring live steamer who wants to build something, and I can manage the time, I'd gladly allow him to come over every now and then to use my equipment. That's more or less how I got started...

Thanks to Steve and Paul Pontarelli for letting me cut my teeth on 1" scale in the shop in their basement.

-Mike Walsh



-Mike Walsh

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tsph6500
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Re: A question for the 3/4 scale guys.

Post by tsph6500 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:39 am

In Montreal we have an active group in 3/4-inch scale with new steam locos being built and old one's being restored. A couple of the guys are in their early 20s a few of us in our mid-50s.

There are several ways to get started with Kozo designs like the A3, Purinton's Frodo 0-6-0 and Tanski's Raritan. LBSC left us with many designs too so I'm not sure we need a "kit". But then we tend to be old school in the Northeast.

There is a great group of guys at PVLS, WLS, NJLS, OVLSME, FLLS, GHLS RHLS and we all seem to know each other and gather at meets.

Like that shoe company says, "Just Do It."
Best regards,
Jim Leggett

Montreal Live Steamers
www.montreallivesteamers.org

A Founding Member of the Tinkerbell Scale Society - Northern Division
I'm an A.R.S.E. (Association of Railroad Steam Engineers)
Toad Swamp & Punk Hollow Railroad - Head Tycoon
The Juvenile Traction Company - CEO & Apprentice Machinist 3rd Class
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dnevil
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Re: A question for the 3/4 scale guys.

Post by dnevil » Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:39 am

Sadly there are no 3/4 inch tracks in Texas. I spoke with a gentleman in Fort Worth who is selling off his collection of 3/4 live steamers because of that very reason. Would be great to see someone build a 3/4 inch track in Texas.

The only 1 inch track I am aware of in Texas is at Houston Area Live Steamers.

Daris
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NP317
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Re: A question for the 3/4 scale guys.

Post by NP317 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:53 am

In Western Canada, the BCSME (British Columbia Society of Model Engineers) may have now finished the refurbishment of their raised small-gauge track at the Burnaby Central Railway, near Vancouver, BC.
http://bcsme.org/

I do not know specifics.
~RN

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Bill Shields
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Re: A question for the 3/4 scale guys.

Post by Bill Shields » Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:54 am

As someone once said "If you build it they will come..."
Too many things going on to bother listing them.

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