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Expanding ¾”-Scale

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:02 am
by Bill Yoder
This is probably heretical, but why not reinvent ¾”-scale, 1:16, as a non-riding scale controlled mostly by RC? This would be a glorified version of Gauge 1 – just less toy-like and a lot more hefty. RC should be no problem: Youtube has an impressive video showing a 5”-guage live steam Black Five 4-6-0 pulling a people-less freight in both forward and tender-front configurations at the Leyland track in the UK.

Due to the increasing height and girth of human beings in the West, 3.5”-gauge is getting more topsy and turvy than ever. Sure – many use a larger-gauge flat car behind the loco for riding, but how realistic is that? Radio would give us more chance to do some real railroading, not just chasing each other around a raised, circular track as if we were go-karts.

The Rydale club at East Gilling a bit northeast of York/UK offers ground-level 5”-gauge events twice a year featuring freight and passenger trains without riders. The sole King Kong on the train is the engineer (driver). With RC, even he would be gone. I find that very impressive – have a look on the Internet and Youtube.

No need to fret: I simply want to expand the old ¾” hobby, not replace it. Ground-level running without passengers could help insure its survival. I’ve already seen a bit of this in ¾” on Facebook.

Yes, we already have a bit of electric-powered, extremely accurate trains in 1:20.3, F-scale. But I haven’t seen any live steam in that scale. There is live steam in 2’-prototype 7/8th-inch gauge (uses Gauge 1 track).

Re: Expanding ¾”-Scale

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:29 am
by Bill Shields
When you consider the growth / attendance rate of the Gauge 1 tracks that I see, the thought is not without merit, however the attraction of the Gauge 1 appears to include the ability to put loco and long trains all into a small car and head to the track.

Clubs and some state regulations that in many cases ignore the Gauge 1 locos because of their size (or lack of) would need to be rethought

Then there are the tracks where it is impossible to see the entire loop from one position (I can think of several), and a stationary R/C 'driver' would not be feasible.

Your thought It is a valid concept. I know of several R/C electric locos (1-1/2") that are used for 'switching duty' at clubs

Re: Expanding ¾”-Scale

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:15 am
by NP317
Take this further:
Adapt R/C drone/aircraft video feedback capabilities.
Then the loco driver can wear a headset and have a cab view complete with water level and steam pressure info available. Could even see the movement of servo-operated valves.
Pretty much a full-immersion experience.
With the off-the-shelf miniature systems available, this is now very feasible.

Brain on the loose....

Re: Expanding ¾”-Scale

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:44 pm
by Bob D.
I dunno.....I've done a lot of varied hobbies. What I absolutely love about 3/4" live steam is the total lack of plastic and batteries and flakey electronics. I enjoy wearing the results, toughening my finger tips and getting a bit grubby.
Let me know when you get the kinks worked out of the articulated, thermally guided gripper arm that can find the firebox door, open it, assess the fire, select the poker or shovel, add the coal where needed and close the door before the fire dies down. Include vision so it can peak over the side of the cab and see if the injector picked up.....enough reach and dexterity to flick the cylinder cocks would be a plus.
Mastering these little beasties burning coal while being perched on a flat along for the ride is something I wouldn't want to give up.
That said a garden railroad in 3/4" running electric diesel RC is more interesting to me than G scale size wise. You could have some impressive tractive effort and I think it lends itself to homebuilding better than G scale.
I just picked up an older Aster 1 gauge live steamer........Going to incorporate a parallel 45mm track alongside my 3/4" highline reversing loop. That way I can chase down the free flight Aster from the riding car of a 3/4" steamer.

Bob D.

Re: Expanding ¾”-Scale

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:48 pm
by Bill Shields

There is just something about being a steam loco driver, especially coal powered that just has to be 'hands on' to be appreciated.

Re: Expanding ¾”-Scale

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:05 pm
by NP317
Bill Shields wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:48 pm

There is just something about being a steam loco driver, especially coal powered that just has to be 'hands on' to be appreciated.
I totally agree, despite my R/C Virtual Reality suggestion.

Re: Expanding ¾”-Scale

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:52 pm
by SteveM
How are you supposed to get covered in soot if you are driving by virtual reality?


Re: Expanding ¾”-Scale

Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:12 am
by Pontiacguy1
Isn't there already a kit for a little mack in 3/4" scale? I believe that remote control is one of the options on that, so there are already ready-to-go options out there for this.

Re: Expanding ¾”-Scale

Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:54 am
by WJH
I’m into r/c airplanes, have the goggles, telemetry, first person view, on screen display, even a gps autopilot. Yes, it all can be done, even the firing of the locomotive can be automated, and maintaining water level automatically. Heck, you could even have it automatically notch up with speed, automatically. The technology is all there.

Re: Expanding ¾”-Scale

Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:14 pm
by Builder01
On a locomotive that is large enough to ride behind, why on earth would you want to automate the experience? If you liked something like golf (I don't), you probably would not build a robot to play golf for you. Turning the operation of a live steam locomotive, that is large enough to ride behind, into a video game, is the strangest thing I have ever heard of.


Re: Expanding ¾”-Scale

Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:00 pm
by JR May
The idea proposed here was to expand the the market for 3/4” scale into perhaps the garden railroading arena. Could it be done? The answer is certainly yes.

Some like the idea, some don’t. For me, I prefer running small full sized steam locomotives, say the 7 ton to 50 ton range, 3’ gauge is where I have my most experience. But I do enjoy live steam of all scales, preferring though something I can sit back and enjoy as it runs along without hanging on side saddle on the high line or crouching over a cab on the ground. Like canoeing, which I also enjoy on occasion, both kill my back and at 6’4” the feet tend to drag on the high line. I am also a bit of a lone wolf, preferring my own track versus the club scene. Today I am building a G1 line, but had I thought more about the idea of a larger scale, I certainly would have gone that route. I hate elevated G1 tracks, so mine is built into the slope of my yard so its ground level for much of it and raised for other sections which is convenient for the steaming bay.

I had a beautiful running 3/4” scale Virginia which I often regretted selling, but I sold it as I did not want to sit on the ground to run it, nor ride a high line. I wanted something in the yard which was unobtrusive which ruled out a high line. A R/C system and a ground line track would have been ideal for me. Some nice scale coaches would have rounded it out nicely. And the option is still there to take it to a club and ride behind it.

I have a nearly complete 1/2” scale Hudson which would lend itself well to the R/C idea. Who knows, the G1 rails may be short lived.

Great idea, thanks for posting the concept.

J.R. May

Expanding ¾”-Scale

Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:40 pm
by WJH
The question was if it could be done, the answer is a resounding yes. I am all for it if it will help vendors like Friends Models, and open the segment to more people.

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