I’m a sucker for engines. They are the biggest challenge for this layout as HOn3 engines are not produced by major manufacturers other than Blackstone. The advantage of going with a freelance representation is I don’t need to stick exclusively to engines that ran on the NPC. Instead, I can sneak in a few engines that are favorites. Four of the engines on this list are ‘Holy Grail’ engines.
- NPC No 21 had a variety of ‘firsts’ — first cab forward, first engine designed to run oil, firs engine with a marine boiler.
- There is also a Class A Climax on this list which is my Keith Christensen memorial engine. Keith owned the last remaining Class A Climax (1:1 scale) and is one of those people you meet on the web and instantly bond with.
- Third, there is the 2-4-4-2 Skookum that once ran on the Little River Railroad. I love articulated locomotives.
- Finally there is the 2-6-6T Bully Boy Mason Bogie that carried No 8 on the North Pacific Coast.
At this point I have the following HOn3 engines.
- HOn3 Roundhouse 2 Truck Shay Kit — It is a 30-40 year old kit that is not currently operational. A 2 truck Shay never ran on the NPC. But it would have been a natural in the logging section.
- HOn3 Roundhouse 3 Truck Shay Kit – It is a 30-40 year old kit that is not currently operational. A 3 truck Shay never ran on the NPC. But it also would have been a natural in the logging section.
- HOn3 Westside Nakamura Class A Climax – This is a brass engine that I regard as my Keith Christensen Memorial engine. This one is destined for a partial or complete drive line upgrade and a conversion to DCC/Sound. It will be bashed to as close to Keith’s engine as I can get. It will initially serve as a switcher in the mining district and later will be assigned to the lumbering district.
- HOn3 Westside Nakamura Class A Climax – Yes, a second Class A Climax. I’m not sure why I bid on this one other than it was ending on Easter and I didn’t want to see it go for less than $200. So I sniped at $202.50 and it came to me at that price. I’ll leave this alone as it comes fairly close to the most common 15 ton Class A Climaxes. Both Climaxes will be upgraded to DCC/Sound.
- HON3 Far East Distributers (FED) Spartan 4-4-0 – This is a nice brass loco with a bad reputation for its run quality. I plan to fix the running issues and use it to model NPC No 14, a Brooks 4-4-0. Part of that upgrade is to DCC/Sounnd. This engine will serve as a NPC road engine hauling passengers.
- HOn3 Wiseman 4-4-0 NPC No 21 – This is a parts collection. This engine appeared on the NPC engine roster. The parts collection is designed for static display. I plan to make it operational by using a sacrificial FED 4-4-0 that is in inventory to provide the portion of the locomotive below the boiler. What is ironic is that is exactly what Bill Thomas did in 1:1 scaler to create NPC No 21. It will be upgraded to DCC/Sound.
- HOn3 Blackstone Models 2-8-0 Consolidation Unlettered – This will be an operating locomotive that will serve as a road loco, lettered in PC&N colors. It was delivered with DCC/Sound. It will take the role of the second NPC Consolidation.
- HOn3 Blackstone Models 2-8-0 Consolidation – D&RGW No 345, Class C-19 – This will initially serve as a yard engine. Later it will be converted back to a road engine. It was delivered with DCC/Sound. It will function as the third NPC 2-8-0.
- HOn3 Blackstone Models 2-8-2 Mikado – D&RGW Class K-27 – This will serve as a road engine. It was delivered with DCC/Sound. It will remain lettered as a D&RG engine, assuming it is being leased.
- HOn3 Brass Balboa DSP&P 2-6-6T Mason Bogie. This is very close to a ‘Holy Grail’ engine. It will serve as a tourist consist hauler and will be lettered as NPC No 8 the Bully Boy.
Yes, at this point, I have three solid operational engines (Blackstones), five more that will run intermittently but are not DCC enabled (brass). I also have two Roundhouse Shay kits that need to be assembled. But I don’t have a layout either. Hopefully, as the layout builds out, I’ll be able to bring the kits and the remaining target engines on line as DCC/Sound engines.
In addition I have five Roundhouse 2-8-0 kits, three outside frame and two inside frame. I also have two Roundhouse 3-1 kits that are designed to be bashed into either a static 0-8-0T or a static 0-4-4-0T. These kits represent a parts pool for kit bashing a number of engines. Here is a bit more on these parts pool kits.
- Three Roundhouse Outside Frame 2-8-0 kits. These are complete kits containing all the parts needed for the intended output. At least one of these kits has detailed parts that would allow me to upgrade the appearance and to produce an outside frame 2-8-0.
- Two Roundhouse Inside Frame 2-8-0 kits. These are complete kits containing all the parts needed for the intended output.
- Two Roundhouse 3-1 kits. they were designed to produce a static 0-8-0T or a 0-4-4-0T. Each kit includes two sets of cylinders, a frame and frame bottom, four sets of static drivers, two 8 coupled side rods, four piston rods, a integrated boiler-cab-tender shell, and plenty of detail plastic parts.
The locomotives produced from this parts pool will not mirror the locomotives they were designed to produce. Here is what I plan to produce.
- A 2-8-2 Outside Frame Mikado with tender – Primary parts source will be one of the outside frame kits with detail parts and a rear truck.
- A 2-4-4-2 Articulated Logging Locomotive with tender. This locomotive will be loosely based on the Skookum that once ran on the Little River Railroad. Parts source will be the two Roundhouse Inside Frame 2-8-0 kits.
- A 2-6-6-2T Logging locomotive. This locomotive will be loosely based on the Clover Valley Lumber Company 2-6-6-2T, a Mallet logging locomotive. Parts source will be two Roundhouse Outside Frame 2-8-0 kits and one of the Roundhouse 3-1 kits.
- A 2-4-4-0T Articulated switcher. I don’t know of a prototype for this locomotive but I like its chunky look. Parts source will be a Roundhouse 3-1 kit and parts left over from the other bashes.
All of these engines will have can motors and operate with DCC radio control.
That is 14 engines, quite a roster for someone that didn’t have a HOn3 locomotive a few months ago. I have quite a bit of work to do to get them all operational. My general approach to engine standards will be to:
- Upgrade the drive trains to can motors, quiet gearboxes, and drive train linkages where appropriate. Create quiet smooth engines that operate at appropriate speeds.
- Convert power from analog DC to DCC. Add sound where possible.
- Detail engines that would benefit from detailing. I have a large set of detail parts on order.
- Paint and letter where appropriate.
The three Blackstones already meet these standards except paint and lettering. The remaining engines need work to get there.
As engines become active projects a builders log will be created. The builders logs will appear in the following area.