Jun 16, 2012
Winnebago? The mobile home thing? If I actually found one in 1:160 scale, I'd leave it be.
The Winnebagos were the last locos to come out of LaGrange. They were only sold to Metra. The locos may have been the inspiration for the F59PHI. Their official designation is F40PHM-2.
Considering the focus of your layout is passenger station as it is today you won't find freight traffic in the area. The last freights that used the Navy Pier line were hauling paper to the Sun-Times Presses. Unfortunately Trump tore the building down and exposed how ugly his mind works in it's place.
If you wanted to include some freight, mostly LCL express, you should have picked Dearborn Station in the 40s and 50s.
A book that has a lot of pictures and maps of the major passenger stations in Chicago is
Chicago Stations & Trains Photo Archive by John Kelly from Iconographix. It has a lot of pictures of the old name trains that rolled in and out of the city. The maps show just how big the operations were.
The freight operations were built further out and in the burbs as they needed even bigger yards.
Ah yess, the F40PHM. I saw a pic of one the other day and looked around for any manufacturers in N-gauge. As far as kitbashing goes, my kitbash kung-fu is exactly zero. I've never attempted. The best I could do is make a detailed 3d model and send it off to get built at a steep cost to me. As it is, I'll be getting the regular Kato Amtrak F40s and sending them off to get painted since I've yet to see a video posted on youtube in the past 4 years that shows the PHM. Of course, I never searched for that specific model. I also plan on making a trip to Chicago soon to railfan for a few days.
As far as freight goes, it will have a presence on a different module, but again, not a large one. I can integrate some into this module perhaps by throwing a little bit of what looks to be an intermodal yard at the northeast end of the chicago-aurora 3-track raceway. But again, actual freight traffic will have to wait for my James River module.
I think this is a really cool idea, and I am jealous. At one point I tried to plan a CUS-based layout that would fit in my available space, and gave up in despair. I was trying for the south end, the coach yard, the hook to the west and maybe as far as Western Ave. I could never get it to work, but I think I was focused on the name passenger trains and the old post-office, rather than the commuter trains, and didn't really have it so well thought out or laid out as you have.
I wish you all the best!! Please keep us posted on your progress!!
Building the whole loco in a CAD program is way too much work. The loco mods only occur in front of the cab doors and above the short hood. It's a chop, move and fill procedure. If afraid to do it to a Kato then a Life-Like would provide the test subject. The Xacto, Razor Saw and Squadron Green Putty are your friends.
Sub-Module 1 framing completed
Here are a couple of photos of the (almost) finished framing of sub-module 1. Again, the dimensions for this element are 5'-2" wide x 5'-6" deep. The metal plates held the flat part of the frame in place and together while I positioned and glued the vertical members. Everything will be glued and screwed, and where you see a metal plate is where a folding 33" leg will be placed. The angular border on the right is where I will be forming part of the river. This all took a lot longer than I expected, but most of that time is me being too busy at work, and only having a hand saw and miter box. Also, I take the "measure twice, cut once" wisdom and extend it to be more like "measure 10 times..." The end result is that I am within 1/16" or better accuracy as drawn in my CAD files.
Guidance for new builders, from a new builder:
Take the time to select the straightest lumber possible.
Higher quality lumber exists that is gauranteed straight, for a much higher cost.
Patience, patience, patience!
Wood glue and carpet are not friends.
All I have left really is to screw in the vertical pieces into the base, then cut and assemble the folding legs. At that point I will begin on the second sub-module. I've decided to build all of the sub-module frames first, then align, pin and clamp mark and secure them, THEN I will start the actual process of building the layout on top of it all. This way, I can be assured that all seams will be tight for when I eventually take the whole layout to a show.
Hey, ChicagoNW, when I visited Chicago, just about all I saw on the BNSF route were the Winnebagos. I really liked them. I also got a glimpse of a rare F40C and took a few videos. Unfortunately, all of the still images I took vanished. I'll return to Chicago in a few months for the weekend to reshoot the parts of my layout.
In the AMRAIL operating group in the Northwest Chicago area there is a guy who has modeled METRA and AMTRAK in HO. He has duplicated the south end of Union Station and has more money tied up in Shinahora double slip switches than most of us have in trains. His name is Fred Soop (not sure of the exact spelling of his last name). You may want to track him down. AMRAIL has a group where you could contact him
Great idea and concept. A few pointers. Metra F40PHM-2 "Winnebago" units generally see use on the BNSF lines on the South Side of Union Station , and on the Rock Island Lines out of La Salle Street , so realistically there isn't really a need for one - I suspect a 3D printed model would probably be the best way to obtain one.
Amtrak's Hiawatha is formed normally with an NPCU cab unit (F40PH with the prime mover removed) at one end , with a P42 Genesis at the other - some sets have Horizon fleet cars , which although not available RTR (Kato , are you listening?) , Island Model works produces a resin kit for the very similar Comet car as used on various commuter agencies.
Hope this is of use
Glad to hear you got some looks at the real stuff.
In the spirit of the hobby I feel that on should have at least one example of the trains that had anything to do with the line you're modeling. And even some of those that are marginally related.
So my collection includes RI E8s in a couple of paint schemes (No ex up yet), The Aerotrain. The E6-BA is a future project. A ton of C&NW Es including a Crandal Cab in brass. Need to get better than a couple of Atlas F units though. Milwaukee E6 in yellow. For the F40C oproject I have a JNJ F45 body Evergreen Car siding and a Kato SD chassis. Need to take my own advice and start cutting and gluing. A Winnebago project is in the future I have several Model Power and Life-Like donor bodies. By the way I found out the MP body drops right on the Kayo chassis. I used one as a RTA paint csheme. For the RTA?Metra I have an RTA E8, Model Power F40s. A Kato F40 and MP36s run in Metra paint. Of course these locos pull a wide pallet of gallery cars from Arnold/Rapido, ConCor, NGI and Look Models.
For Fun there is the Santa Fe commuter consisting of a MP F40 in Warbonnet paint pulling ConCor Bi-Levels (Gallery cars not Hi-Level El Cap ones) in factory fantasy schemes. Did Athearn do a Warbonnet F59PHI that could also pull the cars?
This sub-module, when attached to #1, will be the max depth of the Chicago module: 13 feet. This sub-module contains the 3-track approach to the Chicago Union Station North interlocking and also contains the largest body of water. The overall dimensions are 7'-6" deep x 3'-6" wide.
The dark blue circular track is a subterranean loopback, accessible by Chicago North and the west part of the layout, the purpose of which is to simulate a greater amount of rail traffic than the layout could otherwise handle.
The only units that don't move off any lines are the F-40Cs. The two left (611 and 614) stick to the Milwaukee North and West lines. Any other unit could show up on any line. I ride behind F-40s, MP-36s and the Winnebagos all the time on the NCS.
Depending on when you model, the Hiawatha could be all Amfleet cars with a B-32 at one end, and a F-40 at the other. That was a typical consist in the early nineties.
I plan to model the most recent version, so I have to come to terms with getting about 9 Kato F40 Amtraks repainted to Metra, and 1 to ph4 for the hiawatha. Finding a
decent base model to kitbash the Horizons from has been a mostly fruitless endeavor, so I will look into the Comet cars that supaned mentioned.
Well, it appears that Island Model works has suspended N Scale production while it switches over to Shapeways. There is currently a single model available, with the promise of more to follow. I still have a lot to build before I really should worry about consists, but I do like to get something every couple of weeks to keep me going.
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I'd hold off on the Metra units. Kato is sure to realease them eventually after doing the Bi-levels.
Check your PM's too.
I will do my best to hold off on the F40 repaints, but if I get the track in place before they are released, if they are released, then a good paonter is going to get a big order.
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I think we are going have to fight hard to get Metra or RTA paint on a F40. Kato did do the RTA for HO with their first release and I just got their press release for it in Metra colors. I think the home offices in Japan have a problem in doing it in N. I think they don't want to let ConCor have the business on their older car designs.
But the Metra paint is one of the simpler one to do on your own. The decals may be the problem.
You might want to ask Kato if they will be selling undecorated bodies or complete locos.
They just retooled the N scale F40s with ditch lights.
I'll definitely look into the new F40s. I'll still hold out for a few months on repainting, but yeah. No decals that I've been able to find. On a positive note, I was able to order 4 of the Comet car bodies from Island Model Works. They are "close enough" for me and will get the Horizon paint. Now I need to buy another Genesis and an F40 and paint it to phase IV.
I might sidetrack myself a little bit and build a 10 foot display shelf so I can smile at my growing collection.
Submodule 2 - complete
By complete, I mean the base framing. I came up with a new way to maintain structural integrity and have space cut for the river area along the right edge. I wish I would have thought of it for sub-module 1. Oh well. The overall length is 13'-0". Here are a couple of photos:
The cat already seems to be claiming ownership even at this early stage. In the last photo, where 1 meets 2, it only looks misaligned because I have some shims under mod 2 to keep pressure on the crossmembers that have drying glue. Then I will screw them in from the bottom and side to complete the structure. Module 2 was a bit more challenging but went together a lot smoother than mod 1. I am delaying adding legs until I have all of the guides in place to keep the modules flush.
Next up: Module 5. I decided to go ahead and do mod 5 next since the other two only have right angles and will be easy to put together. Module 5 will eventually be the most expensive due to the cost of the track.
Just got the latest release from Kato. It references a new video. It shows three new commuter paint schemes for the F40. It also shows how to add more cars and locos to their "New" book style collector case.
The hands adds an extra car, a MP36 and a F40 to the VRE collector case. They start doing the same to the Metra case but when it comes to the F40, a HO in Metra colors is tried. Is this a tease of future release? Originally the HO f40 came in light blue RTA colors and their current release is the Blue/Red Metra paint scheme.
I'm nearing completion of the benchwork for the 3 more difficult sub-modules (1,2 and 5) and will then be able to complete subs 3 and 4 in a single weekend. After that, it'll be time to elevate the whole assembly on legs. Here's the chaos in the livingroom:
I'm using 1/2 inch bolts with wingnuts to serve as alignment tools between adjacent subs. I still need to fit the crossmembers for sub 5.
In the meantime, I decided to build a 4 foot tall x 6 foot long display shelf:
The camera makes it look bent, but it's all straight and level.
The camera also makes the Kato P42 Amtrak Phase V scheme look like "it should" - BLUE. In reality, I think the color looks too turquoise as compared to the Amtrak blue found on the cars. Hopefully Kato will come out with a phase V F40. Otherwise, I may be forced to repaint my P42s because honestly, I'm starting to take issue with the turquoise the more I look at it.
Also, I have the pieces now to make my 4 Horizon fleet cars for the Hiawatha train set. I will need to purchase an airbrush setup so if any of you all have recommendations, I'd be glad to hear them. I want a single-action brush, with the whole system not exceeding $400.00. I've done some digging around on TrainBoard but the models mentioned I can't find at stores.
^ Check which run on the P42 you have. The later runs seemed to correct the turquoise to a more blue. It really depends on how long the loco has been out in the sun, and the lighting. Some of the units I see in CUS everyday look turquoise, others....not so much.
There's one unit on the Hiawatha right now that's sporting a gray primer nose that aburptly turns into the turquoise/blue.
This is from the first run, and under good lighting, it looks blue.