Read the Free Trolleyville Times Monthly for the Latest News on Prototype and Model Traction!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Rise and Fall of Tarnation

Construction Begins in Earnest on the Oil Drilling Module, but then Stalls because the Fates had Different Plans!

The big layout of the Southern California Traction Club is a magnificent layout with its City quarter, Suburban quarter, Industrial quarter, and Country quarter. Naturally I want to build some modules for the layout too. So I designed a few, then decided to start in on this one first for the Industrial quarter.

The Tarnation Supply Co. warehouse was the first structure that I built for the module. Its location can be seen on the plan and historical photo.

Then construction began on the module:

The module was built to regular HO modular standards: 1x3s with 2'x4' Homasote.

Cork roadbed glued and pinned into place.

The turnout was located first since its placement is critical having to fit between tanks and avoiding having its frog in the road crossing.

SCTC club member George Jones rasping the cork so as to bring the siding track below grade.

It is prototypical practice to have the sidings below grade. One of the reasons is so that cars sitting on the siding won't accidentally roll onto the mainline.

After the flex track was installed, the next step was to locate the main road. Thin strips of wood (paint stirrers) were used as forms for the road. I then mixed approximately a 50/50 mix of sifted gravel and Durhams water putty and spread it into the form.

After the mixture had set up a bit but was still soft, I used a vehicle to imprint some ruts in the road.

A small glimpse of what could have been. 

Here is a test shot I took to see how things were looking. But that was as far as work ever progressed on the module. The module has become a victim of progress.

The City Quarter of the Southern California Traction Club by far attracts the most attention and comments. Visitors are always crowded around the City marveling at the cars navigating through the steep canyons of the tall buildings. It was decided to extract the City Quarter from the main layout and expand on it making it a layout all in itself. It has been exhibited at a few shows now with great success. I'll explain more in a future post, but its proven to have been a very good direction for the club to grow.

So I don't know what the future of the module is. Besides the club moving into a new direction, there are exciting new projects in the works that have now captured my imagination and enthusiasm.

Too bad. This module would have been spectacular. Yes sir. It would have been spectacular.


Monday, November 03, 2014

What In Tarnation!

Plans for an Oil Drilling Module for the Southern California Traction Club

Today's post is presented by the Vice President for Planning of the Dan D. Sparks Plywood Development and Transportation Co. Arnie Clever:

Shareholders, interested parties and what-not,

Mr. Dan D. Sparks and the Board of Directors and such have declassified some documents plans and what-not and have asked me to share them with you to you today this week. As you might know, the DDSPD(and)TCo also has a vested interest in the Southern California Traction Club too. So the company had me draw up some plans for an oil drilling operation outfit for that clubs layout. And boy! Did I come up with a whopper of a plan! I call it "Tarnation" yep. And its packed full of oil drilling goodness. Check it out for yourself and see!:
Arnie Clever

Tarnation Oil Drilling Module

2'x4' HO Scale Traction Module
  • 5 Oil Derricks with containment ponds.
  • An oil supply warehouse with steam boilers
  • A freight and passenger depot
  • Various oil tanks
  • Oil loading racks with tank cars
-all in a compact space. And its very prototypical as well. I actually lifted the layout of these structures from an genuine prototype photograph!:

Huntington Beach, CA. c.1920s

Everything this side of the tracks in the photo are on the module! Starting at the lower right, a road passes a supply warehouse, past some boilers, past a derrick with containment pond, ending at a mainline with overhead trolley wire and what appears to be a cannery (which I substituted with a depot). On the other side of the tracks sits an oil loading facility with tank cars. To the right of the center oil derrick are two tanks and another derrick. And through all that, power lines are strung. Its all there!

The 5 derricks will use the Campbell Scale Models Timber Oil Derrick to start with and then built up to look more like those in the photos.

DPMs Schultzs Garage will represent the supply warehouse.

I'm not sure exactly what these boilers were used for, but I could easily imagine they came in very handy when dealing with sticky, clumpy tar! This one is by American Model Builders.

For the Depot, a modified American Model Builders Northern Pacific Depot fits the space nicely.

This Chama Oil Dock would have been perfect, but it doesn't seem to be available anymore. So other arrangements will have to be made.

The Oil loading platform could be populated with some 1920s era tank cars available from an assortment of manufacturers.

Non-rolling tanks are available from a variety of manufactures as well.

Throw in some Jordan Highway Miniatures vehicles and lots of assorted details, and I think we'll have ourselves a darn nifty oil drilling diorama!

Arnie Clever
Vice President of Planning
Dan D. Sparks Plywood Development & Transportation Co.