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Layout Tour: The O Scale Tall Pine Timber Co.

April 26, 2009

The Tall Pine Timber Company is a good example of what type of O scale layout you can have in a typical 1950’s tract home garage. (about 1.5 car garage) Despite 2-Rail O scale models’ firm status as the #5 modeling scale, behind HO, N, G, O 3-Rail, and maybe even On3, there are a good amount of available cars and locomotives to help the modeler build the layout that he’s always wanted.

O scale freight house

The TPTCo. occupies what seems to be a 20X25 foot space and features a double-track mainline of 2-rail O scale and features an On3 point-to-point operation above the mainline on a ridge. A modest yard is located on either side of the layout with a town between the yards on a ridge, which is served by the On3 branchline. The layout is basically an around-the-walls “doughnut” which maximized the mainline run and also provided for gentler curves for the large Southern Pacific Mt-4 4-8-2’s that he likes to run.

Southern Pacific Mt-4 4-8-2 in O scale

What stands out most in the TPTCo. is the collection of rolling stock. An excellently detailed and weathered collection of 1940-1965 era equipment can be found on the layout, each beautifully weathered an nicely detailed. All the gondolas seemed to have really nice loads, and there was a surprise to be found in each boxcar which had an open door.

O scale scrap loads

It seems like working on rolling stock is this modeler’s favorite activity, as you can find many examples of highly detailed Maintenence of Way equipment, (like this gray drovers’ caboose above) A large collection of MOW flats and gondolas literally covered in people occupies both medium sized yards on either wall.

Frontier Town in O scale

The people were EVERYWHERE, it was an impressive collection of figures doing all sorts of things. From the requisite Woodland Scenics’ characters to other brands, you could see just about anything. Mules, Hoboes, Businessmen, Workmen, Ladies, Children and more. It was almost to the point of overpopulation, in some areas, which is rare for a layout of any scale.

O scale crowd

Alot of detail was poured into every scene and the layout (to me) looks like it’d be located in the foothills of the Sierra Mountain range. Snowsheds, a rarely modeled feature, were present along with the normal “frontier town” scenes and a few other interesting points of interest.

O scale Snowshed

Overall, very competent modeling and exceptionally detailed rolling stock made the layout enjoyable. The trackwork and ballasting were also superb and the modeler’s eye for interesting scenes that only figures could tell really brought much of his layout to life.

O scale chicken coop.

In addition, he really had a good sense of era, with plenty of vintage vehicles, period clothing and advertisements, and even “way of life” details, like this chicken coop behind a house with a victorian-era screen door used to keep the chickens from escaping.

Improbable mountain ranges

Despite these great details, the rockwork was rather cartoony, with sheer 100+ foot cliffs making a “box canyon” out of much of the layout. The On3 line seems like an afterthought to me and visually disects the layout (which is a positive thing) I think the layout could have benefitted from nicely painted backdrops instead of the cliffs. Also, alot of the non-cliff rock work was incredibly steep, it created “mini-mesas” which gave a blocky shape to much of the scenery, some gradual slopes would have broken up this nicely and somewhat easily. Some bridges did look overbuilt, but that’s ok, they looked good. The overpopulated layout flooded with people seemed a bit improbable in spots, with railroad workers covering the decks of flatcars and freight depot platforms.

Checker Players Everywhere! You'd think a national championship was going on.

Overall, it’s a pretty impressive layout and it makes a great place to hang out on a warm summer day, that’s for sure! The hospitality of the hosts was second-to-none, I can’t thank them enough for an enjoyable visit.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. railfanhunter permalink
    June 5, 2009 1:58 am

    DUDE I want that MT

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