The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More on Red Adams OO Layout in Miniature Railroading

Another magazine to watch for is Miniature Railroading. Published in a similar format to Model Railroader in the pre-war era, American OO shows up in it fairly often.

In the March, 1941 issue for example you can find a article on the Mohave Railroad, the OO layout of Herb Adams. This is the same gentleman also known as H. L. “Red” Adams who produced early OO gauge models in the Chicago area, profiled in this earlier post. This lead photo in the article looks back toward his yard and engine facilities, which reflect that he was for sure interested in running passenger trains.

The article has a couple areas of focus, on his desert scenery techniques (the results of which were very realistic for the time) and also his special lighting effects. Looking at the scenery first with this second photo, it is built up on a wood framing with screen wire and wood fiber plaster. "When the plaster was dry, Herb applied cheap, flat white oil paint." This he adjusted to various tones of color using "10-cent tubes of color." From the photo it is clear this made for a good place to run trains.

His locomotives at this date are reported to be “a Pacific, an Atlantic, and a ten-wheeler for the branch line” and equipment includes 15 freight cars, a streamliner, and standard passenger cars. The other theme of the article has to do with lighting, this last photo giving a view of what he was doing. It is a close up of an wood S-P caboose interior. It is riding on Scale-Craft trucks but note what is inside; glass rods and a lighting system. From the article,
The car markers are so built that they "pipe" the light to the outside. The ends of the rods are gound on a wheel or filed so that there are four facets on the sides at the end, and a single facet on the extreme tip. The glass may be bent to shape in any gas flame or bunsen burner.
With the track plan I would offer this final quote, which gives a good sense of what he had achieved.
Although it isn't especially apparent in the accompanying photographs, Herb's equipment is done with the utmost detail -- and this applies to his scenery and buildings as well as his locomotives and rolling stock. He's a fellow who takes pains and pride in his work, and a string of varnish streaking its humming way along his pike looks just as well in the glare of flood-lamps as it does with lights lowered to simulate the night time.
There are a number of other interesting articles in Miniature Railroading, a magazine that started publishing in 1938 and quit publication in 1941. A title to watch for.

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