Question about HOn30

Hello all!
Don't know if anyone remembers me: I was posting a year ago or so about a On30 Halloween layout project (which would go on display on the front
porch, with a protective plexiglass cover, for the Trick or Treaters to view). That project is still in the works and I thank again all those here who helped me on research and info on how to go about doing that, as it's been a long time since I did any model railroading.
I have been getting small things to eventually use but for those who don't recall, the goal was a narrow gauge, backwoods look with tight radius' and lots of curves (which I know is problematic in-of-itself). I want to pack a lot of elements in a small space (about 2' 3 or 4') and use an 0-4-0 Porter. After viewing some websites I'm fairly sure I could pull off at least an 8" radius, but even with that theres not a lot of room for much else but a curvy oval.
So, going to a smaller scale has crossed my mind. I still want the On30 layout eventually but it's crossed my mind that maybe a smaller project would work better for now. I'm still bouncing the idea around but if I go down to an HOn30 I should be able to get even tighter curves and do some extra stuff in the small space. First problem here is unlike On30 which is affordable due to Bachmann's offerings, HOn30 (or HOn3, or simply an HO train on an N scale track) isn't. However I'm willing to get a cheap or used N scale engine, toss the cab and scratchbuild a new one in HO and same with a few cars.
I'm watching a few items on eBay (shooting for something as far below $20 as I can find) which might work but I know this will require a tight group of drive wheels like on a Porter or Switcher. Haven't seen anything like a Porter in this scale. There's a Switcher but it's got 6 wheels and a little steamer which looks like 2-4-0 but it has the 4 large wheels.
Question here is would a 6 wheel block on a Switcher kill the tight radius ability (say a 6") and would the large wheels on a steamer have the same effect? One other option might be a small diesel engine with a 4 wheel drive unit, as long as the other 4 wheel block could pivot (or even better if both groups could pivot -I can't recall if these designs are locked in straight or if they can turn). Any thoughts or experience on anything like this?
And if I could pull this off, does anyone think a 2' 3' board with tight curved tracks is enough room to allow enough uphill climb to allow the track to cross over the other (like a figure-8)?
~fd-64
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On 3/3/2008 8:21 PM snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net spake thus:

Can you say "blind drivers"?
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(snip)

I seem to remember a photo in a mid-50's Model Railroader of a guy the laid HO track around the brim of a bowler hat, and ran an 0-4-0T (I think it was a Varney Dockside) around it. That couldn't have been more than 4" radius, and not much shorter a wheelbase. Take a piece of flex track and do a test with tour Porter. For really tight curves, even with an 0-4-0, you may need to hand lay the track with a 3-point track gauge to widen the gauge enough to clear the ends of the flanges.

Look harder. AHM offered a cute little HOn30 0-4-0T US prototype saddle tanker back in the late 60's. I got one at Woolworths for about $5, and found another at a flea market more recently for about the same.

Take a look at Ron Ham's G scale 3' x 4' layout at http://carendt.com/scrapbook/page2/index.html You should be able to easily duplicate that in 2' x 3' in On30.
Geezer
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Geezer replied:

I see what you mean here with a super tight curve likely putting the wheels in a bind. Never hand layed track but I suppose I could try in the areas where it would be needed. Or I could cheat and cut the outer tabs on the flex track, slide the rail over slightly with the track gauge and nail it down?

Interesting. I'll keep looking. :)

Wow. Don't know if I'm more impressed with the tight curves or the angle of the climb. But you're right; if that one can do it, the On30 Porter should able to as well. I like the "pizza" layout at the top of that page too; lots of stuff packed into a small area and the fake track a level above adds dimension (might use that idea).
Well, I've picked up some flex track. Guess it will be best to tack it to a board and test some curves and how steep an angle it will climb. I don't have any cars yet the size I'll need to use but maybe can scrap a few standard cars to scratchbuild some test subjects. I know I'm going to have to check these on curves and grades as well.
Thanks for the info!
~fd-64 :)
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