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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just finished adding 3D printed plows to my USA F3's. They were made by Trainwreck-Designs. He has a website if anyone is interested. A couple years ago I was lucky enough to get stainless grilles for them. I don't believe they are available at this time. Most F3's had the chicken wire but later units were fitted with the stainless grilles which became standard on the F7's. I always hated the chicken wire look. I did make some other changes. which include new headlight lenses and reflectors, ladder hangers and a five chime horn on one of the units. The mars light is programed through a Airwire G3 decoder. The headlights are warm white leds. Classification lights are bright white leds, also operated from the G3 decoder. Here are a few photos.

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks JKS and David. One more photo. The top track is part of the loop coming out of the train room. Kind of my Tehachapi loop. About 135 feet of 2.5% to mainline.

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Just one more. Not as realistic a shot, but I liked it.

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WOW Paul, the plows look great! Did you modify them? Are all the engines powered? Layout is looking very SP.... Is the wood in the one pic a retaining wall or restricting access? Are you modeling any specifics SP sites?

Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Michael,
The only modification to the plows was the cut levers. They do not come with them. Otherwise the plows just mount to the frame using the same screw holes as the stock USA pilot. A very good fit. I found quite a few variances in the S.P. photos I looked at, so just used modelers license on the cut levers. Three of the four F3 units are battery powered with Airwire and Phoenix sound. One B unit is a dummy. As you know I model S.P. but the layout is not S.P. specific. My railroad is called the Sierra Cascade & Pacific and in theory is wholly owned by S.P. I just wanted to have a generic looking southwest look. The wall is about 75' long. All turnouts for operation can be reached while standing at the wall. The entire 75' wall was replaced a couple years ago with the type you see in the photo. I came up with that modular design. The 4x6's are are attached to aluminum brackets with lag screws. That allowed me to replace the old wall a couple sections at a time. It will also allow for easy replacement of any wood that fails over time. The old wall was made with 2x8's which were starting to warp and fail after 15 years. These treated ground contact rated 4x6's should hold up for a long time. When it comes time to sell the house I just hope we can find a buyer who wants a railroad. Sure would be a shame to tear it up. Hopefully that is still a few years off. Attached is a photo of the entire wall. You can also see the bridge in the background that connects through a window to the train room storage and staging yard. The wall around the rest of the layout is lower and constructed with cement blocks, about 2000 of them.
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Thanks for the additional info Paul. Your raised layout is very appealing to me and my bad knees. I also like the view or perspective realized from the elevated layout. I going to incorporate both raised and ground level themes in my layout design.

Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Michael,
I have absolutely never regretted the extra work it took to build an all raised layout. I look at it this way. It allowed me to design the track plan just as I would have for an indoor walk around layout.. My "benchwork" is walls and dirt. And you are right about perspective. Sitting on a bench and watching a train go by at eye level is a much more realistic look. It took roughly seven months to get the ground ready for the first track.
Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Ted. When I started my layout I was around 60. Now 77, so the raised layout is now paying off !
 

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There are some Aristo E-8 Grills around and they do fit USA F-3's after you shorten them. I own all the leftover E-8 Grills they had left. I have sold severla for this exact reason. But I would have to see how many I have left. I haven't looked in a long time. I do know that
Marvin Koenig, in Florida /
Minnesota. HAs the grills on his SOO F-3's
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

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Rex,
I wanted to use the Aristo grilles but they are too narrow. 25/32 as opposed to the USA 27/32. I would like to see photos of Marvin Koenig's conversions.
You are quite the collector. (3) Wanted, Aristo Santa Fe blue bonnet SD45 or USA SD40-2 in same colors | G Scale Model Train Forum (mylargescale.com) Very impressive display. I see one of your northerns there. My northern runs great, always get lots of compliments.
I will see I =f I can find the Pictures and they look great !
 
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