Old Taz’s wonderful layout update

It’s been one of these weeks for me.

You know how sometimes you feel the whole world is against you and nothing goes your way?

Running the site has been bit of a handful this week and I have to say I got a bit down about it.

But do you know what? That lasted about 5 minutes. Two things cheered me right up.

After I flicked through the site and read some of your kind and thoughtful comments over the years, it gave it all some perspective.

So I’d just like to start today’s post by saying thank you to each and everyone of you for making the site what it is.

And I really do mean that.

Secondly, Old Taz got back in touch.

(Old Taz’s last post is here, if you want to get up to date.)

If his narrative doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will:

“Hi Al

Richard from Montana.

My layout is n scale and it’s called Whiskey Run.

It’s been a while and I hope everybody is in good health. I’ve been reading and watching all of the posts.

It seems like everyone’s getting along well and having fun. There’s a lot of wonderful layouts on your site.

If you remember, we built 2 stills in our mine and that’s why my layout is called Whiskey Run instead of Tinker Ville.

We are still running one still in the mine, just for our own relaxation. There’s been some additions since we last talked.

The undertake, Will Barry has started a used car lot so, now, he can sell you a used car or a plot of ground. I’ll tell you though I think his wife sells more cars than he does. What a knockout.

Then there’s Frank Forter. He owns the drive in next to the car lot which is called Pig Out. Frank owns the pig farm east town. Thank gosh it’s east of town as our wind comes out of the west.

Frank uses all of the pig except (you thought I was going to say squeal, didn’t you?) No, it’s the tail. The squeal is what he plays over his loud speakers.

He has pickled pig’s feet, knuckles, deep fried ears for the dogs, roasts loins and whole hogs. He also will come to your party to roast on site. His shop was an ice cream shop. The owners found out they couldn’t sell ice cream in the winter time, so they went back to California and left large debts. Frank paid off the debts and is making a going business of selling his own pigs.

Ernest came too and worked in the mine until they found out he could repair anything. Several friends set him up with his machine shop. One day a couple of the miners played a trick on Ernest they brought a pocket watch that hadn’t run in years to fix. After they gave it to Ernest, he tripped going in to shop and dropped the watch. It started running and he just put it on the shelf waiting for them to come back.

When they came back get to watch he charged them $10.00. And told them they wound it too tight. The watch probably only cost $3.00 when it was new. The miners haven’t bothered him since.

The sawmill has added a lumber yard. Tall Paul is letting his son run the lumberyard and shipping yard.

Tall Paul took a freight car back east. We are not sure way but he kept talking about Somone by the name of Bab. We think it was a lady he knew. Said they were making Bab work in the iron mines. He said he wanted to bring Bab out here with him? We’ll see.

The filling station on the highway coming into town is owned by Speedy G. He also owns the oil depot down the highway. It is called Gonzales Oil.

Speedy is out of Mexico. He has 5 boys and 2 girls running the filling station for him. This is the full-service station. When you pull in there, they check the oil, the water, the air in your tires, and wash your windshield they also check out your teenage son or daughter depending on who’s doing the checking?

They have a U-Haul service and a wrecker service. When was the last time someone checked your oil, water, your air, and filled your tank with gas? I will Bet there’s some of you’ve never had that happen! (I had a 1929 Hupmobeal that did not have a dipstick. It had a float with a wire sticking out of the block. It was fun to ask to have the oil checked. Just to see the frustration on their face.)

The salvage yard is something new. The Twix brothers came back from the service and decided to start a salvage yard with all the junk that’s laying around on every farm around here. They bought a crane, a duce and a half, a Jeep and a 3-quarter ton truck, from army surplus to start their business. They have cleaned up a lot of farms around the town and paid off their debts already.

(Crane as an Electro magnet, it raises the magnet up and down and the crane moves side to side. You can load the gondolas with scrap iron with this crane. The dozer goes back and forth to Push scrap iron to the crane. I built the joystick from scratch. I also made the Electro magnet. All is wired to my control box.

At this point on the work bench, I am lighting all of the cars and trucks that are going to be on the roads.

The cars all have one light in them and I’m using fiber optics open it out the headlight and tail lights, then I put a thin coat of red paint on the tail lights.

The trucks I have small lights for headlights and tail lights.

The lights in the trailers, I’ve drilled small holes where the marker lights are to and field them with colored resin. The light in the trailer shows through the resin as marker lights.

The roadway will have 3 strips of copper tape one centered and once centered to the outside of the road. These will be painted then when the car or truck is placed the paint can be removed. Then the pickups on the cars and trucks will be soldered to the copper tap. (See test photos.) after ruining 2 dozen cars I think I found the easiest way to do the best. These are resin poured cars. Now I have more cars for my junkyard. I will let you know how they come out when I’m finished.

Have fun and like my mom and dad would say. If you have nothing good to say don’t say anything!!!

Richard in Montana (Old Taz)”









A big thanks to Old Taz for these pics and such a fabulous narrative – they put a big smile on my face.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to get going on your own layout.

Best

Al

PS Got a question that you want answered? Mail me and I’ll post it on the forum.

33 Responses to Old Taz’s wonderful layout update

  1. Bill Ridge says:

    Very very nicely done! The lights really make it come alive. Thanks for sharing. Bill (American Flyer).

  2. Normally you’d only get the plot and cast list in a theatre programme. This was great. Can’t wait for Act 2.

  3. paul says:

    Taz love the individual back stories for each plot on your layout fantastic imagination … and Al i am autistic and suffer from depression but working on my layout helps a lot as does your site the inspiration ive got from other members has been invaluable i look forward to your email every morning you shine a light into my day keep up the great work
    paul

  4. Frank says:

    When I see cars and a wooden fence I think about Mr. Miyagi’s house in “The Karate Kid”. Nice scenes. You pack a lot of visual interest in each are of the layout.

  5. Ian impett says:

    Al keep going mate

  6. Mr. J S Friedman says:

    The sawmill/lumberyard and junk/ scrap yard as an old saying ” off the rails” fantastic. Even think I see a lean to park of the wall that surrounds the junk/scrap yard.

    Great work, great fun in the story telling!

  7. TerrySipe says:

    Great work. I love the narratives. One question…Where did you find all the N scale vintage cars and trucks? I’ve been looking but have not found what I need. They would fit the bill perfect. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Eric Kiehl says:

    Well Taz you it the ball out of the ball park on this layout. It was a great narrative and very nicely built.

    I enjoy the whole piece, keep up the great work…

    Eric the firefighter St. Louis Missouri Area

  9. Nick says:

    Excellent !!!
    Pouring our imagination out into our layout, making the experience real, helps to create a realistic display. As you have just demonstrated to us, very cool.
    So much to take away from your entire presentation….. thank-you !!

  10. george zaky says:

    Taz
    Awesome job. Great ingenuity. I am into this hobby to conjure up different ways of doing things, dealing with failures, but the successes are so rewarding. When people like you come along it so reinforces my outlook and makes me ecstatic.
    Thanks for the narrative, the pics and the craftsmanship.

    Big Al- here in the NY area we deal with pot holes in the road that shake the fillings out of your teeth. So it is with anything you do. You have a great ride, nice scenery, good thoughts and BAM a jarring moment, concern, and very soon you’re back to normal. What you do here for so many people and for this long cannot go unappreciated so hang in there, avoid potholes, and I think its a Brit saying ” Keep a stiff upper lip “.
    All stay safe & be well
    George from LI, NY

  11. Gary Wessel says:

    Taz, you are both an true artist and story teller. Thank you so much for bringing a smile to this old guys face. Just on fantastic accomplishment. Please continue the narrative. I’ve had health problems lately and this is the first time I’ve smiled in weeks.

  12. Mike Balog says:

    Hello Old Taz:
    Great work you have put into every section and scene of your layout. Where did you get the Resin Cars from? Did you make them yourself or buy them? Great Idea to use the copper tape for the power for the cars and trucks. And I imagine you could do the same for the buildings. Liked the Saw Mill set up. Where did you get the overhead Frame Sawmill? Was that a Kit or scratch built? Same with that dozer crane in the junkyard. Does the large electro magnet crane work and move from one side to load the freight cars? Like the back story very much describing the town and the residents.. Keeps your interest up. Do you have any crossing gates for the roads by the RR tracks? ~ Mike in N.H. U.S.A.

  13. Erick says:

    Nice Work.!!!

  14. Bill Kennedy says:

    Al, this is directed to you. I do not have a layout but, read all of YOUR episodes.
    I say your episodes because without YOU there would not not be this site. Unfortunately, there is failure in finding the right words to say THANKS. Maybe there are watchers out there who have the vernacular to put forth words of appreciation for what you do. I find myself lost and can only come up with thanks with feeling. We all love and appreciate what you do. THANKS!!!

  15. Brad Bourne says:

    Quick comment to pass on about the copper tape. After the scene is set, the tape can be painted to blend in with the rest of the background. Will almost make the copper tape disappear!

  16. Ron Susarchick says:

    What a warm and loving spirt you have Mr. old Taz .

  17. Hooooooo Boy…. There is a lot going on here.
    Is that Old Taz or old Possum? The tails (er. tales) were great…
    One or two hit close to home… Arriba y Arriba!
    Mentioning the Hupmobile brought back one of my father’s stories about his first car (A Hupmobile) Its brake (probably the parking brake but with my parents… One could never be sure) Was a large rock on the running board securely tied to the frame. When the brake was needed, the rock was pushed off the running board.

    Al… I cannot thank you enough for your site and the pleasure it has brought me over the years. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy and there are days (and weeks) when it seems that nothing is going right (hey, it can even be a year… as in 2020). What is the great phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On”?
    Whether it is model railroading or any other of life’s endeavors — Most end up like that Scottish game called Golf — Hours of nearly endless frustration punctuated by moments of pure bliss.

  18. Larry "Ripper" Ripplinger says:

    LOL!! Fantastic story telling. This is really neat! Not dull and made very interesting!!

  19. Taz, you should be a writer. The narrative is very much smile producing. What an imagination. Great idea for lighting. Same idea as slot car track.
    Al, keep em coming. We all get down sometime. Posts like Taz’s really help us all. It’s not just about running trains. It’s about all the fun we have in miniature railroading.

  20. Hugh G Glasgow III says:

    Tax:
    WOW! What an excellent idea on lighting! Really like the roadway with the copper tape. I bet you could paint the tape in white stripes in dashes like the real highway and no one would be the wiser. A really nice job there!

  21. Rene Zoufalik says:

    Very nice, just starting my n scale myself, have the base and track down, even started on bit if the scenery
    Will send in some pics as soon as I figure out how
    Realy have been enjoying this site and all the helpful hints and how to’s

  22. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Well Old Taz….we know you like a lot of old cars……..nice job with the lighting.
    But I am a little confused with what looked like a highway and also to trucks on a plank over tracks. After looking closely at the pictures…..were you experimenting with copper foil for lighting? Love the detail on the yarworks.

  23. Susan Cannon says:

    Taz, your craftsmanship is only surpassed by your storytelling. What a great tale of your layout!! Thank you for sharing!

  24. Bruce Y says:

    WONDERFUL. 🙂

  25. Richard Chapple Sr says:

    I am so very pleased to see this work on Al’s site today. I am also pleased to say I have had the privilege of knowing Old Taz as one of my very best friends and we live within 3 blocks of each other in our little town of Hardin Montana. He has a rich resource of creativity, ingenuity, and extreme patience to complete a task. Since we have the same first name I usually call him big R while I am little r. His work is very inspiring.
    I am very happy to see you share your work.
    Sincerely
    Dick (little r) from Hardin Montana USA

  26. Roy says:

    Roy from Texas.
    Tax, Thanks for the backstory and the pictures. It is a very interesting story and layout. Keep up the great fun story.

  27. Berniedoc still plays says:

    The narrative is so great.Taz should be hired to write stories for train show layouts and modular put together shows.bernie

  28. Richard Chapple Sr says:

    Old Taz and I have discussed building stories for our layouts over the years. we both have done a few.
    My G scale Rural Montana Branch Lines has a history and story behind it, I shared that long ago on Al’s site.
    It is great fun to build a story for your layout, one thing it does is eliminate a space problem if one perceives they have one. Just as my G scale layout is small and really just four roundy roundy circles of track, there is a lot of story involved to get from Farrenuff Montana to Youbet Montana.
    It is really fun, if you have not built a story and a history for your railroad give it a try.
    Dick (little r) from Hardin Mt

  29. great layout love the car lot and the junk yard
    bob from florida

  30. Paul DeGrey says:

    To Al (Alastair) I am sorry you got down about the site. It is truly a one of a kind and brings tremendous joy and some measure of unity to modelers all over the world. I don’t know how many years I have been following you but I enjoy seeing how railroading is modeled in other parts of the world. Thanks for everything.

  31. Gary Mitchell says:

    Great story and it looks good.
    Regards Gary NZ

  32. Anton says:

    The narrative alone was worth reading this post. And the pics? Genius at work!

  33. Hats off to Taz and Al. Both of you have done great jobs and thank you.

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