Re: What got you in to HOn3?

Mike Conder

So I gotta add my story.

Grew up modeling airplanes in styrene, kitbashing most of the kits I bought.  My dad was doing HO coal from Ky area but I was never really interested in that.

Got interested in the history of mining, milling and smelting technology when working my first real job as an engineer at an Arizona copper mine.  The engineering library had a bunch of technical books dating back to the early 1900's.  About that time I ran across a Gazette at a hobby shop in Tucson (looking for an airplane model to build) that had Tom Yorke's article on staining plaster.  First hook, another Gazette a year later was a second hook!  Final two hooks were the "Frienda Mine" ( or something like that) on the cover of RMC and the discovery of old company pics dating back to the early 1900's of mines & railroads.  Sold!  But also because the only people in the world also interested in old mines, mills and smelters are narrow gauge guys.

First model was an MDC outside frame 2-8-0 kit that I bought with funds from selling an inherited Pennsy K-4 kit (that I sold for a DEEP discount because I didn't know its value.  Firat car was a scratch passenger car with curved (no bullnose) roof.  Eventually got NMRA Merit Awards on both.  And the fun continues!

And I'm still in HOn3 because the Arizona mining area I model had 8 outside frame locos (about the size of C-21's and two were same design as the C-25) and there was NO WAY I could afford to cut up brass locos in any other scale to build these!

Mike Conder

On Sun, Jan 17, 2021 at 5:54 PM Robert Bennett <ngbobme@...> wrote:
Good Evening All,

For me, this is an interesting question. While most of my recent modeling activities have been focused on the Maine Two Footers in On30, my first thirty or so years of "serious" model railroading was in HOn3. After starting with a Christmas gift Herkimer set (does anyone remember those?), I experimented in modeling for fifteen years or so, through college, with mostly HO. I scratched some E.L.Moore-based structures and had the typical ping pong table layout in the basement. I joined the Maine National Guard in 1971 and after BCT and OJT at Ft. Dix, I got home by the Spring of '72. A new hobby shop had just opened in Bar Mills, ME, and I went down one weekend. I was poking around when, BAM!, I saw this cute little red caboose sitting in an open box on a shelf. It was a built-up LaBelle D&RGW kit done by a fellow modeler in Brunswick, ME. I snapped it up and was hooked on narrow gauge. I have been in the hobby for sixty years more or less now and narrow gauge modeling is still mostly my thing. My 100 or so magazine articles over the years have focused on a lot of subjects, but the those based on two and three foot gauge models have been the most fun to research and write, and the resulting models have seen the most use on a couple of layouts. As I wrote in the latest HOn3 Annual, I am starting to build an operating Colorado-based module, using leftover HOn3 locos and rolling stock and structures from my previous full layout. Narrow gauge lines were, and are, special with interesting histories, unique histories and fascinating stories and scenery. I have a pretty extensive library and as several have mentioned, Beebe and Clegg's books were and are a great incentive too. I still have that first "buggy" and as my real first incentive to replicate the slim gauges, it will always have a home with me.

Stay well everyone and keep modeling.

Best,  Bob Bennett

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