James, as a rivet counter in recovery, I LOVE IT! 27.5" inch radius is very doable in HO. I used to keep my minimum, except in yards and and industry, at 30" minimum. I still thought that was too sharp.
Keep going and keep posting. I know very little of the Black Hills, but think this has the makings of a great model railroad. I can't find as to what year that you will focus on? Great concept so far.
____________________ Steven B.
Humboldt & Toiyabe Rwy
Thanks Steven! At my rate of progress, this railroad is going to be growing very slowly, which is alright by me. One module at a time.
I do not have a specific year. Specific dates are not my focus. What I am actually doing is replicating scenes from the railroad as they appear in photographs. These scenes will later on be supplemented by extra modules built using my own photographs of what's left of the railroad.
Once I have a few modules built, my focus will shift to replicating specific rolling stock and locomotives, a much more tedious process.
Anyways, I've got the sides of the module screwed on and the expanding foam has dried. All that's left to do before I begin modeling is to sand down the ends and make sure everything is flush which will minimize gaps between modules.
Here's a couple of photographs. Again, this is the west end of Mystic.
Another update! I've spray-foamed the hillside into existence and now have a rough outline of where everything will go in the module.
It looks like I'm going to go with code 55 or code 70 Oak Hill turnouts. Emailed Jeff Otto requesting a couple of dimensions for #6 and #8 turnouts. Long story short, it seems that #8's are long enough to capture the look of the prototype, but are hopefully short enough that they fit well on the module.
His turnouts look incredible and video demonstrations show that they operate well. They're expensive, but I only need 5 of them, so no big deal, I'll just have to stash cash for a few weeks. In the meantime I can get the module ready to receive track.
A lot of progress has been made on the first module and it is now ready for track. I'll post photos in an update when I have a couple of hours.
I decided to paint the module black because when two modules are connected together, the dark paint will hide the seams better than if they were painted tan. Additionally, the scenery will pop more and will have their true colors showing. It works because this central area of the black hills has very dark basalt. The "hill" on the modules will be representing the debris found at the bottom of the canyon walls so it will have a lot of rip rap and scrubby trees growing from it.
Phase II of this layout, if I ever get to it, will be the Rapid City end of the railroad. Those modules will have a red/orange color because of the red dirt and shale surrounding the town. Hopefully by then I'll be much better at making these modules.
What I would like to post is a short 4min video of the Deadwood Club's HOn3 layout. In addition to this video, I took some separate clips of a battery powered HO standard gauge steam engine during the visit. I'll be putting that up in the R/C section of the forum when I get around to editing it.