My operating plan and game call for only one locomotive and two (very short) flat wagons. So for the finished layout I can take my time and build some really satisfying detailed stock, once I get the hang of the scale. However first I need some space models so that I can work out the clearances for the various buildings and loading/unloading mechanisms I'll need.
One piece of advice I've read several times on the Gn15 message boards, and which is borne out by my prior experience in smaller scales is that to make a tiny layout work the clearances need to be very carefully calculated, so I'll lash some stuff up in card and balsa, starting with the loco.
I originally proposed a caricature De Winton loco, but I've always been fond of the little Guinness Brewery locos and a caricature of one of those doesn't require quite as much effort. Old Man Wanostrocht would probably have gone to Lewin, the local blacksmith-cum-locomotive-builder for a loco. Lewin did a fine line in small locos such as Ant and Bee for Laxey mine on the Isle of Man.
I can imagine Old Man Wanostrocht, with his shale-oil that might or might not actually light lamps, seeing a kindred spirit in Old Man Lewin and, sitting in the Fox one night, proposing to buy one of the latter's locomotives that might or might not actually pull trucks. The deal being settled over a few glasses of ruby, Wanostrocht then drops the bombshell that he's seen these little engines in Dublin and wants one like that.
I've also found a picture (but not the drawings I know I have) of a Neilson loco with a single cylinder under the footplate. I have an old chassis that might make a model, but I'll learn to walk before I run. Quite how well the single cylinder actually ran I don't know, but it would be next on my list after the Guinness.
Of course, I need the flat wagons and as well, but I have a long-standing prototype for each that'll probably work in this scale. I'll just take it gently and iron the bugs out as I go. The "prototypes" were originally based on real life but over the years have gradually metamorphosed so that I'm making models of models. But hey, for me that's part of what having fun is all about.
I still can't get at the O/9 test track to photograph how it works, but these mysteriously were on a shelf rather than in the cabinet. Right to left, front are the master mould for the wooden tub, sitting on the top deck of a flat truck, a plaster casting, partially painted, and the master for the metal tub version. With a flat truck deck in front. At the back, living proof that I'm not the only one who models models, a partially finished tipper wagon kit, I think by Springfield, based on a die-cast toy road vehicle.
To show how scatty my research is, the tub idea came from an old Model Railroader article, describing how these tubs were loaded onto standard-gauge gondolas somewhere in the US to transport loco coal. The shape of the flat truck deck is based on a night in York when I was so bored I started trying to work out how to mototrise a model of a “BRUTE” (British Rail Universal Trolley Equipment, or platform trolley to you and me). When I decided in a moment of madness to turn my O/9 test track into a version of the Ria puzzle, the two sort of came together.
Since this is going to be an expanded Ria, the tubs and flats are a must. Size matters. The flats will be exactly the same width as the loco chassis, 3 foot six. I want to retain the shape of the corners, so to fit a three-foot diameter tub onto the deck, with a small rail either end, the deck will be four feet long.
The tubs are three foot inside diameter by two feet high. I seem to remember calculating once that they held about a half (imperial) ton of… something. We'll say it's shale. I just need a three foot diameter former and I'm in business. The snag is that I'm not really kitted up for Gn15, yet.