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About me..My name is Lennart Elg, I am married to Ritva, and we have one daughter, Anne-Marie, born in 1979. We live in Åkersberga, a small coastal town just north of Stockholm, Sweden. When I am not modeling I am a senior project manager with NUTEK, a government agency working with technology policy. We spent all our vacations cruising the Baltic onboard s/y Necessity, our 28ft sloop, and I also dabble in local politics.
I started out with a Märklin trainset as a kid, but gave it up when I discovered girls. After settling down I rediscovered trains in the form of an Eggerbahn HOn30" trainset, back in the early 70's, and I have been into narrow gauge ever since. Soon after, I discovered Frary & Hayden and moved on to modeling American prototypes in HOn30". A photo of my very first kitbashed locomotive, a crude HOn30" saddle tank based on a Rivarossi/AHM N scale docksider, was published in the Railroad Modeler, which was a real boost..
The mechanical aspects of modeling has never been my strong point, and N scale locos were not that reliable in those days, so after a few years I moved to On30". In search of a prototype I stumbled on the Yosemite Short Line.
Very little information was available about this little line, but in search for more information I got to know some of the real experts on Western railroad history. Doug Richter put me on the right track from the start. Ted Wurm has been a constant help and inspiration over the years. What really got me hooked was my first trip to California in 1984, when Rick Mugele walked me along the abandoned YSL roadbed out of Quartz, just south of Jamestown.
When Bachmann released their large scale side-tank Porter I caught the large scale fever, like som many others. Except for the gauge, this was a correct model of two 18-ton Porters ordered for the Yosemite Short Line, but not delivered when the project was abandoned. Instead they went on to the Empire City railroad, a logging road nearby. They ended their life around 1930 on the Sloat Lumber Co. another small logging operation.
While learning more about California narrow gauge history I had become increasingly fascinated by its logging railroads, with lots of interesting homegrown equipment and old-fashioned ingenuity. In the end I sold off my On30" stuff (all to one happy customer who has taken good care of it) and started modeling logging in large scale under the Sloat Lumber Co. name. My first project was to rebuild a Bachmann Porter as a close replica of Sloat Lumber #4. This resulted in an article in the March 1996 Outdoor Railroader.
From a model-building point of view large scale has unlimited detailing potential and I had a lot of fun, but two factors led me to reevaluate my choice. First, there is a lot of confusion about what scale will prevail for "serious" large scale modeling. The Porter is 1/22.5 scale, much of the early finescale stuff from Simpson and PFM was to 1/2" scale - 1/24, on 38.1 mm gauge of you want to make things really hard - while new manufacturers like Jeff Saxton are plugging 1/20.3 (correct scale for 3' gauge if you want to keep the 45 mm gauge). Second, I realized that if I wanted to see my models run the room I have available is hopelessly inadequate.
"S" scale was more or less the only scale I had not tried so far, and, as I hope I will demonstrate, the MDC Shay has a lot of kitbashing potential, so here I am! Yes, I did consider 12 mm gauge, which would take me back within less than one per cent off correct 30" gauge. There is no problem regauging the MDC Shay to this gauge, and truck wheelsets could be special-ordered from NorthWest Short Line, but I would be on my own for any other loco mechanism. So my new Sloat Lumber Co. will be six inches wider, but I will try to retain the small scale of the operation - no 90-ton Shays here..
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Updated August 22, 1999 by Lennart Elg