Large Scale Central

Submarine Transport for the Triple O

The real OR&L and Oahu’s plantation railways served the U.S. military for most of their existence, a facet of operations (such as they are) our loose take on that storied narrow gauge has not represented. Kid-zilla to the prototypical rescue! Late last year, he took two bell guards from broken epees and a busted impeller from an old aquarium filter and declared that they were the start of a submarine! He got as far as gluing those guards to a pair of Ovaltine cans before we had to clear the lanai for end-of-year holidays and, of course, the Mik!

We began discussing this project again in earnest yesterday. First, he took the hull, put it on a flat car, and rolled it through the tunnel. Good (we’ll see…). He also agreed to substitute the now missing impeller for a homemade windmill blade (the dogs destroyed the windmill at some point) for the prop. Finally, when we discussed how to move it, I suggested disconnects like the cars we have from and LGB-starter set that carry sections of track. He was all in! He wanted to work simultaneously, with him moving out on the submarine and me making the disconnects. I explained we had to have the finished boat before we could design the cars. I also think he might just need a little help realizing his submarine!

Late this afternoon, he got leather work gloves, a knife, and tin snips and converted a beverage can into a conning tower (“sail” in the modern parlance). This is where he stands:

I think we are going to craft the rudder and planes from foam. I also think we are going to wrap this in aluminum tape to hold it all together. He wants to paint it black, like a modern boat, and to give it a name. I explained the name has to fit on the hull!

This may be a slow moving project, as I intend to give him as much leeway as possible to try, fail, and try again without either risking himself or getting too dejected. In the end, we should have a plausible if somewhat fanciful tribute to Hawaii’s military railroading!

Now if I could only get O.D. to restart her grain silo…



Being the immature male that I am I would call it the USS Nuclear Fart. However I did a quick search of like names and I learned this…Captain Wade H. Taylor, Commanding Officer (Blue) of the nuclear-powered strategic missile submarine USS ALABAMA (SSBN 731), speaks during the ship's commissioning ceremony. Behind Taylor are, left to right: Vice Admiral Nils R. Thunman, Deputy CHIEF of Naval Operations, Submarine Warfare; Vice Admiral Bernard M. Kauderer, Commander Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet; and Reverend Gale Williamson | DPLA

Great project!

Can’t help but be reminded of…

… and all the steampunk art of an underwater railway.

The above image is fake art (prob don’t need air intakes & windshield wipers, haha!), but the story might be interesting.

USS Choczilla sounds like a great name to me! and of course it should be a “boomer” .

Neat sub and it is fun how it is coming together. It looks like one of those deep water submersibles that drop into the Mariana Trench. It could also be searching for ship wrecks, lost treasure, Atlantis, The Kraken or even a pineapple that a certain sponge lives in.

You forgot Jimmy Hoffa

If you ever seen The Irishman, you’ll get a good idea of what happened to Hoffa.

I have said it before and you give the credit to mama to include the kids, but I very much enjoy the whimsy of the Triple O because each kid gets to impart as much (or as little) S they desire to truly make it a family affair.

Without trying to be political or religious, its just sad that families don’t do stuff as families anymore. My family did hockey. Even though my son was the only one who played, as a family we spent a lot of time solving the worlds problems together as we spent so much time “together”.

Seeing kid-zilla taking the lead and making the Triple O his own is awesome. Regardless of what becomes of this submarine, it will be the coolest submarine model ever because he did it.

Were talking submarines not concrete.

You are assuming that Hoffa is not buried in a concrete submarine.

I can’t say that I know anything about burial, but the odds are good that his body was incinerated. But I digress…

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Thanks, Todd!

To CINCHOUSE with her admonition, “This cannot be just YOUR hobby!” goes all the credit!

We’ve packed a lot of memories into this endeavor, and I (perhaps we) have built the skills to make scale models of OR&L structures and equipment when the time comes. Until that time, building skills and memories will be the primary source of revenue for the Triple O!



Experimentation with material for the planes began with the foam cutter.

Kid-zilla was not satisfied with these, so we are discussing other options, such as wood and old hotel keys. He has determined, however, that stern planes alone will control angle and depth, and he is leaning towards a single rudder to turn the boat. I am encouraging a classic “+” shape for the planes; he is leaning towards a “T.”

In the meantime, he prepared the former windmill vanes for painting by scouring it with a wire brush…

…before proceeding to the Palm of Spray Painting for bronze paint.

I am very proud of the fact that he reminded me to don safety goggles before he applied the paint!

The windmill, by the way, was a scrap box project of my incredibly handy father-in-law. The vanes are a single can, cut and splayed then bound with wire at the edge. He will be proud to see this sort of creative repurposing!

Thank you all for the kind encouragement! Updates as his creativity becomes progress!

On Behalf of Kid-zilla,


Kid-zilla is still working out the issue of how to make the planes and how to mount them as well as how to mount the newly painted prop. In the meantime, he grabbed the aluminum tape and began to make the “outer hull.”

I offered to help, but he insisted - both to my joy and sorrow - that he didn’t need it. The idea here is to cover the imperfections in the assembly process, to reinforce joints in the components, and to have a common material for future painting. He got pretty far before he ran out of tape.

He has asked me how to make the scale rivets to line the seams of the tape like CSS Hunley and the Union’s Alligator (Submarine fun fact: Alligator was never commissioned into service, so she does not merit a “USS” before her name. Interestingly, she was originally intended for the Army, with the goal of inserting commandos to blow up a bridge on the lower Appomattox in support of the 1862 Peninsula Campaign!) and proposed drilling holes then dropping in little nails. I am not sure the Ovaltine can “inner hull” could take this. I sense a raid on his sister’s bead box may be in our future!

He is also starting to look ahead to the transport vehicle. He also found out today his birthday present, a pair of those LEGO flat cars from LGB, will finally arrive next week. He immediately saw the value of these in planning and modeling the future carrier. Clever kid, if I do say so myself!

Updates as merited!

Happy Easter to All Who Celebrate!

On Behalf of Kid-zilla,


I have a suggestion and some research if interested. Why not look at Bathyscaphe’s Bathyscaphe - Visual Dictionary. He could paint it yellow or the favorite color of his choice like Amtrak platinum mist (just saying). Then he could do the seams with say electrical tape or some type of striping tape (perhaps Amtrak red,white and blue)? Perhaps add a wiffle ball to the bottom for a cabin or not. Then add a caterpillar drive for silent propulsion, some outer doors for torpedo’s and don’t forget the periscope so that can be the first thing that snaps off and needs repaired numerous times. Only thoughts from a :rooster:

You can buy brass strip with rivets already punched in it. Or you can punch your own with a straight edge and a center-punch.
And a submarine on that forum with the instructions on making rivet strips! [Looks a bit complicated even for me!]

Two common things I have found make great rivets. If you can drill it, sewing pins make nice rivets and are dirt cheap. These are/were my goto rivet before 3D printing. Michael’s and I am sure any craft store should have adhesive “jewels” that are dome shaped in different sizes that are peel and stick.

One ping only Vassely…

One ping only.


Thanks Everyone!

We’ve been busy with Easter-related services and activities. He and I will sit down and figure out a way forward that suits his vision!


Kid-zilla opted for the flat bead method, so we picked up a couple packets today. He also found a couple bottle caps at the park that could serve as the forward escape hatch and the conning tower (“sail” in modern parlance) hatch. He glued on the bottle caps with E6000, the second-best glue for everything, then retreated to Youngest Daughter’s “Crafty Corner” where he began adding rivets with her hot glue gun.

We talked about adding the prop, and I showed him that the holes for the epee tang are not aligned vertically with the conning tower. He briefly thought about moving the tower, then thought it would work just as well to hide the hold by the propellor shaft’s housing. He found a piece of dowel probably left over from our 2019 Mik build (2019 Mik's - Ka'a Wa'a (Double-hulled sailing locomotive)) that I will cut for him to mount on the stern. I’ll have to figure out how to do that. without ripping apart his work to date. I think I may have to pry off the after epee guard to do it.

I did show him the bathyscaphe, thanks @Rooster . He sees this more as a late 19th century / early 20th century warship, though. To achieve that effect, he is considering multiple colors (grey, dark blue, dark brown) that would be dark but not so dark he could not draw on the torpedo tubes’ outer doors. Kid-zilla has also yet to illuminate me on how he wants to mount the rudder and planes. We shall see. I did nix the idea about using pistol ammunition to simulate torpedoes stacked for transport, as a.) I don’t own a pistol, and b.) this seemed contrary to good safety!

No progress on the disconnects. They have to wait until the boat is a bit further along so that we can account for prop, planes, and rudder.

Updates as merited!