P r o j e c t   L a n a k i l a

    Lanakila Photo taken 1923 Sugar Trains Pictorial

    One of my favorite pastimes is scale modeling. You learn a lot from a scale model. You learn to appreciate how difficult the prototype was to design and construct as well as the history behind the prototype.

    As you may or may not already know, my last name originated from the events of my Grandfathers birth on the old train that transported people and goods between Honolulu and Waianai. Loosely translated "Ka pua 'ala ho'oni'oni i ke alahao" (The original name) means "Child that shook the railroad".

    I decided to model the Oahu Railway and Land Company circa 1906 to commemorate my name, and to have a better understanding of the times and conditions that my Grandfather grew up in.

    I started researching this project shortly after his death in 1998. I wanted to model 3 main prototypes; The Locomotive and tender, The Observation car, and finally, The old Honolulu Train Station.

    But living in California, I didn't have access to information about the trains that use to run on Oahu. My research went no where for 6 years until I contacted the O'ahu Model RailRoad Society.

    This project would still be stalled if not for the assistance of one of their members Jeff of A & B Electric Company. Jeff went above and beyond assistance.

    He provided me copies of plans, links to sites with more information and together with Oahu Railroad historian's he came up with the list of Locomotives that would have pulled the train my Grandfather was born on.

    The prototype I chose is one of the most elegant and legendary locomotives to run on Oahu Railway and Land Company lines, the Lanakila. I don't know for certain which locomotive pulled the train my Grandfather was born on. There were 3 possible engines to chose from:

    1. Lanakila
    2. Kaala
    3. Leahi
    I choose the Lanakila because I liked the way she looked. She just reminded me of my Grandfather. The Lanakila was an old Baldwin 4-4-0 American. Like all the trains on Oahu Railway and Land, she was a narrow gauge, meaning that the tracks were spaced approximately 3 feet apart as opposed to the standard 5 feet.

    Building a locomotive from scratch is very time consuming, I had already spent 6 years in research and was eager to get moving on this project so I decide to do a little kit bashing on the locomotive and scratch build the rest.

    I contacted Uncle Jeff and asked which locomotives on the market were close to the prototype Lanakila. He recommended the Bachmann 1:20:3 Scale 4-4-0 American, for price, accuracy and closeness to scale.

    So taking Uncle Jeff's recommendation I purchased the model and started bashing. This is a record of my progress.

    S T E P   O N E

© copyright 2004 by Richard Kapuaala