Friday, February 10, 2017

A Visit With Larry Knapp, On30 Addict

Happiness is making new friends!  I was pleased and privileged to visit with On30 addict Larry Knapp.  I never met a Canadian I didn't like, and he's no exception.  He's lived here in the Carolinas now for 20 years so we probably have to give him a Southerner card, although he lacks the drawl that most people pick up over time.  Larry is a stout fellow, and obviously hockey player, so I'm hoping he doesn't put me into the boards!

Larry has a huge collection of On30, and some wonderful pieces in his collection.  His own scratchbuild models are detailed inside and out.  Mr. Knapp is a fellow that is never impressed with his own work (I sure was!) and he keeps pushing the envelope.  Aside from his scratch-building skills, he's also a good electronics guy judging from several very complicated decoder and "keep alive" systems.

Larry loves to share.  I asked him about a model he built that had fantastic wood logs on the sides.  I thought they were detail parts from a kit, but they were 100% scratchbuilt.  Here he is giving me a mini-clinic on how to do it.  Like me, he believes in hands on training, so he provided me with some components and challenged me to build on on my own.  Watch the blog for it!

Larry has also collected many wodnerful things.  Verne Niner is a legend in On30 and one of its pioneers.  Verne outstanding Estrella and Sonora Grande (above) was an amazing layout and grace the pages of many magazines.  I got to see these very coke ovens at Larry's house.  It was fun to actually put one in my hand.  Can't wait to see where they wind up! Kanpp also has many items of  Verne's rolling stock and locomotives, along with some structures.

Larry's scratch-built engine house is an absolute gem and sits in a prominent position on Larry's layout.  It is fantastic!  I'm sad that I didn't have my good camera, but I plan to visit again.  His wife is wonderful hostess so I used my best manners and Southern charm to hopefully get another invite.  I just may have to build one of these.  It is completely detailed inside including the trusses in the roof.  Amazing work.

I noticed this on the back of the layout and just had to take a closer look.  Click on the photo to enlarge.  Look at the log detail!  This model is scratch-built.  The logs have limb "bumps" (what's the technical term?) where the branches were trimmed.  The look is outstanding!

Hey!  Here are more logs!   This simple structure is now a real eye catcher.  I begged him to show me how, so he dragged me to the work bench.

He told me the roof was removable on the bar, so I lifted it off.  There is a whole interior!  Everything from the real brass foot bar, to the spittoon!  I'm so amazed.  You can stare at Larry's models for hours and still not see every detail.  All his buildings are this way.  No people?  No problem!  He has a glass cabinet that is full of nothing but expertly painted people that can jump into the bar for a cold one and a photograph.

Here is a close up of the log built bar.  Now this is with an Iphone camera and weak lighting.  Look how great it looks!  I hope to make one of my own soon!

Larry's basement is like a hobby shop, so I got him to let go of some window and door details that I needed, and we parted as friends.  After seeing his layouts and models, I really can't wait to see what he works on next.

If you love On30 and are in the Carolinas...please let me know!

Thanks for a great time Mr. Knapp!  Hope to see you again soon.


  1. I've known Larry for a few years through the Railroad lines forum, and it would be a real pleasure to meet him in person someday and to see his models. Steve Hainstock

  2. Scott- I have had several dealings with Larry and I would agree with all you say about him. He is a real asset to model railroading and On30 in particular.

  3. Nice report Scott. Someday hope to visit Larry also.


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