Friday, December 30, 2005

Forney vs. Jad GG1 part 2

This gives a better idea of size. To the far right is the Rich Art E-2.

For those of you that have spent some time in Lancaster, you have probably seen the real GG1. I think the Forney version really does capture the essence of the prototype.

I actually worked with a guy that worked on the PRR and drove GG1's. He was quite a character. Let's just say, he liked the way the GG1 looked. He said driving them was a whole different matter (he didn't like it, he said it was tough to see out of them). He also hated the ride on concrete ties (too firm and unyielding). He was definitely my kind of guy. He used to irritate our mutual manager to no end but that's another story.....


Forney vs. Jad GG1

Kirk sent me this really intriguing picture. It shows the extraordinariness of standard gauge engines.

The forney engine is just huge and the Tuscan color is really bright.

By contrast, the JAD engine looks small and off color. It's funny, I have seen two of these Forney GG1's and I never thought much of them (except they were big). Now I get it. I wish I had seen them close up. I really like the JAD one's however the motors can be really finicky. I have to speak with Kirk but I would bet that when the Forney runs it probably runs better than the JAD. Kirk, any thoughts?

Did the Forney version pull any cars (did he make any for it)?


A side view of the Engine House

That's a whole lot of tin and windows. Where can I get one of these Kirk? Lionel never had an engine house for standard gauge!


Engine House - Smith Metalworks

This is one heck of nice looking engine house. I could blather endlessly about how I wish it was bigger but I won't.

Instead, what I'll say is this; see those trolley's way down this page? Doesn't this also look like a car barn? Even if your 400E doesn't fit, this looks like the perfect place to park a couple of trolleys in comfort and style.

Kirk, is that Gargraves track? I always read stuff about conductivity in different kinds of track and I always like the way Gargraves looks and works. I wonder how different it really is from Lionel, MTH or any other three rail track? From what I have been told, it is much better... Any thoughts?


Round House - Smith Metalworks II

I must admit, I know exact squat about Smith Metalworks. But damn do they make a nice roundhouse!

Can we get the discussion going on the Yahoo groups or post on the blog about who these folks are and where we can see some more of these?

These roundhouses might be the perfect antidote for over exposure to Lionel prewar accessories.

Yes, I like them but this is something new, shiny and different. I just wish it was big enough for some heavy standard gauge.

Shoot me more info if you have it on Smith Metalworks. What else do they make?


Round House - Smith Metalworks

Kirk sent me this pic of Smith Metalworks Roundhouse and Turntable.

Here is the info Kirk sent me:

The green base of the turntable is 33.75" and the track and rotating red portion are 29.75". Better than a Lionel turntable and roundhouse, but still a little skimpy for Standard Gauge steam locos. A version large enough for the Hiawatha would be a great product!"

Steeple Cab at the end of 2005

I love these friggin engines. They operate on Pittman Can Motors. The low speed on these things is amazing and smooth as glass.


Take a look at that hand made wooden bridge. Jim made it in his "spare time". He showed me a pic from a club he used to belong to in New Haven. Had this incredible all metal bridge that raised and lowered made out of approximately 7000 plus rivets. Incredible.


Pic of the 2 Trolley

I wonder how I can transfer enough from my credit card to my bank account???

How many more chances will any of us have to get brand new trolleys?



Pic of the 101 Trolley

Here's a pic of the 101. Needs a truck and motor added and it will be shipped.

Now how can I scrape together more cash???

Please call Jim before I do!


Speaking of Trolley's....

Speaking of trolley's....

Here are three brand new trolley's Jim just finished that need a home. They are $995 for a brand new Trolley. He has:

101 Trolley (blue)
1 Trolley (blue)
2 Troley (red)

If you are interested you can call him, he's in the TCA directory or drop me a note and I'll get you his phone #.


The Master at Work....

Here's a quickpic of the masterbuilder (James Cohen) fine tuning some trolley motors.

Every time I see this man I learn something I didn't know. Just watching him wind these motors is a lesson in electronics. The man has so many standard gauge parts it's amazing. This guy has forgotten more than I will ever know.

Here's the thing too: I've seen his wheels (for say, 10 series trucks) work and I have seen some replacements on the market as well as gear made by other manufacturers. There is really something to be said for a craftsman.

Jim's wheels work. Now that may sound silly but not all wheels are created equal. Trust me, I watched his on trains and I have watched others and the trains act differently. They sway differently and even make a different noise. It has something to do with the flanging and type of metal. Whatever it is, this guy has the recipe down to a science.


$$Mint Layout Movie

Check out $$mint layout in Quicktime. For those of you that need it go to!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Last of $$Mint's layout

And the chipshot.... Right on the green! Another awesome layout!

Ya gotta send me some some Quicktime movies of this layout so I can get them up on the Blog.

Can you run the Blue Comet and State Set simultaneously (I don't see why not?)?


Another Shot of $$Mint's layout

Just a whole lot of color and great trains chugging away....

Merry New Year ($$Mint's layout)

Here's a couple of quick pics of $$mint (his ebay auctions are in the middle right of your page). He puts up a Christmas layout. There's a whole lot of standard gauge squeezed into a little space.

He's a great guy and I would urge you to keep an eye on his auctions. His SUV finds its' way all over PA to discover some very nice standard gauge gear.


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Dave's Christmas Card

Mr. Ives sent me a really cool Christmas card. Sorry Dave, I just couldn't resist, this card is just too nice.

Ives is still probably one of the best Christmas gifts an insane train collector can get!


Friday, December 23, 2005

CTT Online Exclusive - McCoy Circus Train

Merry Christmas All,

CTT has a brief but interesting article on the McCoy Circus Train. Go check it out using the link above or the link below:



PS Another shot of James' collection. It's awesome, I can't wait to see the layout!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Tinplate Times

The newest Tinplate Times is up! Jim Kelly runs a tight ship; the writing is excellent and every article is a gem.

Get over and get reading!

PS this is another shot of Joe's incredible collection. I like this guy's taste in trains!


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Joe's Coal Train

In case you are wondering what it says on the sign in Joe's Train Room:

"My Wife Told Me She Was Going To Leave Me If I Didn't Give Up My Trains. Boy, I'm Sure Going To Miss That Girl".

I frequently remind my wife that I could have other hobbies such as:

Full time customer of a strip club.
Full time bar patron.
Star Trek convention attendee as well as a guy that dresses up to look like Scotty (will never happen).
Collector of rare stock certificates.

Purchaser of food off of eBay that looks like people from history.
Bigfoot hunter (I always like those shows where they have people wandering around in forests with green nightvisition goggles, they never see anything and they always look like they are insane at the end but they vow never to give up).

I know I'm going to agitate someone with this list, there's always a bigfoot hunter that also collects trains and swears Sesquatches stole a pig from his barn (by the way, Sesquatch is Indian for "smelly monkey").

My point (before going off on a tangent) is that Joe has built something really unique. Built being the key word. The reason baby boomers and people that played with trains were and are so successful is that they spend time building things instead of sitting around and whining about how they got "shafted by society".

My wife is growing more tolerant of my collecting, predominantly because she can see that building stuff is a big part of making kids productive parts of the world. Most kids spend their time collecting X-Box crap and not building diddly. That just isn't the way it is in my house.

Ok, I just liked the sign (and the awesome collection and layout). I know, I haven't talked much lately (or at all) about refinishing old toys or Ives and Lionel coupler variations. I'll get there.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Aye Carumba!!!

Wow! I was watching this thing on eBay! I had a bid on it for the last week and I thought it was high - almost 600 bucks. Way more than I should spend during the holidays (and while it's cold in the Northeast and the natural gas companies got me where they want me).

In the last minute this thing almost doubled in price.

Here's the thing, I know and like the bidders, so I could care less about who won the thing. I know who won the item and I am a huge fan. So who cares? Well, when I hear companies like Lionel saying that there is no market for standard gauge, I just can't figure it out. This item is broken, a little dirty and is not that old. Yes, it's still a work of art and way cooler than most of the trains on the market today.

Here's my point: this is a great train. If you make great trains, they will come. McCoy is only one recent standard gauge manufacturer but this isn't an anamoly. Look at the current JAD GG1 set out on eBay right now. That's a nice set. A little dirty, a little blemish. Not terribly old. And the bids are going up and up. It isn't a State Set, it isn't a Blue Comet. It isn't even a mint, boxed original.

Now imagine what a mint, boxed original Wappid Wabbit is going to go for....

Made in a chicken coop in America and worth every penny!


Check Out Joe's Layout!

Which part of Joe's layout is the best? The backdrop? The really cool vintage plane buzzing the tinplate city? The beautifully placed Gargraves Track (I'm guessing that's what it is)? Or the neat little Rich Art Army train getting ready to go into battle?

I bet this layout is going to see some serious running time in the next few weeks!

More pics from Joe soon!


Joe's Collection and Layout

Here's a great shot of Joe's collection. Joe is a pro pilot so he has some kick-butt planes buzzing his incredible train collection.

Joe is like quite a few of us, Lionel is great but he likes newer standard gauge as well. He definitely has a quality collection.

Wait until you see his spectacular layout.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Circus's are rare....

James and a few other McCoy collectors have told me that the circus set is rare.

No two of these sets is exactly the same. I guess that makes an almost infinite number of combinations to have a unique circus train.

I just like the graphics. It's just one thing for trains to look good, I wonder how these all run?

I've heard the Cascade that pulled the Cirus set really kicked butt. I've never actually seen one on a track though.


Rare McCoy

I asked for it.... Rare McCoy.

James says the black and red Erie hoppers are the only one's he has ever seen. Same with the yellow and orange Great Northern cars.

Actually, all the freight on the wall as well as the E-2's are very rare.

As I look at all this color, I ponder one thing. How the heck did they color all these cars in a paintbooth in a chicken coop? And why do they all look so damn good? Says something about good old American ingenuity.


Sunday, December 11, 2005

James and Giant Collection 2

Aye Carumba! Let's see, if this were my office.... I'd get exactly zero work done.

Couple of questions:

1) Are there rare McCoy freights?
2) Are there McCoy mistakes like the famous Lionel "Katy" feather boxcar?
3) Who has a layout with all of this cool freight running on it?
4) Does anyone have favorite McCoy freights? I like the TCA one's myself.


More of Mr. James' collection

I have a couple more pics but I liked this one. There's so much motive power in this picture, I think that all of these engines together could pull the wall all of one of those Amish barns in PA.

I wonder how much noise these make when they all run? If nothing else, I like the color!


Don't forget people!

I can't remember seeing more great Manoil people at such reasonable prices on eBay.

We (or at least me) tend to get caught up in the thrill of acquiring new motive power and forget that someday, my layout will need actual passengers. That little Lionel prewar box of a couple of passngers won't fill but half a station.

As I said before, it must be the Christmas push or something but there are a ton of inexpensive, very nice Manoil figures as well as vehicles out on eBay right now.

Happy Hunting!


Saturday, December 10, 2005

More of Mike's Collection

Mike just picked up the beautiful Lehman bus. I was never much for these toys because they were so delicate.

But one look at this thing and I have to admit, these toys are really cool. This must have been fun to play with right from the store, look how bright the colors are for its' age. It isn't exactly scale for a standard gauge layout but it still is very appropriate.

I wonder if there was a prototype for this?


Dorfan Christmas Card

Mike V sent me a pic of his new Dorfan loco (ok, it's new to his collection). Mike said this might be his holiday card.

I liked the composition of Mike's picture. It packs a ton of old trains into one little area. Lots of action and color.

Thanks Mike!

Friday, December 09, 2005

More of James' Collection

Here's a great pic from James' collection. The blue trolley is really nice (and rare).

I have mentioned King Trolleys in the Blog before but I've never actually seen one.

This is one very nice trolley and it looks almost scale.


PS I have no idea who made that Steeple Cab. Arno has said that it could be one of several people could have made it including it being an original McCoy. It could be Herb Morley as well. It does look like the one in the catalog though.
We might never know.....

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

World's Best McCoy Collection

I never knew McCoy made a girls train. I think this one is much nicer than the Lionel Girls Train.

It's kind of funny, my wife and I used to go to Redbank, NJ and hunt around antique stores. I saw tons of McCoy sets, mint in their original boxes and I never thought anything of it (this was just 10 years ago). I was always hunting for that hidden 408 and 1912.

Now I'm at the "what were you thinking" stage. The really cool stuff was right there.

They weren't dirt cheap but they weren't terribly expensive either. Now that I see this collection, I think I screwed up!


James and Giant Collection

Interurbans... I can't even find one friggin Interurban for my collection!

James has done one heck of a job displaying these toys and creating this amazing collection.

What I like about his collection (and there are more pics coming) is that I'm not overwhelmed by Blue Comet sets or State Sets.

The guy has a very diverse collection without bludgeoning everyone with Lionel. I love Lionel but this collection really says something; people made great trains way after World War II and Korea and the Viet Nam war. Maybe it's time we stop identifying trains by which war they were made after.

More pics coming!


World's Best McCoy Collection

Another great pics of James' trains! I love those Interurbans. And that Steeple Cab!

Yes, I know that some of this stuff was made by Al Merris. I still don't have any o f this stuff so it's all new to me.

I wonder how many years James has been collecting? This shows why standard gauge is the only gauge for the operator and collector. It aint called "Standard Gauge" for nothing!


World's Best McCoy Collection

Happy Holidays everyone! James sent me some pics of his world class McCoy Collection. This is the same collection I posted a few months ago but these are a few rooms James held back.

To say I am dumbfounded is the understatement of the year.

James is a good guy, he knows one heck of alot about trains and his skill at collecting is on display. Frankly I wish I lived closer to someone like him. Most of my neighbors don't collect diddly and when they do it's things like cookie jars.

I just wish I had this kind of room to even display my stuff. If my wife saw a room like this..... All I can say is that I'd need to make sure my disability insurance is paid up!

James has some other cool stuff besides McCoy. I'll post 'em.