Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Cardinal Is Gone....

Just looking through the MTH Shipping Schedule and I noticed the Cardinal is gone.... The Ives Cardinal set seems to be cancelled. Fascinating.

I wonder why? I had heard that the actual production set was going to be true to the original but the catalog flavor was not.

I am kind of sad. It was the only thing that was really interesting for me in the catalog. Hopefully MTH will produce the RTR set (the Jersey Central 384E).

MTH, what's going on?


Monday, February 20, 2006

More of Joe's Custom Creations IV (Last for now)

Last one. Keep 'em coming Joe. The nicest trains are the one's that come out of people's imaginations.


More of Joe's Custom Creations III

Here is an excerpt from a note Joe F. sent me:

"Thanks for your kind words on your blog. My love for trains started out by restoring "unloved" Lionel pieces. Then I figured, "Why not try it?". Some of my beginning pieces are crap. The pieces I built are all scratch built from 26 gauge sheet metal. In my garage, I have a sheet metal brake/bender, sheet metal sheer, sheet metal slip roll, some punches and dies, drill presses, and I'm continually adding tools to my collection. I also have a good supply of parts. For the sheet metal pieces I can't cut, I found a guy that cuts panels by a computered laser cutter, like the intricate panels on the standard gauge converse trolley. I just found a great guy that does very good custom dry transfers. Some gold dry transfers I bought in the past never transfered correctly onto the train. Nothing is more frustrating than making a train from scratch and then not have the dry transfer work !!!"


More of Joe's Custom Creations II

Joe F.'s take on the Hudson Tube Train!


More of Joe's Custom Toys

This is really a cool little invention Joe. Any thoughts on your inspiration?


More of Joe's Custom Creations

I know everyone is going to want to see these. I am going to break them up into discrete posts so they can be exploded (Blogger won't let you explode pics in the same post).

Joe has set my mind in montion. I am trying to figure out how to turn my old coal room/storage area into a shop.

More posts on the way....


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Ives Rheostat

Mike V. sent me this pic of something unusual, an Ives Rheostat. It's funny, I have about 15 Rheostats that I have acquired over the years one way or another and I have never actually used one to control my trains. I use the ZW, Lionel TMCC or DCS.

These might be a more finite way of controlling trains. I've noticed that there are some people that swear by them. I know fiddling with DCS can be frustrating, my favorite interface for controlling trains is the ZW.

Are there collectors out there that just collect the electronics of trains? I have a bag or two of just parts (like Rheostats). I think making this stuff is a bit of a lost art and I can't believe I haven't paid more attention to it. At the very least, these are items that were made when electronics (for the most part) were still made in the USA. How many rheostat users are there?


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Friday, February 17, 2006

Joe Built this....

Joe did something that just blows me away. He built this City Hall Park Trolley in standard gauge! This is known as the Converse Trolley and he built it to run on standard gauge track!

He isn't waiting around for someone else to build it, he wanted it, he had the idea and he did it.

So while Lionel gobbles up K-Line (thus putting $$$ in an attorney's pocket) and squishing yet another train company, Joe built something unique and brilliant.

Creativity goes a long way. Joe, any way you can teach all of us how you built this amazing toy? I'm serious. Impressive, magnificent, moving, overwhelming, spine-tingling, stunning, thrilling.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Fred's Train Shop

Click on the above link to check out Fred's train store. Not sure where it is but I thought it looked interesting. He has a McCoy Carousel proudly displayed in the store! Fred is a pretty lucky guy; a train store and a carousel. Can't do much better than that!


PS Pic 23 is the carousel.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Just looking....

Plain as I can say it, I just like this picture. I don't know who took it or how it was made, I just bought it off a friend and though it looked so good I had to scan it in.

It's one of those "this sums it up for me" pictures. I have practically every item in the picture except for the Lionel Airport. I could just never get into that accessory. Too expensive and I had Whirly Birds when I was a kid. I don't need an airport on my standard gauge layout.

If anyone knows where this pic is from, let me know.


Friday, February 10, 2006

MTH RTR Catalog

It isn't a bad catalog. I actually like it because it is small, focused and it doesn't do much but it does a few things well.

Take this little Jersey Central set. I like the colors and the heralds on the tender.

I like this set, this one of those sets Lionel should have made but didn't. I'm glad someone decided to do it!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Couple of News Items

Couple of things:

Watch out for a pantload of auctions that are sneaking up on us, NETTE is the top of my list right now. Another auction is coming up that looks really interesting from an auctioneer called "Tiger Auctions". Click on the link above to check it out.

I also see Stout is ready to do some serious prewar coming up near the end of this month. If I wasn't so completely broke from the price of heat this winter, I'd consider bidding....

Also, as you can see from my previous post, I acquired some interesting items. Go back to Novemeber and read the article on E. Carl Pieper. All of those items (as mentioned in the previous post) were from his nephew in Norwalk. I'll take some pictures of the really cool artifacts from his nephew that didn't get sold.

Looks like the new MTH Ready to Run catalog is out. Perhaps some standard gauge? I don't know, I couldn't see the pictures when I went to MTH's website yesterday. Go figure.

More posts coming later on tonight and tomorrow!


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Picked up some std gauge this weekend....

Picked up a ton of standard gauge this weekend. About the strangest thing I acquired was a scratchbuilt interurban. I put up some of it on eBay today. The Interurban was definitely the most interesting thing. Click on my eBay tab to the right or check out the attached pic.

Tons of track, transformers, track clips. All prewar Lionel gear. If anyone is interested, let me know otherwise I will chuck it up on eBay.

The one thing I am keeping (and I will put up some pics) was that they had about 100 or so signals I picked up; semaphors, crossing signals, lights, all in great condition, some with boxes. Again, something we don't concentrate on but that make the difference between a good layout and a great one.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Yet Again....

Ok, I'm starting to think I have really bad breath or something. I'm reading all about the new MTH Toyfair catalog. I go out to check the MTH website....


Go to check out the Club Website/Area.


Would you not sweep the front of your building? Do you not blow snow off your sidewalk and driveway? Do you not pay your bills (even after the second shut off notice)?

Ok, if all those things happen, then why the hell can't companies maintain their websites? It has to be the cheapest form of marketing communications that reaches the vastest numbers of people instantly.

As you can tell, this is a pet peeve of mine. If you look at an organization like the TCA, disregard all the comraderie and meets and rules that it brings, it has done one thing right; publish an incredible document called the TCA Quarterly that has great news, interesting articles and usually something for everyone. Been published now for over 50 years.

So how come MTH can't maintain their website? And I don't want to just pick on MTH, Lionel's leaves much to be desired as well. It changes only slightly more often and they've tried to do a few ground breaking things like having Jerry Calabrese do a live chat. Imagine that, live chat! Why, I've never used a computer to chat with anyone before!

Ever try to download a DCS upgrade from the MTH site? It's a friggin hassle!

Why am I picking on these guys? Well, because trains are my hobby, I really enjoy them and the amount of information out on the web that's current just sucks. So I go to these websites to see what's new in these companies and I find out nothing consistently. I like both of their products, I hear from their staff at shows that exciting new products are coming. Yet those products are typically not represented to anyone's benefit on their website.

I end up going out to eBay to look at trains and get irritated by people mis-representing items they know diddly about.

Let me make a suggestion: not everything needs to be a huge bang. Sometimes, a little bit of information is just as good as a new catalog. Pictures from your factories? How about an interview with your chief materials planner? How about an interview with the guys that do your sound? Believe it or not, we're all interested in seeing how the boiler on a 392E or an O gauge Premier engine is made.

I'd love to know how you decide what to make and when? There are a ton of interesting things you guys do. BE CURRENT!!! The tools are all out there to do this well and cheaply.

Be original and show us the voodoo that you do so well!