Monday, December 31, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
This is an original standard gauge engine made by Yoda in the Dagobah System.
Ok, I'm kidding, I promised I wouldn't say who made it but I did have to post it. Blow up it up. This thing is just glorious, especially in Standard Gauge. It's everything a great tinplate engine could be and should be.
I know what you are thinking. "This can't be any good!" All plastic, little locking parts and bits. How good could it be?
This layout is outstanding and believe me when I tell you it's worth the trip. The details on it are extraordinary. In a nutshell (and this is opinion, not by any means fact) the details make the layout. It isn't especially high rail, it can't be qualified as such. Details on a high rail layout are there to give it realism, some charm and to highlite or differentiate a place. The details on a Lego layout are for pure fun. And there are tons of them. They aren't hard to do and are very inexpensive. The technology of Lego really lends itself to doing amazing things on a train layout. And even further, the colors and textures are there. I'd have to say it reminds me of Tinplate in plastic. I don't think any of this is collectible in the sense of collecting old toys. However I do have to say that the trains ran quite well. I didn't see much opportunity to interact with them the same way we interact with a Lionel ZW and a huge standard gauge layout but the effect was similar. I did notice that even with four trains running simultaneously, there was almost no noise. The lack of sound was the only thing I found mildly disruptive, not because it was necessarily bad but because I am so used to a racket whenever any train is run (of any gauge). Some Youtube is coming as well!
Friday, December 07, 2007
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Sunday, December 02, 2007
This is a big weekend for collectors in the NY, NJ area. The Montvale Show is Dec. 8th and Dec. 9th (one year I made it to both but it was a stretch). So can I go to both this year?
Incidentally, I love the show in the County Center in Westchester. The building is wonderful, it's very Art Deco and it is way overbuilt. No building will ever be made like it again. It's a decent sized show with a good selection. Montvale is also a good show, there are just tons of dealers there and there are usually nooks and crannies where dealers go and you can pick up some really neat stuff. I also liked it because I saw Angela Trotta Thomas right in the front. Her stuff is much better in person than online or by looking in a magazine.
Anyway, any ideas on when the real dates are for these shows?
What are you planning to run under your tree this year?
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
This Ives set on the left caught my eye. There is also that wonderful 10 Interurban.
MTH please make the 10 and 1010 Interurban set. This is low hanging fruit! It won't take much to build this and you can re-use the tooling for passenger cars. It's one of my favorite pieces of standard gauge and is literally impossible to find in good shape.
Anyway, I got my rant out for today. Check out this auction. I keep driving by my neighbors homes and they all have trees. It still feels really early for a tree but I guess it isn't. Anyone have a couple of decent under tree train shots yet?
Monday, November 26, 2007
Philadelphia's great Reading Terminal Head House used to serve as the portal to the Reading Railroad's many lines. These days it has been converted to office space with retail shops on the ground floor. There is also a display area. Each year there is an operating toy train layout set up. Some years have been better than others. This year the layout is quite nice and even includes tinplate accessories. It will be a very popular attraction for Philadelphians and visitors during this years holiday season.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
This did my heart good on Black Friday...to see the return of toy trains to what once was the great John Wanamaker Department Store in downtown Philadelphia. When I was a child, this store had an entire floor devoted to toys, and of course, they had a huge operating layout at the holidays. In recent years, the store was sold and downsized, and for the last several years, under the Lord And Taylor moniker it was basically a woman's apparel and accessories outlet. What was once a great nine or ten full floors of department store now is down to just three selling floors. Recently, Macy's took over the store portion of the great building, and they've broadened the lines as much as space will permit. It's just a pleasure to see trains for sale again in a downtown department store.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Also some decent train meets are coming up here in the Northeast.
Give thanks for great friends, great trains and your family!
Monday, November 19, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Check out the new Stout Auction - it is out on their website. I noticed a couple of standout items.
The first item would be the #7. I strongly believe it could be a McCoy #7. That would make it rare by Postwar Standard Gauge standards. It's a nice loco too. I am partial to thin rim #7's myself. With these getting rarer and the casting aging, this may be a great loco. I'm pretty sure it isn't a Cohen and there weren't many other folks reproducing these.
The McCoy Circus set caught my eye as well. It says in the description no couplers are mounted on the cars. I know this is a McCoy Circus set and I know that McCoy shipped the set with couplers. So why no couplers on this set? McCoy collectors, maybe you can illuminate me!
Last but not least this little Marklin gem. It is standard gauge. It has some repro stuff on it as well as a new paintjob. Even still, does anyone know the history of this loco? What kind of set was it a part of? Is it standard gauge or #1 gauge?
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
"Do we really need to still have paper catalogs for auctions?"
With the internet as prevalent as it is and with the speed of publishing coupled with the agility of putting up pictures; do we still need to kill trees to do auctions?
I think I will post the question on the tinplate forums as well. I don't really think we need paper as much as we used to. Any thoughts?
Paper takes huge amounts of time for auction houses to put together, is static and costs the firms huge sums of cash. It costs me $25 every time I need to buy one of these things. I'm not sure they are necessary anymore.
I'm thinking a poll may be in order.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Monday, November 05, 2007
Sunday, November 04, 2007
What got me this time was that I saw so many prototypes for so many great standard gauge trains. I got an authentic look at a Steeple Cab restoration in progress. Steeple Cabs are really growing on me. I also got a look at the prototypes for 10 series cars (yep, they have them at the Shoreline Museum in CT). What actually really threw me for a loop was the freshly rennovated PCC Streetcar fully brought back in mint/original factory condition. The green paint on this thing was still fresh and it was absolutely gorgeous. Really, standard gauge trains were inspired by real one's and don't give me any of that stuff about how standard gauge colors were "out there to attract female buyers in the 20's". That might have been true however reality is just as interesting; the colors on this PCC car are just phenomenal. They were bright, crisp and something you just don't see ever. Go ahead and click on it, this thing is a absolutely amazing. Here's the front:
Blow it up and take a look at it. It's no suprise that the last one of these rolled off the line in Europe in 1997! I wish American cities had these today. The lines are graceful and they had every convenience plus. Makes our current plastic based buses look like turds.
And speaking of current manufacturing, I was glancing around while I was riding on the streetcar and noticed something. Metal and wood. Tons of it. No plastic. God I love that! Natural materials plus materials that were built to last. Check out this seat:
The bulk of the inside of the trolley was either wood, wicker or metal (probably some kind of iron). The museum stipulates that all internal items must be authentic, no "sort of" reproductions or "good enough". Has to be spot on or it isn't going in the car and the car will sit idle until the real item shows up or is made.
Speaking of real items, here is a Steeple Cab in restoration:
This Steeple was made in Canada. They have two of them at the Shoreline Museum. The other one was out in the yard. This one is undergoing a full restore. I was watching the guys do some work on the pickup. Restoring these old trains is hard work, it looks immensely gratifying though. It seems very expensive, most of the items require custom manufacture although it looks (to me at least) that when a restoration is done, it is as good or better than the original and will last many years longer. Hindsight is one of those funny things in real trains and in toys. I can see why Voltamp cranked out their Steeplecabs. I was about 6 inches from this train because there was no room in the machine shop and it cuts an imposing figure. It is fairly rusty up top and much of the wood still needs to be replaced however it will be something to see when it is complete. I was told that this Steeplecab was for the most part scrapped however one young man had dedicated many hundreds of hours to it and got it running over a period of years. Kind of makes our toy trains seem kind of simple and easy in comparison.