Here's how the new MTH Leland Detroit cars come packages. This packaging is some of the strongest I've ever seen. You'd have to drop this off the top floor of a New York Skyscraper to damage these items.
I have seen original Lelands and these are virtually dead on replicas. I bought the Proto 2.0 version of the set so the only way to really tell is by the noises this makes when it starts to roll.
Let me just say why this set is so heavy. If you are averse to metal, don't buy this set.
There's almost no plastic in this entire set. The only plastic seems to be in the power car. I don't remember but I think the original power cars seem to have Bakelite and metal motors. If you like or love metal like us tinplaters, this is one heck of a great set.
The metal makes this seem very heavy. The actual cars are very light. The power car is a bit heavier because it has a counter-weight on it.
The hangers, rails and bases are very well painted. Matter of fact, the color on the whole set is excellent.
My guess is that after some recent hassles with paint chipping or scratching, MTH put in a process to make sure that out of box experience was positive.
Meaning they put in some process controls to make sure items come off the assembly line or from the paint booth and stay pristine until they hit the hands of customers. Also, while we were setting this up we noticed that the paint colors were extremely bright and the overall quality of the paint on the entire set is superior. We (purely by accident) did several actions that should have scratched or marked the paint. Any O gauge or standard gauge loco would have seen a mark or even a scratch had we done this anywhere else. Since I have some experience with scratching and screwing up tinplate items I was suprised at the resiliency of this paint, especially on the track. Red paint always seems to show scratches and rub marks better than any other paint and the bases and poles seem to be immune. It's a development I hope MTH extends to other tinplate products.
Here's the track for the monorail. Setting this thing up was quite different than setting up a circle of train track and slapping on the transformer. Doesn't work like that. I could see why this may not have appealed to every father and every boy in the 1930's.
For every two sections of track you need one hanger and one base. Seems pretty obvious, right? Well, if one of the hangers isn't secure in the base the track is at an angle. Guess what isn't going up an angle? That's right, the Monorail slips. And when I went to adjust one base with a complete oval of track, I pulled up on hanger and 5 other hangers came out. I love Jerry Lewis (the comedian) and I actually started looking and acting like him while I was setting this up. Everytime I'd set up a base I would pull three or four more! A quote from Jerry Lewis came to mind: "I've had great success being a total idiot." Here's this wonderful toy in front of me that took me years to get my hands on and I can't even get the round hanger into the base!
More later - Marc