Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
The beginning of the process was to determine what I wanted mine to look like. I really wanted something that looked like it was made by Voltamp or Carlisle and Finch. That meant it had to be simple and even somewhat crude, perfectly complimenting my modeling skills. I had some existing examples: Carlisle and Finch had made an incline toy around 1897. It had simple flat cars, and it only had a head house which looked like a garage with a smokestack. This actually was prototypical as Cincinnati had inclines which were flat cars with rails which carried the streetcars up the hills. Imagine if Carlisle and Finch had done that for their trolleys! Don't think I wasn't tempted, but I had no interest in seeing my Finch #42 trolley take a header off a mountain. The one I saw in Pittsburgh would have been easy to reproduce: the cars looked like smaller versions of the Lionel 2-7/8 gauge #100 but using perforated metal sides instead of solid tinplate. The headhouse was a simple arched roof on four posts. There was no foot(?) house or mechanism; it looked like it was meant to be hooked up to a steam or electric engine and hand reversed.
I was well on the way to doing something like this, when I realized that if I was going to all this bother, why not go all out and make an interpretation of the Duquesne Incline? I still wanted it to look like something that was made 80 years ago, but I put a lot more detail into the cars than Voltamp or Finch ever would have, including Joe Mania repro people. For the head and foot house, I decided to use paper labels like Finch used on their stations and early trains. Here it is < If you want to see a crappy video of it, use the youtube link below or click on the video:
The mechanism is simplicity itself: a DC gear motor turns a giant pulley and a relay is activated when the incline car wheels span a gap in the track, completing a circuit and reversing the cars. The headhouse has lights that alternate with direction showing which car is going up and which car is going down - a simple thing American Flyer used to do with their standard gauge engines.
To my amazement, all the work I did figuring out the desired linear travel speed and back calculating the pulley rotational speed, motor speed and pulley diameter actually worked out and on the first try the thing ran exactly as I had intended it. So maybe I wasn't able to afford the one in Pittsburgh because I was in graduate school, but that ednucation sure come in handy.
I made the stations out of sheet metal, and did the labels in Powerpoint. And here we have the problem. The paper I used was, well, paper thin and I had a hell of a time getting it on without wrinkling or bleeding the adhesive. Also after I was done and looked at it for awhile, I noticed that the entire station is completely wrong. It has all the styling cues of the real thing (good to have in a toy) but the proportions are all wrong (real bad to have in a toy). The real one is all cute and chubby, like a castle. Mine is lean and mean, like a fortress. It will have to be redone. Totally. The foot house was made as a quick mock up and I always intended to remake it.Also I need to do something about the mountain to make the station look like its built into the hill instead of hanging over it. That is way down the list of priorities.
I am not sure if I am going to stick with the paper label effect or go with painted metal, or even all-wood structures. I have been thinking about getting repro Ives lead windows and making the stations similar in construction to the the first series Ives stations. I could use some opinions on this.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
This thing is brilliant. While it is a passenger car, it is also very slick looking restaraunt. Even if you can detail a car nicely, this thing looks like an authentic tinplate diner.
Not everything needs to be motive power to be innovative and exciting!
Yes, this is a shot from my meager collection....
Without a doubt I have seen many McCoy cars at shows and in the TCA and TTOS bulletins. If you want some standard gauge that is typically very reasonable and has a ton of charimsa, check these out.
I was wandering around on Flickr and I found this. My guess is that this is the California Train Museum (Tom Sefton). Whatever it is I love this display.
Click on the pic to get bigger!
Premier item. Kind of threw me for a loop when I saw it (and the cars) in the catalog. We're picking up speed on a European offerings. I'm glad to see it but I am confused as to why? Is MTH going to compete head to head with Marklin? Are they getting requests for European gear? I love the prewar Marklin and Fandor stuff.
I hope we see more of this.
I'm trying to warm up to this format but it is just too cluttered. I am used to strong presentations in graphic arts and layouts. I wish MTH had broken this up a bit more cleanly.
Still, it's a ton of nice tinplate. I'm hoping that delivery will be sped up by fewer new product intros.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Here's where the tires hit the road. I'm probably going to order both flavors of the new green 390E. Almost every original Lionel has something wrong with it. I've seen one or two $5k versions with everything perfect. Otherwise there's always some kind of scratch on the tender or steamchest warp....
Check it out!
Ok, here we go. I'm not going to add verbiage page for page. I liked the new catalog cover, it is quite nice.
Also, please forgive my scans. It's late, I'm tired but I knew that all of you wanted a look at the new catalog.
PS Christmas is coming, be kind to one another (or you'll get a lump of coal in your stocking!)
- It looks like the catalog was put together quickly or hastily.
Premier, Railking, Railking Scale, Tinplate and accessories are all in one catalog.
The page layout isn't bad but it isn't as nice at MTH's catalog page layout usually is.
- The Tinplate section is very crowded.
You'll see what I mean when you look at it. It's definitely been condensed.
I liked the separate tinplate catalog much better.
- MTH seemed to pick some thing out of past production to produce and not others.
Such as a Blue 256 (why not red or orange?)
The 384 Christmas set (why not do a 385E Christmas set?)
So this catalog was quite a bit different. There were substantially less accessories in this catalog than any other MTH catalog I have ever seen. The basic tinplate accessories were intermingled with the actual tinplate toy train offerings. Very strange.
Having said all that, the green 390E makes you forget the catalog layout. It was the one item that I would have and always have picked as an ideal tinplate reproduction. I recently traded away a green 390E. They are hard to come by and cost a small fortune in good/original condition. They are gorgeous engines to be sure. I do hope that MTH offers 300 series cars to match the 390E offering in the same colors (Green with Orange trim or Green with light Green trim). Regardless, this engine is an instant winner and I would highly recommend getting in preorders sooner than later.
All told, still a very decent tinplate offering. MTH essentially took items from the last 3 catalogs and put as many as they could into this one. Really, they've done so much new tooling and work for the last few catalogs, I'll cut them some slack and say I'm glad they are not loading up on yet another set of new tinplate offerings without first shipping the one's they have already promised.
Pictures inbound shortly.....
Monday, October 15, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
This is the first time I've run the Boucher DeLuxe 2500 loco pulling these cars that I acquired last winter and custom painted to match the loco. The 418 series cars are shorter than the Boucher cars but they do have the six wheel trucks and look pretty good behind the big double motor locomotive. The 418m 419 and 490 are Williams reproductions. The 431 is a restored Lionel 431 diner.