Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Olson Display Unboxing

Milage may vary. Not the favorite thing new car buyers like to read. Lionel may have wanted to put this on prewar tunnels as well. Not because any petrol was expended in making a new tunnel (none that I know of at least).

I've had a few of these tunnels in my time. I've sold all of them (4 in total) and I have one sitting where my new layout will be right now. The point is something I've always noticed but never actually verbalized until Brian Olson and I were speaking on the phone. He had said that he goes to great, great pains to get his tunnels exactly right. To get the colors exactly accurate with their prewar counterparts, to get the dimensions, the feel, the trees.... Everything right.

Except that Lionel had a substantial number of skilled and unskilled workers building these tunnels (915, 123 and so on) prior to World War II. And each tunnel is handcrafted. Some people took great care and pride and attempted to recreate landscapes and the tunnel using prewar tools and supplies. Others were just doing their job, making a tunnel was what they did; they came to work, threw together some paint, put on a house and trees and moved on to the next item. Some tunnels were works of art, others were just works.

Hence my initial statement "milage may vary". Milage varies widely among prewar tunnels, some look great and others don't.

I bought this Olson Display on eBay. I like the 123 and I am going to put it somewhere on the O gauge part of my new layout. I'll probably get something a bit more signficant for the standard gauge stuff and I will let everyone see it and check it out when it becomes available.

I wanted to get a feel for what Mr. Olson is producing. Right off the bat, the impression is good.
I like the Olson logo/boilerplate on the outside. The box is sturdy and professional and the design on the outside does generate a little excitement and is consistent with prewar marketing. It works....

The box is well packed. There is no tape amidst the bubblewrap, it is carefully wound around the display. The bubblewrap is secure and yet there is no tape (it may damage the item). I wish other manufacturers figured out how to do this!

The tunnel itself is impressive and matches the original fairly closely. The Olson tunnel has the benefit of newer materials and hindsight engineering. I really didn't want to launch this into an official "review". So here are the pictures of the actual tunnel; you decide how much you like it for yourself. I could be wrong but I think if all of Olson Displays product is consistent with this, they'll have some winners on their hands. The attention to prewar detail is outstanding and is probably better quality than most prewar tunnels. It will most likely last much longer as well, especially using newer paint technology.

I only have one wish for the future and that's to get my hands on some additional tunnels and mountains for standard gauge. I also would really like to see some metal tunnels using prewar paint.

Enough of my chatter, check out the tunnel below! Keep up the great work Brian, this is outstanding work.


PS I need to apologize for the insane spacing. It is either this template or blogger, plain and simple. When I load this many pictures into a post blogger seems to go nuts. It's frustrating because I have to sit here for an hour and try to get the layout right. How long have we been doing page layout with computers? Right....

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