Mr. Finelli just finished his rendition of an Army train in standard gauge! I haven't seen this in person however I must say Joe has really outdone himself on this. The train is striking and is probably the best interpretation of the Prewar (WWI) Lionel item I've seen.
Joe makes trains in his spare time, he actually has a career and job in a highly skilled area. This guy's creativity and ability is outstanding; I wish there was a way to give him more time and resources to build these great items.
Whenever I see anything from Joe Finelli, Joe Mania, Jim Cohen or Dick Mayer and quite a few others (Bob Thon, John Harmon and so on) I marvel at their ingenuity and ability to make something out of nothing. With America taking some lumps right now in the manufacturing space, we need people like them. There's no disputing that what they do is amazing; they make the best quality, products that are very close to art and they do it with almost no help. Imagine what these guys could do if they had the resources to let their imaginations really go.
Keep up the great work Joe!
For those of you that have never seen a Lionel Army Train: Lionel produced an Army train around WWI. Details are a little sketchy around it, I seem to remember it coming in a few configurtions with a flat car, a passenger car, a plane, some army cast iron army men and so on. I have a Dick Mayer rendition of it and I think it is terrific. It wasn't really designed after any prototype, it was designed by Lionel to give kids with limited space some access to a military toy. Even the reproductions come in several different flavors and colors with many different items as add ons. When I run the reproduction flavor I have in O gauge it squeals around the track and sways a little bit. All told, it is really fun to watch. I have to imagine the standard gauge flavor above is no different.