Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Start 2015 w/some Bing goodness....

Michel sent me this link to some Bing goodness.  Not every amazing tinplate work of art is Lionel or Flyer or Ives.  These are just awesome...


Merry Christmas from Switzerland....

My friend Michel sent me this wonderful Christmas card!  I hope he knows how wonderful I think it is!!

Check out this little set -

Happy 2015!

I am trying to start out the new year in an old way.... Went and hung out at Roadside America in PA this week...  This place is just one of the best throwbacks ever....

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Brugger Modelleisenbahn-Club/Switzerland

My friend in Switzerland Michel sent me this really cool link to BMC.  We'll stay with BMC (it stands for Brugger Modelleisenbahn-Club).  As you can see from the pics I downloaded, this club has a way cool layout.  Here's the link to the club here.  I love European trains, I had them as a kid.  I'll post some more from Michel.  We are in prime time for trains here in the USA as well (the season is upon us).  


The One That Keeps Getting Away

There are few items in standard gauge that I "must have".  At this point in my life, I'm glad to just get time with the friends I've made and to see their amazing collections.  But here is one car or item I wish would get made.

I'm not sure who made it but I think it is way cool.  It's motorized, standard gauge, a work car.  I've seen prototypes on the Metro North, LIRR, even the T in Boston .  Work cars are a big deal everywhere.  I also think the neat thing about this car is the color.  It could be Union Pacific or a stock car.  Regardless, I've only seen it once and never again.  Not glossy or glitzy but stunning nonetheless.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Leipzig Station Youttube

Check out this Youtube from MTH on the Leipzig Station!

By the way, I guess you can tell I have curtailed most of my toy train procurement.  It has gotten too expensive and money is tight.  However items like the above may be a rare exception to my rules.  I am only preordering/procuring now through one dealer that has consistently performed well for me: Nassau Hobby in Long Island.   I can't speak for the whole world, just for me.  They've been awesome and any preorders I have will be going through them exclusively!!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Boucher/Bassett-Lowke Connection

Boucher was not strictly a toy company. They produced models: industrial models for exhibition; yacht models for racing; live steam boilers, engines and fittings for model steamships; and the old Voltamp line of trains which at the time were the most realistic toy trains in the country. That is why Boucher's slogan was "Toys that are more than just Toys". One imagines that H.E.Boucher would have preferred to skip the "Toy" part of the slogan altogether. So when in 1923 Boucher announced a 1 gauge live steam locomotive, it should not have come as any surprise. A picture of the catalog illustration is in the following Tinplate Times article, and a catalog picture with detailed description of the locomotive can be found in Graham Claytor's TCA Quarterly article on operating live steam locomotives in the winter edition, 1981, Vol 27, no 1. >

This locomotive was brought out around the same time as Boucher bought out Voltamp, and Boucher offered ex-Voltamp passenger and freight cars to go with it, with trucks altered for 1 gauge. As it turns out, this locomotive was in fact made by Bassett-Lowke. Whether Boucher commissioned B-L, or B-L made it for themselves and Boucher took the opportunity to market them in the US is unclear. What is clear is that at $275 in 1923 money, not many were sold. B-L also listed this model in their catalog, but with a few variations. The article by Claytor shows both the Boucher and B-L locomotives. The B-L has a different cab window design, steam cylinders and a longer tender than the Boucher version. However, in the 1927 B-L catalog, the locomotive is shown with the same cab windows and cylinders as the Boucher version:
Naturally, I wanted one. The problem of course is scarcity. I have only ever seen 3 Boucher versions, and 2 of them may have been the same one under difference circumstances. I have never seen the Bassett-Lowke version in person, and only know of Claytor's (where is it now?). So imagine my excitement when i stumbled into one:
This is most likely a Bassett-Lowke given the larger tender. I would have preferred a Boucher, but this will have to do (its missing the trailing truck, a bogus Marklin repro is standing in for now). A real Boucher looks like this (pic from Liveauctioneers, Bertoia Auctioneers, used without permission but dear God, i sent them enough money in the past year so they should be cool about it)

As with most things that i own, this one is a bit strange with some unexplainable differences to other known examples. First and formost, it is coal fired, not spirit fired. The tender carries only water with a connection to an annoyingly intrusive water injection line into the boiler on the left hand side. The lubricator has been moved from inside the smokebox to a tank on the pilot deck. Bassett-Lowke describes it as having two trial cocks (to check for low and high water in the boiler), but these have been replaced by a proper sight glass. Some of these modifications are extremely professional and suggest B-L did it, and some are a bit sloppy suggesting aftermarket by a hobbyist.

sadly, as seems more often the case than not lately, the person who shipped it to me was very careless with the packing (folded newspaper for cushioning!), and its own weight managed to nearly destroy the cab in transit. One third of the paint was lost on the roof and the front was mangled. I had a friend straighten it, i repainted the front and chemically darkened the roof to blend in, but there is no escaping the fact that i had bought an excellent example and ended up with one that was...not. So let this be a cautionary tale: get into the habit of telling anyone you deal with how to pack your trains: i.e peanuts, and plenty of them.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Toy Trains at Disneyland....

I was hanging out in Anaheim, CA last week and I spent a few minutes (or hours/days) at Disneyland.  Disney California Adventure has some really cool train stuff, check out the windows in the stores with both prewar O Gauge and Standard Gauge.  They also have a mock up "Red Car" in Disney Adventure as well that's really nice. 

If you are a train nut, this is fun time.  Get a park hopper as Toontown also has a "Jolly Trolley" that really is very similar to the Fontaine Fox Toonerville Trolley.  It's kind of nice to see an actual real prototype of the Toonerville (yes, I know there are others).  Check out the pics....  I know, not a huge secret that Walt Disney, Ward Kimball, and the Disney team were/are train buffs.  It's just nice to see it reflected in a present day theme park.  Also, if you get a chance, check out the Radiator Springs at Disney California Adventure.  If you like toy trains and cars, you won't be disappointed.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

PCC in Sa Francisco

Absolute ton of gorgeous PCCs running in San Francisco today.  Would love one in the right gauge!! (Standard of course!)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

MTH Leipziger Train Station

Just when I thought I'd seen it all, MTH pulls out all of the stops!

I have yet to see this product in person, however my friend in Switzerland saw it (and Mike Wolf) in Europe and was impressed.  There is much to be said for prewar European tinplate and this station is no exception.

I'm not sure how I can get standard gauge to roll by this thing and look right.... But I'll figure out a way!