I didn’t need this caboose—in my growing collection of Tyco streamlined cabooses, I’ve already got one in the Bicentennial scheme. It was the box that caught my eye. Actually, it was the price tag on the box. Take a close look, it tells a story. Two Guys, a long-defunct discount department store, marked this car down to just 19 cents in 1977. (That’s still less than a dollar in today’s money. I paid $3.) As the kids say, a Bicentennial caboose was so last year by then.(more…)
Collecting Tyco streamlined cabooses has become a hobby-within-a-hobby for me. As caboose models go, the Tyco is an odd duck—it sorta-kinda looks like an Ann Arbor caboose, or maybe a Pennsy N8 with an off-center cupola, but not really. They were ubiquitous in ’70s-era HO scale railroading; every kid I knew with HO had one. These days, they’re easily found at train shows for $5 or less, in a broad variety of paint schemes, even a chrome-plated version, so why not?(more…)
My Inexplicable 44-Year Fascination with One Particular Freight Car
Harold put his O scale layout on the tour for an NMRA division meet a few years ago, so of course I went. I didn’t know him very well, but I was familiar with his work. If you’ve ever picked up an issue of Model Railroader, you’ve seen it, too. He’s written how-to articles, and profiles of prototype short lines, but he’s best known for his drawings. He’s had hundreds of them published over the years. He’s been a fixture in the local NMRA scene for a very long time. (more…)
Mennonite boxcars are a thing. Who knew?
I picked this one up at a show last spring, new in the box and unassembled, for $6. After I finished building it, I did a little Googling around and discovered the surprisingly complex history of Mennonite Central Committee boxcar models. I wonder if I could persuade Quakers into doing something like this.
It Followed Me Home
This bobber caboose—I think it’s Tyco, but I’m not sure—was in a train-show vendor’s dollar box, for good reason. It had apparently taken a hard drop to the floor, and suffered damage to the steps, undercarriage, and roof overhang. One chunk of step was completely broken off, and dangling by the end rail. A coupler was busted, too. For a few bucks more, I could’ve had a similar caboose in mint condition, but I went with this one.
It got a new Kadee, naturally. A Number 27 was a perfect fit. I’ve been addressing body and chassis damage with bits of styrene, and some Squadron green putty here and there. I’ve got a little more sanding and shaping to do before it’s ready to paint, but the hard work is done now.
It ought to look cute with the Dockside, don’t you think?
The Joy of Cheap, Gaudy Boxcars
I overpaid for this ’80s-vintage Model Power boxcar at the train show in Cicero last December. I mean, look at it: crude, heavy molded-in detail, exposed assembly tabs, graphics printed directly on raw plastic. I paid $5. It’s not worth a nickel over $3. But still, that color! Oh, the color! Glorious, gaudy traffic-cone-orange plastic! It practically glows in the dark. Just what I need for the Windlenook project.
So I handed over the whole $5, took it home, pried off the shell and the horn-hooks, and proceeded to spend way too much time installing Kadee couplers. I had to do a surprising amount of surgery to both the underframe and the shell to get everything to fit properly, but it’s back together now. It’s prone to wobbling, however, and I’ll probably spend way too much time fixing that.
But the color!