Monthly Archives: July 2011


But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.–(Job 23:10-12)

When have we learned a doctrine?

My brethren, this is a lesson for us; let us never reckon that we have learned a doctrine till we have seen its bearing upon our lives. Whatever we discover in God’s word, let us pray the Holy Spirit to make us feel the sanctifying influence of it. You know not a man because you recognize his features, you must also know his spirit, and so the mere acquaintance with the letter of truth is of small account — you must feel its influence and know its tendency.

There are some brethren who are so enamored of doctrine that no preacher will content them unless he gives them over and over again clear statements of certain favourite truths: but the moment you come to speak of practice they fight shy of it at once, and either denounce the preacher as being legal, or they grow weary of that which they dare not contradict. Let it never be so with us. Let us follow up truth to its practical “therefore.” Let us love the practice of holiness as much as the belief of the truth; and, though we desire to know, let us take care when we know that we act according to the knowledge, for if we do not our knowledge itself will become mischievous to us, will involve us in responsibilities, but will bring to us no effectual blessing. Let everyone here who knoweth aught, now pray God to teach him what he would have him to do, as the consequence of that knowledge.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled “Motives For Steadfastness,” delivered May 11, 1873.

NWSL ad, May 1974…


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Couldn’t help but notice that the Shay was promised with all 26″ drivers powered, something that was not built into the model I own. Did this one slip by the “normal 100% operational test and verification program”. And what’s up with a 4″ long loco…especially an HO scale Shay…needing 18 inches of radius?

The presence of the additional model notes promised on return of the warranty card tells me that the original owner did just that. Comforting to know…do you think they’ll honor the warranty, seeing that the product is not as advertised—37 years later?

The original retail of $89.95 is a pleasant surprise compared to the price I did pay for it. This same model in 2010 dollars would go for $393.16, about the same as they sell for now. So…is brass a real investment…or simply keeping up with inflation?

Northwest Short Line 18 ton HO scale Shay, the reception…


This just came over from England, a very nice model of a Patterson & Western RR Company oil-fired 18 ton Shay built by Lima in 1916. While the original locomotive was built to ride 3 foot narrow gauge track, the model was built to run on standard gauged track. Offered by NWSL in 1974, they were notoriously bad runners from the start, apparently from a design change in the drive train made between the time the prototype model was approved and the final delivery was made.

It is a beautiful little Shay though. At just over 4″ in length over the foot boards, it is nicely dwarfed by my Bachmann 80 ton Cass Scenic Railway #5…

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…and a 9 volt battery.

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Those tiny jackshafts are an absolute beast, popping out at the first opportunity, whenever the trucks are swayed too far to the left. However, any grief is quickly sated as it runs, and the monkey motion of the little two cylinder engine with its rods and crankshafts does its magic.

It is remarkably slow running (when it is running), thanks to a well hidden worm and gear setup, cleverly tucked behind the engine. The thing sounds like a very angry hornet, a testament to its early heritage. In the mid 70s, brass locomotive manufacturers who made quiet, smooth mechanisms were still hard to come by.

Interestingly, it only powers the front truck, the rear one is just there for the ride…there are gears on the rear jackshaft, they just were never built to mesh properly. Because of this arrangement, it can barely pull itself, and will need some additional weight added to the boiler to remedy the problem. Fortunately there is plenty of room, limited only by the amount of lead the motor can handle and still slip the drivers.

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Alas, the couplers did not survive the trip across the pond…whose postal gorillas are at fault none will know… The fine spark arrestor suffered at the hands of the same goons as well…

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She came with her original box, papers and a bit of a list to starboard. The contacts needed a bit of adjusting to straighten that out. The weathering job is a treat and well enough done that only minor touch-ups are necessary. I will eventually upgrade the drive and properly letter it for the P&W RR Co. #2.

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…approximately actual size—yeah, dangerously close to “cute”…

—On rewards and consequences…

I have recently felt impressed of God to start selling down a large amount of my collection. A well meaning friend, knowing this, as well as my desire for a small Shay, observed that this may be a reward from God for my obedience. I appreciated the thought–but–I dearly hope my faith is a bit stronger and more well grounded than that of following a Divine Dispenser of Brass for Good Deeds. I just can’t picture the Sovereign Lord of the Universe using one of His nail scarred hands to put one of these into my mostly faithless and morbidly ungrateful ones…at least not for doing what was asked of me anyway.

Now you know why no one sits with us at church….

Jeremiah 5:22-31


Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it? But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.

Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you. For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.

Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?

Varney ad by John Allen, 1959…


…yes, that’s a guy swinging from a noose. John never cared for diesel models and claimed that this was a diesel salesman who tried to sell them to his beloved Gorre and Daphetid RR. Apparently, he kept this scene on his railroad long after the ad…

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The history of ads up through the early 70s would send a copy editor into a tizzy today…there are some I simply could not reproduce in good conscience here.

And…yes, I found all 25 figures. Allen’s were made from bees wax applied to a wire armature, painted with white shoe polish to hold other colors, then painted with oils. Many of his original designs are still found offered by other manufacturers to this day.

M1358 CH Mack truck desk set…


…I finally found out the origins of my desk set. This set was offered in the Mack Shop catalog back in 1990-91 for the princely sum of $82.50 at the time (…that’s $136 in today’s Monopoly money, but that’s another story…).

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That the truck is facing in the opposite direction is most likely a preproduction change rather than something done later in life, there is no evidence of tampering with the felt bottom.

The name plate shown was a separate piece, left loose to be engraved and then mounted with double side tape.

Many thanks to the Mack museum curator for helping me identify this piece.