Monthly Archives: May 2013

Lone Star Treble O…the original N scale…

Soon after Lone Star, an English company that introduced these in the early 1960s as small diecast toys, intrepid modelers were figuring out ways to power them. A market was created and thus, N scale as we know it was introduced around 1967…

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I recently acquired one of their KCS cabooses and an unmarked flatcar they offered with a flatbed tractor/trailer tied down to it with very unprototypical rubber bands. Alas, the flatcar is missing its load…

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The caboose is actually quite nice when you take into consideration the fact that most of the detailing is two zinc castings comprised of the roof and body…

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Mercifully, it wasn’t long before Arnold Rapido came out with the more compact Rapido coupler. These resemble most European HO couplers–even in size…yikes.


Job 20:4-20

Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth, That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment? Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds; Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, Where is he? He shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found: yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night.

The eye also which saw him shall see him no more; neither shall his place any more behold him. His children shall seek to please the poor, and his hands shall restore their goods. His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust. Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue; Though he spare it, and forsake it not; but keep it still within his mouth: Yet his meat in his bowels is turned, it is the gall of asps within him. He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again: God shall cast them out of his belly. He shall suck the poison of asps: the viper’s tongue shall slay him. He shall not see the rivers, the floods, the brooks of honey and butter.

That which he laboured for shall he restore, and shall not swallow it down: according to his substance shall the restitution be, and he shall not rejoice therein. Because he hath oppressed and hath forsaken the poor; because he hath violently taken away an house which he builded not; Surely he shall not feel quietness in his belly, he shall not save of that which he desired.


1/24 Action Racing Collectibles Platinum Edition Dale Earnhardt #15 WRANGLER 1983 Thunderbird

A nice score found at a yard sale, I’ve wanted to add at least one of “The Intimidator’s” cars to my very small NASCAR collection. One of the original coin banks from the early 1980s that started the whole diecast hobby, it models a time when the cars were real and could easily be distinguished from one another…i.e. ’twas more than stickers that told you what brand it was… an added bonus.  At one point these were easily fetching $250 with the original box but, as time passes, like any collectable “investment”, the values have fallen considerably…more into the $40-50 range.

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…it even has the original key.

I was working in a retail store at the time of the deaths of Allan Kulwicki and Davey Allison, and well remember the fans flocking in to grab up all of the Racing Champions Diecast we had of them. Since stocking those shelves was my job anyway, it wasn’t long before I was buying those models–with the employee discount–then reselling them at a local flea market. By then though, the market had been flooded and I considered myself blessed to at least recoup my money.

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Was it wrong? That really is a decision of conscience one can only make with a right relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ. There are no specific “Thou shalt not capitalize on the mouldering corpse of a fallen celebrity.” verses, or even a principle against that which can be garnered from any Scriptural study I’ve looked into. I am however, told to take reasonable risks on reasonable investments, understanding that the money belongs to the Master of the house and for which I am accountable upon His return for it. I’m also told that “…that which is not done in faith is sin…” and, between the Master and I, there is a certain morbidity that cannot be overcome, and that the appearance of which would trouble weaker brethren. That is why this car now sits on my shelf and why I treasure it for more than the thing that it is.

Lionel set 1590 from 1958…

One of the great bugaboos of the model train hobby is the mindset that I run into at shows or just at social gatherings.  John (or Jane) Q. Public has a train set that’s “been in the family for a long time” and they want to know what it’s worth.  From the look in their eyes and the tone in their voice, they obviously have the one exceptionally rare antique set worth enough to cover their mortgage and send one or two of the kidlets to Harvard, so would I be a dear and please confirm this delusion?.

Nothing could be further from the truth in this hobby.  Old DOES NOT mean valuable, whether it sports a Lionel tag or TYCO.  What the Lionel debacle did in the 80s was pull out from attics and closets across this fruited plain, box after box of grandpa’s old trains, showing that what was once  considered “Rare” was actually just one of many hundreds that were buried, just like any other toy out there, waiting only for a good reason to be pulled out into the light.  5000 greenbacks for an original #300 Hell Gate Bridge will do that to anything out there, not just Lionel.

My 1590 set comes from a good friend who is settling his brother-in-law’s estate.  Fortunately for me, he understands that only special pieces get special prices.  He found this mixed in the estate with a bunch of track, most of which had fallen victim to the ravages of Hurricane Sandy.  It is in cosmetically good condition and has all four cars, the blue gon just didn’t make the cut on the too short shelf space.  The irony is that the value in the set is not in the whole, but in fact, one part…the “Range Patrol” truck that would have sat on the yellow flat car.  An orange or yellow truck can get double what the set complete can get.  Who knew…sigh…

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Original 1958 catalog listing…

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NOTE:  Settling this estate has been a hoot for my friend and his family.  With no will, the state and a reprobate offspring have ravaged the estate and my friend’s life over the last 2 years.  Being married to next of kin just gives the state a warm body to sink their fangs and claws into.  They will get their pound of flesh, and it will be yesterday…

If you don’t have a will, you are a fool and richly deserve every curse called down upon your corpse by the family you left behind.  Get a will…now.