Category Archives: odd stuff

HO scale Burro crane model from a 25 ton crane model…

I’ve always wanted a running model of a typical Burro crane, models of which are usually in brass and quite pricey. I’ll let the pictures do the explaining. It requires a Train Miniature 25 ton Brownhoist crane (later offered by both Life-Like and Cox) and the power truck from a Bachmann Cable Car.

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Test run…amazingly, the flatcar outweighs the crane by a full ounce–1 1/2 oz. as compared to 2 1/2 oz.

1:34 First Gear Mack Granite tractor w/ dump trailer #19-3301 circa 2004, part II…

I suspect some were wondering, “Well, you had no problem taking that model from them for that price.”

Well…actually, I did.  When I saw how much it was really worth, I felt I should take it back and offer them an opportunity to exchange it for the model that the kids had found before me.  It was a 1:34 scale Oshkosh Cement Mixer Truck, undamaged, missing only the rear view mirrors…remarkable when you consider that the kids found it first.  My offer was simple, take this complete mint in the box Granite tractor/trailer model in exchange for the incomplete one…one worth an easy $100 for one priced $9.99.  Ministry gets a complete one of much greater value to further their cause, I get an unsalable, incomplete one in the hope that I can find the parts to finish it down the road.  What a deal, right?

Only…it wasn’t going to be that simple.

You see…they raised the price of the cement truck in the three days since I first purchased the tractor/trailer, making it $29.99, rather than the original $9.99 it was posted at, the same price I paid for my tractor/trailer.  They would make the exchange…if…I…paid…the…now…$20…difference.


Then she wanted to know if I wanted to return the tractor/trailer…


…I’ve created a monster.

I’ll post pictures of my new truck tomorrow…


1:34 First Gear Mack Granite tractor w/ dump trailer #19-3301 circa 2004…

You would think paying $10 for a model that retails for $170 would make my day.  What if I told you that I could have picked up two more for a total retail value of just over $570…for less than $35–including tax?  What if I told you that two of those models were found in the toy aisle at a local thrift store and that the kids had already found one and proceeded to play with it as though it were a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle rescue vehicle?

How many of these are now finding a wall at the hands of children who have no clue what they have, given them by parents who just wanted them to shut up so they can shop?

How did they get there except at the hands of a family palming off Pop’s estate of “toy junk”, not knowing they had a sizable chunk of money to get, if they simply had the patience to look them up on eBay and sell them there?

How about a Christian thrift store ministry that had no clue they had a treasure trove of dollars waiting for their work, if they’d only draw from knowledgeable brethren an idea of how to maximize this endowment?

In my line of work I walk among millions in wasted dollars every day.  Being in debt up to my eyeballs in incidentals makes this a soul crushing venture.  The mental exercise of “What I could do with that money.” is quite disheartening, I’m at a loss.  To see the Church unwittingly fritter it away makes it all the worse.

“But Br’er Shaygetz…why don’t you offer your services to these folks?”

 …because the offers are often at best ignored or received with a polite pat on my head or, at worst, viewed with suspicion…I’m often left with a sense of distrust on their parts towards me, after all, who would willingly tell a ministry that they can get more money for what they’re selling?

Replica Models, Inc.

Original ad from the June, 1972 Railroad Modeler magazine…

Used to drool over these ads when I saw them in all kinds of modeling magazines back in the late 60s/early 70s.  What kid wouldn’t have wanted an impressive looking–with full working action–model of a German Schmeisser submachinegun or a Thompson Model 1921? Having wondered if the company survived thru the years, I found they had changed hands and became Collector’s Armory, Ltd.  From their site…

About Collectors Armoury

In 1968, Replica Models, Inc. was founded as a mail order company designed to provide collectors with a new and innovative product: Non- firing Replica Guns. Replica Models was the first to offer these quality replica guns in the United States.

In 1972, a sister company, Unique Imports, Inc., was established to furnish military collectors with a wide range of original and high quality military collectibles. In 1980 Replica Models, Inc. and Unique Imports, Inc. merged to form Collector’s Armoury.

Non-firing replica guns are still a large part of our business today, though our product line has grown to include historic reproductions from the Middle Ages through the 20th Century. From Medieval swords and armour to Old West Pistols and modern replica firearms, Collector’s Armoury remains dedicated to providing collectors, history buffs, theatrical groups, and TV and movie producers with high quality, historic reproductions.

Collector’s Armoury has served hundreds of thousands of customers worldwide for nearly 40 years. We supply the U.S. Government, Armed Forces, and Law Enforcement communities with products used as training aids. Our products are available on-line, via catalog, or in any of the hundreds of hobby and antique shops, specialty stores, and decorator and gift shops that carry our products nation-wide.

Toll Free: (800) 336-4572 Monday through Friday between 8.30AM and 5.00PM EASTERN TIME.


Address: 442 Westridge Parkway, Building 100, McDonough, GA 30253

While my desire for a model submachinegun has gone the way of GI Joe and Evil Knievel, that is a rather boss looking M1849 Dragoon pistol tugging at my inner Josey Wales…

1973 AMC Gremlin, Malibu Classics HO scale diecast…

Just thought you’d want to see how it’s built in this ad from 1973…

I well remember them…along with the Ford Pinto and the Chevy Vega, all products of the gasoline crisis of the day, when I watched long lines at the pump and gas go from 35 cents a gallon to 79 cents.  Yeah, go figure.  You know you’re getting old when you wax nostalgic for one of these beasts.  Still trying to figure out why I’d want more headroom in the trunk…?

“Leave the gun…take the canolis…”


Matchbox Collectibles Hershey’s Kisses Limited Edition Mother’s Day tractor/trailer…

A Father’s Day gift from my son when he was 3 years old…

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We used to live down the street from a flea market. There we had a great relationship with several vendors, one of whom sold diecast models. When my beloved brought my son to his booth to get something for me for Father’s Day, his eyes fell upon this truck, he just had to get it for Dad…markings not withstanding. More than willing to dump an otherwise unsalable model on my unsuspecting boy,–there’s just not a big market for Mother’s day diecast–it was bagged and on its way out the door.

About a month later, I was chatting with the vendor and the subject came to my new truck model. After a chuckle, I said, “How could I not be pleased…it’s from my boy. He knew daddy modeled in things that size and got it for me.” My vendor smiled and said, “I guess I got no chance at buying that back, huh? …even at 4X the money?”

“Not really…why?”

“Weeeeelll….I have the complete set–almost. Thought I had that truck already but realized I didn’t and I need it to complete the collection.”

“Lemme guess, because of the paint it’s rather hard to find?”


“Happy hunting buddy…”

“Yeah, I figured as much…Happy Father’s Day.”

“1001 Model Railroading Ideas” magazine, winter 1969…

My very first scale electric train set came to me on Christmas Day 1970. It was the Bachmann F9 diesel set pictured at the top of this ad in PRR green…

As for the magazine, I had never heard of it before I picked up a lot of about 1200 hobby magazines. It had a short, ignoble life in the late ’60s/early ’70s, filled with ads for both model trains, supplies, plastic model kits and…ummmm…facial hair pieces. Yeah, facial hair pieces… A Van Dyke?  Really, dude?