Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Straco Layout, Part 21 - The Flat Arm of the Law

That police car looks pretty good in this shot.
But looks can be deceiving.
I recently added two more vehicles to the Straco Express layout (read more about the whole project here).  In both cases I had a specific reason for the purchase. And in both cases, I had an unexpected surprise. This post I'll talk about one of the pair, the second merits its own post.

Police cars are a fairly common form for these small Japanese tin cars to come in. Often these “penny toys” (as they’re sometimes referred to) were sold in packs. The cars were identical with different liveries – usually police, fire chief, taxi and ambulance markings. Now that traffic’s picking up on the layout, I thought a police presence might be in order.

Less than 1/2" in height. This car's almost 2-dimensional!
One of the dangers of purchasing on eBay is that you only have the photographs and descriptions of the sellers to go by -- you can't physically examine the item. In this case, the car photographed well (as you can see from the photo at left). Because there was only one photo, it wasn’t readily apparent just how flat this car was!

There’s a wide variety in the construction of these vehicles. Some are fairly sophisticated with friction drives and rubber wheels, while others are free-wheeling made with a bare minimum of materials. This car is an excellent example of the latter. Most of the vehicles on the layout are between 3/4" and 1" tall. The car is less than 1/2” tall –- which makes this a real low rider.

It’s an odd-looking piece, but an interesting example of the low end of the penny toy spectrum. Strangely enough, this car is also one of the few I have with a trademark, the letters "TN." So I might not know where the other vehicles I have came from, but the cheapest of the cheap was made by Nomura! 

Total cost for the project:

Layout construction:
  • Pegboard: $4.95
  • Flathead Screws: $0.40
  • Molding: $2.49
  • SilClear: borrowed from a friend
  • Green Paint: left over from another project
  • Wood Screws: $3.60
  • Felt Pads: $1.99
Power Pack: $5.90
Small Houses: $3.00
Testor's Gray Paint for road: $1.29
Bandai Areo Station: $8.99

  • Two Japanese toy cars: $2.00
  • A.W. Livestock truck: $4.99
  • Taxi: $2.99
  • Ambulance: $2.99
  • Two Japanese patriotic cars: $6.99
  • Namura Police Car $2.52
Total Cost: $55.09

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