Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Fetching Winch in the O-Gauge Zen Garden

1:43 scale diecast vehicles are OK for an O-gauge layout,
but I wanted something a little more interesting.
For quite some time now, there's been a standard solution for representing traffic on an O-gauge layout. And that solution has been to use 1:43 diecast vehicles. The scale is about the same, and diecast cars have a metallic finish that looks pretty good.

It's a solution I've used for my O-gauge Zen garden (or layout, if you will). The problem has been that -- to me -- it makes things look a little dull.

Until now.

My foray into the field of tinplate Japanese transportation toys put me onto a Haji winch truck that was for sale. This vehicle was approximately the right size for the layout, and had very appealing lithography.

The Haji winch truck at work. It fits in well with the metal box
on the loading dock and the metal Erector set shed in the background.
The truck is a friction toy made by the Japanese company Haji in the late 1950's and was probably sold in five & dime stores. The winch has a positional arm and hook, giving it a little more play value than the average tin truck. And despite its age, the lithography is intact, as is the winch assembly.

It was almost too appealing to pass up. My layout is a mixture of semi-scale and tinplate toys, and I thought such a tinplate vehicle might make an interesting addition.

And so it has, as you can see.

Currently, I have it in the middle of the layout, but that might change. There's an American Flyer tin lithographed station in the corner that the Haji truck might complement perfectly.

Note the lithographed detail in the bed of the truck.
The arm raises and lowers. Simple but effective representation
of the real thing.

What great lines! And those treaded tires are a nice touch, too.

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