Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Straco Express Layout, Part 42 - Express Duality

Read all the installments of the Straco Express layout project here.

When I started adding vehicles to the Straco Express layout, I started with what I had -- a Japanese friction cattle truck (See: Part 11 - Truckin'). I recently found a companion piece on eBay, an express van.

I'm always interested in the ways toy manufacturers vary a basic design to create new toys -- and the ways they don't.

This new addition still has its
rear door -- unlike my older cattle truck.
My childhood toy was a cattle truck, while this one is an enclosed express van.

Placed side by side, it's easy to see that there was really only one difference -- to create a cattle bed, they simply stamped slat openings into the sides of the truck body. Both have the same paint scheme and chassis.

There is a slight difference in the hubcaps, though. Mine looks to be a little newer, with hubcaps that were pressed into the rubber tires (which is probably why most of them went missing over the years). The express van has tin discs that are held in place by the axles.

It didn't take much to turn an express van into
a cattle truck. But note the differences in the
hubcap design.
Although the express truck (manufacturer unknown) is a welcome addition to the Straco Express layout, I wouldn't really call it an upgrade over my cattle truck.

On the plus side, the express truck has all of its original parts. My cattle truck is missing its rear door, and its hubcaps (as noted above).

On the minus side, though, the express truck was stored in a damp environment (probably a basement), which caused the front grill to rust. I don't have any complaints about the scratches, which are relatively few.

After all, this was a cheap toy that was meant to be played with. But the roof at one point had something drip on it that left a rough residue and caused the paint to craze.

All in all, though, I'm happy with the purchase and adds some more substantial traffic to the layout's newly-expanded motorways.

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
2 tinplate signs: $1.00
4 tinplate signs (with train) $5.99


  • Two Japanese toy cars: $2.00
  • A.W. Livestock truck: $4.99
  • Taxi: $2.99
  • Ambulance: $2.99
  • Two Japanese patriotic cars: $6.99
  • Haji three-wheel sedan $3.00
  • 1950's sedan $2.99
  • LineMar Pepco Truck $8.50
  • LineMar Bond Bread Van $8.00
  • LineMar Fire Engine $4.95
  • LineMar Dump Truck $12.99
  • LineMar GE Courier Car $10.98
  • Nomura Red Sedan $5.00
  • Nomura Police Car $2.52
  • Nomura lumber truck $3.48
  • 6 Namura vehicles $16.99
  • Orange Sedan $10.99
  • King Sedan $9.95
  • Indian Head logo sedan $4.99
  • Yellow/red Express truck $9.99
Total Project Cost: $165.88

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