Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Straco Express Layout, Part 48 - Nesting Instinct

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

Because the theme of the Straco Express display layout is so tightly focused. scenery additions have come slowly. The type of trains on the layout itself were never meant to be used for any type of model railroading -- they were just toy trains, offered in self-contained sets. Unlike Lionel or American Flyer, there was no rolling stock or trackside accessories offered for separate sale.

By limiting the parameters of what I can add to the display, I've achieved my purpose -- to create a miniature world of tinplate that's internally consistent. Everything has to be made in Japan between 1946-1965, everything has to be made predominantly of metal or wood, as opposed to plastic, and everything has to be approximately the same scale (vaguely H0 in this case).

Since scenery was never made specifically for use with these trains, I've had to be creative. The last structure I added was a station that doubled as a power pack (see Part 16 - Station-Aero).

Not a complete set of nesting houses, but it serves my purpose.

So I was happy to find a source for structures from an unusual source -- nesting toys. Nesting toys have been around for quite a while, of course. This particular set does indeed come from Japan during the right time frame, and has a certain Japanese quality to the decoration.

It's not really a complete set -- there should be very small solid wooden house as well. But that's OK -- I didn't really need an outhouse on the layout. The set's been used, but that's alright, too. I now have a variety of structures to fill out the layout -- and this seems like a good place to stop.

But I could do with a few more bottle brush trees....

All the nesting houses are in this shot. Can you find them all?

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
Cragstan HO Light Tower $20.49
4 nesting houses $4.99

  • 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
  • Haji three-wheel tanker $5.00
  • 1950's sedan $2.99
  • LineMar Police Car $9.00
  • 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
  • LineMar County School Bus $9.99
  • 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
  • Indian Head (?) convertible $18.00
  • Yellow/red Express truck $9.99
Total Project Cost: $233.35

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