Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Straco Express Layout, Part 52 - Nomura Milwaukee Road Flashing Light Diesel

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

Recently I found -- and purchased -- three Nomura train sets in rapid succession. Individually, each one provided some additional information about Nomura's manufacturing processes and marketing. And collectively, they provided even more. This and the next two Straco Display Layout posts covers these three sets, with some cross-referencing between them.

Part 51 - Nomura Santa Fe Flashing Light Set
Part 52 - Nomura Milwaukee Road Flashing Light Diesel
Part 53 - Nomura/Rosko Flashing Light Train Set

The second of my three purchases was a Nomura Milwaukee Road F3 with flashing lights. As I noted in an earlier post (see Part 36 - Milwaukee Mystery) it's something of a curiosity. The set was apparently made for G.B.C., an importer based in Skokie, Il, using railroad livery that was common to the area.

The packaging is virtually identical to that of the Nomura
Santa Fe flashing light set.
I do have photos of the complete set, which I could compare to the Santa Fe flashing light (FL) set I recently purchased (see Part 51). Both came in a square box, denoting illumination. And both have the same cardboard figure set, as well as the same track and power pack.

I now own two-thirds of the Milwaukee Road set.
The Santa Fe locomotive was in near-mint condition, so I was reluctant to remove the shell to examine the light mechanism. This Milwaukee Road locomotive, though, was in rougher shape. So off came the shell, and I was able to look at this mechanism in detail.

The flashing light mechanism. Underneath the chassis is a
belt drive that connects the powered axle to the light's mount.
It's an ingenious setup. The motor stands on its end, its power gear pointing up. Two gears attached to shafts mesh with that gear. One shaft connects to an axle gear, providing the motive power for the train. The second shaft also descends through the bottom of the chassis. In an enclosure, the shaft drives the light beacon through a belt drive. The drive turns the shaft that the light's mounted on, rotating it.

Here's a short video showing this mechanism in action.

The original belt drive had long since dry rotted, so I had to remove the cover to replace it with a rubber band. And I made an interesting discovery. The flanged wheel of the light beacon was made of recycled metal! I've seen this happen before (see Recycling in Postwar Japan). It's a logical place to reuse lithographed tinplate. With the cover on, it's one piece no one will ever see.

Why is that flange so brightly colored on the inside? It's made of  recycled
lithographed tinplate from something else. 
I'm still missing the Milwaukee Road boxcar that came with this set. Perhaps I'll find one someday. But for now, I'm content to own a Nomura F3 with a different paint scheme -- and the one-of-a-kind gondola car (my research suggests it was only made for this regional set).

Layout construction:
  • Pegboard: $4.95
  • Flathead Screws: $0.40
  • Molding: $2.49
  • SilClear: borrowed from a friend
  • Green Paint: leftover  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
Tinplate gas station: $5.00

  • 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 Nomura 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
  • Red limousine FREE
Total Project Cost: $238.35

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