Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Straco Express Layout, Part 54 - Milwaukee Set Complete!

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

It wasn't that long ago that I wrote about the Nomura Milwaukee set I was slowly accumulating (see:
Part 52 - Nomura Milwaukee Road Flashing Light Diesel). I knew the Nomura set consisted of three pieces: an F3 diesel, a box car, and a gondola car. I had found the gondola car a while ago, and only recently acquired the diesel.

Then I went to theTrain Collectors Association (TCA) Eastern Division toy train meet in York, PA. (see: Lessons from York). At the meet, I ran into a collector who was looking for me. He'd been reading about the Straco Express project, and he had a present -- a working Milwaukee Road set.

It had been part of a box lot he'd bought at auction, and wanted me to have it -- free! I'm very grateful -- I had never seen the boxcar appear on the market, and even if it had, I wasn't really prepared to pay a lot for it. Well, you can't beat free.

And when I got it home I discovered some interesting things when comparing them to similar sets that Nomura produced.

I had assumed that the only alteration to the boxcar graphics was a change in the primary color and the addition of the Milwaukee logo. As you can see, that's not quite the case.

From the Flashing Light Santa Fe set (top) and
Flashing Light Milwaukee set (bottom)
Nomura changed some other elements of the lithography, which is a little surprising. There's no need to shift the numbers around.

This shot makes it easier to see the difference in couplers. Milwaukee set at
left, Santa Fe set at right. Note the small differences in the design, and
that both sport the Nomura logo - "TN" in a diamond.
The second thing I noticed is the relative ages of these pieces is apparent. The brown car (top) is newer. That confirms that the sets with the simpler couplers were made first, then the more complex couplers added later. So now I believe the manufacturing order to be:

1) Freight Set - Santa Fe diesel, Santa Fe refrigerator car, Santa Fe stock car - simple hook couplers
2) Passenger Set - Santa Fe diesel, 2 Santa Fe passenger cars - simple hook and loop couplers
3) Milwaukee Road Flashing Light Set - Milwaukee Road illuminated diesel, blue Mobilgas automobile car, yellow Milwaukee Road gondola - simple hook couplers
4) Santa Fe Flashing Light Set - Santa Fe illuminated diesel, brown Mobilgas automobile car, green Santa Fe refrigerator car - Mantua-style hoop and latch couplers

When I took apart the first Milwaukee Road diesel I got, I discovered that Nomura used the recycled tin for a concealed flywheel.

See that yellow surface? That pulley started out life as something else.
The diesel I received at York also had a pulley made of recycled tin -- and in the very same color and pattern. That suggests that both of the locomotives were part of the same manufacturing run.

I'm grateful to my colleague for sharing this set with me. It's about time to put my duplicates on the market so others can enjoy them.

I believe this rounds out Nomura's H0 scale offerings. But without any reference materials to consult, I'm never quite sure...

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

Vehicles: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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