Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Straco Express Layout, Part 62 - Nomura Variations

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

I recently added a new vehicle to the display layout, and it's one with some interesting features (at least, I think so).

There's something a little odd about this Nomura vehicle.
Note the side windows.

Made by Nomura

Nomura was pretty consistent about branding their pieces -- even those made for another company. In this case, their TN logo is easy to find on the side.

The design is readily recognizable as well. I already own a set of four Nomura service vehicles. The cars have the same chassis and their bodies are stamped in the same shape.

My original set included a taxi, a police car, and a fire chief's car. And this vehicle is also a working car. Note the uniformed driver in the front and the passengers in the back.  This is a chauffeured limousine.

Two passengers in the back, a uniformed driver at the wheel.
Home, James!

 A question of sequence

Here are the four Nomura cars together.
I believe the limousine was made sometime after the other three.

Setting the cars side-by-side it's easy to see that they are identical, save their lithography. But were they made at the same time? 

I don't think so. The limousine has a shiny plated chassis. It's actually a little thinner than the duller alloy chassis of the other three. 

I believe that the limousine was made in late 1962 or early 1963, at the end of the pure tinplate era. 

In 1963 the United States passed child safety regulations for toys. The stricture against sharp edges spelled the end for most tinplate toys. 

Molded plastic had no sharp edges, and Japanese toy companies quickly made the transition to plastic-bodied vehicles. 

End of an era?

Right from the beginning of the era in 1949, companies looked for ways to economize the manufacture of their toys -- particularly these inexpensive toys that were sold by jobbers to dime stores and drug stores. 

The metal shell and chassis of the limousine is much lighter (relatively speaking) to those of the set. That tells me that it's very late in the life cycle of this toy. 

An oddity

There's something else, too. These vehicles have the occupants projected onto all the windows. To indicate someone's sitting in the back, their head will be shown on the back window and the side window. This limousine has a design error. The driver is not shown in profile on the side window. Whoops.

Still an interesting piece

The Nomura limousine is still a welcome addition to the Straco display layout. It's especially good for use with the Shioji trucks. Proportionally, the larger Nomura cars look correct with the Shioji trucks. 

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
Bandai Station: $10.00
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
  • Nomura limousine $11.99
  • 6 Nomura vehicles $16.99
  • Shioji Express Truck $10.00
  • Shioji Covered Truck $12.50
  • Shioji Dump Truck $9.95
  • Shioji Shell Tanker $10.50
  • Shioji Tow Truck $25.00
  • 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
  • Jeep $12.00
Total Project Cost: $324.29

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