|Left to right: Bandai set, Cragstan set (?), Straco set|
So did Bandai make all three sets? Not sure. The track is identical, but the designs are completely different. Did each company commission a new design from scratch? It's possible, but it seems to me that Bandai would have reused some basic parts for all three -- such as couplers, trucks (wheels), or even car frames. But as you can see from the following comparisons, that's not the case.
The Cragstan(?) set uses directional coupling -- each car has a hook on one end, and an eye on the other, so the cars can only be connected in the same orientation.
|Detail of the Cragston(?) box car's couplers.|
|Detail of the Straco gondola car's couplers.|
If the same track wasn't included in all three sets, I wouldn't be asking these questions, but it seems odd that costs would be saved with track, and not with other measures. It's what led me to wonder if Bandai got the track from another Japanese company. Curious.
Next post we'll compare and contrast the rolling stock of the three sets.