Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Straco Layout, Part 34 - Signs for Safety

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

It wasn't that long ago that I ran across two vintage Japanese tinplate road signs that proved perfect for the Straco Express display layout (See: Part 33 - Signs for Change). Once I was aware such things existed, I started looking for them. I was sure my two signs were part of a set, and I was right.

I did find an example of the set, which had four signs plus four under-sized cars. What I didn't know was that there was a companion set by the same unknown manufacturer -- and this one had railroad signs!

The Japanese tinplate toy train and companion
railroad signs -- manufacturer unknown.
The set consists of four safety markers common on most railroads (at least in the postwar era), and a small toy train to go with it. (click on images to enlarge)

The signs were over-sized compared to the train, but that was fine -- I bid on the set anyway, and won the auction. Included with the set were two railroad crossing signs: an octagonal sign that matches the one I already had, and a crossbuck railroad crossing sign. The road crosses the tracks at three places, so now every crossing is marked (at least in one direction).

The set also had two railroad signals. The tall semiphone was used to indicate whether the rails ahead were clear or not. This is something one would see on a mainline. The smaller signal (called a dwarf signal), served the same purpose for secondary branch lines and sidings.

The semiphore signal for the mainline.
Taken all together, the signs add visual interest to the layout (I think). Now if only I could find the companion road set...

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
The dwarf signal helps keep the spur line safe.
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

  • Two Japanese toy cars: $2.00
  • A.W. Livestock truck: $4.99
  • Taxi: $2.99
  • Ambulance: $2.99
  • Two Japanese patriotic cars: $6.99
  • Namura Police Car $2.52
  • Haji three-wheel sedan $3.00
  • Namura lumber truck $3.48
  • 1950's sedan $2.99
  • 6 Namura vehicles $16.99
  • LineMar Pepco Truck $8.50
  • LineMar Bond Bread Van $8.00 
  • Linemar Fire Engine $4.95 
  • Linemar Dump Truck $12.99
  • Namura Red Sedan $5.00
Total Cost: $127.98

Now all the crossings are marked.

The crossbuck railroad crossing sign -- you'll just have to
imagine those lights are flashing.

The signs add some welcome variety to the display layout.

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