Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The Straco Layout, Part 35 - Passenger service!

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

Although the Straco Express set provided the inspiration for this display/layout project, it's really been the offerings of Nomura that have kept it going (from the train aspect). I had a Cragstan/Nomura set as a child, and it's now part of the display. It consists of a Santa Fe diesel and two pieces of rolling stock -- a refrigerator car and a stock car.

I've since discovered (and obtained) an earlier version of the set, with different couplers and different graphics on the cars. I knew that Nomura also made a passenger set (presumably for toy importer Cragstan), and finally I was able to obtain one.

No question -- the only difference is the lithography.
The couplers are definitely later period, similar to my childhood set. What I was most interested in, though, was to compare a passenger car with a freight car. I suspected they were identical, save for the lithography. And I was right.

The construction of both is the same. And it's another example of how the Japanese toy manufacturers kept costs down on these sets that were sold for a few dollars in U.S. 5 & 10 stores. The F3 diesel is unchanged. To change the appearance of the set, all the company had to do was change the graphics. The same shape could be insulated panels of a refrigerator car, the wooden open  slats of a stock car, the metal sides of a double-door box car, or the fluted aluminum sides of a streamlined passenger car.

The surfaces of both cars are flat -- only the graphics
suggest otherwise.
Since the Aero station has images of passengers coming and going lithographed on it, I'm glad to finally offer rail service. It makes for a more logical display than having a freight train stopped at a passenger station.

And there's a bonus: as you can see, the silver refrigerator car looks just fine with the passenger cars. Although it strains the pulling power of the locomotive, having a three car train just looks a little better, I think.

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
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

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