Tuesday, October 07, 2014

The Straco Layout, Part 37 - Fade to Orange

The orange sedan, manufacturer unknown.
At least it's not red.
Read all the installments of the Straco Express layout project here.

The Straco Express display layout is a colorful place. But one with a severely limited range of colors. Most of the vehicles, as well as the Bandai, Nomura, and Straco trains are lithographed in bright, primary colors. And of those colors, red is most heavily favored, followed by yellow.

There's a whole lot of
red in that lineup.
As you can see from the line up of vehicles (left) , it can make things look a little too homogeneous. I've found it increasingly challenging to compose shots that don't have an excess of red/yellow vehicles in them. So I was quite happy to find this orange sedan offered for sale recently.

If the license plate is any indication (1955), it's a fairly early example. The artwork seems consistent with the 1950's style, as well as the body styling. Once I received it, I was struck with the similarities to another vehicle I had, a red sedan by Nomura. As you can see from the comparison shots, the undercarriage is very similar in size and contour. The wheels are identical, and the car profiles are very close, too.

The graphics suggest that the Nomura piece was made a little later than the orange sedan, which may or may not explain the differences. The Nomura chassis has an indentation -- was that an improvement over the previous iteration? The the chassis of the orange sedan is crimped over the body, holding it in place. The Nomura piece uses slotted tabs -- it's a simpler and more efficient assembly method. Could it also be an improvement?

If nothing else, the new sedan adds some welcome variety to
the display's color palette.

The orange sedan (r) and the red Nomura sedan (l).
Were they both made by Nomura?
The profiles look quite similar.
But there's one problem -- I've yet to run across a Nomura piece of any vintage (and made for any client) that didn't have the "TN" Nomura trademark somewhere on it. And this orange sedan has no markings at all. Did Nomura copy the design? Hard to say. And the wheels being identical doesn't really help -- it's possible both companies purchased them from the same sub-contractor.

Even if the origin is a mystery, this sedan's a welcome addition to the Straco Express display layout. Primary colors are nice, but variety is even nicer.

The chassis are quite similar, too. Orange sedan (top),
Nomura sedan (bottom)
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
  • Nomura Police Car $2.52
  • Haji three-wheel sedan $3.00
  • Nomura 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
  • Nomura Red Sedan $5.00
  • Orange Sedan $10.99
Total Cost: $138.97

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