Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Straco Express Layout, Part 47 - Serving District No. 7

The Line Mar School Bus, ca. 1959
Read all the installments of the Straco Express layout project here.

At this point, I really didn't expect to acquire any more of the Line Mar 3" vehicles. Out of that set of ten, the three remaining are all pretty rare and/or pretty expensive.

Nevertheless, I did run across an example of the Line Mar school bus at a reasonable price, and although the condition wasn't perfect, it was good enough for the Straco Display Layout.

Comparing it to the other vehicles in the Line Mar set, I discovered it used the later, cheaper chassis construction.  The body, though, seems closest to the coal truck, which has the earlier crimped chassis. Perhaps the school bus was a transition piece? (click on images to enlarge)

Of the eight vehicles I own in this Line Mar series, five have the inexpensive
tab-connected chassis (the bus is lower right). Note how the materials
used varied over time.

Line Mar was the Japanese subsidiary of Louis Marx, Co. Unlike other Japanese firms making toys for the American market, Line Mar seems to have received some input from Marx that let them (sometimes) model US prototypes more accurately.

The current Line Mar roster for the Straco Display Layout

Compare the Line Mar school bus with the Nomura model. Line Mar's is orange, the standard color of school buses in the late 1950's. The Nomura bus, on the other hand, is fancifully colored in primary colors. The Linemar vehilce is labeled "County School District No. 7," something fairly close to what many children would have seen (albeit with the county or township explicitly stated). The Nomura vehicle just has a generic "school bus" label.

Line Mar bus (left) vs. Nomura bus (right)

I have no problem with both being on the display layout . Perhaps the Nomura bus, which is newer and in better condition -- is owned by a private school...

The eight Line Mar vehicles on the display layout, with the school bus
in the lead. The original Straco Express rounds the bend.

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
Cragstan HO Light Tower $20.49

  • 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
  • 6 Namura vehicles $16.99
  • 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
Total Project Cost: $228.36

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