|They looked like a good fit for the Straco display layout. However...|
A set of rolling stock came up for auction on eBay. Having only the photos to go by, I determined they would be a good fit. I won the auction for a price I was comfortable with, and everything was fine -- until the pieces arrived.
It was then I discovered that these cars were of a much higher quality than the ones I had been collecting. Not only was the quality higher, but they weighed far more than the Nomura, Bandai, or Straco pieces I had.
Below are side-by-side comparisons:
|Top to bottom: Straco, Nomura, Haji (Nomura), Sakai|
|Top to bottom: Straco, Nomura, Bandai, Sakai|
|Top to bottom: Straco, Bandai, Sakai|
|Top to bottom: Bandai, Sakai|
|Top to bottom: Straco, Bandai, Nomura, Sakai|
In time, I discovered that the pieces were made by Sakai, a post-war Japanese company that specialized in H0-gauge track and accessories (such as switches). They also manufactured O-gauge trains that competed with high-end Marx and low-end Lionel in the American market..
And eventually, I found a locomotive for my set. And it's a monster, as it needs to be to haul those cars. On average, the rolling stock for all the examples I owned -- Nomura, Bandai, Straco, and Haji -- weighed about 2.5 oz. The Sakai rolling stock was closer to 5 oz. per car. The Nomura and Bandai diesels each weighed 7 oz.; the Straco diesel weighed 5 oz. By contrast, the Sakai locomotive weight 20 oz. -- 1.4 lbs.
|The Sakai locomotive shell is diecast metal. And it's heavy.|
|The Sakai chassis. Those wheel frames are diecast metal, and the|
motor is also pretty substantial. Both give the locomotive a lot of traction.
|Note the difference between the wheels of the Sakai boxcar (l) and the|
Nomura car (r). The Sakai train was designed for standard
H0-gauge track, as opposed to the bigger tinplate track of the
|The train is complete, for now.|
My next project is to see if I can get the engine to work again.
And this past week I discovered a bit more about this unique set which I'll share in Part 2.