The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Friday, December 12, 2008

More notes on the Nason “EAZY-BILT” cars

In several recent posts I have focused on the early but fairly common Nason “Easy-Built” cars, models that I have continued to look at.

To begin I should confirm the spelling. Nason in their own catalogs spelled the words that describe this type of kit several ways. In the 1936 catalog they are EASY-BUILT (all caps), and in the 1938 summer edition, 1939, and 1940 catalogs they are the catchier EAZY-BILT (always all caps).

I am still looking to sort out the history of the freight cars better but to expand on my previous posts, at this point in time I believe that these were also produced by Page but their version has a solid block of wood for a body. Among cars in my collection I have several versions of this car as produced by Nason. I am not sure of the chronology but this pair of photos, top and bottom views show most of what needs to be noted between them.

Looking at the roofs we can see that these cars were built and presumably sold several ways. Most notably the car in the middle is wider. The car on the left is a boxcar and the rest are reefers. All of them are hollow body and all of the reefers use the printed base for the reefer hatch. All but one uses a cast hatch instead of the printed hatch--the printed page that included the hatches is also in the photo for comparison.

Looking at the car bottoms we see cast and also wooden frames and a variety of other details. Three have a big brake cylinder that looks closer to O gauge and may not be an original Nason part. Also note the Nason trucks on the one car, with their bronze side frames. These trucks actually are quite good on the layout, especially with new wheel sets. These particular trucks are two rail with a square, Bakelite bolster. A bronze bolster and a different Bakelite bolster (U shaped, similar to the one with the passenger kit) are also seen on Nason freight trucks. Click on the photo for a larger view, or check this post for more information.

On the passenger cars, since the earlier post on metal side heavyweights I have obtained an un-built kit of the Nason PRR coach that answers several questions I had. First, the ends, seen in this first photo of the big parts of the car, which I had originally taken to be die cast, are actually sand cast aluminum. The sides are very nice brass stampings. This is much better than the cardboard sides of comparable heavyweights by J-C, Famoco, Graceline, and Transportation Models in one major respect for us today; these cars can be stripped and rebuilt.

Moving on to the final photo, it shows the small parts in the kit. The vestibule and steps are die cast, and other parts are sand cast bronze and turned brass. Note the two rail trucks and bronze couplers.

It would take effort to build up one of these but they would build up into a handsome car and be worth the effort. This particular kit I will likely never build (keeping it in "the archive") but I have another car in parts that this kit will help me toward accurately rebuilding/restoring at some future point.

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