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

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Pair of Modified Nason Cabooses

These sharp looking green cabooses were built by Pierre Bourassa and as mentioned a few articles ago have been getting good mileage in on my layout recently. They are both modified Nason models which are not very commonly seen and are both very good operators.

Number 70 has been lengthened and both have been modified for lights and removable roofs with partially detailed interiors. Focusing on the 70 first, the right end is where the additional siding was added nicely and also windows were blanked out for a different look. The 70 is on Nason trucks with the cast bolster. That is to say they were 3 rail trucks originally but have been upgraded with late production Scale-Craft wheelsets that are insulated on one side which provide the needed electrical pickup.

Number 58 is still the original length and the second photo gives a good comparison of the modified version and an original, unmodified model. This car is riding on a nice pair of either Eastern or Famoco trucks arranged for picking up power. I especially like the look of this car, to my eye the proportions look much better than the original Nason model with the cupola moved further off center and the window blanked out.

The stock model was also described in this prior article but a few more general notes are in order. While Nason was manufacturing American OO by 1934 and was the leading early firm, this caboose model was not introduced until 1939 and even then as the 1939 catalog notes was not available until February 28!

These cars are light and are mostly wood and cardboard with cast steps. The sides and ends are a die-cut pressed cardboard material. I have not seen one of these as a kit but the typical built up model seen can be a bit rough in terms of condition today as time can be hard on light wood and cardboard models.

Lately I have been reading a lot of early magazines and reflecting on the “big picture” of the early years of American OO. In relation to that I would conclude with one final question. What did OO gauge enthusiasts do for cabooses before Scale-Craft introduced theirs in 1937? I don’t know but I can tell you that so far as I can tell the only one marketed commercially before that date was the Andresen/Rockhaven model, which speaks to the early craftsmen who worked in the scale mostly making their own; this was truly a scale for craftsmen until the game changing products introduced by Scale-Craft in 1937 and Lionel in 1938. So while it looks like an older model, actually Nason was playing catch-up to get this caboose out in 1939--simply trying to keep up with the market. I will flesh this thought out in future articles.

UPDATE: Both of these cabooses have been updated just a bit with new wheel sets.

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