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

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Sides of Mystery, and Collecting Models with Printed Sides

One of my projects this fall was getting more organized in terms of the cars I have that have printed car sides. That area of “the collection” is a lot easier to access now and I would first note that collecting vintage OO gauge models with printed sides is a viable collecting option -- if somewhat obscure. But Lord knows Lionel collectors spend years collecting numerous obscure variations and models, and collecting American OO cars with printed sides is just as viable an activity. Also I rather doubt it would be possible at this point for any really motivated individual to actually own examples of every type of side ever produced, so it could become a lifetime project.

Part of the problem is that some makers did not last long at all -- while advertised, very few models made it out to the market. These two cars are great examples, as they have sides by an unknown manufacturer. I can say what they are not. They are not Champion, Eastern/Famoco, Hoffman's, or Nason/Page. Vanden Boom, another firm of mystery, did not list these models.

What I suspect is they may be cars built with Yardmaster sides, a firm I look at here. I have yet to see a boxed example of any kit by this firm, but as I have mentioned elsewhere in this site there were Yardmaster kits listed in lots sold at the Morlok auction and I strongly suspect there are a few of them out there. And they certainly listed car sides of the type seen on these cars in their advertising.

The Armour car is beautifully built up but I think fairly recently. The FGEX car is a bit rougher and was not completed by the original builder. It is on a Picard body with a Nason frame and trucks, and is a model I plan to (with time) bring more to completion.

The second photo shows the sides themselves. I have only these sides and cars, with one set of sides still in what I presume to be the original packaging, which is similar but somewhat different than that I have seen with Champion, Eastern, Famoco, or Nason.

Curiously and probably significantly there is a “W” code found on these sides. Others have speculated that when that this W is present the sides were actually made by Westbrook. The FGEX car is W-3 and the Armour car W-16. Westbrook definitely made OO parts for other companies (wood parts and sides), certainly for Eastern/Famoco and very likely also for Nason. These sides of mystery look generally similar to sides from those lines for sure but are not actually the sides they sold.

Perhaps somewhere in the bowels of your collection you have some Yardmaster kits and can solve this mystery. And, if nothing else, perhaps this post will inspire a few readers to sort out their vintage models with printed sides by brand of side as I have, it is an interesting project.

No comments: