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

Saturday, November 22, 2008

J-C Models 101

One type of American OO gauge passenger car that are seen pretty often today are those produced by J-C Models.

Introduced in 1939, J-C Models (also known as jc models, as shown on these kit box ends) of Brooklyn, NY marketed a line of OO heavyweight passenger cars until ca. 1948. These cars had no metal parts, consisting of card sides, wood roof, floor, and details. Models produced were:
This car below is their Pullman, put together nicely, with a set of sides for comparison--click on the photo for a larger version.

The sides are an interesting material. Painted well the detail matches that of modern plastic models, but it is a die cut cardboard material. In a note years ago Temple Nieter described it to me as follows:
Paper is “wood flong,” stenotype matrix sheet; it is pressed by the die (for this) or by type/cut form for printers. Ask a newspaper older-timer about it.
The last photo is of a pair of kits. These are complete but were started by someone long before me. The sides are painted. They give a good sense of what the kits are like.

One problem with many of the cars that are around today is the sides have warped. There really is no fix for this, as there was no provision to remove the roof or sides. Some years back I built a string of these for a friend, the only custom building I have ever done. For those I did work out a way to make the roof removable; it involved reinforcing the sides with wood strips.

One reason why there are a lot of these around is because these were available all through World War II. There were no critical war materials used in their construction (they were sold less trucks and are all wood and card) so the supply of this kit was uninterrupted.

J-C produced a line of very similar cars in O gauge and in HO, this ad for all three running in October of 1947. In fact, this HO instruction on the HO Seeker site is exactly the same as the OO version I have, just with the words HO instead of OO. More of their HO instruction sheets may be found here, including information on their new, post-war line of “Silver Sides” HO passenger car kits. These were introduced in 1948 and were never produced in OO.

Built up examples of these cars can be tricky to ID as modelers added metal parts to the kits, Famoco used exactly the same sides and major wood parts, and the Graceline/Transportation Models sides are generally similar -- except that Graceline cars have cast doors.

These are Classic OO models that while once common, probably are not so common today. Good examples are worth keeping your eyes peeled for.


mongo said...

can oo gauge trucks be put on the ho cars or will the cars look funny on oo gauge track?

John Ericson said...

It could be done but it would not look good, there is a substantial visual difference between the scales.