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

Sunday, July 20, 2014

American OO for 56-57: Part I, Articles in 1956

The first OO photos of the year seen in the hobby press are of the Moale trolleys in February, 1956 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman. The view is almost exactly the same one as I featured in a prior article, just with different trolley cars on the track. See this article for more.

Turning to Model Railroader, we have some controversy! The poll results published in their February, 1956 issue says there are no OO Gaugers! A follow up note in April states that “space requirements” did not allow the OO results of the poll. In 1950 OO had been 2.1% of the result, and in 1956 they were down to .6%.

Which is not very good but still there were some active folks out there, which brings us to the March, 1956 issue of RMC. Starting with the cover, it shows Newton Guerin and his layout! Note in particular the nicely scratchbuilt Alco S-2 or S-4 switcher and the mixed train combine/caboose. The latter would have been built by his friend George Crowley. I have at least one model from his layout, a Morris and Essex 0-6-0 seen in this article. And for a bit more on Guerin and Crowley see this article.

Back a bit further in the issue you get to the feature article on the OO layout of Pierre Bourassa. One photo scanned from that article may be seen in this prior article, and to that I would add this one offering a view of his locomotive roster. According to the article, the layout had been under construction since 1948 and had the following roster:
Motive power is largely a combination of Fred Schorr diesels and steam power by Nason, Lionel, and Scale-Craft. The roster consists of 3 hudsons, a pacific and an consolidation, 2 northerns, and a jubilee…. There are also 5 F-3 diesel units, an E-8, and 2 diesel switchers. A gas-electric car, 30 passenger cars, and 80 freight cars complete the roster. 
Pierre loved to build cars and locomotives, the ones done when he was younger being I think the best. I have a number of them now still in operation, and in the category of "true confessions" I am as I write this stripping the paint off of two of his F-3 models, maybe two that were on his layout in 1956 for all I know. They were nicely built up but either Pierre or a subsequent owner had partially stripped them and started in on some modifications, I think looking to do a full repaint. Those engines actually may be seen in this article, a bit out of focus (helping to make them look better than they are). After a lot of puzzling over it all I decided to go ahead and rebuild. No need for them to stay looking beat up, in a box; they will emerge from the shops here as Santa Fe engines, me doing my best to apply a sharp paint job and them running again as he meant them to.

Back to the 1956 photo, five engines are seen clearly. The one at the back is Lionel, the second and fourth ones in are S-C 4-8-4 models, and the others are kitbashed heavily enough I can’t really say what they started out as from a photo.

Speaking of locomotives, there is a neat article on some custom OO locomotives built by Jerry White (Superior Models), in RMC for August of 1956. They were built for Major McCoid, an enthusiastic OO gauger and a name that has been mentioned already a couple times in this website. More on those in this article.

There were also articles related to American OO in 1957, but before turning to them the next topic in this series will be the great brass models being imported by Fred Schorr.

Continue reading 1956-57 Series 

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