From Ron Polimeni
As I’ve mentioned here in the past, not having a model railroad of my own doesn’t preclude participating and having fun with model railroading. Thanx to the friends I’ve made through my participation in the NMRA and SMD in particular, I’m having more fun with model railroading than ever before.
Of the many facets of this hobby that I enjoy, one is the resurrecting of old models. “Flea Market Finds” if you will. This old 1880’s Mantua combine could have been had for perhaps 50 cents, if it wasn’t in the freebie box. It had a missing truck and the truss rods, made of steel wire for some reason, were badly rusted. The model probably dates to the 1950s and was intended to accompany Mantua’s “General ” 4-4-0 locomotive kit. I recall purchasing one of those kits at Polk’s Hobbies in Manhattan in the early ’70s for $15. Does anyone remember Polk’s? They later produced their own line of hobby goods under the Aristo-Craft name (if memory serves). The store itself offered five floors of hobby goods. Each floor was devoted to a particular specialty (plastic models, model railroading, R/C, etc).
Prototype railroads often repurposed old rolling stock so I decided to do the same with this old combine. As it is now, the car is ready for detailing. The rusty truss rods have been removed, the cupola is in place, the windows beneath plugged and the grab irons are slowly being installed. Much tedious drilling ahead.
Also on my bench are this pair of International KB-6 box trucks. Nothing says the 1950s like vintage trucks and these old Internationals are classics. I have no idea who manufactured these models save that they were made in China. No idea where I purchased them either. They’re nice period trucks except for the paint/graphics. I decided to strip one and see what I could do to make it more period correct. The paint appeared to be fairly thick and hard. I removed the tires and plastic wheels before using ‘Strypeeze‘ on the metal body.
Unbeknownst to me, the headlights and the roof of the cargo box are also plastic. While the box roof may be salvageable, the headlights simply dissolved.
I was able to recreate the headlights using a 1/8″ styrene rod. Filing a cone shape on the end of the rod and cutting it off created the headlight buckets.
The stands were fashioned from styrene scraps. I’d hoped to have the truck painted for this issue of the WR but that will have to wait till I can arrange a visit to Mainline Hobby for suitable colors.