Friday, August 31, 2012

Dragon Clock

Here's one for the ladies, a cute little dragon desk clock titled 'Gentleman Caller' (stamped on the bottom). It depicts a brightly colored, cartoon-like dragon holding a whopper of a ring in his hand. It's made in China and measures 7 1/4" (18.4cm) H x 5 1/4" (13.3cm) W and made from cast resin.

I almost let this month go by without a dragon posting. Heck, after all this is the year of the dragon and there for awhile I was r-e-a-l-l-y into collecting the beasts so it would only be natural for me to post some here. But I gotta tell ya, I don't remember buying this one. I think the wife bought it for me and she no doubt thought it would be a 'cute' addition to my collection. But present or no, this one is gonna have to go. We've slowly-but-surely have been trying to pare down on possessions and I know she won't mind me getting rid of it.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Marx 34 Pc Village and Construction Set - Shanty, Billboard, Crossing Gate

Our next installment of the 34 piece Village and Construction Set bv Marx covers the itsy bitsy Shanty, the Billboard, and Crossing Gate. Today, as in past installments from this series, we'll present photos of the built up pieces. Scans for them can be found here: (Marx Shanty, Billboard, Crossing Gate)

The shanty measures 1 1/2" (3.8cm) W x 1 3/8" (3.5cm) D x 1 3/4" (4.4cm) H  

The Billboard measures: 5 1/2" (14cm) L x 2 5/8" (6.7cm) H
The Crossing Gate measures: 4" (10.2cm) L x 1 3/8" (3.5cm) H

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

TRAIN TIME: John's Multi-Gauge Layout

Way back when I was still active in the local train community I would take pictures of many of the club member's layouts. They were always an inspiration and it was simply fun to see how they approached the hobby. While most of the layouts I photographed were 3-rail O-gauge, a couple were HO scale and there were also a couple of multi-scale layouts. Now even though the photos were taken some time ago, the layouts and the owner's approach to building them, remain timeless.

Today's featured layout was built by John F. John’s layout is a 9’L x 7’W x 43”H tabletop built with ½” plywood and covered with homasote for sound deadening.  It’s on casters for easy mobility within his train room.  There are two levels with the bottom level having outer 54” and inner 42” O-gauge ovals.  The upper level has a 22” radius loop made from HO flex-track and is suitable for both HO and On30 operation.  All track is laid on cork roadbed and the O-gauge track has rubber ties for added realism and further sound deadening. The two O-gauge loops are independent and either AC or DC can power the inner one however, main power for the O-gauge loops is provided by a 275W Lionel ZW transformer.  A Lionel type B multi volt transformer is used for accessories.  The upper level is powered by various DC power packs.
While there is no central theme to the layout, John tries to keep a late 1950s or earlier look to it.  He runs primarily steam engines but also runs GG1s and F-3s.  His focus is on Lionel, American Flyer, and Ives for O-gauge and steam and early gas/electric for HO/On30.  The layout has a Lionel 455 oil derrick, 045 gateman, 120L tunnel, 115 station, Lionel Jr. station with whistle, 128 newsstand, and various American Flyer accessories including several rare American Flyer newsstands.   Scenery is a mixture of styrofoam, Permascene, plaster, plaster cloth, latex paints, and scratch built trees and foliage.  Buildings are a mix of scratch built, kit built, Dept. 56, and American Flyer and Lionel lithographed buildings.  John’s flagstop station and Lionel Gas Station and Auto Repair shop are superb examples of his scratch building abilities and have fully detailed interiors. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Model Landscaping The Life-Like Way pgs 13 - 16

Here's the last four pages of the Life-Like booklet from the 1950s. I wonder how many other booklets have been put out by Life-Like, or heck, any of the toy train/model train firms? It might be interesting to hit fleaBay and see what's out there. Enjoy!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Marx Super Circus - Pt 2

"Hurry, Hurry, Step Right Up Ladies and Gentlemen"...and so begins the carnival barker's banter inviting the 'rubes' to the sideshow or freak show.  Here from Wikipedia is a capsulized definition of just one of the different types of sideshows that were offered:

"The "Ten-in-One" offers a program of ten sequential acts under one tent for a single admission price. The ten-in-one might be partly a freak show exhibiting "human oddities" (including "born freaks" such as midgets, giants or persons with other deformities, or "made freaks" like tattooed people, fat people or "human skeletons"- extremely thin men often "married" to the fat lady, like Isaac W. Sprague). However, for variety's sake, the acts in a ten-in-one would also include "working acts" who would perform magic tricks or daredevil stunts. In addition, the freak show performers might also perform acts or stunts, and would often sell souvenirs like "giant's rings" or "pitch cards" with their photos and life stories. The ten-in-one would often end in a "blowoff" or "ding," an extra act not advertised on the outside, which could be viewed for an additional fee. The blowoff act would be described provocatively, often as something deemed too strong for women and children, such as pickled punks." (Wikipedia - Sideshow)

There was also the "Single-O", the "Museum Show", "Girl Show", or "Working Acts". Sideshows could be found in circuses as well as carnivals and were quite fascinating - and weird! It's been many years since I had seen a 'freak' show and simply remember it as a little disturbing - seeing a man with a large club foot (real? fake?) sitting there looking bored out of his skull, the obligatory bearded lady, and others. There are few sideshows anymore as television has made this traditional venue rather obsolete and really, when you think about it, the freaks splattered across the idiot tube today are far stranger than anything the old sideshows offered!
Marx inclued two tin-litho sideshow stages with their circus set. The graphics are gorgeous and spot-on for a typical sideshow including a Fat Lady, Strongman, a pair of Midgets, a clown and others. Not all 'freaks' but all entertaining for the kids of the time. Today we'll simply look at the tin which measures in at 9 1/2" (24.1 cm) W x 5 1/2" (14 cm) H x  1 1/2" (3.8 cm) D. In later installments we'll look at the figures and put everything together for your enjoyment. Enjoy!

The stage top and side graphics are the same on both pieces

Sunday, August 26, 2012

2012 Mattel 'The Dark Knight Rises' Final Assault Bane

I managed to grab a few 'Dark Knight Rises' figures and sets from Target. I've gone back and haven't found any additional figures, but given the lack of appeal I have for the way in which Mattel has made these things, I'm probably just not going to pursue any more. Time to quit while I'm behind. Today's figure is Bane, anther in Mattel's 4" line of in-action figures - made for display, not for play. The basic sculpting is fine. The figure looks menacing, but just getting him to hold that big ol' weapon of his is a chore! Look at the photos and it's apparent the thing is just barely hanging on. Because there is no articulation in the wrist, his hands don't twist making it nearly impossible to pose him holding the thing and it was difficult to take photos as it kept falling out of his hands. Nuff said - Enjoy the pics!