A number of people have asked me to post a photo of some trains, so here’s a photo of a train, with some scenery, mostly hand-made by Yours Truly.

You’ll have to click here to see it, as it’s larger than my blogging software allows.Gatermann will notice that the tender is facing the wrong direction. Just pretend I’m auditioning for Ebay.

The train is a Marx. The locomotive is Marx’s CP locomotive, a gift from my fiancee. It’s one of Marx’s more desirable locomotives because it’s attractive, but common enough to still be affordable. It’s called a CP because it’s loosely based on a Canadian Pacific locomotive of the 1930s. With the exception of the Pennsylvania Merchandise Service car, all of these Marx cars are worth between $3 and $5. The Pennsy car is worth a bit more. It’s not particularly rare, but Marx made a lot of variations of it, and collectors like to get all the variations, which drives the price up.

The tiny gas station on the left is my design. Yes, the sign reads “Farquhar Oil Co.” Now you know the source of some of R. Collins’ fortune. This was one of the first paper buildings I tried to design and I think it turned out OK.

The confectionery and penny store are based very heavily on a series of building-shaped candy containers made by West Bros. around 1914. They were a lot of work but I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. They are paper as well.

The buildings on the right are free downloads from a company called Microtactix. They specialize in wargaming. Those two buildings happened to be about 20% undersize compared to mine, so I blew them up a bit and used them. Not quite the look I’m going for, but they’re close enough for now and they were easier than designing my own.

The tin lithographed train station in the distance was made by J. Chein, probably in the late 1920s. Chein made a lot of tin litho toys; I don’t know if their trains were windup or if they were strictly pull toys. It’s in terrible condition but putting it on the back of the layout obscures that somewhat. Guys like me are conditioned not to worry about scale too much; the Chein station is close enough, looks the part, and cost me a fraction of what a Marx station would cost, which in turn would cost a fraction of what a comparable Lionel would cost.

The block signal behind the confectionery is Marx, as is the red tower. The “snow” is white tissue paper, and the streets, which aren’t very visible, are a cobblestone pattern printed on paper that I cut out and affixed to the tissue paper with tape. Not very traditional and definitely not durable, but it worked.

It’s not much, but it’s a decent start of what I’m envisioning. I think if I draw a neighborhood of buildings in the style of those West Bros. ripoffs, it’ll make for a nice layout reminiscent of what a good toy train layout could have looked like in the 1920s and 1930s, as well as reminiscent of city neighborhoods that are rapidly vanishing forever, to make way for more convenience stores and Walgreen Drug Stores–oops, they don’t call them that anymore.