North Pole Express Christmas train set

North Pole Express Christmas train set

For the last couple of years, in early November, retailers started carrying the North Pole Express Christmas train set, an inexpensive battery-operated train set. But there are two distinct, and very different North Pole Express sets. Here’s what you need to know.

The North Pole Express sets are made by Scientific Toys/Eztec, though the branding may or may not appear anywhere on the box. The trains are made mostly of plastic and operate on batteries, and sell at price points of $10 and $50.

Read more

Lionel tubular track vs Fastrack

Lionel tubular track vs Fastrack

Lionel Fastrack is certainly popular, but tubular track retains a cult following even as others love to hate it. Let’s take a look at Lionel tubular track vs Fastrack.

Lionel tubular track was the standard on Lionel layouts for nearly a century until Lionel introduced Fastrack, a track system with integrated plastic roadbed and a wider radius. Both track systems have their uses, though Fastrack has proven immensely popular.

Read more

Investing in model trains: Good idea or bad?

Investing in model trains: Good idea or bad?

From time to time, I see the topic of investing in model trains, whether Lionel, Marklin, scale brass models, or any other niche come up. There was a time when people make a lot of money doing that. Sad to say, for the most part that window of opportunity is closed.

It’s certainly possible to make money at your hobby. But investing in collectibles tends to be fleeting, so it’s something you should approach with extreme caution.

Read more

Converting Marx couplers to Lionel

Sometimes you’ll find Marx train cars with Lionel couplers on them. The first thought is someone changed the trucks, but closer inspection reveals those are Marx trucks under the car. How’d they do it? Here’s the secret of converting Marx couplers to Lionel.

Both Lionel and Marx made adapters for this purpose in the 1950s. Marx’s adapter was intentional; Lionel’s adapter just happened to fit both its cars and Marx.

Read more

Plastimarx: Marx’s Mexican subsidiary

Plastimarx: Marx’s Mexican subsidiary

Plastimarx is a frequently misunderstood toy maker of old. It was part of Louis Marx’s post-WWII expansion into foreign markets, specifically Mexico. But how and when it came about and ended are all a bit unclear. Let’s try to clear it up.

Plastimarx’s slogan translated to “They are beautiful, they are durable, they are Plastimarx toys.” It  was perhaps the last piece of Louis Marx’s toy empire to fall, surviving until 1991.

Read more

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux