Apr 6, 2021
Thanks guys. And to further help you to sleep: "Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys." An HO tribute to anyone who has ever found himself getting drawn into the human circus.
Quite the menagerie coming out of the hospital! Is that the staff or the patients?
Keep it up. It's material like this that brings a smile to my face.
Thanks Mike, it was inspired by one of my favorite comedies, "Jumangi," where all Hell breaks loose from a Ouija Board misadventure. Everything on the pike has some reference to something in my life I've done, or enjoyed. The towering hospital is reference to my career in the medical industry for the lst 35 years. The stampede of animals, chasing the staff out of the building, is a salute to "Jumangi" and the general theme of "it's a jungle out there."
I'm trying to keep my videos to a single thread, as is custom. I started out randomly planting these vignettes, and soon found them plastered over everything in a haphazard manner. So, here's another one, as I amuse myself on a night off:
Diamonds are for Never
Just amusing myself on my evening off. The Mantua Pacific is as old as I am, weighs almost a kilo, I'd reckon, and works as good as the day it was made. Love this old stuff. The Blue Box SW 1500 has a Northwest Gear set up, and I love it's slow speed characteristics coupled with the flywheels. I have this belief that manufacturers are only recently getting the hint that Model Railheads like our stuff slow, not slot car fast. Slots are great, but trains are trains, and generally plodding.
"Armodilloville" started out as sort of a joke, but the joke is on me now, as it kept getting more elaborate. A lot of Tyco sold for a buck, and it accumulated quickly under my thin budget, working 60 to 70 hours a week, raising a family of five. Friends and family would make little contributions from a a car to a building to a figure and a lot of stuff here is what was gifted to me as people added in their own artistic touches and humor.
Running trains in a circle can get a wee bit tedious, even on a layout the size of a house, as was the case at the local model train club, and so when I last revised Armodilloville (the name itself a gift from a talented Graphic Designer pal) I recollected an early book of model train layouts designed to be laid out on carpet, so we're talking post WWII stuff when the notion of putting stuff on plywood was a fairly advanced notion, and the new, comparatively tiny "Half O" gauge was in its infancy. One of the track plans featured a simple pair of ovals, but they overlapped using diamonds. This little trick, from the great Lyn Wescott, I think, elevates trains from chasing their tails to actually having to do something to keep coordinated and keep moving. It is a little bit like spinning plates.
A lot of folks would shrink at the idea of risking train collisions, and I don't so do I, but this old Tyco stuff is pretty rugged, so the occasional bump causes no harm, and it keeps me on my toes.
Here is "Diamonds are for Never," with apologies to Ian Fleming:
I never knew there so many advertisement type boxcars. I also never understood why RR's got away from such a successful ad platform. Music was cool too.
First Tyco, then Life Like, and later on Athearn hopped on that bandwagon of billboard cars. Almost all are entirely fantasy pieces, but they are cheap and fun to collect. crowd pleasers to run at model train shows. Some are quite collectable, and pricey. Should you ever see anything with "Bubble Yum" on it, the Tyco ones in particular, grab it if you can. Those sell for real money. Maxwell house is a good one, but Sanka goes all over the lot to under ten to over forty, depending on availablity.
I should have kept all those I collected in the 70's.
I spent some enjoyable hours picking up stuff for sentiment's sake. On eBay the prices are inflated across the board, but under the tables at model train shows, and the dollar bins and backrooms of Hobby Shops bargains can be had for pennies on the dollar.
Trains shows are my stomping ground too. I managed to reconstitute the entire Model Power train set I got for Christmas '73, the only survivor being the loco (sharknose). I found a lot of other pieces from my younger years, too. Now I run that train set on my layout every Christmas, celebrating the time when magic happens and young boys get infected with the model train bug for life...
Track Maintenance Day in Armadilloville
Even Amtrak needs a little upgrade, now and then.
Hay! I noticed that in the first video the street car and train stops at the stop and depot were there are passengers waiting. But, then they leave and the passengers are still standing there and no additions.
I'd worry more about that little gaggle of armadillos crossing the road... if they grow up to be as big as the one we see later in the clip...
That's a problem!