model train set on track

Rules for Making Home-Did Trains, Circa 1933-1945

e*Train Issue: Jun 2016   |   Posted in:

By Clem Clement                                                   Summer 2016

  1. Build what you see nearby.
  2. Build what you ride on.
  3. Build what you busted.
  4. Create what you want to.
  5. Shop project.
  6. Copy something.
  7. Start with wheels from older trains.
  8. Use parts you can find nearby:

– consider cheese boxes and cigar boxes
– tin cans
– trim parts from all sorts of things
– “government” metals.

  1. What color to paint it?

– any color you have.

  1. Car markings?

– outside your window
– the new owners name
– your favorite railroad
– date you built it.

  1. Details

            Details on the piece may help with the provenance.  Examples:

– a tender with a coal pile door could mean that the modeler knew important features that shoud be modeled because he was a railroad man

– a trolley with rain deflectors over the doors could mean the modeler was a trolley man

The fun in all this? 

It’s all about figuring out:
– what the builder had in mind
– where the parts he used came from
– the joy in building and giving these works of art a home
– (sadly more of these folk-art pieces should have remained with their families)