model train set on track

William Weary

e*Train Issue: Apr 2021   |   Posted in: ,

By Bob Mintz                                                      PART ONE
(Article updated Spring 2021)

Besides the consumer catalogs, one of my fondest recollections of Lionel paper that is an immediate memory check to the past of my youth is the #310 Billboards produced although not cataloged in 1949 and then made from 1950 through the present.

The Postwar billboard assortment usually came in an uncut sheet of eight different billboards.  Prewar and HO versions exist too.

Vintage products no longer produced adorned those ads such as: Ipana tooth paste; Nash Rambler; Black Jack Chewing Gum; Hallicrafters radios; Dupont Zerex/Zerone anti-freeze; Snow Crop peas; Breck Shampoo; OK Chevrolet used cars and trucks; Cities Service; Underwood portable typewriters {what’s a typewriter?}; and of course Lionel Porter and Spear phonographs as well as Airex reels, rods, lines and lures.

“With the use of modern technology those single message billboards along the highways and streets of North America have now been transformed into multi message advertising tools.  Now the model railroading world of Lionelville introduces the first animated billboard to it’s streets.  Once it welcomes you to town, it entices you to stop by the local Jock-O sporting goods stores for all of your athletic needs.”

Such would be the Lionel copy for their 21st Century billboard, which like its prototype, is printed on both sides of slats and is motorized to flip over and therefore show two different ads in the same physical footprint.

# 12761 “Welcome to Lionelville”/”Jocko Sporting Goods” Animated billboard

#12809 “Look, Listen, Live”/”Milk” Animated Billboard

#14159 “New York”/”San Francisco” Animated Billboard

#34193 “UPS®” Animated Billboard

#24227 Halloween Animated Billboard

#24217 LRRC Animated Billboard

#24228 Christmas Operating Billboard 2008

#16837 Christmas Operating Billboard (2009)

# 49844 Christmas Animated Billboard (2010)

# 82002 Old St. Nick Operating Billboard

# 82017 Lionel Art Operating Billboard

# 82064 Halloween Animated Billboard

# 83438 MillerCoors Blinking Light Billboard

#83455 The Polar Express™ Operating Billboard

# 84327 Santa Fe Operating Billboard

Several models of this would made over the years, including one that was single sided and whereby the paper hangers moved instead of the ad.

#14148 Operating Billboard Signmen

#21273 ATSF Animated Billboard

#22190 C&O Chessie Cat Animated Billboard

#22252 Ringling Bros.& Barnum & Bailey Animated Billboard

#22427 Ford Thunderbird Animated Billboard

#22679 Ringling Bros. Animated Billboard

#24201 UPS Animated Billboard Signmen

#14138 “Snap-on” Animated billboard

What would appear to be a rather hum-drum type of item to collect, there actually exists an uncataloged item in this series.

The instruction manual for the #14138 Snap-on animated billboard is dated 08/01.  One side is the classic Snap-on truck and the other Doug Herbert’s awesome dragster.

None of the other billboards came with its’ own power supply but this one included one of two different transformer styles, either a Lionel Hobby Transformer Model # 6-03-2923-000 or Model # 4660.

According to a local Snap-On Dealer, he had to buy three train sets, boxcars, and billboards as a minimum purchase.  The boxcars and billboards were packaged in a master carton of three each which in turn each individual boxcar and billboard had their own shipping carton.

To have your own billboard advertising, through Stu Rankin, I found out that a Phil Denslow (philkd@aol.com) did such customization a few times if anyone is interested.

#81116 LRRC Polar Express 10th Anniversary Animated Billboard

Will Lionel follow the current trend and issue a blue or green screen technique called a “Chroma key image” as is used in sports ads or commonly used for weather forecast broadcasts, wherein the presenter appears to be standing in front of a large map, but is actually in the studio in front of a green or blue background?

Hey, I have suggested that Lionel update the Microwave Relay Tower with a more modern Cellular one!  At least they took my advice and reissued the #51 Navy Yard Switcher.

#37006 VISION Line® Flatcar w/Operating LCD Billboard

“Here’s a modern twist on a Lionel favorite. A classic flatcar with an all-new billboard featuring an LCD display! This billboard comes loaded with slideshow images that you can display on your billboard while running the flatcar on your train layout. You can also create and personalize your own billboard slideshow of images by downloading pictures directly from your computer or from an SD memory card. Want to place the billboard on the side of the track? No problem. The operating LCD billboard can be detached from the flatcar and placed anywhere on your layout!”

Stay tuned! (also an outmoded term with cable or satellite television service)

With my reviews on e*Train, maybe it’s me and those voices that I hear, but on occasion I often feel that I am being watched.