The S gauge vs O gauge rivalry is certainly a natural one. They were the two most popular sizes of electric train immediately after World War II, before HO scale eclipsed both of them in the later half of the 1950s. Let’s take a look at the two standards for trains, what’s different about them, and see what kind of common ground we can find between them.
The topic of Mito tin trains comes up periodically among Marx train collectors. These Japanese trains are about the size of Marx, and sometimes get mixed in with Marx. But they’re clearly something different. They are a bit obscure, so here’s what I know about them.
If you’ve lost the original instructions, it’s certainly not obvious how to connect a Lionel transformer to track. Especially if someone else always set it up. But don’t be intimidated. It’s low voltage wiring. And it’s usually only four connections. Here’s how.
“It’s a Lionel Scout,” the auctioneer said breathlessly. I walked out the door without placing a bid. If you found a Lionel Scout train set and you think you found something valuable, I’m about to dash your hopes and dreams. That’s not to say Lionel Scouts aren’t interesting. But they were Lionel’s economy sets of the postwar era.
The Mizuno East-West battery operated train set has all the hallmarks of postwar Japanese trains. It’s made of tin. It runs on batteries. It was cheap. And it carries an aura of mystery. Fortunately time unraveled a number of those mysteries.
Sometimes you need to fill a space on your layout that no off-the-shelf length of track will fit. The advantage of tubular track is that you can cut custom lengths with little to no difficulty. Here’s how to cut Lionel tubular track.
Lionel tubular track, both O and O27 varieties, cuts relatively easily with a hacksaw. If you have a lot of track sections to cut, you can use a miniature chop saw as well.
Aliexpress offers deals on hard-to-find items at unbeatable prices. It also offers deals on ordinary items at lower prices than usual, because it’s coming straight from China, with fewer middlemen. But is Aliexpress safe?
Aliexpress does offer buyer protections. But being overseas and dealing with overseas shipping times does mean Aliexpress is inherently riskier from buying from online sources that are closer to you.
The Lionel e-unit was a wonder of ingenuity in the 1930s. But how does a Lionel e-unit work?
In the 1940s and 1950s, Skyline of Philadelphia manufactured and marketed a line of toy train-oriented building kits. Actually, there were two lines: One was a line of building kits made of cardstock and wood, and one was a smaller line of lithographed tin buildings, similar to the inexpensive toys made by the likes of Louis Marx, Wyandotte, and countless others in the days before ubiquitous plastics.
I’ve long suspected the two product lines came from the same company, but had no evidence to prove it until Ed “Ice” Berg produced scans of a Skyline catalog containing both paper/wood and tin litho buildings, side by side.
Louis Marx was the founder of the toy company that bore his name. His larger toys became staples in Christmas catalogs for generations, while his smaller toys dominated the discount stores of their day.
Louis Marx was first and foremost a toy salesman, but he lived an interesting life. He counted President Dwight Eisenhower among his friends, and Daniel Ellsberg, known for the Pentagon Papers, married his daughter.