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Model Masters/Train Miniaturer & Train Miniaturer of Illinois

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  • Member since
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Model Masters/Train Miniaturer & Train Miniaturer of Illinois
Posted by Run Eight on Saturday, September 09, 2017 10:51 AM

The long-time readers of Model Railroder, which I'll refer to as the "Geritol Crowd", which I'm one, remeber these firms well.

I do not recall if MR Staff ever did a  multi-page news piece on this firm(s), like they had On Athearn, Model Die Casting and Mantua as examples in many years past.

Some of the readers, may have inside information as to who the owner(s) were of the above subject line and their respective operations.

MM/TM/TMI had a extensive line of research on their products and photographs for art work on decorated kits.

Eventually, TMI sold all tooling and other moveable assets/inventory to Wm K. Walthers Company of Milwaukee.

By that time Walthers had purchased a number of other firms, which coinsided with there move to todays warehouse/manufacturing facility in Milwaukee.

Yes Walthers use to manufacture in house, right in Milwuakee..

So, if anyone has additional information, please share, if interested to the readers.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, September 10, 2017 1:38 AM

Run Eight
The long-time readers of Model Railroder, which I'll refer to as the "Geritol Crowd", which I'm one, remeber these firms well.

I may be of that era, but had not heard of Model Masters until you mentioned them and I looked 'em up.  Rings no bells for me, but maybe my hearing's goin' too. Stick out tongue

I do remember Train Miniature, though, and Train Miniature of Illinois, and was a bit put-out when Walthers bought in, made things r-t-r and jacked-up the prices.

TM offered a lot of nice variarions that allowed us to model the prototype trains we saw, with varied styles and heights which were at one time so common.
They're probably my favourite kits from that time, and made great fodder for kitbashing.

These are the ones which first caught my eye...

Their USRA-design boxcars were useful, too...

Their single sheathed boxcars could look quite nice with a little work if you wanted to match ones in prototype photos...

...and the double sheathed ones offered several possibilities for the same thing, too...

...or for freelancing...

Their plugdoor boxcar was good for freelancing, too...

I have a couple of their stockcars...

...and some reefers, too.

All of the cars shown were painted with Pollyscale paints, with lettering from C-D-S (dry transfers) or Champ (decals).  Some cars may have a combination of both.

Wayne

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Posted by Run Eight on Sunday, September 10, 2017 4:13 PM

As a term used today...A Senior Moment...The Heading should have read Train Masters, just like the Fairbanks-Morse H-24-66 "Train Master".

I must have had RPM Corporations Model Masters line of paints in my thought process.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, September 10, 2017 9:38 PM

You should be able to edit the heading of your thread to read the way you want it, but to be honest, I know about FM's Trainmaster, but not of the Trainmasters to which you refer.

Sorry that I couldn't add anything to the history of the various companies, but their products interest me more than do the companies.

Wayne

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Posted by EMDSD40 on Monday, September 11, 2017 7:46 AM

Speaking of Train Miniature.......Have a AB set of PRR FA-1 diesels in Brunswick Green brand new in original box. Been sitting on the shalf for at least 35 years. I unwrap them occasionally to be sure all is well with paint and then gingerly return them to their original kit box. Now that I am retired, perhaps they will get assembled. Only time wii tell.

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, September 11, 2017 2:12 PM

Up until recently, I thought all the Walthers ex-Train Miniature freight cars were only available as kits, not RTR? I started in HO in the winter of 1987-88 and over the next decade bought quite a few of the kits, both undec and decorated.

As far as price being 'jacked up', I do remember discussions at the LHS back then about how expensive the kits were - $5.49 for a decorated kit as I recall - and why couldn't they be more realistically priced like Athearn's $3.00 kits? Course I had come to HO from O scale, where a comparable kit would be around $20, so the price didn't bother me.

 

Stix
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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 12:18 AM

wjstix
Up until recently, I thought all the Walthers ex-Train Miniature freight cars were only available as kits, not RTR?...

You're right, but I think that the kits were left-overs that Walthers got when taking over the business.

I'm certainly not above buying r-t-r, but when a kit like those TMs offers so many possibilities for kitbashing, it's easier to start with a box of parts.  I often see them at train shows for a buck or two, and find it difficult to walk by without getting a couple.

Wayne

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 7:57 AM

I don't know about 'leftovers', seems to me Walthers issued kits in new paint schemes (and as I remember, the Walthers paint and lettering was better than TM had been) and may even have added some boxcar types. Walthers boxcars had a large variation - single sheathed or double sheathed sides or ends, wood or steel roofs and ends, etc. Numerous combinations.

As I recall the cars were only available as kits from Walthers for 10-15 years or so, then went out of production around 2000, and only in the last couple years came back as RTR.

Stix
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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 5:56 PM

Stix, you may be right about the kits continuing under Walthers, but once the older TM and TMofI cars started appearing at train shows and on the "used" tables of nearby hobbyshops, I seldom bothered with new ones.  Walthers r-t-r ones go back to at least 2007 (my newest Walthers catalogue).
 
All of my Train Miniature cars have been stripped and re-painted, then lettered with either dry transfers from C-D-S or decals from Champ.

The various end-types, used on the same cars, dates to the original Train Miniature, I think, but I was always surprised that they never offered a Murphy end - these were very common from the mid-teens and into the early '30s.

I modified several using slightly altered Tichy 5-5-5 Murphy ends, like this Lackawanna car...

...and the Seaboard car, which I posted earlier, got flat plate ends, similar to those used on the X-29 boxcars, although mine are scratchbuilt...

As I mentioned earlier, these cars are great for kitbashing.

Wayne

 

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Posted by twhite on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 1:53 PM

I built quite a few of the TM kits when they first came out, and like Wayne, I really liked them for the fact that they produced rolling stock that wasn't "standardized" like everyone else's kits.  I've still got quite a few of them on my roster.  I do remember Walthers distributing the kits for some time after they acquired the line, however Walthers substituted build-it-yourself sprung trucks in the kits, which IMO, were garbage.  I just tossed them and substituted other brands.  The old TM's are now RTR from Walthers.  I've picked up a few and am satisfied with them.  

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 10:07 PM

twhite
...however Walthers substituted build-it-yourself sprung trucks in the kits, which IMO, were garbage....

Actually, Tom, I found those trucks to work quite well, but there was a lot of flash on the castings that had to be cleaned off if one wanted good operation.
I have several cars on the layout with those trucks, although they're not necessarily Train Miniature cars.  
Recently, I've been modifying most of my sprung trucks with a view block, made from material cut from Kadee #5 draught gear boxes.  This leaves the springs still able to function, but eliminates the see-through look which reveals that there are only two springs in what perhaps should be a 6 or 8 spring-package.
This one is a Kadee truck, but the modification on any sprung truck is similar...

Wayne

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