Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Metal vehicles for HO

2667 views
31 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April, 2017
  • From: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 1,525 posts
Metal vehicles for HO
Posted by OldSchoolScratchbuilder on Sunday, April 15, 2018 10:41 AM

I only use metal vehicles for HO scale displays and layouts. Made in England Matchbox, especially the older ones, are my favourite. I look for ones that are in not so collectible shape, and drill the rivets out to strip paint, make changes like adding drivers and other components, then prime and repaint to my liking. This Dodge cattle truck, originally with yellow body, (Matchbox No. 37) will look very different when completed.

 

  • Member since
    April, 2017
  • From: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 1,525 posts
Posted by OldSchoolScratchbuilder on Sunday, April 15, 2018 10:44 AM

Real HO trucks vs Matchbox - scale close enough for me.

 

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 18,050 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Sunday, April 15, 2018 12:07 PM

Matchbox scales are a crap shoot.  I think they are sized "to fit in a matchbox," hence the name and the smaller scale for trucks and larger scale for race cars.  I prefer my vehicles to be as close to 1:87 as possible.  I explore train shows and look for online sales.  I only pick up my cars and trucks as I find them, and put them on my layout when I do.  I never go out looking for a particular model.

Metal die-cast cars are really nice, but I'm seeing more and more quality autos in plastic from Athearn and CMW.  I think that's the wave of the future.

I have a dual-era layout, changing decades by replacing locos, some rolling stock and mostly vehicles for older and newer model timeframes.  That's when I start to really miss Jordan vehicles, a joy to build and a joy to display.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
    April, 2017
  • From: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 1,525 posts
Posted by OldSchoolScratchbuilder on Sunday, April 15, 2018 12:17 PM

MisterBeasley

Metal die-cast cars are really nice, but I'm seeing more and more quality autos in plastic from Athearn and CMW.  I think that's the wave of the future.

 

Don't like plastic at all. The only plastic I'll put up with are the locomotives, rolling stock, track and specialty polymers and adhesives. Everything else has to be wood, metal, stone, glass, or organic. That's my old school future wave.

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • 6,314 posts
Posted by maxman on Sunday, April 15, 2018 12:59 PM

One dimensional thinking.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 18,050 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Sunday, April 15, 2018 1:06 PM

Most of my autos and trucks are die-cast, too.  I just think they look better than earlier plastic models, but there are limits to availability.  I think this Raiway Express truck from Classic Metal Works is a big step up from what we used to settle for in plastic vehicles.

Yes, I was surprised when I got it and discovered it was plastic, but it's a good model with nice detail and a perfectly acceptable finish.

As for older plastic models, well, I agree, but there's a place for them on my layout, too.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
    April, 2017
  • From: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 1,525 posts
Posted by OldSchoolScratchbuilder on Sunday, April 15, 2018 2:26 PM

Starting to look the way I had imagined.

  • Member since
    April, 2017
  • From: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 1,525 posts
Posted by OldSchoolScratchbuilder on Sunday, April 15, 2018 3:47 PM

The original vehicle is shown in this image, a Dodge cattle truck. The back is grey plastic.  It will be converted into an all metal cryogenic liquid tank truck with a white tank and associated equipment. The entire metal payload will be easily replaceable with other equipment.

 

  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 17,516 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, April 15, 2018 3:57 PM

Matchbox cars are typically 1:64 scale, the same as S scale model railroading - - too big for HO scale model railroading.

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    April, 2017
  • From: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 1,525 posts
Posted by OldSchoolScratchbuilder on Sunday, April 15, 2018 6:02 PM

richhotrain

Matchbox cars are typically 1:64 scale, the same as S scale model railroading - - too big for HO scale model railroading.

 

Guess that explains why all my matchbox trucks are slightly smaller than the HO trucks in the first two pictures I posted.

  • Member since
    April, 2017
  • From: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 1,525 posts
Posted by OldSchoolScratchbuilder on Sunday, April 15, 2018 6:07 PM

O&G Trucking Fleet includes both HO scale and matchbox. The matchbox are slightly smaller.

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 3,157 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, April 15, 2018 6:24 PM

I think they look great.

.

The work you do is always enjoyable to me. I wish I could see the world the way you are able to. All I see is junk and dirt. You see HO trucks and awesome building materials.

.

I love it.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
    January, 2010
  • 267 posts
Posted by m horton on Sunday, April 15, 2018 8:29 PM
Matchbox, by Lesney, the early sixties vehicles were metal bodied, the cars are too big, but the trucks are actually smaller than HO, but very close to use. Stripping off factory paint usually reveals finer details. Many of the trucks are English prototypes, adding details and scale wheels from Athearn or Classic Metals will change them. Nice job on the dodge, I've done the other dodge truck(the wrecker or dump truck), turned one into a feed truck using a Walthers body, and the other an oil truck using a Classic Metals body. The old caterpillar and front end bucket loader are also close enough. I do prefer plastic though, easier to drill for mirrors and details.Nice work! mh
  • Member since
    March, 2017
  • 83 posts
Posted by Canalligators on Sunday, April 15, 2018 9:55 PM

I’m generally satisfied with “close” for details on my roads.  Matchbox construction equipment works for me.  A few years back there were a lot of inexpensive, true HO scale cars and truck tractors available at department and hobby stores. Believing that it wouldn’t last, I bought a bunch of them.  Ha, it didn’t last and I’m glad I invested!

I do have some cars that are too big, usually 1:64.  I place them in the foreground to force perspective.

On a side note, I’ve tried to get a scale model of all the cars we’ve owned.  Scale varies from HO to 1:18.  On some I had to modify the body, turning a five door Saab 900 into a four door, a Volvo 264 into a 242, things like that.  Most have required disassembly and repainting.  Hint: actual touch up paint from the dealer holds enough to do a smaller scale car, and gives a perfect color match. 

Genesee Terminal, freelanced HO in Upstate NY
  ...hosting Loon Bay Transit Authority, run through Amtrak and CSX Intermodal

CP/D&H, N scale, somewhere on the Canadian Shield

  • Member since
    January, 2010
  • From: Chi-Town
  • 7,331 posts
Posted by zstripe on Sunday, April 15, 2018 10:05 PM

I never cared for any Matchbox vehicles....also don't care for any RTR trucks. All usually ready made are not for the era's I build anyway. All CMW trucks that I have have been redone to My liking.

My preferance would be a kit, that can be built/changed to My liking, whether it be Polyurethane resin, White Metal, Pewter. Suspensions are all made out of brass rod/tube, music wire, with rubber tires on plastic wheels, so they roll. I do mostly fallen flag Trucking companies from the 40's to 70's era only.........

All photos may be clicked on for larger view.

Just a small percent of over 200 vehicles.

Take Care! Big Smile

Frank

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 18,050 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Sunday, April 15, 2018 10:18 PM

Actually, they would be considerably larger than HO scale, if Matchbox trucks were the same scale as their cars, but they are not.  Matchbox has not made much of an attempt to keep everything the same scale, but rather the same size, so trucks are relatively smaller than they should be and cars are larger.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 8,887 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, April 15, 2018 10:42 PM

m horton
the cars are too big,

I have a Matchbox MG TF which is pretty close to HO but it looks so toy like that I wouldn't put it on my layout, even in the background. I also have an MGA - same thing. I was thrilled when I was given them as a kid and I still appreciate them, but they are not up to my model railroad standards.

Dave

  • Member since
    April, 2017
  • From: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 1,525 posts
Posted by OldSchoolScratchbuilder on Monday, April 16, 2018 2:02 AM

zstripe

I never cared for any Matchbox vehicles....also don't care for any RTR trucks. All usually ready made are not for the era's I build anyway. All CMW trucks that I have have been redone to My liking.

My preferance would be a kit, that can be built/changed to My liking, whether it be Polyurethane resin, White Metal, Pewter. Suspensions are all made out of brass rod/tube, music wire, with rubber tires on plastic wheels, so they roll. I do mostly fallen flag Trucking companies from the 40's to 70's era only.........

All photos may be clicked on for larger view.

Just a small percent of over 200 vehicles.

Take Care! Big Smile

Frank

 

Beautiful work Frank!!

  • Member since
    April, 2017
  • From: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 1,525 posts
Posted by OldSchoolScratchbuilder on Monday, April 16, 2018 2:13 AM

I agree with matchbox cars looking very toy-ish and too far out of scale. I wouldn't use them. Fortunately, I don't require many cars since all my interests are in gritty mining and quarry vehicles, and other industrial trucks and trailers. I am treating the matchbox as a kitbashing exercise. I don't have Frank's skill set to do all the tiny details, but hopefully in future I'll improve. I have a British friend (we played soccer together in the city men's league years ago) who collects, and sells vintage vehicles like these. Extremely knowledgeable. He's on the lookout for me. I see him at the market every Sunday and bought several nice trucks from him yesterday.

  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 17,516 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Monday, April 16, 2018 3:59 AM

OldSchoolScratchbuilder
 
richhotrain

Matchbox cars are typically 1:64 scale, the same as S scale model railroading - - too big for HO scale model railroading. 

Guess that explains why all my matchbox trucks are slightly smaller than the HO trucks in the first two pictures I posted. 

You misunderstood my post.

My point is that Matchbox vehicles are "typically" 1/64 scale which is S scale when it comes to model railroading. In that case, a Matchbox vehicle would be too large for HO scale.

One of the peculiarities of Matchbox is that scale varies widely among their vehicles. The product is woefully inconsistent.

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 7,371 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, April 16, 2018 5:16 AM

richhotrain

 

 
OldSchoolScratchbuilder
 
richhotrain

Matchbox cars are typically 1:64 scale, the same as S scale model railroading - - too big for HO scale model railroading. 

Guess that explains why all my matchbox trucks are slightly smaller than the HO trucks in the first two pictures I posted. 

 

 

You misunderstood my post.

 

My point is that Matchbox vehicles are "typically" 1/64 scale which is S scale when it comes to model railroading. In that case, a Matchbox vehicle would be too large for HO scale.

One of the peculiarities of Matchbox is that scale varies widely among their vehicles. The product is woefully inconsistent.

 

"The product is woefully inconsistent." - because even back in the day it was a "toy" for children, not a model.

I have a fair sized collection of late 50's and early 60's Matchbox cars/trucks, and some are dead on for HO, some are not.

By the 70's they purposely started getting bigger - think choking hazzard.......

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    December, 2015
  • 4,180 posts
Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, April 16, 2018 6:54 AM

I saw a beat up PIE truck at Timonium. I thought $20 was a little steep. Looked on eBay when I got home and the first one I saw was $120 and the third $299. They were minty

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

  • Member since
    April, 2017
  • From: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 1,525 posts
Posted by OldSchoolScratchbuilder on Monday, April 16, 2018 7:10 AM

The main cryogenic tank will be made from two pieces of standard plumbing fittings, which I have primed and painted white. Four 357 Swiss-made batteries plus electronics will be installed inside the tank. The tank design will allow for changing batteries.

  • Member since
    April, 2017
  • From: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 1,525 posts
Posted by OldSchoolScratchbuilder on Monday, April 16, 2018 7:11 AM

Inside view with a battery.

PED
  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • 471 posts
Posted by PED on Monday, April 16, 2018 8:19 AM

I envy the choices the HO modelers have in vehicles. In N scale, I have few choices to work with and the few I do have are very expensive compared to Matchbox and similar stuff.

Paul

Washita and Santa Fe Railroad
Circa late 1970's in south central Oklahoma

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 18,050 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Monday, April 16, 2018 10:58 AM

This is the only Matchbox vehicle on my layout.  My all-time favorite car was my MGB, so having an MG on my layout felt like something I should do.  But, compared to the mid-50s Chevy going the other way, this MG is obviously badly oversized.

 

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • 234 posts
Posted by azrail on Monday, April 16, 2018 2:40 PM

The Matchbox Dodge cabover is a model of a UK/Euro version that wasn't sold over here.

  • Member since
    April, 2017
  • From: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 1,525 posts
Posted by OldSchoolScratchbuilder on Monday, April 16, 2018 3:54 PM

A little instant tac reusable adhesive to keep the window in place. That way I can make changes inside the cab later. Three 357 batteries fit into one half of the cryogenic tank. Four batteries gives me 6 volts and two empty battery volumes for terminals and miniature electrical components.

 

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 18,050 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Monday, April 16, 2018 6:36 PM

I was out grocery shopping today and passed a small parking lot.  There was a very small dumptruck, with even the same color scheme as the on in that small grassy circle in your picture.  It wasn't much bigger than one of today's monster pickup trucks.  There's a prototype for everything.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Users Online

There are no community member online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!