Trains.com

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!

California Model Company?

15444 views
32 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    May 2004
  • From: The Villages, FL
  • 515 posts
California Model Company?
Posted by tcf511 on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 7:48 PM
I just bought a large accumulation of HO model railroad stuff including a ton of craftsman and museum quality kits. Can anyone tell me about the California Model Company? I found some references in Google but they seemed to be about airplane models. I have four building kits that I'm trying to research. They are a combination of etched metal and wood. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Tim Fahey

Musconetcong Branch of the Lehigh Valley RR

 

 

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 8:23 PM
California Models was Suydam.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 8:31 PM
I can't tell you much about them, except that I have a few kits in boxes that I recently dragged out of my storage shed (they are my brother's though he never completed them). I do have an address on one of the boxes, but I don't know if they still exist. Here it is:

California Model Co.
1420 South Ritchey, Unit E
Santa Ana, CA 92705

I didn't find any instruction sheets in the boxes (yet), but I haven't looked through them completely, either. I hope this helps a little bit, at least.
  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 11,241 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 9:31 PM
I've got a few of their kits. They usually turn out nice.


Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 1,398 posts
Posted by fiatfan on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 10:29 PM
They are now:

Alpine Division Scale Models
P.O. Box 6
Artesia, CA 90702

Tom

Life is simple - eat, drink, play with trains!

Go Big Red!

PA&ERR "If you think you are doing something stupid, you're probably right!"

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 1,398 posts
Posted by fiatfan on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 10:34 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by jdavid93225


I didn't find any instruction sheets in the boxes (yet), but I haven't looked through them completely, either.


jdavid93225

I have the instruction sheets for the grain elevator and the furniture factory. I can scan them and e-mail them if that's what you are missing.

Tom

Life is simple - eat, drink, play with trains!

Go Big Red!

PA&ERR "If you think you are doing something stupid, you're probably right!"

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 10:41 PM
Tom,
The boxes I have actually belong to my brother, and they are a roundhouse and a roundhouse extension, as I recall. At this point, I don't know what he would like to do with the models, so I'll have to check into that. Thanks for the offer, though.
  • Member since
    May 2004
  • From: The Villages, FL
  • 515 posts
Posted by tcf511 on Thursday, September 1, 2005 4:07 PM
Sorry I didn't reply sooner but I've been sorting through 22 cartons of HO model railroad stuff from an estate. What an education! Thanks for the info on Alpine Division Scale Models, I'll chase that.

Tim Fahey

Musconetcong Branch of the Lehigh Valley RR

 

 

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 1, 2005 5:01 PM
I had their catalog (Suydam) back when I was like 10 years old. I spent weeks looking and drooling over those buildings, in my mind I had the ultimate layout with all their buildings. I never owned one. Are they as sharp looking in the catalog as they are once built? Were they tough kits to put together?
  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 11,241 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Friday, September 2, 2005 3:07 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by dthurman

I had their catalog (Suydam) back when I was like 10 years old. I spent weeks looking and drooling over those buildings, in my mind I had the ultimate layout with all their buildings. I never owned one. Are they as sharp looking in the catalog as they are once built? Were they tough kits to put together?


I think mine look good. But I changed the colors a bit. Painting is time consuming, but hardest part is keeping things straight when you are glueing. It's a little harder than a plastic kit, but not significantly harder. I just started an all-wood craftsman kit. I don't know how it will compare.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: Poconos, PA
  • 3,948 posts
Posted by TomDiehl on Wednesday, September 7, 2005 8:42 AM
Currently they have a website:

http://www.alpinemodels.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=ADSM&Category_Code=100

They had both cardstock and metal building kits back in the days of the Suydam name and many of them are still listed in the website. The metal ones will require some soldering to assemble and I have put a few of them together MANY years ago. The corrugated metal looks like corrugated metal because it is.
Smile, it makes people wonder what you're up to. Chief of Sanitation; Clowntown
  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 11,241 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, September 7, 2005 9:44 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by SpaceMouse

QUOTE: Originally posted by dthurman

I had their catalog (Suydam) back when I was like 10 years old. I spent weeks looking and drooling over those buildings, in my mind I had the ultimate layout with all their buildings. I never owned one. Are they as sharp looking in the catalog as they are once built? Were they tough kits to put together?


I think mine look good. But I changed the colors a bit. Painting is time consuming, but hardest part is keeping things straight when you are glueing. It's a little harder than a plastic kit, but not significantly harder. I just started an all-wood craftsman kit. I don't know how it will compare.


They're easier than an all-wood craftsman kit.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 7, 2005 12:01 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by dthurman

I had their catalog (Suydam) back when I was like 10 years old. I spent weeks looking and drooling over those buildings, in my mind I had the ultimate layout with all their buildings. I never owned one. Are they as sharp looking in the catalog as they are once built? Were they tough kits to put together?


I may ruffle some feathers here but this stuff was state of the art 1960. I built a couple of the metal kits years ago. I soldered them together. I looked at them in the 90s' when I got back into the hobby and they are grossly out of scale with pretty crude details. The corrugated metal scale out to have 6" wide corrugations. Compare to the Campbell's corruagated metal and you will see the difference. I would be wary of older kits with lots of cardboard. I usually replace the cardboard with styrene because unless the cardboard is carefully braced, it will warp on you. Especially if you paint it or say glue shingles on it. Nothing more frustrating than to shingle a roof with the campbell's shingles only to have it warp.

How difficult to assemble? Pretty hard to get the solder joints to line up and look right. IMHO now there are so many kits out there with far superior details that will take you same amount of time or less to assemble why bother with these?

As many of you know, just because it is hard to put together or takes great skills to pull it off doesn't mean that you will end up with a highly detailed, great looking model. Some guys are throwing around the term "craftsman kit" a lot these days. Does this mean highly detailed and a lot of work or simply high level modeling skills are needed? My definition is higher level of skill to assemble the kit to reach a higher level of detail in the assembled model. There are a lot of older kits where a high level of skill is needed to assemble them but they don't reach a high level of detail....Are these craftsman kits??

Kits that do fit my definition of craftsman are AMB, Banta, Builders in Scale, Heritage Models, some Campbells, FSM, Yorke, Cibolo Crossing, Magnusson, Crystal River, Rio Grande Models etc. With the newer stuff you will have a model with better detail with the same amount of effort. I still have one of my old Suydam kits for nostalgias sake.....The rest I cut up the metal for gon loads and to put in my junk yard looks great...
  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 11,241 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, September 7, 2005 12:27 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Trainnut1250



As many of you know, just because it is hard to put together or takes great skills to pull it off doesn't mean that you will end up with a highly detailed, great looking model. Some guys are throwing around the term "craftsman kit" a lot these days. Does this mean highly detailed and a lot of work or simply high level modeling skills are needed? My definition is higher level of skill to assemble the kit to reach a higher level of detail in the assembled model. There are a lot of older kits where a high level of skill is needed to assemble them but they don't reach a high level of detail....Are these craftsman kits??


I kinda sorta agree with you, but I kinda sorta don't. I think it depends on your era. For pre 1920 and especially for old west, I have found 3 options. Suydam, Muir Models and Campbell. There are some other older things out there, but I have only found them pre-assembled and they were not as good as the three mentioned. I'm not claiming a lot of experience here. I have built 2 Sudyam models and I picked what looked like the hardest of the Muir models, a silver mine as my first wood model. It is not an easy put together and I don't know what it will look like when I'm done.

Yes, the cardbooard warps when you paint it. The shrinking pint does that. But if you weight it, it straightens pretty well. BTW: wood does that too.

However, the worst warpage I had was in a styrene kit. It came that way.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 7, 2005 12:53 PM
I have a Suydam (California Models) catalog. Currently I am building the "heavy industry" kit; American Chemical and Potash,with annex.This building is BIG!!!!. All of the kits,including mine require use of a solder and a soldering iron.If you are uncertain about using a soldering iron,I am "experimenting" with Gorilla Glue.This stuff is FANTASTIC!!! Although I must say,use this glue VERY sparingly. Take a tooth pick,dip it in the glue,and cautiously sread it along one piece of the metal to be fastened together.With the other piece to be glued,I use a paint brush,dipped in water and form a line of water beads along the edge.Then I fasten the 2 pieces together,and clamp it with some "Tool shop" clamps.(These clamps come in a tube,are various colors and are in different sizes and work very well.) This glue will form a tight bond and there will be a little bit of foam along the edges.I just trim the excess,and once I have the whole structure complete,I paint it. Do not put the windows in until you have painted the structure.I went to a hardware store and found an "industrial" blue color,which I used to paint the building. I have used a soldering iron on the tank part of the building,though I find this very difficult to do,especially when the darn iron likes to "cool off ". So far the building is coming along great.I do recommend that you DO read the building instructions carefully,before assembly,that way you know what you are going to be putting together.Have fun with your kits!! If you or anyone would like something from the Suydam catalog I have,please feel free to email me.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 7, 2005 1:16 PM
Chip,

There are other kits that fit your era, Check out the narrow gauge stuff, The Narrow gauge & Shortline Gazzette or google Narrow gauge. I'll see if I can get specific names for you. Have you checked the manufacturers I listed in the above post??
  • Member since
    April 2005
  • From: Glendale Az
  • 279 posts
Posted by ragnar on Wednesday, September 7, 2005 1:23 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by jdavid93225

Tom,
The boxes I have actually belong to my brother, and they are a roundhouse and a roundhouse extension, as I recall. At this point, I don't know what he would like to do with the models, so I'll have to check into that. Thanks for the offer, though.

Had a Suydam roundhouse way back when,Its the metal one right? S'where I learned (the hard way) how to solder...[:D]
The Great Northern Lives!
  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: Poconos, PA
  • 3,948 posts
Posted by TomDiehl on Wednesday, September 7, 2005 1:25 PM
QUOTE:

How difficult to assemble? Pretty hard to get the solder joints to line up and look right.

As many of you know, just because it is hard to put together or takes great skills to pull it off doesn't mean that you will end up with a highly detailed, great looking model. Some guys are throwing around the term "craftsman kit" a lot these days. Does this mean highly detailed and a lot of work or simply high level modeling skills are needed?



The trick I found for this is to use medium to large hemostats to align the ends of the metal strips and hold them while you solder the middle. Then remove them and solder the ends

"Craftsman Kit" traditionally has meant a craftsman's level of skill was required to assemble the kit, in other words, not recommended for beginners. I've never done any of the cardstock ones, just the metal and I agree the small buildings look bad. But large industries like the American Chemical and Potash one (with annex) is an impressive sight because of it's size, which also makes the "6 inch wide corrugations" not real noticable.
Smile, it makes people wonder what you're up to. Chief of Sanitation; Clowntown
  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 11,241 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, September 7, 2005 1:49 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Trainnut1250

Chip,

There are other kits that fit your era, Check out the narrow gauge stuff, The Narrow gauge & Shortline Gazzette or google Narrow gauge. I'll see if I can get specific names for you. Have you checked the manufacturers I listed in the above post??


Guy,

I have come across some of the ones you've mentioned, but not all. The Builder's in Scale stuff is way beyond my price range. I have the Mangnussen Victorian Arms Hotel, but I fear it will not fit into my layout. The biggest twon o the layout is about 3000 population. And that hotel is huge. I fear I'll end up selling or trading it.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    August 2003
  • 258 posts
Posted by slotracer on Wednesday, September 7, 2005 2:28 PM
I suppose if one was to build a whimsy type pike or a layout depicting Model RR's in the vintage sense or just a semi toy layout one might find use for Suydum kits but I agree with the post above, they are way dated, out of scale, thick and poor on detail and integrity of construction. I had some of the tin kits as well as cardstock/wood ones back in the mid seventies and as a teenager at the time I felt they were not of quality or appearance woth building/including on my layout and sold the completed kits off in some train swap meet. Sure they are classics but I view putting one on any layout I had anything to do with akin to using lifelike f units over intermountain ones....why would one want to ?
  • Member since
    June 2014
  • 1 posts
Posted by jlange64 on Sunday, June 15, 2014 12:13 AM

Understand this thread is old, but just getting back into MRR. I found Alpine Division Scale Models is still in business and you can get legacy models (newly made of old run models) and new models direct from the manufacture. Now laser made.

  • Member since
    November 2003
  • 266 posts
Posted by Ron High on Sunday, June 15, 2014 1:28 PM

I have some of the old Suydam metal building kits .I think they make very good backgroung buildings. I had fun building them years back . I bought the American Chemical buildings a couple of years back . I will get to building them in the future. If you solder them start by tack soldering one end then the other. Then start in the middle and work toward the ends to run a seam. these are interesting buildings of a different style that add a lot of interest and variety to the layout Adding some detailing will make a difference.

Ron High

  • Member since
    January 2010
  • From: Fruita, CO
  • 540 posts
Posted by slammin on Monday, June 16, 2014 8:32 AM

jlange64

Understand this thread is old, but just getting back into MRR. I found Alpine Division Scale Models is still in business and you can get legacy models (newly made of old run models) and new models direct from the manufacture. Now laser made.

 

Wow, this is an old thread! Most of the non metal kits were originally offered by Ayres. Then Suydam took over, followed by California Models and finally Alpine Models. Recently I saw a thread about Alpine Models announcing the owners retirement and a sell off of current inventory. The tooling to produce the kits was also offered for sale. This could be the end of a 60+ year run of this line. I thought the Alpine Models thread was on this site, but my search produced no reference.

  • Member since
    January 2010
  • From: Chi-Town
  • 7,706 posts
Posted by zstripe on Monday, June 16, 2014 10:15 AM

Here it is:

http://www.alpinemodels.com/index.html

Take Care!

Frank

  • Member since
    November 2016
  • 1 posts
Posted by Bill Baker jr on Thursday, November 24, 2016 12:19 AM

California Model Company originated in Long Beach, Calif in the late 1940's or early 1950's. My grandparents, William (Bill) Loyal Baker and his wife, Ruth (Tripp) Baker were the founders. The company started out as primarilay balsa based model aircraft but later, in the late 50's or early 60's, branched into the model RR craft kits and Cub Scout craft kits. They even had a balsa speed boat kit powered by a model airplane gas engine adapted to fit. When they retired, around 1968 or 1969, they sold the business and the "shop" in North Long Beach they built to house their business. I have many fond memories as a young child "working" with them in the shop, assembling kits. I have a few unbuilt kits today!

  • Member since
    April 2017
  • 1 posts
Posted by james wallace on Saturday, April 15, 2017 4:26 PM

Hello do you have a picture of the saw mill, i recently cleaning out my dads garage and came across this model no instructions  

  • Member since
    July 2023
  • 2 posts
Posted by foothills on Monday, July 31, 2023 7:09 PM

Wow, that must have been something!  A boy's dream.  Would you happen to know where I can get the instructions for California Model Company kit no. 82 Purina Chow Feed Mill? I have a number of their kits and love them.

 

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • 8,675 posts
Posted by maxman on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 5:43 PM

foothills
Would you happen to know where I can get the instructions for California Model Company kit no. 82 Purina Chow Feed Mill?

Go to HOSeeker.net

At the menu on the left select Literature

When that opens scroll down and select California Models or Suydam (takes you to the same place).

Top center you'll see Suydam.

You'll see Traction Instructions, Car Diagrams, and Building Diagrams.

Select Building Diagrams.  When that opens scroll down until you see the instructions you're looking for.   It will be after ED's Market.

Good luck, and welcome aboard. 

 

  • Member since
    August 2011
  • From: A Comfy Cave, New Zealand
  • 6,079 posts
Posted by "JaBear" on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 6:00 PM

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

Moderator
  • Member since
    June 2003
  • From: Northeast OH
  • 17,199 posts
Posted by tstage on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 6:43 PM

Wow!  No less than four 1st-timers have posted to this thread over its nearly 18-year existance.  And three of them in-a-row. Surprise

https://tstage9.wixsite.com/nyc-modeling

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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

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!