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My First Model Project at Completion | by Twin Ports Rail History
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My First Model Project at Completion

The Great Northern Sand Car in HO scale was my very first research project turned into fine scale brass model trains. I typed up that fact sheet to go inside of each box too. Back in this era there wasn't a lot of solid prototype information in the hobby press so I always thought that anything that I could do to help the buyers better understand the prototype being modeled, the more they might enjoy owning that model. I felt that it was a small amount of extra effort to provide that level of detail and that level of buying comfort. Many people thanked me for it, even years later, and wondered why the fact sheets didn't come with every model from every importer. Frankly, I kind of wondered that too. Go figure.


A good take-away from this image is the styrofoam packing material inside of the plastic wrap. This model had opening roof hatches on it and detailed ends. The idea was to put foam over those areas and to keep the model from shifting inside of the box during shipment. This idea worked really well initially. But on the secondary market what happened was that original owners tossed the styrofoam leaving a larger cavity surrounding the model. So in subsequent sales and shipments, many of these earlier and-then-resold models got damaged account people thought that the foam inside of the box was sufficient to protect the model in transit. It wasn't. That's because as USPS and UPS built larger and larger sorting facilities, nearly all of the hand-carrying of packages went away. That is, except for the last few yards from the delivery truck to your front door.


If you've ever been inside one of these modern sorting facilities then you know that it's not uncommon for boxes to free-fall 50 feet or more to another conveyor, into a truck-tub, or smack right onto the concrete floor. Way back in the day models were packed in nothing but straw but somehow they all survived the trip from Asia to your local hobby shop. The only reason that worked back then was because those packages were literally sorted by hand, put into carts by hand, and carried by hand from one place to the next until they were physically handed to the hobby shop owners—who then handed the model to you when you walked into their shop. Shipping models was a much gentler process back then. Times have changed. Fast forward to today and package handling has never been rougher or tougher on these delicate little models.


While many extra steps have been taken over the years to keep newer and newer runs of models from being destroyed in transit, it wouldn't be a bad idea for you to see just what happens today when older models are shipped now. Go to my website and click the tab marked "Boxes and Bad Foam". I think you'll find it eye opening. So word to the wise, BE CAREFUL when shipping older models these days and DO NOT trust that the old foam is going to protect the model in transit like it did 20 or 30 or 40 years ago. It won't. If you have models to sell and ship then I consider this information to be REQUIRED READING—here's the link:


You can follow my story about Building Brass Model Trains in the order it was meant to be told in my album:

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Taken on October 23, 2015