Custom Brass – SR&RL Boxcar #67 kit.

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Custom Brass announced their wooden craftsman style boxcar kit with their advertisement in the September/October 1975 edition of the NG&SL Gazette.

 

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The Custom Brass SR&RL #67 Boxcar kit was typical of what was called “a craftsman style kit”, meaning that compared to today’s (2016) kits, significant cutting, trimming and use of tools to fit details was expected.

The picture above shows the construction style well. The wooden pieces in the upper right are a milled floor (with integral side, intermediate and centre sills), the shaped sub-roof piece and two end blocks. These formed the basic body to which scribed side and end sheathing was applied, followed by plain sheeting for the roof and then strip-wood for fascia’s, ladders and roof walks.

The Custom Brass kit features a bag of black plastic details for the airbrake cylinders, other brake gear and NBW’s, and a bag of brass details for the stirrup steps, queen posts and brake wheel.

Trevor Marshall’s second S&PCRR boxcar, built from the NJ/CB kit

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In June 2007 Trevor Marshall posted the following message to the On2 Yahoo! group;-

S&PCRR doubles its boxcar fleet

Hi List:

Yes, it’s true. Until today, my On2 railroad had ONE boxcar – a Sandy River Car Shops kit built by a friend and acquired when he sold off his On2 equipment. I’ve just been too busy building flat cars for the slate quarry.

However, I decided to do something different – one can only build so many flat cars in a row, after all – so a while ago I started work on an NJ International wooden kit (acquired from another friend who was selling off his On2 equipment… hmm: I see a pattern!). The kit was for SR&RL boxcars 67-76, which were 28-foot cars. I modeled it as Somerset & Piscataquis Counties #68.

This was an interesting experience.

The kit included all the basics, but was missing information like how to route brake rods and pipes, and many details like the dozens of NBWs used on grab irons, etc. Plus, of course, a tin roof made of individual panels of thick embossing tin.

I’ve posted a few photos in the TPM-Projects folder in the photos section of the web site. Editors’ note the pictures are shown below.

It’s “finished”, although I’m waiting for some air hoses to add to the ends. The S&PCRR now has TWO boxcars!

Happy modeling…
– Trevor

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Originally posted 19-08-2016, updated 20-08-2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Passenger car models availability by prototype roadnames;- SR&RL

SR&RL Passenger cars and Models with selected Predecessor roads                                         Rev 2                          20-12-2013

SR&RL #

Type

Build  Date

Builder

Previous RR & #

Dates

Previous RR & #

Dates

Models

4

Baggage

1876

Ranlet Car Company

B&B A

1876-78

SRRR 2

1879-1908

DRL-102

6

Baggage

1876

Portland Terminal

F&M 4

1903-08

F&M 2

1887-1903

6

RPO

1912

7

Baggage

1889

P&R 5

1889-1908

DRL (*/#)

8

RPO

1891

Billmeyer & Small

SRRR 7

1891-1908

NJ/CB, Grandt Line, DRL (**/#)

9

Parlor

1901

Jackson & Sharp

SRRR Rangeley

1901-08

Car Works, DRL (*/**/#)

11

Combine

1885

Laconia

F&M  Carrabassett

1885-1908

Grandt Line, DRL (*/**/#)

12

Combine

1876

Ranlet Car Company

B&B Fawn

1876-78

SRRR 4

1879-1908

DRL (*/#)

13/15

Combine

1890

Billmeyer & Small

P&R 1

1890-1908

13/15

Combine renum 15

1922

NJ/CB

14

Combine

1903

AC&F

F&M 3

1901-08

Car Works

14

Combine rebuilt

1929

Car Works

16

Coach

1876

Ranlet Car Company

B&B Sylvan

1876-78

SRRR 3

1879-1908

DRL (*/#)

17

Coach

1884

Laconia

SRRR 5

1884-1908

Car Works, DRL (*/**/#)

18

Coach

1884

Laconia

SRRR 6

1884-1908

Car Works, DRL (*/**/#)

19

Coach

1890

Billmeyer & Small

P&R 2

1890-1908

NJ/CB, Grandt Line

20

Coach

1891

Billmeyer & Small

P&R 4

1891-1908

NJ/CB, Grandt Line

21

Coach

1903

AC&F

F&M 2

1903-08

Car Works

22

Coach

1903

AC&F

SRRR 8

1903-08

Car Works

26

Excursion

1899

P&R

1889-1908

27

Excursion

1899

P&R

1889-1908

28

Excursion

1899

P&R

1889-1908

29

Excursion

1907

SRRR

30

Excursion

1907

SRRR

31

Excursion

1908

SRRR

Note: only those cars which are known to have been transferred to the SR&RL roster in 1908 are shown in this table.

Deerfield River Laser has full kits for former B&B stock; see http://www.deerfieldriverlaser.com/NGCarsPage.html and also the FAQ posts for B&B and SRRR. Full kits are coded as DRL-102 etc. in the above table.

Deerfield River Laser make 36 foot Quik-Kits (coded * in this table), 46 foot kits (coded ** in this table) and 6 foot 6 inches wide ends (coded # in this table) which are replacement side (and ends) conversion kits for passenger cars using Bachmann Passenger cars as donor vehicles at http://www.deerfieldriverlaser.com/CarsSidesList.html

Grandt Line does door and window sets for SR&RL stock at http://www.grandtline.com/products/mrr/mrr%20car%20and%20loco%20detail%20parts/o%20details/o_passenger_details.html

Passenger car models availability by prototype roadnames;- P&R

P&R Passenger cars                                           Rev 1                   dated: 20-12-2013 

RR

#

Type

Model Builder

Notes

Current status

Builder

Date

P&R

1

Combine Transferred to SR&RL #13 1908

scrapped by Edaville frame used to build #20 coach

Billmeyer & Small

1890

P&R

2

Coach NJ/CB, Grandt Line Transferred to SR&RL #19 1908

MNGRR

Billmeyer & Small*

1891

P&R

3

Coach Burned at Greene’s farm 1904, rebuilt as caboose

scrapped in rebuild as caboose

Billmeyer & Small*

1891

P&R

4

Coach NJ/CB, Grandt Line Transferred to SR&RL #20 1908

MNGRR

Billmeyer & Small*

1891

P&R

5

Baggage DRL (*/#) Transferred to SR&RL #7 1908

scrapped 1935?

1889

P&R

Excursion Transferred to SR&RL #26 1908

scrapped 1924

Unknown

1899

P&R

Excursion Transferred to SR&RL #27 1908

scrapped 1935?

Unknown

1899

P&R

Excursion Transferred to SR&RL #28 1908

scrapped 1924

Unknown

1899

Deerfield River Laser make 36 foot Quik-Kits (coded * in this table), 46 foot kits (coded ** in this table) and 6 foot 6 inches wide ends (coded # in this table). See the Deerfield River Laser Two foot page for further details;- http://www.deerfieldriverlaser.com/CarsSides.html

Grandt Line does door and window sets for SR&RL stock at http://www.grandtline.com/products/mrr/mrr%20car%20and%20loco%20detail%20parts/o%20details/o_passenger_details.html

Custom Brass – the first Importer

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Front page of the NJ/Custom Brass catalog.

The most prolific producer of brass items for the Maine On2 modeller has been the Custom Brass line of SR&RL items produced by NJ International. The items were imported into the USA at four different times from builders in Japan and Korea, and covered locomotives, passenger coaching stock and caboose’s. The items are regularly available second-hand via private sales, dealers and eBay, and even today (in 2016) can be acquired in “mint condition”, ie not run or “test run only” in the original gold lacquer finish. In addition, Custom Brass also produced wooden kits for a SR&RL boxcar and turntable.

More pages from the NJ/Custom Brass catalog;-

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In a posting to the On2 Yahoo group, Tony Koester noted that the N.J. in N.J. International stood for “Nick (Riess?) and Jack (LaRusa),” the two partners in N.J. International. They both lived on Long Island, not in New Jersey. I am not sure of the spelling of Nick’s last name, but it was pronounced “Reese”.

Tony continued;- when I was editing Railroad Model Craftsman in the 1970s, Wayne Daniels was our advertising manager, and he was and still is a big two-footer fan. Wayne had several NJI On2 models on his credenza, and I suspect he and Jack (more so than Nick) collaborated on this in some way. This was a common practise. Jack may indeed have realized that the limited run of brass models made it feasible to make money on a narrow-interest field (pun intended) like On2.

Jace Kahn writes;- I think Tony Koester is probably correct that his colleague was able to persuade one of the CBR partners to test the market for On2. There were a few specialty basement manufacturers of On2 before 1970, but it was still very much a scratch-builder’s niche.

The first Custom Brass items, the loco #6, caboose, and passenger set, which arrived in 1974/5/6, all came from a smaller builder in Japan calling itself Orion (they also built some of the NWSL brass for Raoul Martin).

By the early 1970’s, Japanese model builders had pretty well reached their capacity, and most, such as KTM were fully committed to the major importers, such as PFM and US Hobbies and Balboa/Westside, and the rising standard of living there and the exchange rate between the dollar and the yen began to really price brass models out of mass-market pocketbook.   

Later entrants, such as NWSL and NJI/CBR had to scramble to find other builders who could still produce the requisite quality at an affordable price, such as Orion. Both Raoul Martin and the NJI/CBR partners had to hunt for builders because they came on the scene after the boom times. Related to this both were among the earliest importers to try to move production to Korea; later CBR imports were mostly by Lhee Do , including the three prairies (each a bit better than the previous one, the long cabooses, and the Eustis locomotives.

What is not commonly known is that originally Raoul Martin of NWSL had plans to import both SR&RL #24 and the “Rangeley”, but nothing came of that until CBR did the #24 and Car Works–much later–did the Rangeley along with other On2 passenger stock.

The SR&RL #6 listed for around $250 – 300 in the mid-1970’s, which was NOT a bargain: it was sort of in-between the price of most HO brass locomotives at the time and comparable O scale brass. As far as I can recall, the Korean made #24 listed at $425 ca. 1983; I think the previous two Prairies (#16 and #18) also made in Korea sold for around $350.

 Chronological order of Custom Brass imports

 Based on the original list “BRASS MODELS IN On2” put together by Walter Orloff & Terry Smith in 2004, and updated Terry Smith in 2013.

Manufacturer

Year

Quantity

Original Retail Price

Brass Guide Number

Combine

#15

Orion

1974

200

Coach

#19/20

Orion

1974

300

$120

30477

Loco 0-4-4T

#6

GOM

1975

350

$250

30820

Baggage

#8

Orion

1975

190

$120

30476

Caboose

#556

KMT

1976

270

$65

30535

Loco 2-6-2

#16

Daiyoung

1979

125

$350

30826

Loco 2-6-2

#18

Daiyoung

1979

125

$350

30821

Loco 2-6-2

#24

Daiyoung

1983

125

$450

30825

Loco 0-4-4T

#20

Daiyoung

1985

50

$370

30822

Loco 0-4-4T

#21

Daiyoung

1985

50

$370

30823

Loco 0-4-4T

#22

Daiyoung

1985

50

$370

30824

Caboose

#551

WooSung

1985

75

37815

 Brass Guide number;-   http://www.brasstrains.com/

 A selection of adverts and announcements.

The first news that an importer was working in On2 surfaced at the 1974 NMRA Convention when a pilot model of a Portland Forney in On2 was shown and reported in the July 1974 edition of Finelines magazine (the predecessor of the NG&SL Gazette).

There were two adverts featuring this locomotive in the September 1974 edition of Finelines. The second, in page order, was from Custom Brass themselves and announced both the SR&RL #6 and the range of other items to follow to complement the loco;-

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The first advert, in page order, was from The Hobby Barn, run by Pauline & Bob Werner who announced that they were now accepting reservations for the loco, and also listed a pretty complete set of major items that impatient persons could order to build their own loco, which incidentally included a number of their own castings released under their Portland Products banner;-

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The November 1974 edition of Finelines magazine carried this advert for the SR&RL Caboose #556;-

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It would appear that the schedules suggested were a little optimistic, as the first report of the production locomotives being seen was in the September/October 1975 edition of the NG&SL Gazette, and the narrative stated that the passenger cars would be delayed until 1976.

Custom Brass had posted the following advert in the July/August 1975 edition of the NG&SL Gazette;-

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This advert was followed closely by this announcement of the wooden boxcar kit in the September/October 1975 edition of the NG&SL Gazette, which also gave advance notice of the turntable.

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The wooden turntable kit was announced in the January/February 1976 issue of the NG&SL Gazette.

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SR&RL Coaches 19/20 were announced in the March/April 1976 issue of the NG&SL Gazette.

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Followed by Combine 15 in the July/August 1977 edition.

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This was placed in the March/April 1978 edition of the NG&SL Gazette announcing the impending arrival of Baggage Car #8.

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This was placed in the March/April 1979 edition of the NG&SL Gazette announcing the intention to build models of SR&RL #16 & #18.

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This was placed in the November/December 1979 edition of the NG&SL Gazette announcing the models arrival.

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This was placed in the November/December 1982 edition of the NG&SL Gazette showing the pilot model of SR&RL #24.

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The advert below was placed in the July/August 1983 edition of the NG&SL Gazette announcing the intention to build models of SR&RL #20, #21 & #22.

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In the January/February 1984 and repeated in the May/June and July/August editions of the NG&SL Gazette the advert had changed to offering models of SR&RL #20 & #21, followed by #17 & #22. When the models finally arrived in 1985, no model of #17 was imported.

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The last model imported by Custom Brass was the SR&RL Caboose #551, but was announced by this advert placed in  September/October 1982 edition of the NG&SL Gazette;-

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Updated 23-08-2015, text revised (2x) with additional pictures 29-06-2016.