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Late to the party, but my son and I have enjoyed a number of these classic systems.

American Skyline was a recent addition from a friend that my son is playing with now that will probably use to setup temporary structures on our HO layout.   I like the slightly gothic look that echos quite a few buildings here in Chicago.

Guideancetown  USA is another HO-scale building system. I have a kit that I got (It was old then) as a kid from the resale shop.  Recently I added another box of parts and my son has really enjoyed building and putting on our in-progress layout.  It's a bit limited by having only one side with windows/doors, but you can quickly build masonry hi-rise buildings with it.

For those interested in Girder and Panel, they actually made a reappearance for a couple years  "Power Train" and "Power City" system.  I think they were phased out, but might come up on ebay, etc.  The girders were red instead of the traditional blue. I reviewed a set for my wargaming blog a while back.  I finally found some with the panels.  This year I plan for them to make an appearance on my O-27 Christmas Layout.  They are a bit frustrating to assemble, but look pretty cool with or without the panels.

@TonkaNut posted:

They would sell at my house, I love those sets!

TJ...

Show 'em the lift bridge on your layout built from Erector pieces!...

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For a while our LHS sold the new generation of Erector sets.  They were hard to get through traditional distributors, as I recall.  I don't recall any large make-a-bunch type kits as the big red metal boxed Erector sets of yore.  They were mostly small, single project items...that grandparents bought for the kids' kids about this time of year.  Our LHS hasn't had them available for several years now.

My guess is that a 3D printer and hours of putting together a project program on the computer to run the parts thereof would be today's analogous 'Ooh-Ahh' on Christmas morning.  Round headed machine screws, square-sided nuts, sheet metal plated/painted parts?....not 'cool' anymore.

Re plastic blocks of yore?...  It's Lego this, Lego that nowadays.  To that company's credit they've nursed their brand through a variety of challenges, special mega-displays, current events, etc., etc., blah, blah, to have become pretty much a world-wide institution.  Doubtful they'll run out of 'gas', dry up, and go away for several more generations....if ever.

Ah, yes...  One of my most memorable events with American Plastic Bricks was stepping on one while barefoot!  Not fun.

Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs, wood blocks, Erector sets....blessed to have had them all as a kid.  Much better than staring at the Boob-Toob...or similar...nowadays.  Building model railroad items from kits...or scratchbuilding from this and that...was the logical FUN progression back then.  Now the 'fun' is being able to afford things ready-to-run....I guess.

Yesterday wife and I were at our LHS picking up some items.  Walking through the R/C airplane department the shelves were well stocked with the ARF's...Almost Ready to Fly...which fundamentally require one skill: attaching wings to a fuselage.  (I asked the manager if he had any WOOF's to go with the ARF's?  He said, 'What's a WOOF?'  I said, 'Worth Only One Flight, of course!'...as is often the learning-curve nature of that hobby!  TEHO.

KD

Last edited by dkdkrd
@Hartman posted:

Thanks for that memory!  Wow!  I forgot how much that hurt.  Being in my 70's I never thought I would remember that far back.      Dennis

Never used American Plastic Bricks on shag or any other carpet. They were on a table, where it's Very Hard to step on them! Still have several sets. Just to remind us what we're talking about:

Amer-Plastic-Brocks

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Never used American Plastic Bricks on shag or any other carpet. They were on a table, where it's Very Hard to step on them! Still have several sets. Just to remind us what we're talking about:

That's a good idea to build them on a table, Andrew. I have built several on our fireplace hearth during Christmas but a friendly wave of our grand dog's tail can destroy many hours of work. They are very fragile but really look like the homes of the late '40s and '50s to me.

@TonkaNut posted:

That's a good idea to build them on a table, Andrew. I have built several on our fireplace hearth during Christmas but a friendly wave of our grand dog's tail can destroy many hours of work. They are very fragile but really look like the homes of the late '40s and '50s to me.

*Sigh* No fireplace, no dog. Of course, I live in a 3rd floor apartment in a building built in 1883 that they renovated in the 1930s, removing the fireplaces. Also, building has a no-dog policy—cats, gerbils, ferrets are okay.

This hasn't been updated since 2009, but still fascinating:

http://americanplasticbricks.blogspot.com/2009/02/

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That Erector set supported bridge looks fantastic.

For those using them, what makes American Bricks particularly good for railroading? Is it the texture?  The (looks like one piece?) roofs? Those illustrations of American Bricks buildings do look good.

I was very involved in LEGO for about a decade. I think many of the current range of LEGO pieces make it especially viable for reasonably realistic builidngs.  In my last year as part of the Northern Illinois Lego Train Club (NILTC) I made a module that was scaled to "Microfigs" . It's very much a compromise. Height wise, it's roughly HO and width (vehicles and people), probably closer to 1:64 or bigger. If you look at the pictures, you can see where the scale of textures, windows, etc might actually be better suited to O-scale, especially a classic styled 0-27. If you have a large collection of tiles and smooth roof pieces or use other other "SNOT" (Studs Not On Top) methods of getting rid of the visible studs some good effects are possible.

https://www.eurobricks.com/for...&comment=2571186

In light of my large backlog collection of kits and second hand buildings in HO and O-27 none of these systems (LEGO, Guideancetown, American Skyline) -except possibly Girder and Panel on our Christmas layout- are likely to wind up on any layout long term, but I'm finding just the idea of combining construction sets and railroading really enjoyable.

In the 1950's I had the Junior Engineer AC Gilbert erector set, Block City white blocks with green doors and windows, Tinker Toy and Lincoln Logs plus a Lionel O Gauge train set from 1956. For Christmas 1957 I received the Lionel magnetic crane, now I could load erector set bracing into the Lionel gondola car on onto the Lionel flatcar. Still have the train set and magnetic crane no issues operating either, the only repair was to rewire the crane control wire to the controller. My wife said she has recently seen Lincoln Logs and they are quite expensive.

Thanks for the post. Several years ago the National Meet for A.C. Gilbert was held in Huntsville, Alabama, I went there with the hope of getting a replica of the 1927 Erector set that made the Zeppelin. I found almost all the original pieces and a silk cover for the skin. Another train guy from Jackson, TN. was there and saw what I was doing so we wound up putting two sets of parts together and made phone calls to one another while putting them together with the gondolas, etc. We did add a long straight metal rod through the center area length wise to keep the ship from sagging. It worked great and I have mine flying over my pre-war Autumn, 1941 layout. The zeppelin is a great focal point and many have enjoyed viewing it over the past years.  I also have an almost mint 10 1/2 set in the red box for viewing. Great toy for patient people. It was a real bear to bring all the pieces together to make the nose cone.  Also caused some concern when we had to cut slits in the silk bag.  A lot of fun!

@RRDOC posted:

Blast from the past!   That is the only toy I wanted that Christmas.   The blades would spin as it flew through battle scenes in the TV ad.  Well, I got one that Christmas and suffered the first big disappointment of my life.  It did not actually fly . . .

Still, a great toy.

Bob

I had an olive green one, like you I was dissapointed that it didn't fly. My Lost In Space robot didn't talk either!



Jerry

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