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Whew!  Just got home from this year's Fest.

Badgerland deserves praise for putting on the first quazi-post Covid Fest, particularly since they couldn't put it on last year.  Attendance seemed pretty good, considering there were likely folks the took a pass for this year.

The 2022 Fest is up in the air.  The State Line S Gauges has unfortunately had to make a sudden and painful decision to withdraw from the Fest cycle.  There were rumors of something possibly happening for 2022, but there there is nothing official or otherwise that can be confirmed or denied.  CASG will be hosting the 2023 Fall S Fest.

All in all, I think it was a pretty good Fest, there was a good mix of Gilbert Flyer, Lionel/Flyer, AM, SHS/MTH, S Scale America and a surprising amount of brass.  And not to mention the individual dealers.  There was a lack of "big" dealers, save for Des Plaines Hobbies.

The last Fest I was able to attend was in 2018 and these last two days proved a stark reminder of faces I used to see at the Fests that are no longer with us or can no longer attend.

Myself, I got pretty much what I came for: Track.  As I'm nearing building the next Great Plywood Glacier I'm in need of track.  I picked up a semi-circle of SHS R27 and a box of 15" straights, along with a semi-circle of Lionel R27 S FasTrack.  I've got a line on possibly another full circle of SHS R27, I'll have to wait and see how that turns out.

I've also picked up some other booty:  A pair of AM Southern Pacific "Black Widow" FP7's and an Omnicon brass Erie 4-6-0.  Both are things seldom seen nowadays.  Pictures later...  I've got to unpack them, I'm kinda pooped from driving and I'll be busy on Sunday...

What I call the unique model of this year's Fest: A trio of Baldwin RF-16 Sharks in Milwaukee Road.  The models are American Hi-Rail shells on AM AF-2 drives.  Of course the Milwaukee never owned Sharks, but the paint job was superb and they look like they could have existed.

FSF 110521 [1)

Meanwhile, here are some pictures of some of the contest models:

A Flyer CGW Transfer Caboose

FSF 110521 [3)

A Flyer Flat car converted to an auto rack using the Lionel O27 superstructure:

FSF 110521 [4)

A Scalified and modified for B&O Flyer caboose:

FSF 110521 [6)

Finally, a model of the CB&Q/BN/Metra Stone Avenue station in La Grange, IL.

FSF 110621 [1)

That's all for now...



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@richabr posted:


Nice pics, it is nice to go back to an actual show. Always wanted a set of the Sharks with the AM drive. I'll bet they were pricey.


$600 for the trio, which isn't bad considering an A-B set of FA's is $429 these days from AM.  I think the AHR shells were around 15-20 bucks each back in the day.  I don't recall if all units were powered or just the 2 A's.


Scale or hi rail, I would have taken the plunge. They don't pop up too often.


Alrighty then...

Finally unpacked the "rare birds" this morning for pictures.

First up, the AM SP FP7's.  They need some TLC, but they don't pop up that often and at less than $100 each, plus the owner added windshield wipers and MU hoses, I think I can spring for a couple of parts from AM.

FSF 110821 [1)

Interesting side note: The SP never had any F-units in Daylight, only in "black Widow" and the later "bloody nose" scheme.  One subsidiary Cotton Belt had their one and only FP7 in Daylight.

The other is the Omnicon Erie 4-6-0.  The selling price was pretty much the same as it was way back in 1986.  As the new layout will be smaller that the old one, it should fit right in.  I just haven't decided if I'm going to make it a Kansas Grain Belt loco of some other.

FSF 110821 [5)

As I was on the prowl at the Fest for temporary track to tide me over until Fox Valley Models gets their stock replenished, I picked up a half circle each of SHS/MTH and Lionel R27.  Ah-ha!  Not all R27's are created equal...  The Lionel FasTrack is slightly larger in diameter that the S-Trax.

R27 110821 [1)R27 110821 [2)

I can still work with it, but it's an interesting tidbit I've never heard mention of before.



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Rusty, isn't that because SHS/MTH did not make 27"R track? I have a lot of SHS track in its OB. They made curves in three radii, 20", 25" and 30". Or, depending on the date of manufacture the boxes could be labeled as 19", 24" and 29". I have boxes of SHS curves with all six of these labels. Since the SHS curve nests inside of the 27"R FasTrack that is the 25"R SHS curve.

@AmFlyer posted:

Rusty, isn't that because SHS/MTH did not make 27"R track? I have a lot of SHS track in its OB. They made curves in three radii, 20", 25" and 30". Or, depending on the date of manufacture the boxes could be labeled as 19", 24" and 29". I have boxes of SHS curves with all six of these labels. Since the SHS curve nests inside of the 27"R FasTrack that is the 25"R SHS curve.

Tom, you're correct.  My goof, still working off the "high" of the S Fest...

The SHS curves I bought last Friday were unboxed and I didn't have anything to compare them to at the time.  Anything other than R20 curves are hard to find right now anyway and I can still use these.  I have a line on some reportedly SHS R29/30 curves from another dealer who thinks he has some buried away in his storeroom.  I'll find out next week.

S Scale: Always and adventure!


@AmFlyer posted:

I see Doug has it in stock. I find that finding things in his inventory is a lot harder with the new site.

I'll have to contact Doug if my connection falls through.  Doesn't matter if it's SHS or MTH.  The finish may be a little different, but mechanically they're identical.

However, I could've sworn that under his old website listing the R29/30 was out of stock.


Last edited by Rusty Traque
@AmFlyer posted:

The new Port Lines  website lists the 29"R as in stock. I have some MTH sectional track as well, it is indistinguishable from the SHS sectional track.

I'll second that, but if you really look there is a slight difference (IIRC, MTH has fewer black specks), though at a glance, no difference.  Now the Lionel stuff looks bad in a side by each comparison.  Also, as I'm sure you know, there is a significant sound difference.  On the plus side for FasTrack, there is a wide assortment of pieces.  I've had to make all my special pieces using SHS/MTH... 1/2 curves, different length straights.

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

NP F7transfer caboosenew combineore carRusty,

It was nice to meet you at the fest, finally put a face under that cap.

I was able to pick up a few things, one being a kitbashed ore car made from a Flyer hopper, a combine to add to the Pioneer Limited consist, and scratch built Milwaukee Road transfer caboose. I was also able to purchase a American Models F7 for a friend for possible repaint.

This year's banquet was my first at a Fest, I thought the meal was very good but, the people doing the service were SUPURB.

My layout was one of five open for the layout tour, and we had a decent number of visitors estimate close to thirty and it was a pleasure having them visit.



Images (4)
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Last edited by Rayin"S"

As Tom states the big advantage to FasTrack is whatever odd size piece is needed for a track plan  is available. That is not true for SHS/MTH. Regarding the appearance of the plastic roadbed and variations in the number of “black specs” I offer the picture below. The uncoupler on the right looks different than the converted 5” straight on the left. The iPhone camera exaggerates the difference. The thing is both of these pieces are SHS. There was apparently painting variations between production runs. MTH may mostly look like the uncoupler on the right but I do not have a picture handy of an MTH piece adjacent to an SHS piece.



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@AmFlyer posted:

As Tom states the big advantage to FasTrack is whatever odd size piece is needed for a track plan  is available. That is not true for SHS/MTH.

While the Lionel track does have the advantage for odd sized pieces, the SHS/MTH track isn't that hard to modify for custom lengths.  Even I managed to do it...

The old SHS catalog online at Wayback Machine has the procedure.  You have to scroll down to Tips and Tricks on the left side for the link for "Making Custom Lengths of Track."


@Strummer posted:

At least you said "possible" repaint. 🙂  Actually, I prefer the earlier (?) black and yellow paint scheme, but the green is nice too...

Mark in Oregon

There was also an pre-Raymond Loewy two-tone green "butter knife" passenger scheme.

NP's only two FP7's were delivered in the "butter knife" scheme and later repainted in the Loewy scheme that AM produced.  While both made it to the BN, only one made it into the BN green, the other was destroyed in a wreck still in the Loewy colors.


I thought I'd bend this thread a little bit.  After the Fest, I headed out with a friend to Dyersville, Iowa to the Farm Toy Show.  The fall show is the York equivalent for farm toy enthusiasts.  It covered the auditorium of the Farm Toy Museum, many classrooms, a gymnasium and in the hallways of the high school across the street and in many tents outside.

It's also a cornucopia of 1:64 vehicles, trucks and farm equipment.  You can find stuff you don't see in the Die Cast Direct catalogs.

Anyhow, I checked off two items from my "Truck-it List."  These models are from 1st Gear.

The Campbell is a refrigerated trailer, so the company added a scarf, earmuffs and booties to their mascot graphic.  The 2007 St. Louis Fest also had a regular Campbell's trailer on an MKT flat for a Fest car.

TFTS 110821 [1)

Back in 1962, my uncle took me and my brother to Seattle for the World's Fair.  The trip took a couple of weeks as we made other stops and took in the scenic wonders along the way, ending at Riverview Park in Chicago before finally going home.  I saw quite a few Navajo trucks (and even the occasional Campbell's) as we traveled the western highways and byways, so this is a nice reminder of that trip.

TFTS 110821 [2)

I have a couple others on my list, but I don't know if some of them have been even made.



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Last edited by Rusty Traque

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