As I Iook back to my youth, model trains were always a part of my “playtime.” Of course, as I got older and wiser, the term “playtime” became “hobby.” In my teens, I built plastic scale models of tanks and aircraft along with my model railroading passion. My adult hobby time has shifted back to model trains. It wasn’t until I started in On30 that my desire to build 1:48 scale plastic kits began to blossom once again.
Although model trains and plastic model kit building each have their own market share of the hobby industry, I think combining these two can be extremely rewarding. Occasionally I need a break or diversion from concentrated building my On30 Mosquito Creek Lumber Company swamp logging railroad. I have found stepping away from the layout and sitting at the workbench to build a traditionally non-railroad related kit is refreshing. What makes the time, cost, and effort worthwhile is I can use these finished 1:48th scale kits on my layout.
It’s easier to fit these World War II prototype kits into my layout since the time frame of the Mosquito Creek Lumber Co. is set in the Post War early 1950s. Military cast off tanks, trucks, Jeeps, vessels, buildings, clothing, and equipment were sold as military surplus and were used by businesses and civilians. Back in the late 1950s, my dad’s redwood shakes and shingle operation on the coast of California had a couple former military rigs on his equipment roster. Plus, who of us older folks remember going to the Army-Navy surplus store to buy cool stuff? As a kid, I’d bug my parents to take me to the surplus store to buy items for playing Army. As a teenager, I hit the surplus store to buy Jerry cans for gas, smelly olive-green canvas tents, sleeping cots and portable cook stoves for camping.
Granted, the scope of 1:48 scale hobby kits are limited with the most military kit offerings in 1:35th scale. But, with scrutiny and forethought, these military kits can be used on an On30 layout. Tamiya is one company that produces a variety of 1:48th scale kits and figures. A reliable source of these kits are local hobby shops, and online retailers such as Micro-Mark, Hobbylink, Mega Hobby, eBay or Amazon….