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Specific Item Information: Glows in the dark.
Model Information: This body style was created for Atlas by Roco in the late 1960s. Atlas released a series of four cars using this tooling in 1969. Atlas never did a second production run - presumably because it did not sell that well. 26 years later, E-R models contracted with Roco to produce a second run of these cars with the same road names as the Atlas run but with three new road numbers. For some reason, E-R did not re-run the Department of Mines paint scheme.
Again, these cars disappeared from the marketplace (other than eBay) for another 20 years. In 2016, Micro-Trains mysteriously produced a new run of this tooling with a Weathered NASA paint scheme as part of their NASA car series. This was followed up by another Micro-Trains Special run in 2017 of two glow-in-the-dark cars commissioned by Fred Hoxsie of the NSE.
These cars are rather unique in both the prototype and the N Scale world. So my curiosity was piqued at how a long-deceased manufacturer (Roco) suddenly started producing cars from a presumed lost tooling. So I asked Fred Hoxsie, "Where did you get these? I thought Roco was long gone and that their older toolings from the 1960s were long-lost." Fred responded "I haven't a clue - ask Eric." So I trotted over to the Micro-Trains booth at the NSE event in Pittsburgh and asked Eric Smith himself, "Hey Eric, where did these cars come from?".
Eric explained that whomever had acquired the assets of Roco when they went belly-up was not not sure what to do with the various inventory acquired during the bankruptcy. Currently, Modelleisenbahn GmbH owns the Roco brand name, but bankruptcies can be complex, and the older Roco inventory might have ended up just about anywhere (perhaps Roco owed their lunch caterer some Euros?). Micro-Trains got in contact with whomever took ownership of this model and bought the inventory of unpainted bodies. It was one of Eric's minions who negotiated the deal and he was a little fuzzy on the details, but if I got it right, MTL acquired a pallet of these cars (but not the tooling) and will release them periodically as special and/or regular releases. I neglected to ask how many MTL acquired, so I cannot predict how many more we will see.
A few cars have been repurposed for use in the Space X engine test complex outside McGregor, Texas. Eight other cars were transferred to California and are on lease tro support the Space X Falcon 9 Launch Complex at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Road Name History:
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Brand/Importer Information: Micro-Trains is the brand name used by both Kadee Quality Products and Micro-Trains Line. For a history of the relationship between the brand and the two companies, please consult our Micro-Trains Collector's Guide.
On July 15, 2005 ROCO Modellspielwaren GmbH was declared bankrupt. From July 25 the company continues as Modelleisenbahn GmbH, but still uses the Roco brand and associated logo. On October 1, 2007, distribution of the 'Minitank' product series was assigned to the German model car manufacturer Herpa.
Since February 2008 Modelleisenbahn also owns Fleischmann, which like Roco had gone bankrupt. The two companies continue as separate brands under Modelleisenbahn GmbH, while benefiting from economies of scale through joined development projects, marketing and procurement.
Commissioner Information: The N Scale Enthusiast Society (previously known as The N Scale Collector until 2011) was established by Wick Brandon, as a sole proprietorship and was a stand alone company until Wick passed away in 2000. The company has been owned by Micro Trains Line since then.
Wick was the founder of TexNRails and he established NSE right after he sold the pioneering N Scale retailer to the Herz family, and the store moved to Florida. Wick and Lea moved their family from Texas to Bakersfield California, and the entire operation was run from his home in Bakersfield. George Johnsen, the current Chairman, came on board as Associate Editor starting with the third issue of the magazine, and the growth of the organization hasn’t stopped. Wick and George did the first convention in Medford in 1993, and added staff and advisors as the organization grew. Wick held the first auction for the NSE in 1995.
The NSE mission statement reads: “This organization is dedicated to the preservation of the history of N Scale Model Railroading, and the railroads they represent.”
- Special Run Cars
- Regular Auctions of "collectable" Cars
- Annual Conventions
- Bi-Monthly Magazine
Item created by: gdm on 2017-07-08 09:01:02. Last edited by Alain LM on 2018-06-17 08:06:51
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