Vintage Kit(s)

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by MasonJar, Nov 6, 2006.

  1. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    This is a Suydam #511 - 1886 Freight Shed. I a friend of mine has some HO kits, but works in On30 and G scale. He often buys HO kits simply for the structure plans. In this case, I believe he was the original owner - he said since he hadn't built it in the last 40 years, he didn't think he'd get around to it - and would I like it? He also gave me a Black Bart Mine kit, and the Pacific Foundry. I already have the Sawmill, and the Roundhouse kit. Seems I have inadvertently become a collector... :rolleyes: ;) :D

    Anyway, a few pics of the vintage kit...

    Multi-purpose box. The contents are indicated by which picture is circled:

    I am not kidding about the date - Christmas 1966 sticker still attached. It will be forty years in a few months...!

    What you get (note the still sealed wax paper bags - some sealed with tape, and others with now rusty staples. The sandpaper is not for assembly - it's the roofing material! And note the die-cut cardboard walls. The roof is pretty warped, buy can be either straightened, or replaced.

    ... and how it goes together

    More on how it goes together, with options for door and platform placement:

    The Roundhouse, Mine, and Foundry kits are all metal, requiing assembly by soldering (although you might be able to use a gel CA these days). Suydam also includes a lengthy treatise on soldering so if you are a newbie, you could still put their kits together.

  2. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    That's really interesting stuff!
  3. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    I've got a few of them I picked up on ebay since they semed like older structures and fit my era better than most of the other stuff on the market. Seem like pretty good kits and for the most part are a lot cheaper than Campbells.
  4. Alan Bickley

    Alan Bickley Member

    All this makes me wonder if old, unmade kits like these are worth keeping as they are, or just built anyway? I found an old Faller kit dating from what I would presume would be the 1970's and just built it. I wonder now if the kit had become rare and would be a collector's item as it was still in it's original packaging?
  5. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    I think old kits (or anything else old has some collector value) but that only means you get to store them for somebody else to talk about after you're gone. The hope of making any money from them is not necessarily correct and who knows, your family might just dump the whole mess in the garbage. Build them and enjoy them or donate them to the NMRA museum.
  6. hobokid

    hobokid thebull

    thats the nicst kit ive ever seen.look at all the rust from the staples on the bag. now thats gotta be still new to the whole mrr thing, but are kits like this still available in us and how much would they go for?
  7. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    I've seen those Suydam kits go for $10-$50 depending on the kit. $10-25 for the cardstock, 25-50 for the wood kits and 35 and upward for the metal kits.
  8. ed acosta

    ed acosta Member

    Suydam Building Kits

    Many years ago I worked down the road from the Suydam company in Duarte California and would stop in, now and then, to visit Ed Suydam. I recall the dozen or so ladies that were filling the kit boxes with all sorts of parts in what was not much more than a garage operation. Suydam's passion (and mine) were the old Pacific Electric trolleys that ran in Southern California and Ed produced a wealth of HO trolley models of the various prototypes during between 1960 and 1980. These brass models are collector items today.

    I have built many of the Suydam structures. All were fun to build and the metal buildings - which required a bit of soldering technique - were the biggest challenge for me. I still have the old Suydam catalogs featuring the entire series of buildings.

    -Ed Acosta
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Ed - that's a great story - thanks for sharing.

    Re: Collect vs Build...

    I think that I will build these kits, as that was the original intent anyway. I will take much care in doing so, and will also preserve the box and instructions. I think that putting them on a diorama might be in order though, as I am not sure that I have the right plans/theme to include them on my modules/layout.

  10. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Due to room shortage I stopped model railroading in the mid-1970s and went into a 27-year hiatus. At this time I had bought a lot of structure kits for a planned layout - which was never built! :(

    Whe I restarted a few years ago I laid out my track plans which also included all the (mostly unbuilt) kits I had stowed away for a quarter century. Among them are several kits of manufacturers who have disappeared from the market like Alexander (with their famous Haunted House - which seems to be re-released soon :)) Model Massterpieces, Muir Models or Timberline. I also had bought some of the first Fine Scale Miniature kits (by George Sellios). Most of them are collectors items today, and perhaps I could gain quite a heap of bucks for selling them to collectors...


    First, you have to find someone who really wants to buy that stuff. Perhaps sell it through eBay? You just could be lucky, but (knowing my luck with doing business) that might backfire badly. And then, what to do with that money?

    After all, I want to build a layout - so I had to buy new kits. And here the fun begins - let's look at some Campbell kits (which are very good - but still absolutely the same kits like those back in the '70s!) Let's compare some prices:
    The famous Skull Valley Station was $16.95 in 1975, today it's $80.79 (price0 from the newest Walthers catalog). The (Chama) Coaling Station and 'Grandma's House' also were around $17, today they are $78.49 and even $91.08, respectively! The rectangular 'Branchline Water Tank' went up from $9 in 1975 to $45.31 today. So all prices went up by a factor 4-5 in those 30 years! WOW! :eek: (BTW: The whopper is the 'Cattle loading pens' kit: $2.25 vs. $20.70 today - almost ten times as high as before... :curse:)

    So for me it's the same decision like Andrew's: Yes, I am happy tp own these kits, and I'll build them for my layout. And - knowing their current value, of course I'm trying to do my best! :D:D:D

  11. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Think about how much your salary (or equivalent) salary would have increased over the years as well. You may find that in some cases the kits are now (relatively) cheaper...

    A quick look at eBay turns up that all kits available (as of today) are priced under $30, with some as low as only a few dollars. So I'd have to sell all the kits I have to get ~$20 or $30 towards something else.

    So I am sticking to my plan to build them (carefully... ;)).

  12. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    I'll echo RailRon's statements. I have kind of a tendency to pick up bargains when I see them, and I currently have two boxes of unbuilt structure and rolling-stock kits. However, most of these were purchased at a fraction of retail, or at least below retail, and they were all kits that I liked for one reason or another--either I had a project in mind for them, or I really liked the look of the kit, or it was too cheap to pass up (if I see kits for a buck, I'll buy them!) In some cases I might re-sell them (I occasionally have a table at swap meets) but I might end up building something in ten years or so. As RailRon points out, the prices of kits (as everything else) just seems to go up, so instead of paying, say, $30 for that kit in ten years I'll pick it up now for $5 (when the retail cost as $12) and build it later. Which is kind of spurious logic, because I have to have a place to store the kit between now and then, but it suits me. It also suits my impulsive nature: if struck by the time and urge to build a kit, I like being able to grab something off my shelf and build it.

    I have built a Suydam metalworking shop, the metal sort, although I used Walthers Goo to put it together instead of soldering. I have also used components from Suydam kits to build entirely different buildings: a kit I purchased for a fire-sale price turned out to have a random assortment of parts inside, not all of which were related to the parts that were supposed to be in the kit. However, the price I paid was still far less than the purchase of buying the materials to scratchbuild, so I used 'em to build a couple of buildings with parts from my parts bins.

    That, really, is one of the strengths of craftsman kits: they are very easily modified to suit the builder.

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