1:24 SCALE COMBINE
Manufacturer: Delton Locomotive Works/Caledonia Express, 9819 Cherry Valley Road, P.O. Box 308, Caledonia, MI 49316. Price: 3211BB D&RGW Combine $85.00 suggested list.
WHO SAYS AMERICAN manufacturing is second-rate? If you have any doubts, take a look at Delton/Caledonia's short passenger cars. (Except for its lack of baggage doors, the coach is identical to the combine.) You'll find them as high a quality item as any mass-produced model in our hobby.
The actual inspiration for the model was a standard gauge Sierra Railroad combine. Delton/Caledonia makes no attempt actually to copy it. Instead, the model simply conveys the impression of the prototype, and does that very effectively.
The 1:24 scale car measures just under 12 3/4 actual inches long over the end buffers, 3 7/8 inches wide, and stands about 5 1/2 inches from the top of the rails (roughly 25 1/2 by 7 3/4 by 11 scale feet). Those dimensions make the model too small for 1:22.5 scale. It would be a little narrow for 1:29. It is slightly too tall for 1:32 scale, and, of course, the hardware would be oversize.
The main construction material is very sturdy plastic. The die work is very good, with crisp detailing and proportions. The clear styrene in the windows looks very much like glass. The clerestory "glass" has a green tint. The side doors open and the interior of the passenger compartment contains seats and a pot-belly stove. The only metal parts are the truss rods, the nickel plated tires on the wheels, and the screws holding together the various subassemblies. As the metal tires suggest, the car has interior lighting and the wheels provide the electrical pickup from the tracks. Delton knuckle couplers come standard, but hook/loop couplers are an option. The yellow, black, and silver finish on our sample was superb and the lettering beautiful.
It is a short car and it will handle LGB's tightest curves and turnouts with ease. What's more, it looks at home on them. That makes the coach and combine very good choices for smaller layouts or for branch lines with sharp curves and small motive power.
The coach, combine, and observation car (a coach with an illuminated drumhead on the end platform) also come lettered for the Pennsylvania Railroad in a brown/black paint scheme and for the Sierra Railroad in a green/black scheme.
Our samples of Delton's short passenger cars are of outstanding quality. Let our critics in Japan put that in their pipes and smoke it!--RR