Lone Star King Post Truss Bridge
Manufacturer: Lone Star Bridge & Abutment, 1218 A-8 Colorado Lane, Arlington, TX 76015. Price: Fully assembled, ready-to-install, wood and metal number 6 king post truss bridge $80.00 (price includes shipping and handling within continental United States).
UNLIKE HIS LAST model (of the D&RGW's Hermosa Creek Howe Truss), Lone Star Bridge & Abutment's owner, Mark Smith, has chosen a freelance design for the new king post truss bridge. His idea was to produce a relatively inexpensive, typical small narrow gauge bridge following a standard gauge B&O prototype and using scale size components; after all, many layouts only have room for small models. As usual, Mark has succeeded admirably.
The king post truss lives up to Lone Star's ongoing level of perfection: The model's primary material is very high grade mahogany with a rich, satin, impregnated, weather resistant finish. The white metal and brass hardware has a satin black paint finish. The sole exception is Lone Star's trademark, the polished brass star. The excellent nut/bolt/washer castings are crisp. The only other metal parts, the truss rods and triangular reinforcements at the top of the "A", are of equal quality. Every aspect of the workmanship is topnotch: Perfect countersinking where appropriate, virtually seamless wood-to-wood joints, every corner square and clean, each piece mating precisely with every other, the end of every timber exhibiting no splintering, rough grain, or fuzz. Everything is perfectly smooth and the finish of the wood surfaces would be as appropriate to top quality furniture as to a museum quality model.
Lone Star even putties every nail or pin hole flush with the wood surface so it is impossible to detect a filling by touch and difficult to find it with the eye. The glue joints are invisible and the bridge is strong and very weather resistant.
As we have pointed out numerous times, even the custom foam packaging to protect the model during shipping is a work of art.
Also, as we have mentioned previously, the perfection of Lone Star's work is obnoxious; it leaves no room for criticism. Any review of a Lone Star Bridge sounds as though Mark paid us off or as though we have lost our touch for being picky. But neither is the case. In fact, we'll even have to return our review sample by September 10. It's just that Lone Star does an amazingly excellent job.
The bridge is exactly 12 inches long, 7 1/2 inches across at the widest point, and 5 3/8 inches tall at the apex of the "A". An LGB track section will drop right into place on the deck because of its widely spaced ties but, if you prefer, Mark can build up the deck with accurate 1:24 scale spacing.
Time and again we have pointed out Lone Star's prices seem fair considering the time it would take to build such a bridge to reasonable quality standards, let alone to Mark's disgustingly high standards. Few of us could match Mark's precision no matter how long we worked. In this case, the bridge seems almost a steal.
So, on the bottom line, if you like the bridge and have the cash, buy it. The little gem is utterly splendid.-RR