S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Hobby Page keywords = Berliner hobby hobbies rail road schnabel model tanks Strombecker Erector Meccano Dinky Lego Comet Authenticast Marklin

Updated:   31 Dec 2019; 15:35  ET
[Page converted 28 Jul 2011

    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/hobby.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/hobby.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's


Hobby Page

This is primarily an unindexed REFERRAL PAGE

  but with HOBBIES - Miscellany:
    AUTHENTICAST/Comet Metal Products, as well.
    Also, George Luhrs microscopic engines,
      and Märklin vs. Mærklin vs. Maerklin vs. Marklin.
  added (31 Dec 2019)

See also HOBBY Page 2

  with Fractions and Decimal Equivalents,
    Tap Drill Sizes, and

Go to HOBBIES and SPECIAL INTERESTS on my Home Page 2 to see many of my other interests, such as these with their own pages

Comet Metal Products Authenticast Models Page.

Strombeck-Becker StromBecKer Model Kits Page.

Erector sets.

Meccano and Dinky Toys models.

Military Miniatures.


the RAILROADS Continuation Page (2).
and the RAILROADS Page 3.
  ALCo Love Song (moved 16 Dec 99 to it's own separate page),
  ALCO-GE-IR Boxcabs,
    ALCO-GE-IR Survivor Boxcabs continuation page, with roster, and
    ALCO-GE-IR Survivor Boxcabs continuation page, with notes,
    ALCO-GE-IR CNJ #1000 Survivor Boxcab (the first production unit sold),
    ALCO-GE-IR Boxcabs Continuation Page, including LIRR #401,
the world's first production diesel road switcher, and
    Ingersoll-Rand Boxcabs, with a 1929 I-R boxcab brochure,
and I-R and GE Instruction Sheets for a 1929 600HP, 100-ton unit.
    Other Boxcabs, with a boxcabs bibliography.
    Odd Boxcabs, with electric, air, steam, and gondola boxcabs!
    Model Boxcabs.
  Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal RR (BEDT).
  EMD - Electro-Motive Division of GM - models, etc.,
including the fabled BW DDP45 and other EMD engines
EMD may never have dreamed of!
  Pennsylvania Railroad Page, et seq.
    Pennsylvania's Horseshoe Curve and stories,
including that of the HO Berlinerwerke.
    Horseshoe Curve Continuation Page 1 with
Dimensions of the Horseshoe Curve (proto. and HO) -
    a mile-by-mile and even foot-by-foot guide to the Curve.
    Horseshoe Curve Continuation Page 2 and more stories.
    Horseshoe Curve Continuation Page 3:
Dimensions of the Horseshoe Curve in N (1:160) and Z (1:220) Scales
    Horseshoe Curve Continuation Page 4, with satellite photo and description.
    PRR Track Charts:
Allegheny Div. - New Florence/Johnstown (MP 291) to
    Duncannon (near Harrisburg, MP 113) - 2 pages.
  HOW TO BOOT A STEAM LOCOMOTIVE or How to hostle without really tiring -
(Firing up a cold oil burner).
  Schnable and other Giant RR Cars.
  Schnable Cars Continuation Page.
  The Whyte System of Classification (4-4-0, 4-6-2, B-B, etc.).


with Blissville/Laurel Hill (and Maspeth and Fresh Pond).
  LIRR Continuation Page 2.
  LIRR Continuation Page 3:
Victorian Stations Still Standing on the LIRR.
    (with dimensions).
  LIRR Continuation Page 4.
  LIRR Continuation Page 5:
  LIRR Continuation Page 6, with
Nassau County Police 2nd Pct. Booth D/Locust (Interlocking) Tower.
  other LONG ISLAND railroads and related information.


    Railroads You can Model,

Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal RR (BEDT) (now on its own page).
Marion River Carry Railroad* (now on its own page).
      Vest Pocket Railroads You Can Model:
Degnon Terminal Railroad, plus
    Murrer's Sidings,
    Kearney Sidings, and
    Blissville/Laurel Hill (and Maspeth and Fresh Pond).
      Vest Pocket Railroads You Can Model - continued
Atlas Terminal RR

  Railroad Grades
  Model Railroad Photography
  Model Railroading Miscellany.
  Z-Scale (1:220) and the Berlinerwerke-Z Saga

which latter has had to be continued onto six more pages!
  including a Tour of the Berlinerwerke-Z.
  Z-Scale Page 3 with
  Half-Z Scale - 1:440 Tiny Trains and even 1:900 Tiniest Trains!

  Berlinerwerke Apocrypha (tall tales) and
  Berlinerwerke Apocrypha Page 2 (more tall tales).
  Berlinerwerke Guest Apocrypha (taller tales?):

CSXT AC100CBW and NSC CB100W-10 10,000 horsepower locos!

  Long Island Motor Parkway, et seq.

  Automotive page - a cover and miscellaneous automotive apocrypha page.
  Chrysler and Chrysler Continuation Pages 1, 2, and 3

(with the Walter P. Chrysler story).
  Mercedes page.
  SS and Jaguar Cars and SS and Jaguar Cars Continuation pages.
  Civil War era Dudgeon Steam Automobile - still operable!
  Road/Highway Schnabels (giant road loads/heavy haulers).
  Long Island Motor Parkway.


  History of Technology and Science and Technology pages.   added (28 Jul 2011)

  ORDNANCE page, et seq.

  AVIATION page, et seq., and see

StromBecKeR (Strombeck-Becker).
Dinky Meccano Aircraft Models.
Comet "Authenticast" 1:432 Aircraft Models.

    BIG NEWS! - the full set of original Comet brass dies are for sale!



  Adirondack Mountains
.   Berliner Families - formerly including Emile and Henry Berliner [carbon microphone, disk

phonograph (Gramophone, Victrola, Nipper/His Master's Voice, EMI), helicopter,
autogyro, Berliner-Joyce, EEMCO, ERCO, Ercoupe/Aircoupe], but now on a separate page:
    Emile Berliner and Family,
    Hannover Berliners (Emile's family), and
    Berliners of Note.
  Culture (so-called).
  Pooh Page - rescue the real Pooh and friends from Durance Vile!


  see Adirondack Mountains (under "Culture", above).
  ORCAS and other DOLPHINS and WHALES page.


and a Semi-Alphabetical Index of SBIII's Site Pages.

NOTE:  This page may not be up to date; see the master index and the various indices on each major interest page.

HOBBIES - Miscellany

I grew up with a grandfather who was a fabulous carver of miniature figures; here's a little man, ¾" tall, ca. 1950, made from cigar box wood (cedar), typical of his nearly-daily output:

SB,Sr's Little Man
(Photo and © 1999 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

He and my father fully supported my early attempts to emulate them and Dad bought me the HUGE X-acto No. 89 Toolmaster Cabinet ca. 1945; I still have it and one day what should turn up in old files but the original illustration of how it all went together:


Not only do I still have the cabinet but I still have 95% of the original tools and use most of them!

See also X-acto on the next hobby page.

One of my earliest efforts to follow in Grandpa's footsteps has survived nearly 60 years:

(Photo by SB,III - Tusks by Toothpick; © 1999 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

One of my earliest surviving efforts, after the impossible StromBecKer models now described on their own page, was the WWI SE-5 model which I made as a pre-teen and have now pictured, q.v..  I then turned to more mechanical marvels, such as my extended Erector set; Dad bought me an extra gear-motor set and I added lots of other Erector parts and tracks from a Marx wind-up tank and such and made a large half-track which ran on a long extension cord, shifted through the gears, and steered.

I found my 60-year-old StromBecKer Beech Bonanza!

Much more recently, ca. 1992, I built a tracked vehicle with cross-drive transmission, entirely out of LEGO* parts, but Lego was not interested in seeing it; I finally got around to photographing it:

(* - requires acceptance of cookies to enter)


The underside view has the bottom plates removed to show the motor and gearbox arrangement and the spacers between them on the two rear axles.

Like a real dozer or tank, this gizmo runs forward or backward and can turn, even spin in its own length.  Those #5244 Bulldozer Chainlinks, while wonderful, should have a matte outer surface or rubber grousers for traction; they slip and slide instead of gripping and working realistically.  Similarly, the #5251 Shock Absorbers are far too stiff; they should be lightly sprung like those in the #6672 Safari Off Road Vehicle.  I had intended to build the track suspension with sprung bogie wheels and a tensioning idler on each side but the shock absorbers wouldn't serve.

Then I tried using every single piece that came in a Klutz LEGO Crazy Action Contraptions, a LEGO Inventions Book by Dan Rathjen and the editors of Klutz, my daughter and grandkids gave me for Christmas 1999:

Klutz Lego Thing (20 Sep 00 LEGO photos by and © 2000 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

The "gizzies" on each side run back and forth and flail up and down wildly as it chooches across a surface, like the main rods on a steam locomotive.  The only things missing from the assemblage are some rubber band drive belts which I tried to use as tires on the rear{?} wheels but they keep popping off.

The "book" has no identification on it other than the number "4 1 5 8 5" and it is ISBN 1-57054-157-4.

Incidentally, there is a great site about (NOT by) LEGO at BRICKSHELF.  A fantastic LEGO model of the world's largest railroad car is there and now on my Railroad Schnabel Car continuation page 1.

I modified a Meccano Dinky British 6-wheel Command Car by enlarging the axle holes into vertical slots, slotting the base plate to allow vertical axle travel, and putting a rubber band above the axles for springing:

Command Car - left side

This gave it independent wheel travel (paper clip climbing ability, for example, if you will):

Command Car - sprung

Here's how it works:

Command Car - underside

Then, with a little guidance from my father, I modified a Meccano Dinky tipper (dump truck); it may be a Bedford or a Scammel (anyone know?), using scraps of wire, hand-wound springs, and brass and aluminum tubing:

Tipper - left side

Here it is as modified, with the bed up:

Tipper - bed up

Note the grooving of the underside of the bed and chassis to accomodate the lift cylinder:

Tipper - bed up - 3/4

and a detail of the latching mechanism, showing the vertical groove in the chassis to hold the trip wire and the spring loading on the far side to keep it latched.

Tipper - bed up - detail

Now, I'd completely forgotten a modification I made of a ca.-1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 sedan (saloon), probably done ca. 1955 or so.  To my absolute amazement, when I found it and turned it over to examine the rotted rubber band suspension, it had been made by Märklin, the famed model railroad manufacturer of whom I write quite a bit under Z-scale model railroading!  It measures 4¾" (12.065cm) long, overall, making it O-scale (Märklin made O-scale trains before WWII).  I was curious if, like on most such models, the bottom plate was riveted in place or screwed together as it is now and as it is on so many Märklin items*.  Regardless, I did modify it by cutting the bottom plate to hold a rubber band front to rear, adding a keeper plate (made from a spring-steel corset stay) to prevent the axles from riding up too far in the body, and putting a piece of paper between the keeper and the rubber band.  Here it is as found, showing the rotted remains of the 1950s rubber band, opened up, and reassembled with a new band (although sitting a wee bit too low in back - oh, well; back to the drawing board):

Märklin M-B 300 as found

Märklin M-B 300 opened

Märklin M-B 300 as fixed

I realize what I did wrong; the rubber band should cross over directly behind the rear wheels and I'd put it through the two grooves I'd originally cut at the back of the bottom plate.  Easy to forget after 45 years; easy fix.

[ * - the Märklin factory advises that it was held in place by screws (probably the very screws shown).]

For other early, small, surviving items, see my Naval and Maritime page.

Speaking of "early, small, surviving items" (immediately above), ca. 01 Feb 2008, I found my long-lost hobby junk box (a 3¼" x 6¼" x 11/8" White Rose Orange Pekoe Tea Balls tin) which, as any dedicated hobbyist knows, is a treasure trove!  In my case, it has always rankled me that it vanished (perhaps in a 1980 move), more for nostalgic reasons than actual loss.  Well, now that I have it back, I had a field day picking the gems from the dross.  Nostalgia, indeed; from 1940 on!  Also, a major exercise in recall!  Here is an edited microphoto (note the inch scale) of highlights selected from some 500-1,000 tiny bits of "stuff" in the little tin:

(03 Feb 08 photo by and © 2008 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[Click on thumbnailed picture for larger image]

In the upper left are a propellor from the Ideal {?} sub chaser kit and a line tensioner (or whatever it's called) from a Marine Models (of Halesite, LI) Cutty Sark {?} kit.  In the lower left are the original propellor from the SE-5a kit (also noted above) and the main landing gear struts from the StromBecker Beech Bonanza and two failed attempts at creating a nose gear strut.  In the upper center are a pre-WWII HO bottom step and grab iron and an actuating pin for a Mantua HO loop-and-hook coupler (which I need - who has a second one for me, please?); note that the actuating pin has a very fine thread at the lower end (it's shown upside-down).  Next, in the upper right are a tiny hinge and a working tub faucet home-made by my father for my sister's doomed doll house (noted elsewhere), although it appears the faucet was abandoned when the spout was soldered in upside-down.  Finally, in the lower right are two abortive attempts to make the oleo strut for the working version of the Meccanno Dinky tipper (also shown above).  Ah, yes; treasures, indeed!   rev (28 Jul 2011)

I used to struggle with the rock-hard wood of WWII-era StromBecKer kits from Strombeck-Becker, see my StromBecKer page about these kits.

Who can identify the maker and help us find headlight bulbs (roughly 3/8" dia.) for this tin 1934 Chrysler-cum-DeSoto Airflow?

TinAirflowCoupé1 headlampbulb
(Left image cropped and enhanced by SB,III on 03 Aug 2005 from owner's
photo and right 03 Aug 05 sketch by SB,III - all rights reserved)

More on this car at Chrysler Models.

You might like to look at José Lopez, Jr.'s The Scale Card, for a most extensive discussion of scales.  I have a write-up and photo of his Z-scale Scale Card and Scale Rule on my Z-Scale page 2.

Hobbyists might also enjoy Kurumi's SignMaker, which allows one with a good computer, an image processor, and a color printer (or access to one at Kinko's or the like) to create and print "Big Green" Interstate, federal, or state highway signs!

AUTHENTICAST / Comet Metal Products

I also have quite a collection of "Authenticast" tanks and military vehicles from the old Comet Metal Products; they are described in a section removed from this page and moved to Comet/Authenticast Page.

OhmygoshHenk Timmerman's site (noted on Ordnance page 3), is enormous!  Absolutely endless pages of AFV models of every country and description and with great links to even more!

George Luhrs - microscopic engines - 2- and 4-cycle, make-and-break and throttle-governed, in-line and radial; if you enjoy miniature mechanisms, THESE YA GOTTA SEE!.  George used to be a vendor of precision maching services to me and I got to know him better over the 8'-diameter display table he brings to shows  He fired up his little steam traction engine, drawing a trailer with alcohol (fuel) and water tanks, which he left running all through the show.  Each time I saw him, he brought smaller and smaller I.C. engines!

I regret to note that George Luhrs, born 01 Mar 1941, passed away on 02 Feb 2014*.   rev (11 Jun 2016)

George was kind enough to allow me to show you a few of his gems; here are George, himself, and the famous table, with the tractor up front, and the tractor and trailer on their own:

G. Luhrs table G. Luhrs tractor
(photos courtesy of G. Luhrs, by permission - all rights reserved)

Next, we have George's microscopic, throttled, single-cylinder 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines
(note the penny for comparson):
G. Luhrs 1 cyl 2 cyc G. Luhrs 1 cyl 4 cyc

This is one of his most complex projects (to date - 2011); a 4-cylinder in-line, 4-stroke, throttle-governed,
gasoline engine with all its parts (and penny) laid out and the right rear:
G. Luhrs 4 cyl parts G. Luhrs 4 cyl left rear

Right side with nearly-invisible push rods and left side with display stand:
G. Luhrs 4 cyl right G. Luhrs 4 cyl left

By far, the most complex, yet; the 5-cylinder radial engine
with all its many parts (and that penny), and the right side:
G. Luhrs 5 cyl rad parts G. Luhrs 5 cyl rad right front

A detail shot, looking down on the right front, and George's hand,
holding the stand for size comparison:
G. Luhrs 5 cyl rt front detail G. Luhrs 5 cyl with hand
(photos courtesy of G. Luhrs, by permission - all rights reserved)

* - I learned of George's death from the George Luhrs page of the The Miniature Engineering Museum Collection of Internal Combustion Engines (Knapp Collection) portion of the Craftsmanship Museum in Carlsbad, California, a site and place miniature machinists and most hobbyists MUST visit!   new (11 Jun 2016)

On my way to cross into the Eastern Sector at Checkpoint Charlie in divided Berlin on 27 Sep 1987, I spotted this elegant model auto chassis in the window of a closed hobby shop on the Friedrichstraße:

Berlin Chassis 9-87
(27 Sep 87 photo by and © 1987 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

Note that it has a dummy body front with headlights and full complement of taillights.

Faller used to make (ca. 1960?) static model airplane kits of about 4"-6" wingspan that had plastic micromotors to turn the props.  The motors, which were about 6-8mm dia. x 25-30mm long, burned out fairly early on.  I still have a Bf-109 and an He-111k, somewhere, and should dig them out for photos.  Does anyone make replacement motors for these old Fallers?

Märklin vs. Mærklin vs. Maerklin vs. Marklin   added (31 Dec 2019)

This seems as good a place as any to discuss the spelling of the name of the venerable German toy and model manufacturer founded in 1859 in Göppingen in Baden-Württemberg by Theodor Friedrich Wilhelm Märklin.  Auf Deutsch (in German), there are two, or even three, valid ways to spell the family name; with an umlaut (a diäresis) over the "u", with a dipthong character for "ae", or with the "a" and the "e" separately, plus no dipthong at all as used both officially and generally in the USA:

Märklin vs. Mærklin vs. Maerklin vs. Marklin

Clearly, "Gebr(uder). Märklin", the original company name, implies more than one founding brother; (i)(e)nquiries have been made - stay tuned.

Gebr. Märklin & Cie. GmbH was a toy company and soon branched into scale model trains (and other technical toys), standardizing No. 1 gauge and HO 3-rail (AC), and recently acquiring Trix HO 2-rail (DC) and N scale and LGB (Lehmann Gross Bahn) G gauge.

Over the years I have ended up with a few choice Märklin items, most notably the Mercedes 300 sedan noted above and the various Schnabel cars noted on my Schnabel car page 2 and Schnabel car page 3.


Jeff Scherb's great "The Model Train Magazine Index (new URL) - An index to Model Railroad magazines from 1933 to the present", formerly sponsored/hosted by Accurail and now by Kalmbach.

Accurail produces among the finest HO and N freight car models, Kalmbach is one of the two top RR publishers, and Jeff gives us an unparalled access to old articles on models and prototypes; I strongly recommend Jeff's great work to you.

Also, Glenn Whitener has a great models index.

See also HOBBY Page 2.


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


See Copyright Notice on primary home page.

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