We ABSOLUTELY NEED 60s-70s American-prototype vehicles of all types in both HO and N scales, preferably in plastic. I do think, however, that those in HO do have it a bit better than those of us in N.
I'm a former HO-scale railroader and currently an N-scaler. I model the late 60's to early 70's era and in N there is almost nothing available. The only vehicles I've been able to find so far that fit my era are the Atlas Ford tractors. Their Taurus and F-150 models are from the 90's. Athearn's Ford C-series trucks can be used on any layout set from 1957 on since that is when the Budd Company introduced that cab and several of them have already found a home on my layout. Other than that there isn’t a whole lot out there for those of us in N scale who want American prototype vehicles from the 60s-70s. Classic Metal Works is just starting to scratch the surface of this market with their newly released N-scale 1967 Ford Galaxie and 1977 Chevy Impala.
I also collect HO-scale vehicles, primarily American fire apparatus and buses. In regard to fire apparatus there are the fine models by Boley, though most of them are on modern-era commercial or custom chassis. Busch does have the classic American LaFrance pumpers and aerials. That chassis/cab was in use from the late 50’s through the late 70’s. For buses the pickings are really slim. There are the metal kits from Pirate Models of the GMC fishbowl transit bus, the GMC 'Buffalo' (only real bus nuts will understand that reference) intercity coach, and the Eagle intercity coach. It’s nice to see them available in metal but it’s also a handicap for me. I can build plastic kits as well as any modeler but for all the years I've been a modeler I just can't get the hang of building a metal kit. Every one I've ever bought has ended up in the scrapbox waiting for that model junkyard to be built. I see Busch is planning to release the GMC fishbowl, I hope they'll do a 40' 'Buffalo' as well. Needless to say, I’d love to see all the models just mentioned done in N-scale plastic.
As for passenger cars from that era, both scales do suffer. It is amazing to me when I look through both N and HO Walthers catalogs all the various detail pieces available. Things like fuel sight gauges for loco fuel tanks, electrical meters for the sides of buildings, nut/bolt/washer castings, etc. and yet something as big a vehicle isn’t as well represented. It seems, especially in HO, that the vehicle selection runs from the horse/buggy era to the 50’s and then jumps right to the modern era. To add insult to injury, most of the modern-era models are of European or Japanese prototypes. If you’re a modern-era modeler that is not an issue since there are many more import vehicles on our roads now than there were in the 60s and 70s. I won’t even touch the N-scale situation…….
I might be wrong, but I would think there would be a market for these models? Besides the buses and fire apparatus I just mentioned, I’d buy a Ford Pinto or Chevy Vega, or a Ford Country Squire wagon, or a Brockway cab-over, or an AMC Pacer, or………in HO and N scales..
I know I ranted a bit more than maybe I should have on this topic but when you build a beautifully detailed layout it should be ‘correct’ in all aspects. Not only will the right vehicles enhance our layouts but it will prevent that nitpicker we all know the chance to nitpick our layout.
Long Live The EL