Toy fair

Missed a toyfair visit again earlier in the year due to being unwell. So with a bit of an effort, I made the most recent one. It was not well attended by either buyers or sellers and there was no opportunity to add to my Hornby 3-rail items.


So, a Matchbox 1-75 series ERF Horsebox (1957-64) and although it looks the same size (if not scale) what is actually a Matchbox Yesteryears series (first issue) Sentinel Steam Wagon…of about the same vintage. Outlay of ‘virtually no money at all’. Pleasing overall.


Three rail

Finally managed to obtain a 1950s 3-rail loco at not too bad a price.  Thus I now have a (very small) working layout.


I would have preferred one in LMS livery but they are harder to come by and usually more expensive. It makes a nice train-like clickety-clack noise  probably due to almost every part being metal, unlike the plastic of later 2-rail systems. There’s something about these early Hornby products…they have more character than later models.

The wooden station is actually O-scale and came as an addition to a Hornby clockwork set. (Passenger set No. 21) many years ago.

Pop pop boat

Traditional tin-plate toy powered by the World’s smallest steam engine.


The two tubes seen in the base of the hull are filled with water.  The small frying-pan like gadget then has a piece of candle wax placed in it which is melted over a flame and a small wick (cut from the ‘string’) inserted and lit. The flame is then placed under the small metal boiler (the small grey bit) and the resultant expansion as the water in the tubes turns to steam and subsequent contraction as more water is drawn in, propels the boat. The distinctive sound of the expansion and contraction gives the toy its name.

This one was purchased at the London Model Engineer exhibition at Alexandra Palace in January. The chap that makes them uses the proceeds to restore an old water-mill in Cumbria.