Re: Train-Master vs. Train-Miniature


Richard Bale <Rhbale@...>
 

This should put a wrap on the tale of Train-Master vs. Train-Miniature.

Francis Edward ‘Ted; Hollow launched Slim Princess Scale Models in San Diego in the late 1950s while still in the US Navy. The product line featured HOn3 narrow gauge freight car kits. He went into the model business full-time in 1964 when he began importing brass models under the name of Balboa Scale Models.

 

In 1968 Hollow ventured into plastic models with Train-Miniature in a small plant in La Mesa on the east side of San Diego. Consultants on planning the HO product line included Richard Hendrickson, who was then teaching at San Diego State, and Alan Armitage, who designed the tooling  which, to keep cost down, used a common underframe for both reefers and boxcars, with various slides for sides and roofs - a concept that Hendrickson, driven by authenticity,  could not abide. He withdrew from the project but continued to consult for Balboa. Tom Ayres, who had been handling photography and advertising for Balboa, developed the packaging and marketing plan for Train-Miniature.

 

There was no shortage of brain power in developing the Train-Miniature line although it got off to an embarrassing start. The initial product name was Train-Master but that was almost immediately changed to Train-Miniature due to a conflict with ownership of the name. Tom Ayres took the blame for the lack of due diligence. Only a portion of the initial release got into the market in boxes labeled Train-Masters.

 

Hollow purchased the Tru-Scale line of plastic structures in October 1968. The following year, he acquired the Tru-Scale work train including the well-executed Hart convertible gondola which were all issued under the Train-Miniature name. Hollow was a very aggressive and creative marketer. In addition to the usual hobby stores, he managed to get his products into general line craft stores and some 5&10 variety stores.

 

In the late 1970s Hollow was forced to liquidate for personal reasons. Train-Miniature was purchased by Dave Rouzer of South Holland IL who marketed the line under the name Train Miniature of Illinois Ltd.  Rouzer sold the line to Walthers in 1984 which folded the line into their own selection of freight cars. Walthers reintroduced the FA-1 and FB-1 diesels with an entirely new chassis and drive system in 1997.

 

In December 1967 Ron Parkhurst of Timberline Models (Denver) purchased the Slim Princess line of HOn3 car kits. The purchase did not include the lost wax brass detail parts. 

Dick Bale

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