Friday, March 28, 2014

The LGB Collector - A Lifetime Story - Conclusion

The following is a translation of "The LGB Collector", an article by H.-Jürgen Neumann from Spring 2006. Mr. Neumann published it in his own IIm-Online News web page. You can read the original article  at http://www.lgb-much.de/20406.pdf and use a Google translation or similar. To avoid mixing-ups in context with Yours Truly you will find "(HJN)", the abbreviation for H.-Jürgen Neumann,  in places were the original author refers to himself since the article is about his lifelong journey being a dyed-in-the-wool LGB fan.

A collection of special trains or Starter Sets may have its own charm. At least as long as one doesn't buy huge volume of one kind (of loco) and store it in the basement hoping for increasing value overtime. There were some fine trains out there like the Pinzgau train (LGB# 20520) or the Furka-Oberalp train (LGB# 20512) mirroring the archetype nicely. Optically pretty 'advertising' trains were the Nürnberger Lebkuchen train (LGB#20526 - Nuremberg gingerbread train), the Philips Train (LGB# 20412) as well as the beer trains Lütgenau (LGB# 20536) and Schweiger (LGB# 20539). Then there were special train(sets) for the American market like the Marshall Field Train (LGB# 20534) and the Dodge City Little Billy Train (LGB# 20701).



































"Auflage" = edition volume

The Red Train (LGB# 20401 RZ) and the Blue Train (LGB# 20301 BZ) were supposed to tie in with the success of the Anniversary train (set) which to some degree they did. There were many, many other train sets; and the Lehman factory did not like at all the fact that quite a number of sets went straight into the basement of collectors rather than into the living rooms of LGB beginners. Regarding this subject my opinion has always been that LGB could very well afford to 'give' the collector a highly subsidized train set once in a while when they were making good money out of him (all the other time of the relationship).
The 'cherry on top' of any collection, of course, was the Golden Train (LGB # 20100) of which just 200 were made due to severe problems during the process of steaming the leaf gold onto the Stainz loco. Original plans were to make 1,000 train sets; now you do the math and figure out how many of the  low and high sided gondolas are still living 'single lives' at LGB fans' homes or are trailing behind ordinary LGB locos...

The collector's dream: the golden train LGB# 20100 NB from 1991. Volume originally planned: 1,000. Executed: 200

Of course there was a lot of rubbish among the special trains and special cars. I don't want to name them here to not insult anyone belatedly; but everyone will know what I am talking about..( this is in reference to some pretty ugly circumstances involving a big discounter in Germany and the authorized LGB dealership in the late 80's and early 90's. And the eventually "unsellable" golden train'set'. Yours Truly)

Sadly, the long planned LGB-Museum in Nuremberg never realized. When the factory extension was built on to the existing LGB lot  in the early 90's a museum was part of the planning but sadly wasn't built. Now other things are more important...(remember, this article is from 2006. In 2012/13 the famous Spielwaren Museum= Toy Museum Nuremberg added a wing for LGB which is serviced and managed by the LGB Booster Club. See LGB Yarner blog 05/2013). Twice in the past there was a " LGB-Museum" at convention boothes, once in 1988 - 20th anniversary LGB- and in 2000 jointly with Uwe Klöting at the International Train Show in Cologne. I (HJN) furnished and managed both which was a lot of work as well as a great honor.
Today you'll find a lot of LGB layouts offered by estates. More than once I received calls from people telling me that their grandfather had passed away and that they wanted to sell their inherited LGB collection. I always asked immediately if they or their children wouldn't like to continue the hobby themselves. Their responses told me that the LGB 'bug' obviously could not be passed on and that they obviously have different interests today. Sad, but nothing you can do...
The driving stock out of these estates are often unfit to go into or extend collections. They have been played with - which they were destined to be, not to forget. Often, driving stock from outdoor layouts was intensly operated; meaning they suffered from weather, screws are rusty and the plastic became brittle or broke off already (parts). In case very rare pieces are part of such a layout (collection) one can try to buy those and restore them. But even the repair department of LGB at the factory - which brought new shine to old driving stock in years passed - have now run out of  historic spare parts. Some (collectors) buy bad looking items at a flea market just to use them as spare part provider.
Maybe the (LGB fan) who has a nice historic LGB portfolio should start thinking about how and to whom he wants to pass on his collection. To see these items end up on eBay is just a pity.

I do hope I was able to take you with me on (my) journey into the world of LGB and want to focus one last time on our (LGB Friends of Much) motto: "back to the roots". To quote a famous citizen: "there is magic in all things new" and I say " but also in many old things, too." Just like no one would get the idea to collect modern cars they do like to see Oldtimers in their garages. They (oldtimers) represent craftsmanship and their engineering is traceable. They are just like-able and something special. Just like you can transfer this thought to LGB ; back to the roots - wholeheartedly  and with enthusiasm.
H.-Jürgen Neumann

Monday, February 24, 2014

The LGB Collector - A Lifetime Story - Part 8

The following is a translation of "The LGB Collector", an article by H.-Jürgen Neumann from Spring 2006. Mr. Neumann published it in his own IIm-Online News web page. You can read the original article  at http://www.lgb-much.de/20406.pdf and use a Google translation or similar. To avoid mixing-ups in context with Yours Truly you will find "(HJN)", the abbreviation for H.-Jürgen Neumann,  in places were the original author refers to himself since the article is about his lifelong journey being a dyed-in-the-wool LGB fan.
Fine example of the work scope of the"Design Tuning" department. Matching the LGB car "VWSport" the Diesel loco was made by the department. Special limited edition of 3.

(....utilizing the LGB 'tuning department') I had a specialty loco made for me matching my VW-Sport freight car # 4090VW, based on the Diesel loco 2062 and thus had a beautiful complete trainset. Some of my color 'options' like the duo-colored, green/brown and the complete on brown Saxonian car LGB# 3050 were adopted into the LGB product line. The complete gray (car) is still a specialty in my Saxonian train(set).
Nowadays there a collectors who chose their special subject. "Coca-Cola' is one typical example and such cars were bought in addition by those who collect everything Coca-Cola not just model trains or LGB. It was the same for items with teddy bears regarding the Steiff collectors. Collected were: tank cars of every (labeling and color) description, beer cars as well as the various kinds of "Stainz" and her sisters. LGB fans who concentrated on a specific theme on their layout - I don't identify them as collectors. They rather operate  a layout modeled after the Swiss theme, Austrian or German State Railway. And last but not least, technical advance turned some older models into  " passé " models. On a fully digitized layout some of the old locomotives from 1968 don't even operate anymore. And digitizing them would inevitably damage their collectors value. Those who stocked up on green and red Crocodiles in the early years will discover upon trying to sell them today that they are compared to the newer ones with digital driving and sound decoders - and not necessarily to their advantage... This led to a considerable decrease in collecting. At least for driving stock manufactured in such big numbers that they are not considered a specialty in the collector's mind. But there are still exceptions; I am thinking of the LGB Club Rhein/Sieg special cars for their annual meetings with editions of 100 each. Also, editions of 1,000 worldwide are still considered low from a collector's standpoint. Surprisingly, lot size(s) don't always have a significant influence on the (collection) value. The LGB Anniversary Trainset 1981 edition was 20,000 and still increased in value sharply during the following years. Cars by Lütgenau or Roskothen with mini editions of 100 did not show any upward trend. Then again, they don't come on to the market, really.
Example of a STEIFF special train set in friendly yellow with 'limited' bears

 (To define )Collector's values isn't quite easy. There are collectors' catalogs of which the "Christmann Collector catalog" (out of print since 2008 or so, today's "manual" is the "Kompendium for LGB Collector and LGB Friends"  2012) ; but prices printed in there can only be reference points. First of all the condition of a loco is crucial; second someone missing a (loco) in his collection and really wants to have that will be more apt to pay a higher price. And on the seller's side one has to to go the extra mile and look for that person. Within the last years the auction-house eBay has establishes itself  in this area. It is really very interesting (to see)  what (kind of ) LGB driving stock is offered there. But, the condition is important and if that can be determined by looking at it - I dare to challenge that.

I can very well imagine that the thought of starting a 'historic" LGB collection will strongly increase over time. Like the LGB Friends of Much concentrate on the first 10 years of LGB, ranging from the Stainz to the Crocodile, packaging (was) in grey and yellow, brand new locos, blank (no sound) models, and the technical equipment of the first years make for a nice and manageable collection. Old packaging from the very beginning convey a fine sentiment of the dawn of LGB in the early years. The very first manual switches, aluminum tracks and other accessories from the beginnings are also part of this (collection to be). Add to that the literature of those early years. In Sinsheim, in 2006, we displayed  such a small collection in a glass cabinet and the brochures shown, those from the early years, were met with big enthusiasm. Complete this collection (to be) with the special collection of the 1977 and 1978 PRIMUS Series. The 4-axle American low sided gondola LGB # 4061 in green is a rarity -  collectors would give their eye teeth for it... ( Yours Truly could not find any note of that color scheme ever made by LGB/ may be from the tuning department. What I did find was the #4061 from 1991 special edition in dark red with a bottle of champagne as cargo given to very dear business friends, edition 100, and very rare.) ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++to be continued+++++++++++++

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The LGB Collector - A Life Time Story - Part 7

The following is a translation of "The LGB Collector", an article by H.-Jürgen Neumann from Spring 2006. Mr. Neumann published it in his own IIm-Online News web page. You can read the original article  at http://www.lgb-much.de/20406.pdf and use a Google translation or similar. To avoid mixing-ups in context with Yours Truly you will find "(HJN)", the abbreviation for H.-Jürgen Neumann,  in places were the original author refers to himself since the article is about his lifelong journey being a dyed-in-the-wool LGB fan.

Nonetheless until just a few years ago some collectors bought at least one piece of each new item released and  procured every single specialty driving stock from the USA (that were made for the US market only). Precisely those last of the well-offs' and  aficionados were robbed of their pleasure by the "eXtra-Shop" as it regulated and limited exactly what these shoppers didn't put up with (in the first place).(Yours truly info: this ill-fated idea - eXtra-shop- was implemented in 2003 to prevent customers  from developing their own shopping habits and trying to fixate them to some dealers (in Germany and 5 other German speaking small countries around Germany) who had the 'distinction' to become an "eXtra-shop" dealer. They had to accept an LGB terminal in their shop that did NOT work with your regular PC system to communicate with LGB headquarters. Remember, in 2003 the internet was full-blown, amazon.com was attracting huge numbers of investors, and Facebook was just around the corner, everybody had email, and there was just no necessity to go to a brick-and-mortar-dealer to get what you wanted. Instead of embracing the new world, Rolf Richter chose -again- a step back in time, one that surely didn't serve him well at all. In the  2006 LGB catalog the "eXtra-shop" was listed as the 17th (!) subject on double-page even after 'railroads' and 'assortment policy'.)
This was actually the end of the 'collect-everything - collection'. In addition, the yearly quantity of  new items grew into infinite numbers and became unaffordable. This comes to show how important it is for long-term success to have a marketing strategy and marketing psychology, knowledge about your customers' wishes and their sensitivities; hence, the dramatic drop in sales for some model train manufacturers is mostly 'home-made'  within the last few years.
Top: Anniversary Train " 100 years of Lehmann" from 1981. Despite a big edition it was special. More cars were added on in the following years, see below.
Bottom: The anniversary cars "1,100 Years City of Duisburg" from 1983 displays advertising by Roskothen company on the other side of the car. Limited edition of 100 makes it a rarity in every LGB collection.
During the 'hot' years of collecting some  freeloaders tried to hop on the LGB train, as well. Big dealers had their "own" train manufactured at the LGB factory or "their trains" like "Schweiger" company in Nuremberg, or the Lütgenau company with their "Dortmunder Bier" beer train. It sure was triggered by the success of the LGB Anniversary Train of 1981 which was issued for the "100 Years Ernst Paul Lehmann". Already the optics prove that the "100 Years Lütgenau" anniversary car (LGB # 3007Lü) as well as the "1,100 Years City of Duisburg" by the Roskothen company were just trying to get a piece of that act. (By the way, edition of 100 cars each). And LGB itself hopped on that bandwagon -again- with their next four "Car of the Year" models to go with the Anniversary train.
Top: After the first Schweiger train was issued in 1985 (in yellow) on the occasion of "150 Years German Railroads" LGB# 20528 this set was issued in 1987 in red with a blue dining car (LGB# 20535). The loco was packaged with these three cars-without track or transformer.
Bottom: A year earlier, 1986, the Schweiger train came in green (LGB#20533) edition of 1,150 and 1,500 for the 1987 version.
Top:The add-on cars for the Lehmann anniversary train from 1981. The left car is from 1982 right from 1983. Edition 10,000 each while the anniversary train had 20,000 made.
Bottom: Add-on car to the 1981 Train set on the left from 1984 and on right the end car 1985. Edition for ea. car 10,000.

Private workshops manufactured quite a few number of novelties and oddities, container trains and -cars, hinged-lid cars with engravings, paint jobs and re-labeling (with some really professional outcomes) and other driving stock. While some got their blessings for their 'work' from LGB (like the Baumann of Neustadt /Aisch company and their re-painting-jobs) others drew the anger of LGB when repainting complete series of small electric locos. Not without reason regarding the harsh liability laws especially in the USA that had to be followed.
Top left: The Florsheim freight cars from 1982 with an edition of 500 for the US market, a grand rarity today. Top right: the specialty car "Stuttgarter Hofbräu" was a 'private initiative' and not made at LGB factory.
Bottom left: new in the LGB program: LGB delivered the basic package # 20531, the design for the container was up to private initiative. Shown here is a well done variation "Capri-Sonne" by the Schuhmann company (Capri Sonne was an orange based lemonade brand in Germany). Edition of 100. Bottom right: container car from the package of Breuninger company.
A novelty for the model train industry was the 'design-tuning-department', already mentioned earlier, which was established in 1995 at the LGB factory and was available for the creative LGB fan for roughly the next 5 years. It was based on the idea that you could create your customized model from an otherwise limited choice of LGB models, e.g. with a special labeling for a birthday, anniversary or other special events. I made quite some use of this myself even though it turned out to be quite pricey. Then again there was quite an effort to be made until the special edition was created resulting from the customer sending in his engine or car. It had to be dismantled and often the housing or body had to be replaced by a 'raw part'. After a short while you could have tuned any LGB- model. I had my OBB Diesel loco 2095 tuned to an" Orient Express" loco to  function as the 'tractor' for my before-mentioned train set # 20277 by replacing the smaller looking U-series.++++++++++++++++++ to be continued +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The LGB Collector - A Lifetime Story Part 6

The following is a translation of "The LGB Collector", an article by H.-Jürgen Neumann from Spring 2006. Mr. Neumann published it in his own IIm-Online News web page. You can read the original article  at http://www.lgb-much.de/20406.pdf and use a Google translation or similar. To avoid mixing-ups in context with Yours Truly you will find "(HJN)", the abbreviation for H.-Jürgen Neumann,  in places were the original author refers to himself since the article is about his lifelong journey being a dyed-in-the-wool LGB fan.

Then, at one time the base frame was done, tracks were laid including a Staging yard ( or Fiddle yard; a collection of model railway tracks that are invisible to a viewer)  . Then fate interfered: in 1985 I founded the LGB Club Rhein/Sieg and at the same time the Club magazine "Spur II Nachrichten" (Gauge II News) with the very first issue focusing on collecting; which in later issues was taken up again and again and also reporting about things past and currrent issues.
Regarding my basement layout - it was sort of neglected due to my many tasks for the Club and the magazine and sort of still looks the same today as is did back then.
Spanning 20 years now my task was to organize Club meetings, appearances at conventions, Club travels, memos, membership management and administration and many more. The magazine required the biggest time input since I wrote many articles myself and I spend many evenings editing, layouting and publishing the magazine. (In 1985 there were no PC's and cheap printers to help with publishing,  all work-type,composition,drafting, had to be prepared before going to a printing press. That didn't change in Germany until the late 90's). Always being pressed for time to publish an issue by mid year and at the end of a year. The magazine "Spur II Nachrichten" gained an excellent image over the years. It was independent and critical, calling things by their name which didn't always go well with the person in focus. But all criticism was always factual and objective and predominantly right on spot.

After 20 years, in 2005, I decided to pass on the leadership of the Club into new hands and chose as my successor(s) a board of active club members - it was quite a relief from all that work. And I felt that even more when the new board decided in 2006 to cease the magazine due to costs and other reasons and publish a new magazine under their own management. This decision led to a huge alleviation for me even though I also was feeling a bit of sorrow as did many of the readers.

Well, back to the subject of collecting. (In the 80's)When I was working for a big auditing firm and traveled all of West Germany and West Berlin it set the perfect stage for collecting LGB trains specifically those who were from the early years and were no longer manufactured: I was traveling to many big cities and could stroll through the toy stores right after work; and back then I had a lavish allowance for my travel expenses covering my financial needs. I remember it very well being in Mannheim purchasing 6 green BP tank cars. In today's money a very good investment!
Flea markets and toy markets also offered  interesting old items. Always sought-after were the little plain colored electric locos and the first locos with "Heuler" motors. Pieces like the old tank cars were readily purchased.
When the 'old-timers' were no longer available the collecting fervor diverted. First people looked for color variations. Lehmann (always) took quite some liberty with their color schemes. A car that was just painted in light red came in medium red with the' next edition'. The labeling showed many discrepancies, too. Passenger coaches were labeled in Arabic numerals then in Roman numerals. Labeling was done with labels, then by embossing, then by pad printing.
Primus 1977-78: blue Diesel loco # 20860 followed by a black Shell tank car # 40860 and a Coca Cola car # 40832. The "8" inbetween the LGB number was reserved for Primus. Left: The first Coca Cola Specialty Car # 4072 issued in 1985 and was much sought-after from the start. Limited edition of 2,000.
At one time models were sought after that were made exclusively for the US market, for other foreign countries, or in limited editions. A red Old-timer Street Car  for Austria, a red-white streetcar passenger car "Chocolat Suchard" and in particular the driving stock  of the "Primus" series built from 1977 to 1978 became exciting - and about which I (HJN) will write a special article in the near future (which Yours truly will translate and publish here as well in our near future).  Many models for the US market could only be sold in the USA due to concession and royalty reasons. I do very well remember the first "Coca-Cola" car LGB # 4072 issued in 1985 that was highly sought after and highly paid for here in Germany. Then there was a "Orient Express" LGB# 20277 consisting of a gray steam loco of the "U"-series  and 3 different coaches (base car was LGB# 3062) and was almost unknown here (in Germany).
Of course a vivid bartering ensued with LGB friends in the USA. Huge quantities of "old-timer stuff" was purchased here in Germany via intermediaries and shipped to the USA. At the same time collectors here procured US specials via acquaintances directly from the USA. It wasn't always perfect due to the long transportation route (America and back) transport damages happened easily - but what were one supposed to do?  Broken grab bars on the Coca Cola car and bruised rivets on the Orient Express cars can tell a thing or two about this. Calling on LGB company to establish a kind of "Collector's Service"  went "DOA". One of the reasons for that was that 'collectors' were synonymous with 'scalpers' which was in part due to our American LGB friends since their profiteering with LGB models was quite obvious. ( Note from Yours Truly: what we Americans call having a smart sense for business is often already understood as profiteering in German mentality). The most startling stories were told - about LGB rarities stock-piled in bank safes and many more.

With increasing prices of LGB items the collectors craze went down reciprocally. To purchase several LGB driving stock items of the same item type just to store them in the 'collector's shelf' became financially impossible. Add on the space problem that every collector had to face at one time. Back then 'old-timers' often were sold to be able to afford new items - which was certainly regretted later. +++++++++++++++++++++++++to be continued++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Monday, December 16, 2013

The LGB Collector -- A Life Time Story Part 5

The following is a translation of "The LGB Collector", an article by H.-Jürgen Neumann from Spring 2006. Mr. Neumann published it in his own IIm-Online News web page. You can read the original article  at http://www.lgb-much.de/20406.pdf and use a Google translation or similar. To avoid mixing-ups in context with Yours Truly you will find "(HJN)", the abbreviation for H.-Jürgen Neumann,  in places were the original author refers to himself since the article is about his lifelong journey being a dyed-in-the-wool LGB fan.

In 1975 I moved back into my parent's house in Wuppertal, the city of my original upbringing. A garden shed was part of that property which I annexed instantly for my LGB purposes. There I established my first real layout on a plywood board. The LGB Depesche published photos in issue 31/32. Accessories at hand at that time are clearly recognizable. A train station and a freight shed by "Lindberg", loco shed, small freight shed and platforms by "Preiser" (who unfortunately did not continue with their product program). The ramps are by "Kibri" , they are displayed on the upper photo on the right. An oldtimer car by "Schuco" (which is now owned by the same people who now own LGB) is waiting at the railway crossing gate.
Top: View onto the first 'real' LGB layout. behind the turntable is the loco shed by Preiser
Middle: Lindberg- train station already w/ several  upgrade accessories. In front the platform by Preiser
Bottom: Small freight shed by Preiser on left. The train station lamps deliver a romantic light.

I won runner-up with this layout at a LGB at a LGB photo-competition! Again, the LGB Depesche reported about this see magazine # 35 from 1978, pages 18 to 21. By then the "Lindberg" trainstation was replaced by the 'Kleinbach' by "POLA", also a lineman shed by POLA, a coal silo and a small crane by HMB as well as many added LGB locomotives and cars.
clockwise from top left: the green "Waldenburg" steam loco waits at the platform. View of the train station area with BW-in the back a 2080 w passenger cars is approaching. Layout plan of the new LGB layout in the garden shed. The new OBB Diesel loco 2095 at work- in the front a little platform shed deriving from as loco shed addition by Preiser. The "Kleinbach' train station by POLA, the  wonderful old timer structure was something special back then;look closely and you can see a lot of additional accessories! Mr. Speedy hurries to the (POLA) train station to take the Fiery Eli into the city nearby.
In 1979 I moved from Wuppertal to Much. I worked in Cologne at that time and wanted to built a home-house. Via the "Koelner Stadtanzeiger" (Cologne newspaper) I found a piece of land in Much -until that time unbeknownst to me - about 30 (car) minutes from Cologne. The property measures 1,200 square-meter (roughly 1/4 acre) and would have been non-affordable within Cologne city limits. Right-away I told my architect that I needed a train-basement. So he planned a basement room covering the complete length and width of the house : 11 yards by 5 yards. But it took another 5 years until I could start building my layout. First, this room got used as storage room right after moving in and then I had other things to do, landscaping my backyard and other chores.
clockwise from top: atmospheric shot in the depot.- On the right the drive-up ramp by Kibri, dense housing with several buildings and a small crane - Coal silo (on right side in photo) by HMB made out of wood.- Drive-up ramp by Kibri (in front) behind that the gatekeeper shed by POLA.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The LGB Collector -- A Life Time Story -- Part 4

The following is a translation of "The LGB Collector", an article by H.-Jürgen Neumann from Spring 2006. Mr. Neumann published it in his own IIm-Online News web page. You can read the original article  at http://www.lgb-much.de/20406.pdf and use a Google translation or similar. To avoid mixing-ups in context with Yours Truly you will find "(HJN)", the abbreviation for H.-Jürgen Neumann,  in places were the original author refers to himself since the article is about his lifelong journey being a dyed-in-the-wool LGB fan.

....Many a contacts developed through my LGB Hobby and my activities. Speaking with LGB friends at fairs and conventions, entertained  a friendship with the Swiss LGB Club and their President Erwin Neuweiler; as well as with the American LGB Club of which I am a member for many years. I phoned  Mr. Zeunert- who managed the LGB Depesche or met with him at fairs. I met and befriended a lot of dealers among them Jürgen Baumann, Jacob Groen, Marion Hötzel, Sven Linden, Hans-Peter Naber, Hans-Herrmann Nahrgang, Erwin Neuweiler, Frank Michael Pohl and others. In addition there were the manufacturers of other Big Train items and accessories. There were and are still today a great many friendships into all of the LGB world.
But back to the year 1972: Thank the Lord - I have to admit nowadays- I wasn't a good tinkerer. What others did to their LGB engines: super them up, paint them, construct one long one out of two short ones- I had no clue. I operated them the way they came out of the box. Maybe I added freight or transported my guinea pigs (which I kept as pets) with them. There are really just a very few engines which I tinkered with. For instance the American caboose # 4065 which I photographed for my 'Historic Pages' the other day. It was furnished with metal axles and power pickup plus two rear lights. While I removed the metal axles and the power pickup after the photo shoot and replaced them with the still existing Original axles the holes in the boxcar remained being needed for the cables to the rear lights -- what a pity considering today's (collector's) value.
I also have to admit to another 'failing' since I replaced the originally plastic trailing wheels for the U-Series with metal axles. It looked nicer. But I still have the originals so I can 're-work' the locos in the near future.
What I really bemoan is that I burned the LGB boxes in the field adjacent (to my home) because I didn't have enough space. But I grew wise fast and stopped that altogether.
My next stop was the attic in the same house where I first put my layout on the kitchen floor. This attic had been used by the landlord to store some junk and he agreed to let me use it to put up my first LGB (layout) - and the best was I could leave it there permanently. Yes I took pictures, look into LGB depesche # 23/24, page 46. Picture 2 shows the opening (flip door) to the attic, my access to my LGB world. The caption to the photos read that the layout had 80 yards of track and operated 15 engines and 65 cars. As you can see I was already really hooked on LGB.....
Top:Lindberg Station and various trains. The completely green steam loco of the U-Series is still very much sought after even today. You can easily see that the layout is in the attic.
Bottom: View from the station. A "Fiery Eli" switching on the rail junction, followed by Lindberg buildings. There also was a stretch of catenary line for the electric loco. (the white 'square' on the floor in the back is the attic access...)

Looking for this Depesche magazine I (HJN) found issue # 25/26 and on page 41 discovered one of my tinkering 'excesses'. The little Gustav handcar was a new item in 1971 (LGB# 2001) (see LGB Depesche # 9, page 14) but production showed way less sophisticated bodywork (than the hand model). So I took a sharp knife and cut out the parts in-between the planks. That way the wheels became better visible. My work was published and described in the LGB Depesche but the LGB factory never changed their mold.
Top: my first conversion: taking a sharp knife to cut out the material between the planks achieving a filigree look.
Bottom: Hand model to compare to top.The wheels had to be bigger than on the  hand model so they would  pass over an uncoupling track

+++++++++++++++++++to be continued+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++






Friday, October 25, 2013

The LGB Collector -- A Lifetime Story Part 3

The following is a translation of "The LGB Collector", an article by H.-Jürgen Neumann from Spring 2006. Mr. Neumann published it in his own IIm-Online News web page. You can read the original article  at http://www.lgb-much.de/20406.pdf and use a Google translation or similar. To avoid mixing-ups in context with Yours Truly you will find "(HJN)", the abbreviation for H.-Jürgen Neumann,  in places were the original author refers to himself since the article is about his lifelong journey being a dyed-in-the-wool LGB fan.

I always had some repairs with me alongside a number of wishes and requests from our club members especially those looking for spare parts. Those wishes were promptly worked on upon my arrival. And it went without saying that I joined their breakfast break at 9.00 a.m. Of course I made sure that coffee and doughnuts were on me. Only then I went to see the 'bosses' and other departments.
Mrs. Grimm headed and managed her "Grimm's spare parts department" for many years at the Annual LGB Club Conventions; which she organized for years in co-operation with her husband who also worked for LGB as head of assembling. Club members took their LGB worries and pains mostly in form of their engines and cars to her 'booth' were most of them found help right away. Tougher cases were taken back to the factory after the convention and returned  to their owners by mail. Every year when I attend the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg I stay at the "Pensione Grimm" and every evening then we go for dinner to the "Golden Hirsch" to reminisce about old times and exchange news.
LGB Factory and all of their employees in 1997 (image added by Yours Truly)
There were a whole slew of great men and women at LGB with whom I struck up great friendships over the years. In addition to Messrs. Wolfgang, Johannes and Rolf Richter I most often contacted Messrs Schnidtmann and Jagiella; Mr. Schnidtmann was heading the "DesignTuning" department while Mr. Jagiella heading the printing department was my go-to guy for all things printing/labeling on club cars. When Mrs. Grimm entered  her - well-deserved - retirement Mr. Thier followed her as head of repairs. He learned the ropes quickly and he supported me and the LGB Club very well and just the way I was used to. Mr. Biedenbacher is head of customer service and we always shared a wonderful co-operation and collaboration. I remember very well that for what reason ever he needed two really old manual switches. He got them instantly for free out of my personal 'stock'....
Then there was the time when Mr (Klaus) Baumann was still VP of Sales. Looking back it is a fact that he was responsible for quite a big chunk of Lehmann's success. He was always on the front lines, attending each and every fair and convention and took care of each and every LGB fan. TV appearances and spontaneous interviews were his daily bread - he just was a celebrated character. We always got along really well and had great collaborations. If the club had to assemble a layout within an (LGB) convention booth I just sat down with him briefly, talked it over and never heard from or saw him again until the convention opened. He just new I would do it right. I fondly remember my Friday-Appointments (with Klaus Baumann) at the LGB factory where we went for lunch to the Italian restaurant, company credit card in hand. On those occasions we exchanged ideas, general LGB- world news, and scheduled new appointments.
I also always liked to work with Mr. Bauer. Years ago we met by pure coincidence  and jointly celebrated New Years Eve at Hotel Badersee in Grainau (Bavaria). It's a small world after all-sometimes...
I also received a lot of help from Mr. Michel (head of purchasing) and Mr. Gall (Technical Director). Mrs. Gerl, the former Ms. Krueger, always welcomed me with a cup of coffee. Mrs. Aumer, Wolfgang Richter's personal secretary, secured my appointments with the bosses. In earlier years when Mr. Ottinger was still head of shipping&dispatch he helped me a great deal with brochures, pamphlets, and catalogs.+++++++++++++++++++to be continued+++++++++++++++++++++++