Wally Byam’s dream

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The branch I model terminates in Port Rowan – a small town on the north shore of Lake Erie, and the jumping off point for Long Point, which has long been a summertime playground. What better way to help tell that story than to add a travel trailer behind a 1950s sedan heading to the lake?

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The Airstream trailer shown above is a “collectible” Christmas ornament from Hallmark. It was released in 2007 and scales really, really well to 1:64. I found one of these online after seeing one a module that fellow S Scale Workshop member Andy Malette contributed to our recent exhibition in Laval, Québec. It arrived this week.

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As delivered, the trailer includes an eyebolt in the roof-top air conditioner for a hanging thread. I’ve removed that, but have done nothing else to the ornament – yet. The overall body is nice, but some of the details could be refined.

I plan to improve the trailer tongue. It has really crude renditions of the jack, coupler and other gear. It could use safety chains too.

I also plan to improve the fold-out awning. The ornament has a positionable awning, which is nice – but the associated hardware is out of scale. Some phosphor bronze wire and smaller hinge points are in order.

As the following photo suggests, even Airstream did not offer air conditioning on its trailers in the 1950s – so I’ll have to remove the roof-top unit and plug any mounting holes:

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Fortunately, Airstream trailers did have roof-top vents – and they were likely to acquire a bit of road grime when on the move which should help me blend my work into the factory paint job.

I’m sure I’ll come up with other enhancements to make. But even before I tackle this project, this trailer is an eye-catching addition to Bay Street, at the end of the Port Rowan peninsula.

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19 thoughts on “Wally Byam’s dream

  1. Wally is doing well for himself to be rolling in an Airstream.

    Kids+dog hanging out the window! No A/C, no seat belts or car seats either.

  2. “I also plan to improve the fold-out awning.”

    In your time period there weren’t any awnings. Also 20 lb. propane tanks were the norm. And don’t go too heavy on the weathering. RVers are fussy about how they keep their rigs. Especially Airstream owners :o)

    • Thanks Ed. Good observations.

      I’ve taken a look at the awning on the model and it should be possible to remove it and fill in the slot. It’ll require a repaint of portions of the side – but I’ll have to do that anyway if I remove the air conditioner, since there’s a large bump underneath it that would have to be carved away.

      I’d like to try one of the military “metallic” finishes (Testors offers some in their “Metalizer” line, including aluminum). This looks like a good opportunity.

      Cheers!

  3. You could position the Airstream so the awning side is away from the viewing aisle…that camper is too nice (and uncommon) to kit bash. John Asklar (Central Niagara Ry.) and life-long Lake Erie cottager.

    • Hi John:
      Thanks for the suggestion. I thought of that. To tell the story correctly, it really does need to go where it is. But I’ve looked at the trailer and removing the awning should not be impossible, with careful modelling. I’m not worried about the rarity of this camper – I’m all for kit bashing to get a better, more prototypical model out of it.
      Cheers!

  4. Interesting that you should post this, not long ago, in one of the N Scale Magazines, there was some information on a company called Inter-Action that is producing a 17 foot travel trailer in HO. TT and best of all for me, N Scale. As where I’m modeling is near the Washington (State) coast, I was thinking the same as you, what a great way to show era as well as hinting at the fact that the area is a tourist attraction.

    Although I have to say, my railroad would have preferred if they’d come via train!

    The Inter-Action (located in Salmon Arm, BC) trailer is at: http://www.interactionhobbies.com/N-Scale-17-Foot-Vintage-Travel-Trailer_p_10.html

    But they have lots of other really neat goodies. Sorry, no S, but maybe you could put a bug in their ear! If they’re doing TT, why no S?

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