Tracing Shorty Heavyweights

From a 1970s appearance in Life-Like’s product line and Penn Line run from around 1960, this shorty heavyweight passenger car model and its companion car types saw several incarnations in the hobby.

Tracing Shorty Heavyweights

One of the pursuits of model railroading that I enjoy greatly and find others with a similar interest is tracing the heritage of toolings. I often state that no tooling gets only one shot in the hobby and this is almost a rule… few molds saw creation to only serve a single hobby company. For many efforts, you’ll find the same or similar models appearing in multiple catalogs over long spans of years. Sometimes with many alterations and often with next to nothing done to change their appearance (outside of residing in a different company’s packaging.)

This topic is a frequent reason for a message on Facebook, email in my inbox, and letters in the mail. Questions generally ask, is this the same model offered by this other company? Which one came out first? It’s fun part of collecting.

Railroad Model Craftsman editor Otto Vondrak recently asked me about going down the rabbit hole that is a series of HO-scale heavyweight passenger car models. You may know them as Life-Like, Penn Line, and Varney… and all are accurate. The tooling also has a curious connection to higher quality offerings and contemporary models in Walthers line. Intrigued? Keep watch for a survey of these models and the “Collector Consist” installment that will chronical their long run in the hobby coming to the pages of Railroad Model Craftsman.

– Tony Cook

This article was posted on: January 8, 2021