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We are located in Western Montana – in fact the closest thing to Hamilton is Idaho – so it seems unlikely many of you will be able to drop off or pick up your engines when engaging our services. The question that should be addressed by anyone about to ship a brass model is, “how should I package my engine or car?” The long and the short answer are both the same; whenever possible ship the model, even if it is only a portion of the engine, in its original box, complete with the foam that was provided by the manufacturer. That box should then be packed into a regular shipping box with at least an inch and a half of padding around it.


This may seem obvious but it is surprising how often it apparently isn’t. A quick look at the accompanying photos suggests what may happen to your model if it isn’t packaged properly. We have never received a model that was damaged in shipment when packaged as described above. The models you see here were packaged incorrectly and they sustained substantial and costly damage. Shippers do not take responsibility for the contents of a package, even if you insure the package, when they do not package the content themselves. In both cases shown the shipping box was not damaged in any way and, unless the box is actually injured, the shipper will blame the damage on poor packaging practices. We all know packages are typically not handled with care so it is up to us to protect our property from rough handling.


What if the original box is gone or, as in many cases of older brass models, the original foam has disintegrated into powder? Let us take our cue from the original box of any brass engine or car. The outstanding feature of a box provided by the manufacturer for a quality model is the gentle but firm fit the foam provides to each piece of the model. When the model is wrapped in the plastic provided and carefully pressed into its fitted cavity in the foam it is completely immobile! You could close the box and drop it off the roof of your house and find that the model was not damaged at all. The key to protecting your model is to package it in such a way that it fits tightly inside of a smaller box that will then be padded into a larger shipping box. Wrap the model in a sheet of plastic film then wrap that in bubble wrap to the extent that it will fit tightly into a box that can then be taped shut and packed into your shipping box. Test the model’s fit in its small box by gently shaking the box. You should not feel any movement inside the sealed box. If you do, open the box and stuff more bubble wrap or padding in the box and test it again. If you have the original box but no foam you can pack all parts of the model inside this box but they must each be wrapped and padded so that they cannot come into contact with each other. Otherwise pack each piece in its own small box as described above


Keep this in mind; if any part of the model can move during shipping it WILL sustain damage if the box is slammed hard enough.


If we receive a damaged model we will contact you immediately and assist you in any way that we can but you will be responsible for filing any claims. Even if the model is not damaged yet we feel the packaging is inadequate we will try to improve the circumstances but we do not accept any responsibility for poor packaging supplied. Your brass models are valuable. Take the time and trouble to protect them.

This Pennsylvania RR FF2 arrived at our shops with a bent up pantograph. By no means do we offer to blame the person who sent the model. Rather we hope that by these examples we can help anyone getting ready to ship their model anywhere to do so in such a way that their model will arrive safely. We've seen too much of this and it a sad and costly circumstance.

What looks like perhaps a small amount of damage can still cost a lot of money. New parts are difficult if not impossible to find and they can be expensive. We charge 35.00 an hour for repairs. This job took a few hours to fix and fortunately had a happy ending.

On the other hand this $2250.00 Great Northern L-1 built by Tenshodo did not fair so well. The owner wrapped it in bubble wrap held with rubber bands and then placed it along with another disassembled engine in a small box. At some point the box suffered enough impact that this engine apparently bounced off of its cab roof. Yet there were no outward signs of abuse to the shipping box.

Brass engines do not need help loosing parts. They do this routinely by simple handling. The damage to this engine is such that repainting should be a part of the repairs. The cost of straightening the parts and putting everything back together as well as stripping and repainting could rapidly build into a very big bill the owner was not planning to encounter.  Unfortunately the carrier was not responsible for this damage.

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Established July 1st, 2009.