Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Very Model of Ephemera

Normally I wouldn't categorize models as ephemeral - they're not meant to be thrown away (far from!) and they're usually made of structurally sound components (for a model) like plastic or metal.  But on my last trip to our local antique mall (sniff) I encountered this box and when I opened it I KNEW I had to have it.  It didn't hurt that it was 20% off!

Isn't it SO cool?  What's even better is that the entire contents of the box, which are all intact, consists of paper.  It was put out by a company called Wm. K. Walthers, Inc. from right in Milwaukee - so it's local, too! And the company is still in business!!  I was very happy to see that.  This product is copyrighted 1960.

The box says that the models are for HO Scale model railroads, but they appear smaller than that.  That made it even more appealing!  Check out the "bricks" for the building exterior:  They're REALLY tiny!  It's hard to tell from the photo but the paper is essentially just that heavy construction paper.  I have four sheets in various colors.  I love these!

Here's something else about the kit that I love - these tiny "signs".  Because the product is made in Milwaukee, of course you're going to include Schlitz and Blatz beer signs, Oscar Meyer (headquartered in Madison) and G. Heilemann Brewing Co. from La Crosse (former makers of Old Style).  It's a little model railroad nod to the great mid-century companies of Wisconsin!

The instructions are equally fabulous.  I love that they allow the builder to configure the buildings more than one way - flat top, gable front, peak roof, false front with porch, etc.  The box includes enough cardboard cutouts for up to three buildings, depending on how they're created.  The cardboard in my kit is perfectly flat - actually, all of the materials are in perfect condition, which leads me to believe that wherever they were stored for the last 50 years was a cool, dry space.  There is no buckling whatsoever, which I consider miraculous.

Now for the $64,000 question - will I be using this kit?  ABSOLUTELY.  I already have plans for it.  I think it was waiting for me all of these years to come along and liberate the cardboard from its box.  And when I'm done, I'll post photos.  I don't know if I'll be using the signage (I have other plans for that), and the buildings may be doctored a little, but I hope I can do them justice.  It would be an honor to make something artful out of this wonderful little kit.  Stay tuned!


  1. Good Morning Mel! What a great find! I'm sure you are going to create a lot of cool projects--there are so many pieces to use.

    I finally figured out how to get back on your blog--my son showed me I had to click the "compatibility" icon and wa-la that was it!

    Happy day.

  2. Hi Patty! :D Thanks so much for commenting! I am really excited to use these - I hope that what I create uses the materials to their full potential. I'll post photos when I'm done! :D