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Frank
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« on: August 09, 2004, 01:22:40 PM »

It goes without saying that 1) Anachronisms abound in this film; and 2) regardless of this, GBU is still fantastic.

Obviously this could be a long list, but here are three anachronisms beyond mere props that fill out a scene but involve an integral part of the plot:

1)  Firearms issues.   You don't have to be a gun nut to know that at the time of the civil war, repeating shot pistols and rifles were rare and certainly not available in the number and diverse models that Tuco used to assemble his revolver.

2)  Dynamite.  Nobel invented this stuff in 1866, one year after the civil war ended and atleast a couple years after Bondie and Tuco used it to blow the bridge.

3)  Half tone photography.  Do I remember this correctly that the wanted photos of Tuco were printed?  It wasn't until the 1890s that this process was introduced.  

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« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2004, 03:04:23 PM »

It goes without saying that 1) Anachronisms abound in this film; and 2) regardless of this, GBU is still fantastic.

Obviously this could be a long list, but here are three anachronisms beyond mere props that fill out a scene but involve an integral part of the plot:

1)  Firearms issues.   You don't have to be a gun nut to know that at the time of the civil war, repeating shot pistols and rifles were rare and certainly not available in the number and diverse models that Tuco used to assemble his revolver.

2)  Dynamite.  Nobel invented this stuff in 1866, one year after the civil war ended and atleast a couple years after Bondie and Tuco used it to blow the bridge.

3)  Half tone photography.  Do I remember this correctly that the wanted photos of Tuco were printed?  It wasn't until the 1890s that this process was introduced.  
i tend to place into catogory of suspension of disbelief.

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« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2004, 04:19:10 PM »


2) Could be explained if  Tuco had invented dynamite.


In which case we should have the Tuco peace prize award each year.

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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2004, 04:45:14 PM »


2) Could be explained if  Tuco had invented dynamite.


In which case we should have the Tuco peace prize award each year.
I second that notion, my friend. Wink

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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2004, 08:46:04 PM »

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Au contraire mes amis......

1.Black Powder Conversion History

This page is (with permission) largely based on a chapter of the
"Blue Book of Modern
Black Powder Values™" Second Edition. By Dennis Adler
     
               
    There is an undeniable romance about Colt and Remington cartridge conversions that seems to fascinate more collectors, enthusiasts and filmmakers today than the legendary 1873 Colt Single Action Army, regarded by many as the gun that won the west. While history loves that story, and filmmakers love it even more, the truth is that cartridge conversions of Colt and Remington percussion pistols, either built by the factory or rebuilt by a gunsmith, represented the majority of revolvers that went west in the early 1870s.
     
     The first American self -contained cartridge was the .22 caliber rimfire-the same round used today in millions of .22 pistols and rifles. Patented by Smith & Wesson in August 1854, the little .22 rimfire was essentially an elongated percussion cap containing the powder charge and ball. Unfortunately for Messrs. Smith and Wesson, they could not produce a revolver to fire their new bullet until the Colt patent on the mechanically rotating cylinder design expired in 1857.
   During the three years that S&W was waiting for the Colt patent to expire, they acquired the rights to the Rollin White patent for the bored through cylinder. Thus beginning in 1857, Colt's could not produce a breech loading cartridge-firing revolver for more than a decade, until 1869 when the Rollin White patent expired. Nor for that matter, could any other gunmaker in the United States. Nevertheless, there were countless patent infringements during the Civil War by small gunmakers, particularly Manhattan Fire Arms Manufacturing Co., of Newark, New Jersey, which produced several cartridge-firing models in the early 1860s. These, among others, either made in the U.S. or imported from Europe (where the S&W and White patents had no legality), put thousands of cartridge-firing pistols into the hands of both Union and Confederate soldiers during the War Between the States.    
      However, neither Colt nor Remington infringed upon the S&W and White patent until it expired on April 3, 1869. They did however experiment with several designs. The cap-and-ball cartridge conversion was a significant step forward for Colt (if one discounts stumbling over the Alexander Thuer conversion) in the post-Rollin White era. Beginning in 1869, Colt, Remington, et al. were in the cartridge conversion business, a transitional period that lasted only a few years but produced some of the most desirable and collectible guns of the 19th century.
    Colt's first new model was the 1871-72 Open Top, which was essentially a factory-redesign of the 1860 Army, followed in 1873 by the legendary Colt Peacemaker. 1n 1873 the price of the new Colt SAA was in the range of $12.00, much mote than the average western pilgrim could afford. In contrast, for less than $5.00 a Civil War issue percussion revolver could be sent back to Colt or Remington and converted to fire metallic cartridges. And a local gunsmith could probably have done it for even less. (This was brilliantly portrayed in Tom Selleck's film Last Stand at Saber River).
    The 1858 Remington New Model Army appears to have been the first percussion revolver converted to fire a metallic cartridge, produced by Remington in 1868-69 (while the White patent was still in effect) and converted to chamber five .46 caliber rimfire cartridges. Later versions were converted to six-shot .44 caliber centerfire, and the New Model Navy to .36 and then .38 caliber.
   These factory conversions remained in production until the new Remington Model 1875 Single Action Army was introduced, the gun that would give the Colt Peacemaker and Smith & Wesson models their greatest sales competition throughout the 1870s and 1880s. After White's patent had expired, Colt's was quick to enter the field of bored through cylinder metallic cartridge revolver manufacture. Contrary to popular belief, conversions of percussion arms to the bored through cylinder were not the first of the post Rollin White cartridge arms to be made by Colt's. Although the Cloverleaf and Open Top revolvers were marketed initially in 1871, Colt's did not complete any quantity production of the bored through cylinder conversions until 1872, the first being the C.B. Richards alteration of the Model 1860 Army," [followed by the improved Richards Type II, and newer Richard-Mason versions].
    Cartridge conversions were available for most Colt percussion models produced from 1860 on. Field conversions by individual gunsmiths also accounted for a considerable number of cartridge firing cap and ball models seen in the last year of the Civil War and throughout the 1870s. Says Wilson, "Colt's records indicate a total of 46, 100 pistols having been converted by the factory...thousands more were done in the field by gunsmiths. In the 1870s, there was a growing demand for cartridge conversions following the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 and the post-Civil War opening of the Wild West. The Colt [and Remington] revolver in the hands of sheriffs, marshals, outlaws, gunfighters, Wells Fargo agents, cowboys, ranchers, miners, sodbusters, and Indians was quickly enshrined in American folklore."

 

   Today, Colt and Remington cartridge conversions are as popular among collectors, shooters, filmmakers and re-enactors as they were among frontiersmen in the 1870s. In particular, demand for reproductions of the Colt 1851 Navy, 1860 Army, and 1858 Remington cartridge conversion has risen in the last five years. Though less likely to get a shooter into the top categories in Cowboy Action Shooting, (the SAA is simply better suited for most SASS events) the cap-and-ball conversions still have a respectable presence at shooting matches. Moreover, collectors are drawn to them because cartridge conversions appear more often in period westerns, both on television and on the big screen.
   Much of this newfound admiration can be attributed to the appearance of cartridge conversion pistols in movies starring Clint Eastwood and Tom Selleck, both of whom have a penchant for accuracy in their period firearms.

 

Unlike Colt conversions, the early Remington ejector rod was not spring loaded, and it had to be retracted manually after pushing each shell casing out of the chamber. This little oddity adds even more authenticity to some of the best custom conversions, although the majority of factory conversions were delivered without the ejector rod until Remington started producing the .44 caliber conversion, . The time that elapsed between the original Colt's design and the first Remington revolvers of 1858 allowed for improvements in the design of the frame, loading lever, and cylinder.overall, a Remington is easier to load, and easier to convert to fire metallic cartridges.

 

Why Remingtons Make The Best Cartridge Conversions

The folks in Ilion, New York, knew what they were doing when they designed the Remington 1858 New Model Army. It was stronger and better built than the Colt open-top design that had been around since the 1830s. The fixed barrel was an improvement, the topstrap made it more durable, and the cylinder could be changed out in a matter of seconds without taking the gun apart. That made the Remington .44 a better sidearm during the Civil War than a Colt. When it came to making the first cartridge conversion, Remington also had a better solution-a replaceable two-piece, bored through cylinder with a I removable backplate. These were offered for the smaller-caliber Pocket, Police and Rider revolvers, which could be easily converted from cap-and-ball to rimfire metallic cartridge by changing the cylinder. A number of British patents for similar designs also appeared in the 1860s, principally those of J. Adams in 1861 and W. Tranter in 1865. Eli Whimey Jr. also patented a two-piece cylinder design in 1866, but Remington went to market with a two-piece cylinder of their own design in the early 1870s, allowing their percussion models to be loaded either way.

 


2.

They could possibly have been black powder sticks, my friends..... much like very big fire crackers invented in China quite a while ago, now they would have been around a very long time.

Notice the box is labled explosives not Dynamite.


3. You may be right on the posters but with Leone spot on with most everything else its hard to imagine he'd slip up somewhere, no?

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KERMIT
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« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2004, 12:31:32 AM »

I'm Back....

Au contraire mes amis......

1.Black Powder Conversion History

This page is (with permission) largely based on a chapter of the
"Blue Book of Modern
Black Powder Values™" Second Edition. By Dennis Adler
     
               
    There is an undeniable romance about Colt and Remington cartridge conversions that seems to fascinate more collectors, enthusiasts and filmmakers today than the legendary 1873 Colt Single Action Army, regarded by many as the gun that won the west. While history loves that story, and filmmakers love it even more, the truth is that cartridge conversions of Colt and Remington percussion pistols, either built by the factory or rebuilt by a gunsmith, represented the majority of revolvers that went west in the early 1870s.
     
     The first American self -contained cartridge was the .22 caliber rimfire-the same round used today in millions of .22 pistols and rifles. Patented by Smith & Wesson in August 1854, the little .22 rimfire was essentially an elongated percussion cap containing the powder charge and ball. Unfortunately for Messrs. Smith and Wesson, they could not produce a revolver to fire their new bullet until the Colt patent on the mechanically rotating cylinder design expired in 1857.
   During the three years that S&W was waiting for the Colt patent to expire, they acquired the rights to the Rollin White patent for the bored through cylinder. Thus beginning in 1857, Colt's could not produce a breech loading cartridge-firing revolver for more than a decade, until 1869 when the Rollin White patent expired. Nor for that matter, could any other gunmaker in the United States. Nevertheless, there were countless patent infringements during the Civil War by small gunmakers, particularly Manhattan Fire Arms Manufacturing Co., of Newark, New Jersey, which produced several cartridge-firing models in the early 1860s. These, among others, either made in the U.S. or imported from Europe (where the S&W and White patents had no legality), put thousands of cartridge-firing pistols into the hands of both Union and Confederate soldiers during the War Between the States.    
      However, neither Colt nor Remington infringed upon the S&W and White patent until it expired on April 3, 1869. They did however experiment with several designs. The cap-and-ball cartridge conversion was a significant step forward for Colt (if one discounts stumbling over the Alexander Thuer conversion) in the post-Rollin White era. Beginning in 1869, Colt, Remington, et al. were in the cartridge conversion business, a transitional period that lasted only a few years but produced some of the most desirable and collectible guns of the 19th century.
    Colt's first new model was the 1871-72 Open Top, which was essentially a factory-redesign of the 1860 Army, followed in 1873 by the legendary Colt Peacemaker. 1n 1873 the price of the new Colt SAA was in the range of $12.00, much mote than the average western pilgrim could afford. In contrast, for less than $5.00 a Civil War issue percussion revolver could be sent back to Colt or Remington and converted to fire metallic cartridges. And a local gunsmith could probably have done it for even less. (This was brilliantly portrayed in Tom Selleck's film Last Stand at Saber River).
    The 1858 Remington New Model Army appears to have been the first percussion revolver converted to fire a metallic cartridge, produced by Remington in 1868-69 (while the White patent was still in effect) and converted to chamber five .46 caliber rimfire cartridges. Later versions were converted to six-shot .44 caliber centerfire, and the New Model Navy to .36 and then .38 caliber.
   These factory conversions remained in production until the new Remington Model 1875 Single Action Army was introduced, the gun that would give the Colt Peacemaker and Smith & Wesson models their greatest sales competition throughout the 1870s and 1880s. After White's patent had expired, Colt's was quick to enter the field of bored through cylinder metallic cartridge revolver manufacture. Contrary to popular belief, conversions of percussion arms to the bored through cylinder were not the first of the post Rollin White cartridge arms to be made by Colt's. Although the Cloverleaf and Open Top revolvers were marketed initially in 1871, Colt's did not complete any quantity production of the bored through cylinder conversions until 1872, the first being the C.B. Richards alteration of the Model 1860 Army," [followed by the improved Richards Type II, and newer Richard-Mason versions].
    Cartridge conversions were available for most Colt percussion models produced from 1860 on. Field conversions by individual gunsmiths also accounted for a considerable number of cartridge firing cap and ball models seen in the last year of the Civil War and throughout the 1870s. Says Wilson, "Colt's records indicate a total of 46, 100 pistols having been converted by the factory...thousands more were done in the field by gunsmiths. In the 1870s, there was a growing demand for cartridge conversions following the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 and the post-Civil War opening of the Wild West. The Colt [and Remington] revolver in the hands of sheriffs, marshals, outlaws, gunfighters, Wells Fargo agents, cowboys, ranchers, miners, sodbusters, and Indians was quickly enshrined in American folklore."

 

   Today, Colt and Remington cartridge conversions are as popular among collectors, shooters, filmmakers and re-enactors as they were among frontiersmen in the 1870s. In particular, demand for reproductions of the Colt 1851 Navy, 1860 Army, and 1858 Remington cartridge conversion has risen in the last five years. Though less likely to get a shooter into the top categories in Cowboy Action Shooting, (the SAA is simply better suited for most SASS events) the cap-and-ball conversions still have a respectable presence at shooting matches. Moreover, collectors are drawn to them because cartridge conversions appear more often in period westerns, both on television and on the big screen.
   Much of this newfound admiration can be attributed to the appearance of cartridge conversion pistols in movies starring Clint Eastwood and Tom Selleck, both of whom have a penchant for accuracy in their period firearms.

 

Unlike Colt conversions, the early Remington ejector rod was not spring loaded, and it had to be retracted manually after pushing each shell casing out of the chamber. This little oddity adds even more authenticity to some of the best custom conversions, although the majority of factory conversions were delivered without the ejector rod until Remington started producing the .44 caliber conversion, . The time that elapsed between the original Colt's design and the first Remington revolvers of 1858 allowed for improvements in the design of the frame, loading lever, and cylinder.overall, a Remington is easier to load, and easier to convert to fire metallic cartridges.

 

Why Remingtons Make The Best Cartridge Conversions

The folks in Ilion, New York, knew what they were doing when they designed the Remington 1858 New Model Army. It was stronger and better built than the Colt open-top design that had been around since the 1830s. The fixed barrel was an improvement, the topstrap made it more durable, and the cylinder could be changed out in a matter of seconds without taking the gun apart. That made the Remington .44 a better sidearm during the Civil War than a Colt. When it came to making the first cartridge conversion, Remington also had a better solution-a replaceable two-piece, bored through cylinder with a I removable backplate. These were offered for the smaller-caliber Pocket, Police and Rider revolvers, which could be easily converted from cap-and-ball to rimfire metallic cartridge by changing the cylinder. A number of British patents for similar designs also appeared in the 1860s, principally those of J. Adams in 1861 and W. Tranter in 1865. Eli Whimey Jr. also patented a two-piece cylinder design in 1866, but Remington went to market with a two-piece cylinder of their own design in the early 1870s, allowing their percussion models to be loaded either way.

 


2.

They could possibly have been black powder sticks, my friends..... much like very big fire crackers invented in China quite a while ago, now they would have been around a very long time.

Notice the box is labled explosives not Dynamite.


3. You may be right on the posters but with Leone spot on with most everything else its hard to imagine he'd slip up somewhere, no?
c/j, just curious. if you'd been alive, say in 1875-60, what would have been your choice for the nost effective 6 shot revolver on the open market ?
kermit

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« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2004, 01:36:24 AM »

You guys in the NRA or something? Some serious gun fascination in these parts... is one of you guys really Charlton Heston?  Wink

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« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2004, 05:30:18 PM »

Lol, no, no, its really a part of the culture here in most of the interior of North America.

What I posted is just the tip of a very big iceberg. I've seen articles that go on and on and on to the point of ridiculousness about cartridge loads and how many grains of powder do what and muzzle velocities and bullet shape etc., etc. Some people can get very anal about the minutest details.

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« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2004, 06:12:26 PM »

I'm not sure but I thnk Cigar Joe's long clip about revolvers and ammunition and patents there on seem to support that my contention (and I'm not an expert) that the variety and style of guns displayed in the gun shop were more true to the 1870s than the Civil War.

Re:  Black powder sticks.  In The Horse Soldiers, the Union forces blow a bridge but use kegs of black powder to do so.  Again I'm not a an expert but I do not think that black powder in stick form would have had sufficient power to blow up a bridge.  I'm sure it would be more akin to M-80s firecrackers.  Otherwise, why would dynatmite have been invented?  I do like the idea of the Tuco Peace Prize, though.

To broaden the categories, and this has been discussed before, but I don't think there were in the West, even by a vast stretch of imagination, battles of the scope and tactics depicted in this film.  But this is not technically an anachronism.

Who said Leone was so careful?  I think he was a movie maker more concerned about filming new takes on the legendary tales of American Western Films (themselves not too strict on anachronisms) than he was on this issue or realism.  As an example (in OUTW or FFDM) he would apply some cowling or paint to European locomotives and rolling stock, but they are clearly not American.


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« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2004, 06:31:36 PM »

Who said Leone was so careful?  I think he was a movie maker more concerned about filming new takes on the legendary tales of American Western Films (themselves not too strict on anachronisms) than he was on this issue or realism.  As an example (in OUTW or FFDM) he would apply some cowling or paint to European locomotives and rolling stock, but they are clearly not American.




Yes, you're right. But Leone knew what was authentic, he was quite the geek when it came to historical details. He just abandonded authenticism in favor of what looked and felt cool every time. Christopher Frayling touches upon this in his book.  

Nevertheless, I found the information Cigar Joe relayed very interesting and fun to read.  

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« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2004, 08:30:26 PM »

Kermit If I was alive at that time I think the break top S&W would have had the easy re-loading advantage though they were not as available as the Colts & Remmingtons.

Quote
I'm not sure but I thnk Cigar Joe's long clip about revolvers and ammunition and patents there on seem to support that my contention (and I'm not an expert) that the variety and style of guns displayed in the gun shop were more true to the 1870s than the Civil War.

No, no, no, there were a lot more small companys about that produced some weird arms right before the Civil War, pepper boxes, and whatnot, the war increased the demand for mass production and a lot of the small companies fell by the wayside.

Quote
Re:  Black powder sticks.  In The Horse Soldiers, the Union forces blow a bridge but use kegs of black powder to do so.  Again I'm not a an expert but I do not think that black powder in stick form would have had sufficient power to blow up a bridge.  I'm sure it would be more akin to M-80s firecrackers.  Otherwise, why would dynatmite have been invented?  I do like the idea of the Tuco Peace Prize, though.


I think the mining & tunneling industries came up with the powdersticks, drilling horizontal holes to blast  the face of tunnels that was the way to get powder in the holes. They'd just ram them in. It would be tough trying to pour blackpowder into a horizontal drill hole from a barrel no? Of course they switched to dynamite when it became available.

Quote
To broaden the categories, and this has been discussed before, but I don't think there were in the West, even by a vast stretch of imagination, battles of the scope and tactics depicted in this film.  But this is not technically an anachronism.

You are right here, the trench warfare took place in Virginia not out west and there were no huge coastal cannon and siege guns in the west. If anything just field cannon 6-12 pounders at most.

Quote
As an example (in OUTW or FFDM) he would apply some cowling or paint to European locomotives and rolling stock, but they are clearly not American.

Here I'll have to respectively disagree, the end result of the camoflauging of euro steam created a strangely effective suggestion of some of off beat locomotives that again were manufactured during the early period of steam locomotion. The six foot gauge was used in not only Texas but also in New York and other states.

If you are used to watching a lot of American movie and TV  Westerns a lot of the Locomotives depicted were the same 044 American and Pacific's almost like stock footage. I believe I read that "The Wild Wild West" and "Petticoat Junction" used the same engine and also other programs. But there were in reality many types of steam locomotives a lot of narow gauge and geared engines were used in logging country as an example.





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« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2004, 10:30:27 PM »

Joe,

The buffer plates on the European rolling stock were never used in America, and I don't think they were used before the late 19th century in Europe.  Also the two wheel trucks (wheels under the carriages) were not used in the west.   The roadbed quality was such that only a four wheel truck could minimize the number of derailments that would flow from a single axel wheel set.

As a sort of related aside, there is a famous photograph of the golden spike ceremony which pictures two locomotives in 1869 when the UP and CP railroads met in Utah.  You can see that not all locomotives of the era had diamond stacks.  I recall in my 10th grade American History text this photo appeared but was edited to white out the liquor/champagne bottles being held out  by crewmen standing on the cow catchers of the two engines.  Always made me wonder what other history was so blatently modified for my consumption.   Now days whole sections of important history is left out to make room for minor footnote personages who meet our current gender or ethnic quotas.  

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« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2004, 05:15:01 AM »

Quote
Joe,

The buffer plates on the European rolling stock were never used in America, and I don't think they were used before the late 19th century in Europe.  Also the two wheel trucks (wheels under the carriages) were not used in the west.  The roadbed quality was such that only a four wheel truck could minimize the number of derailments that would flow from a single axel wheel set.

As a sort of related aside, there is a famous photograph of the golden spike ceremony which pictures two locomotives in 1869 when the UP and CP railroads met in Utah.  You can see that not all locomotives of the era had diamond stacks.  I recall in my 10th grade American History text this photo appeared but was edited to white out the liquor/champagne bottles being held out  by crewmen standing on the cow catchers of the two engines.  Always made me wonder what other history was so blatently modified for my consumption.  Now days whole sections of important history is left out to make room for minor footnote personages who meet our current gender or ethnic quotas.  



Frank you are right about the buffer plates and diamond stacks. Early eastern steam carriges had two wheel trucks don't know when the switch was made to four. There were however some bizzare looking engines about If I recall the "Texas" in the famous Civil War locomotive chase with the "General" was a 420 just one set of driver wheels. Some early steam had tilted cylinders too. Look at some Civil War photos of the Atlanta Rail Yards and you will see some examples.

On a side note I allways thought Mortons rail car was a Pullman but it was a very well disguised european make that had 4 wheel trucks, fooled me. I think Pullmans had 6

In A Bullet for the General there was a very Prussian- Deutsche Reichsbahn looking engine with a red painted front and three headlights, but I could rationalize that away with it being Mexico and it at the time was being courted by Germany so they very well might have had a few German engines running about

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« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2004, 05:02:18 PM »

Cigar Joe,

Clearly we've now delved into a small niche -- rail/spagetti western fans!  We can let it die here, I guess.

Frank

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« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2004, 05:34:23 PM »

Only if no one else picks it up and runs with it, lol.

I've been a railfan and steam fan since I was on a train trip to Washington DC  in the 50's "twilight of steam" and was impressed and scared by the loud belching monsters that loomed past the car windows.

Got some cool pics of two "fireless cooker" a 040 Porter's in a tie plant in Sommers Montana just before it got shut down.

It would be interesting to see some set directors sketches of how they did the Spanish steam conversions.

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