Holgate & Reynolds

Are they still in business?

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I think they are (barely) but they no longer make any brick sheets.
Go to http://groups.google.com/group/rec.models.railroad and search postings for "Holgate Reynolds". You'll find out quite an odd story about their problems.
Peteski
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Peter W. spake thus:

I'm pretty sure their operation was (is?) in Evanston, Ill., where I grew up. Anyone else from around there remember Hobbymodels, on the corner of Davis St. and Chicago Ave.? Great shop, as I remember, and I'm sure they carried H&R stuff.
By the way, it's true, as someone on that earlier thread pointed out, that their sheets had undersized bricks; not quite HO scale. So maybe it's a good thing that crack addict stole their dies ...
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I remember visiting a quite large hobby shop in Chicago waaaaaaaaaaaay back when I was a kid. The particular hobby shop had a layout inside it, and a display of stationary models on the outside - except that one track went from the layout, out onto the display shelves, and back in so that it was just a brief piece of curved track out on the display window shelves. As small as that track was, it would grab people's attention as the train went by on it. I remember the store being a disorganized mess somewhat, but had lots of nice stuff including the layout.
Was that the place?
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com spake thus:

Not sure: Hobbymodels was in Evanston, the first suburb north of Chicago. Any idea where the store you saw was?
There was a rather large layout in the middle of the store, but I don't remember an extension to the outside. But it was a long time ago ...
In any case, it appears that H&R is now in Northbrook.
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No, this is bad. That undersized H0 brick worked quite well in N scale. You know, not everybody in the world models in H0.
Peteski
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Peter W. spake thus:

Yes, I understand that. But wouldn't they be too *big* for N?
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Yes, it was a bit oversacle. But... can you point me to some true- scaled 1:160 scale brick sheets? I think not. So, H&R was the best there was for scratchbuilding in N.
There are some smaller brick sheets available but they don't use the standard staggered pattern. They look odd.
Peteski
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That brick was 1/8" scale. It was originally designed for building models for building designers.
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Jon Miller spake thus:

And as I pointed out elsewhere, Slaters in the UK (makers of the Plasticard line/range) has a much better product in several scales, complete with real-world bricklaying patterns (Flemish bond, English bond, etc.) as opposed to H&R's Lego-like pattern.
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Actually one thing I didn't like about the H&R brick was that it was too regular in its pattern. Every brick was exactly the same size, and exactly lined up over the brick two rows below, and there was no attempt to include the bonding process which bricklayers used. In most older walls where there was no need for decorative appearance, the rows don't align, and there's no effect where you can step back and see vertical lines of brick ends. Not to mention that in the real world, the bricks are laid slightly misaligned in every direction including rotationally, so a brick wall isn't perfectly flat. I don't know how easy it would be with an embossed product like the H&R material to include some irregularity, but whatever might have been possible, they didn't try to do it.
Then there's the question of varied color in a brick wall. I've seen etched brass templates from Britain which have randomly spaced rectangular holes so you can dab paint onto isolated bricks to get lighter or darker bricks. In general, though, we let this aspect of reality go completely.
You can look at brick walls in (for instance) modern office parks and they're quite different, obviously constructed in panels by some sort of mass production process. Every brick is perfectly aligned and the color is consistent. It's simultaneously neater and less interesting than brick used to be.
It's meant to be like this (warning for phone line users--high res image, about 400kb):
http://img341.imageshack.us/img341/2995/brickwalljn4.jpg
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