Hobbyline was a maker of cars and some locos back in the '50s. For the most part, they were a bit oversize in their details I had one of the tankers that recently sold on eBay and the catwalk was really very thick as was the brakewheel post.
-- Why isn't there an Ozone Hole at the NORTH Pole?
"HObbyline" was the plastic / ready-to-run product line from the John English company.
John English made Zamac kits in the 1950's for a very nice PRR A-5s 0-4-0 switcher (essentially similar to the current Bowser PRR 0-4-0), and for a USRA-ish 4-6-2 and a USRA-ish 2-8-2, both of which shared the same boiler casting. English also made kits for a die-cast 60' combine and coach. All of the English Zamac models are notorious for getting the "Zamac disease" and distorting and disintegrating. I have an old Penn-Line "Bride and Groom" electric commuter combine and coach set in plastic which seem to have come from the old English dies.
In the late 1950's English introduced the HObbyline plastic trains in two lines - an operating line which included Alco FA-1 and FM H-10-44 locomotives and 40' flat cars, 40' gondolas, 40' steel box cars, a PRR N-5-ish caboose, and I believe the 60' combine and coach in plastic. These cars all had brass wheels on thick nylon-ish axles in rigid plastic sideframes. The also made a "static" model line with an 0-4-0T tank engine, a PRR A-5s 0-4-0, a NKP S-3 2-8-4, plus freight car kits for the same cars in the operating line plus a tank car, but not including the passenger cars. The static models all had crude wheels / axles could be turned by hand, but would rotate when pulled under the weight of the model. In my experience, the 3 static steamer are fairly common at train shows, the operating line locos and cars rather uncommon, and the static line freight cars more uncommon. Gary Q
For examples, you can visit the "Hobbyline" sub album in my album "Don Dellmann's Stuff" at my Yahoo group,
The "static" models often came with two sets of trucks, so you could run them, although extra weight was needed. Another interesting tidbit, the cars were not painted, but rather molded in the color desired. The "better" cars came with factory imprinted lettering, the later "cheap" cars came with decals.
A very popular aftermarket kit was offered by "Simpson" to power the Berkshire.
They produced an early line of HO plastic freight cars and non-powered plastic steam locomotives. At first they were 'kit' only, but some of the cars were later available RTR. Quality was average for the period, but quite crude by today's standards. The cars had grossly oversized molded-on grabs and roofwalks. The horn-hook couplers had poor springs, and were heavy and crude, even by horn-hook standards.
The steam locos were, IIRC, an 0-4-T and a typical 2-8-4. The Berkshire was a good "roundhouse stuffer". Quality and overall appearance were similar to the later Monogram non-powered steam offerings. A bit later Rivarossi came out with their Berkshire, and it was better looking and more detailed in every way, and powered too (but obviously more expensive).
I suppose the line is now getting into the collectable category, but not greatly so. They show up quite regularly at flea markets, and are not yet expensive. Except for a few kits still around in original boxes, the rick is to recognize them when you find them. Some of the prototypes, like the 4-bay rib side hopper were unique (so far), and worth upgrading.
By chance I recently helped a friend get his old Lionel OO gauge Hudson running again (Wow there is a beautifully built and over designed model - seemed like I was taking a watch apart!!). This friend loaned me a video about the history of the Lionel OO and later HO product lines. The video claims that after the first year of marketing Rivarossi-built trains and the second year of marketing Athearn-built trains, Lionel eventually acquired the old HObbyline dies and that these became the basis of the HO product line Lionel itself manufactured. I'm not sure I saw much HObbyline heritage in the rolling stock illustrated - much of it looked more like HO replicas of their O gauge tinplate products - but the Lionel HO 4-6-2 with smoke and whistle clearly showed its ancestry in the John English HO Pacific - that broadly curved top to the trailing truck is unmistakable. Gary Q