Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Marx #3771 Diner - Green

Today is Diner Dienstag (DEANS-tahg; German for 'Tuesday') and Toys & Stuff is featuring a classic plastic Marx Diner from the 1950s. In the early 1950s Marx started producing plastic buildings to go with their expanding line of 3-rail O-gauge trains. They had been producing tin-litho trains since the 1920s and even had several tin-litho train related buildings. What they lacked was a cohesive line of structures to complement the trains. After the war, plastic was coming into its own as a medium for toy manufacture and Marx jumped on the bandwagon by producing a myriad of toys in this new material. They started to offer engines and rolling stock in plastic and beginning around 1952, started selling easy to assemble plastic building kits as part of their 'Marxville' line. The buildings - and the trains - were actually closer in size to 'S' gauge (about 1/64 scale) and were totally compatible to Bachman's series of 'Plasticville' structures. But these are just toys and it's no use getting wrapped around the axle regarding scale and gauge. Let's just say they'll look a lot better alongside an American Flyer, Lionel, or Marx train set-up than they will on a HO or N scale model railroad and we'll leave it at that.
The #3771 Diner (also numbered #477) came out in 1954 - at least, that's the earliest reference I have of it in any catalog. The Marx logo is inside the roof and the detachable sign on the roof says: “MARXVILLE DINER”.  It measures 9 ½” (24.1cm) L x 3 7/8” (9.8cm) W x 3” (7.6cm) H and comes in several color variations:
Yellow walls, green roof and trim
Green walls, yellow roof and trim
Red walls, light gray roof and trim
Light gray walls, red roof and trim
Silver-gray walls, red roof and trim
The accessories included with the diner are designated as the Police and Fire Station Accessories, PL 543 mold group and consisted of ten hard plastic items in either red or yellow hard plastic. Although the artwork on the box rear only shows nine accessories, it is safe to assume all ten were included.  (This has been confirmed through multiple eBay sales by original owners). The set consists of:
1.   Lamp post (w/'ASH' street sign)
2.   Street sign (w/'ELM' & 'OAK' street signs)
3.   Parking meter
4.   Police call box
5.   Mail box
6.   ‘FIRE ZONE’ sign
7.   ‘STOP’ sign
8.   Trash can
9.   Bench
10. Fire hydrant
The figures included were all 35mm, cream, soft plastic:
1.   Man wearing overalls
2.   Milkman
3.   Woman w/attached child
4.   Boy roller skating
5.   Girl jumping rope
Although the diner, figures, and accessories are still relatively easy to get, acquiring the whole set with original box is a toughie. I don't like placing value on stuff like this because of fluctuations in collector interest. If you just like diners and don't care about all the odds-&-ends that go with it then perhaps ca$10-$20 for the diner alone would be a good price. HOWEVER, be sure it's complete as often times the fan on the rear wall is missing. Enjoy! Bettina und Fritz Berg :)

                                                                   Wunderbar :)