Crown Model Products were originally created by Don Stubbs, owner of
Northeast Trains Hobby Shop of Peabody, MA in 1993.
Stubbs developed his own molds and produced both a 40' Woodside Reefer and a 40' Steel Box Car in 'O' gauge.
The cars were assembled in Waltham, MA. The shells were typically fitted with Weaver
trucks and couplers and were offered for 2-rail or 3-rail operation. These cars were scale sized models of 1920's
and 30's prototypes that no other manufacturer had ever produced and they were small enough to appeal to both scale
and traditional operators.
Crown Model Products 'O' scale 40' Woodside Refrigerator Cars
The Crown cars were reasonably priced ($30 to $35 range) and featured nice, crisp graphics.
Each herald name produced was offered in multiple road numbers. Don Stubbs did most of the painting himself, from his facility
located in an old watch factory in Waltham at 241 Crescent Street, Rear. The woodsided reefers were based on the
prototypes that had steel roofs and ends. The reefer models were 10¼" long and had separately applied ladders
on the sides and ends. The steel side box cars were models of early still cars circa 1923-25 era with 6' doors.
The prototypes for these cars were a bit lower than the PS1 or 1937 ARA cars, and were basically the same as a PRR X29.
The Crown models featured separately applied ladders and roof walk, along with other details. These cars
were scale sized. Don Stubbs came up with the idea of producing these two prototypes so that he could sell to both 2-rail
scale, hi-rail and traditional Lionel 'O' gauge operators. A simple swap of the trucks and couplers made them compatible.
The size also matched up well with Lionel's 6464 box cars giving train runners at the time affordable alternatives to
collector priced cars.
Crown Model Products 'O' scale 40' Steel Box Cars
Outside braced wood box cars were eventually added to the line. Stubbs initially partnered with Mike
McCormack, who subsequently bought out the line in 1996. At that time, the company's principal address was registered as
125 Irving St., Framingham, MA 01702. The company's 3 principals on record were listed as Deborah M. McCormack, John J.
Hughes, and Michael T. McCormack. Later production cars came in boxes that bore a street address of 215 California Street,
Newton MA. Crown Model Products was known for producing model freight cars in roadnames that no
one else had ever made. These included names such as Oppenheimer Sausage Casing Co., Hood's Milk, Peerbolte Onion,
Morrell Meats, Post Road Pale Ale, Parrot Brand Potatoes, Suplee-Wills-Jones Gold Medal Milk, Whitling's Milk,
and LaTrobe Brewing Co./Rolling Rock Extra Pale Ale. They even made an outside braced box car in Pacific Electric,
even though P.E. was mostly a traction line, they did have a fleet of passenger cars and some MOW equipment.
Crown Model Products 'O' scale Outside Braced Wood Box Cars
In the late 1990's Crown Model Products made 12 different injection molded plastic woodside reefers
in 'S' gauge. The initial production run had side ladders that were in the wrong location. The molds were fixed for
subsequent production runs. These cars were distributed exclusively by Doug Peck of
Port Lines Hobby Supplies. Besides an undecorated blank, road names
produced included Swift Foods, Central Vermont Milk, Western Pacific Ice Service, Union Refrigerator Transit Bannanas, PFEX,
West India Fruit & Steamship Service, A & P Milk, Stroh's Beer, Schlitz Beer, Hood's Milk, Post Road Ale, Clicquot Club
Beverages and Milwaukee Road. Each was done in 3 different road numbers.
Crown Model Products S scale Woodside Refrigerator Cars
Crown did produce 2 special runs of S scale reefers
for the Train Collector's Association New England (NETCA) Division that were sold direct to the club. The first was a
Berkshire Brewery S scale woodside reefer issued in 2000. The second was a Moxie woodside reefer issued in 2001.
Lionel made 333 each of the 'O' scale versions for the club but the small S scale production
run numbers of 74 and 100 cars were not profitable enough for Lionel. Due to the small production runs of the 2 S gauge
reefers, each year all cars bore the same road number.
Crown and NETCA had established a relationship in 1993, when Lionel had rejected a 300 car run for the
club's annual 'O' gauge New England themed souvenir car. Lionel did agree to provide 6464 box car blanks, and Crown Model
Products, who essentially employed the same pad printing equipment and process as Lionel, handled the decorating. This box
car became NETCA's most desirable car, decorated for the nationally known L.L. Bean Co. of Freeport, Maine. In 1995 Crown
handled the over-stamping of 100 Lionel B&M standard production flat cars, and decoration of another 296 blank flat cars for
NETCA. In 1997, Crown Model Products created a custom run of 350 of their own 'O' scale woodside reefers for NETCA with red
Cliquot Club markings on a yellow car body, representing the famous New England company. Crown also produced this same car
without the NETCA markings as their own product.
For the 1994 Fall S Fest event held in Matteson, IL and organized by the Chicagoland Association
of S Gaugers, Crown Model Products produced an S scale URTX Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific woodside refrigerator
car. Then again in 2000, Crown repeated this Union Refrigerator Transit Lines S scale reefer in 7 road numbers for the
Fall S Fest event held in Waukesha, WI hosted by the Badgerland S Gaugers club, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of both
the club and the show.
The tooling for the 3 'O' scale Crown Model Products cars was acquired by
Weaver in 2000. Weaver's 40' wood sided refrigerator car was based on the former Crown
tooling. It has a Murphy rectangular panel roof and 4/4 ends. The steel box car became Weaver's 40' Steelside
box car. Some Weaver cars can be found with the letters CMP molded on the underside plastic as acquired Crown Model
Products car floors were used in the early Weaver models. In 2000, Buffalo Creek Graphics of Niagra Falls, NY purchased the decorating assets of Crown Model Products
for use in their custom decorated trains division. From 1993 to 2000, most of the custom decorated freight car projects
designed and distributed by Buffalo Creek Graphics were produced on blanks from Crown Model Products (CMP). After the
purchase of the decorating portion of CMP, Buffalo Creek Graphics created and distributed a series of 'O' gauge freight cars
under the 'Crown Model Decorators' name using the same blanks acquired from Weaver.
Crown Model Decorators/Buffalo Creek Graphics 'O' scale Steel Box Cars
Crown Model Products primary contributions to the hobby of scale model train operation were provision of
affordable, unique, popular box cars and refrigerator cars, created with beautiful authentic graphics, and to be the first
to market with these ground breaking items, that have lived on in time. It is believed that with the dissolution of Weaver
that any tooling that they owned in America was obtained by Lionel, and that Lionel, starting in 2017, was showing new
production items made from that original Crown Model Products tooling in their catlaogs.