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Lionel Nation No. 1 DVD
 5 of 5 (2)

Lionel Nation No. 1 DVD TM Books and Video NATION 780484635669
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Hop on board for a fast-paced, action-packed journey to the world of Lionel. See Prewar, Postwar, and Modern Era layouts built by nationally recognized designers and collectors like Clarke Dunham and Chuck Brasher - plus the California State Railroad Museum's Thomas Sefton layout and exhibit.

Hear 75 years of Lionel sounds, from the "Chugger" in 1933 to the latest from rock legend Neil Young's Railsounds. We visit Lionel's new showroom in Manhattan and the Christmas layouts at Macy's, FAO Schwarz, and Grand Central Terminal. We show how new scale Lionel models of legendary locomotives, like the Hiawatha and GG1, compare with Lionel's original toy versions.

Lionel Nation - Great train action, stories, music, and fun. ALL ABOARD!
65 min.

"Packed with fascinating segments for both the Lionel expert and novice. I loved it!"
Erol Gurcan, LCCA's The Lionel Roars

"Lionel Nation" is a DVD that runs about 65 minutes including the credits (which are worth watching) but not including some very entertaining and informative outtakes from their other videos. Tom McComas and his colleagues, most recently including Joe Stachler, have played a seminal role in reviving and nurturing the toy train hobby these last three decades or so.

In the 1970s and 1980s initially by publishing unique and definitive collector's guides, and in recent years issuing videotapes, and now DVDs of ever growing beauty and sophistication. Lionel Nation is one of their best, although they're all worth watching if you like toy trains.

This DVD is visually stunning, leavened with humor, and captures the sights, movement, sounds and color that evoke the essence of toy trains. Only the odors are missing. The program has something for the layout builder, and the prewar, postwar and modern collector or operator in its seven segments.

The first segment is a motion packed, colorful, visual and narrative essay on sound in Lionel toy trains, from the "chugger" of 1993 to Railsounds II in 1994. Lots of detail is given but very memorable and succinct. When Lionel didn't quite make things work well, Jeff McComas's comments are appropriately, if affectionately, critical. I learned quite a bit from this segment that I didn't know, and it didn't hurt at all.

The second segment is a visit to the Tom Sefton Gallery at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento. This enthralling and visually stunning display is captured in all its glory, particularly the specially designed full scale Lionel model replicas housing the displays and decorating the gallery. Standard and O gauge tinplate trains of all makes are featured, though mostly Lionel, and all vintage pre WWII. It is easy to see why the Sefton Gallery and its spectacular layout are the most visited parts of the museum.

The third segment is about Michael Theodorakis's layout, designed and built by the Dunhams, the premier proponents of toy train layouts as theater, and creators of some of the most whimsical and rapturous toy train layouts ever designed. This 20 x 12 layout on multiple levels is a joy for nostalgia fans and toy train accessory aficionados. Dunham Studios' incomparable backdrops are featured and this is a very special layout in many ways, a tribute to Dr. Theodorakis's vision and Dunham Studios creativity and skills.

The fourth segment is "Locos Then and Now" comparing postwar/prewar examples with modern versions of the Hiawatha, Dreyfuss Hudson, ATSF F3, GG1 and Norfolk and Western "J." I don't want anyone to think this is the toy train educational equivalent of a root canal lecture. It's is a lightning paced, beautiful video essay on the art of three rail locomotive design and operation. Most of us don't have these locos and it's a joy to see them in action and discussed concurrently.

The fifth segment will thrill standard gauge fans, particularly collectors and those who operate original Ives and Lionel tinplate. It's a visit to Chuck Brasher's new, greatly enlarged layout with lots of discussion/video of rare trains, accessories and plenty of operation. These are items one will never see outside a museum, and I cannot think of any standard gauge layout I've seen or heard about, other than Richard Kughn's dismantled Carail layout or Terry Johnson's 40 x 40 giant that are remotely comparable.

The sixth segment is practical and illustrates how to set up a simple linear rail line with automatic stopping employing Lionel automatic station stops, and a 253 Signal, employing FasTrack. Joe Stachler walks you through this simple but elegant example of E-unit functionality for your layout, in a way that even wiring novices like myself could successfully implement after watching his 10 minute video.

The seventh segment closes the video, very appropriately, with Lionel's return to New York City and its roots after a many decade absence. In some ways, this segment is my sentimental favorite, as a former New Yorker and lifelong Lionel fan. This is the only way most of us will see Lionel's new offices and showroom, with their gorgeous reproductions of iconic Lionel dealer displays populated with Lionel's current products. Most of us cannot go to NYC to see the layouts built for Lionel by TW Design, and displayed at FAO Schwarz, Grand Central Terminal and Macy's during the Christmas season, but TM Video brings them into our homes in dazzling color and movement. This segment recaptures the 1950s with the glory of Lionel sets of the modern era echoing its history very successfully, as Jerry Calabrese, Lionel's CEO, had hoped when he re-established Lionel's New York presence.

There is a mystique and legacy (pun intended) about Lionel that permeates, and, indeed, is at the heart of the three rail hobby in all its manifestations. This video captures key elements of why that is so. As long as there are folks that love tinplate, E-units, ozone, toy train smell, feel and color, Lionel's name will have a resonance that goes far beyond anything else in model trains, at least in the USA. Simply put, the legions of folks who adore Lionel stuff, whether it's beat up originals from the 1920s or the pristine new stuff with command control, are a good part of what keep this hobby going. And that momentum and those folks' obsession has been fed and to great extent created by Tom McComas and his colleagues for many decades, through fabulous efforts like this Lionel Nation DVD.
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List Price:$ 14.99
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Runtime:1 Hour, 05 Mins ($0.22/min)
Producer:TM Books and Video
Aspect Ratio:Full Screen
DVD UPC:780484635669
Shrink Wrapped?:Yes
Disc Type:DVD
Region Code:0 Worldwide NTSC

  • This producer has been known to change the cover design, so the cover image you see here may differ from the actual product.
Lionel Nation No. 1 DVD
Steamboy (Revere MA US) on 2021-03-09 19:17:54.

  •  5 of 5

On Volume 1, Jeff McComas talks about the History of Lionel sounds, Tom McComas on the Tom Sefton Exhibit at the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento with Real Engines on Display, Joe Stachler on the Layout Of Dr. Mike Theodraukus which was designed by Clarke Dunham, Jeff on Past and Present Comparison models of the Milwaukee Road 4-4-2 Hiawatha, The New York Central Dreyfuss Hudson, the Santa Fe F3, the Pennsylvania Railroad GG1, and the Norfolk & western J, Tom on the Revisit to Chuck Brasher's standard gauge layout, Joe's operating tips on how to add an extra line to your layout, and Jeff talks about Lionel trains in New York City which this segment was shown as a bonus feature on a Lionel Christmas 2.

Additional remarks by Steamboy:
Narration: Just enough.
Would kids enjoy this? Yes.
Image quality: Excellent!
DVD Value: Good Value
Recommend to others? Definitely.

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Lionel Nation No. 1 DVD
Joretta Dotson (Hot Springs Ar 71901) on 2011-04-19 20:02:51.

  •  5 of 5

I bought this for a 9 year old real Train Nut. I thought it was good and he will love it. Cannot Speak for others. I am interested in the 2nd in this series.

Additional remarks by Joretta Dotson:
Narration: Just enough.
Would kids enjoy this? Maybe.
Image quality: Excellent!
DVD Value: Good Value
Recommend to others? Not unless they REALLY were interested in the subject matter.

Did you find this review useful?