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JustTom
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Hi guys,

I still peruse around usenet a bit (am I dating myself here?), and on the scale modelling newsgroup, someone posted yesterday that there is a new kit available that came from the molds of the original 1950's kit.

http://www.muleteamkits.com/

The site indicates it is 1/67, but the scale group insisted it is 1/48.

They also sell borax "ore" to fill your hoppers.  They indicate that the ore will not cause shorting problems, but can coat rail with dust that when wiped off will clean the rail.   Neat.


I know some of you (most?) are western type folks, so thought this might be of interest.  Maybe you can't add a death valley route to your layout, but I'm sure those hard working mules could be persuaded to haul something else in other locales.

tom

Herb Kephart
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Of course you realize that with on board batteries and R/C the borax dust need not be wiped off the rail--quite the opposite, it would be beneficial as added traction!



Herb:old dude:

W C Greene
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Over the years, I have heard that the 20 mule team kit was 1:64, 1:40, yadda yadda...I can assure you that according to the size of the human figures, it is 1:48 scale. I had a kit when I was a kid, ordered from the back of a borax box...cost 1 buck. Some years back, I acquired 2 kits one of which was in the original shipping box from the 1950's. I used the mule skinners and other guys on my On20 layout, a couple of the mules also. The wagons were too large for what I had, so they became kitbash fodder and the water tanks became tank cars for the railroad. Now that I am in a larger scale, the wagon parts are a better size and the mules are burros/donkeys. Not too long ago, collectors (read numbnuts) were paying 50 bucks & more for a kit...I am glad that the kit is back, that may render the shelf store bozos with a lower price for their "investment". What goes around, comes around.

                 Woodie

BTW-if anyone wants to build this like it is, be prepared to have a model that is about 3 feet long...you need one heckuva scene for that!

madmike3434
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Thats a great looking kit with lots of parts to paint and assemble. Too bad one could not blow up the picture of the team to get a better view of it, unless i missed a better picture somewhere. I would be reluctant to purchase the item without getting a better quality picture set to look at.  Heck seller has his own website and needs to utilize his site better.

  Even tho its fairly long ( the team ) it would be narrow enough it looks like,  to just take up about the width of rail road trackage with a car..maybe 6--7--8 scale foot wide. ?? Thats not a lot of space to give up. It could be used in the foreground as an attraction or sitting on a back elevated section, maybe even crossing a distant wooden trestle bridge.

Anybody got a good picture of the set to post to this thread ???

mike

MinerFortyNiner
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I got one of the vintage kits, and based on the instruction illustrations on the website, this is the same tooling. The quality of the parts is not great, but with some patience and careful assembly a nice model can be done. I haven't built mine, but have seen some of the wagons which look great.

The kit is indeed 1/48, as Woodie indicated.

The real trick with this model is capturing the mules and their harnesses/traces. That will be a bit of a challenge.

W C Greene
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Verne-those are some big wagons, but that's how it is. I have seen the real ones and the models are right on. In my scale, the parts get a bit closer to my tastes and the mules become nice burros. I have one of the old instruction sheets with Ronald Reagan's photo, remember that he was one of the "Death Valley Days" hosts. That old show is now on a "History of TV" station along with "Wagon Train", "Wanted Dead or Alive", and my favorite-"Have Gun..Will Travel". How about building that old kit, it would look great on your layout!

                    Woodie

MinerFortyNiner
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I used to love those old shows, I also liked 'The Rifleman' and 'Branded'.

I hope to build this up, it's one of many projects on hold awaiting more hobby time.

:cb:

Bhenning2
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Hello Woodie,
you said you have seen the real 20 mule team Borax wagons. Are they really blue like the original model? i just bought one of the original models and it appears as if the wagons are blue and the frames are red. A few other parts are black or silver.
any info would be helpful.

thanks,
Brian

W C Greene
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Howdy Brian..the old wagons I remember seeing were weathered wood with rusty brown metal parts. I suppose they could have been painted up but that's what I saw. There were rusty "tires" on the wheels. If you model the wagons "at work", they would have a heavy coating of dust & grime from the alkali flats. How's that?
Woodie

Bhenning2
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Thanks Woodie,
i did find old picture which looked like what you described but there was a hint of blue showing so maybe the model is close.
Thanks again,

Brian

johnnie58
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To the fella  and the 20 mule team:-Just as a point of interest up in northern New South Wales in Australia there was a 24 horse stage coach running to about 1924.I have no idea if there are any pics of it but if there is I will try and post some if anybody's interested,or if there are any long ones post pics of it.

                                     Fuzzface:old dude:.

writer1991
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From a newbie  -  -  -  I remembered getting a 20-mule team kit as a child; Dad and I put it together.  Obviously, I don't recall the scale, nor do I remember what became of it over the years.

However, on a recent trip through the west on railroad business, I passed through the town of Boron and saw the signs pertaining to the Borax museum.  It was late in the evening, but I made a note to myself to visit the museum on the next trip.

A month later, and in the daylight hours, I entered the museum and was stepping up to the elderly lady behind the counter to ask if she remembered the plastic kits when the boxes of them caught my eye.  She explained that they were copies (only better detail and plastic) than the originals from years ago.  I bought two of them.

I see a thread on one of the messages relating to a guy who sells them, and I have no qualms with anyone who does so, but being a supporter of any legitimate museum over a retailer, I thought I would post this message to give anyone the opportunity to help out a wothwhile museum which operates mainly (I think) on donations.

Unfortunately, I don't have their mailing address or phone number, but if you ever become interested in obtaining a 20-mule team kit, the museum should not be difficult to locate.

Jim Hightower

  

 

Last edited on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 01:11 pm by

hicountryscratcher
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  I too have seen the real borax wagons and Woddie is correct they were weathered wood , and  HUGE !

 

   Dave

kneighbarger
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The kits are available at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center in Death Valley.
I didn't check the price, because I bought 2 from the Boron museum a couple
of years ago. But they have a shelf full as of 2 weeks ago........:2t:

Last edited on Mon Dec 24th, 2012 12:36 am by kneighbarger

W C Greene
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Glad that they are still around. You know, the models work as well in 1:35/1:32 scale as in 1:48 scale. The large wagons look fine in the larger scale and even the mules can become "20 burro" teams. Just a new muleskinner and a couple of other rubes and you have it. The 2 old kits I found have Ronald Regan and the "Old Prospector" as spokesman for DVDays on the instruction sheets. I used to watch Death Valley Days each week on our old Philco B&W TV and ordered a kit, which was (I believe) $1.00 plus postage & handling.

Woodie

kneighbarger
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I'll have to dig out my instructions and see who might make an apperance.
The first two photos are from Death Valley Borax Works in July (122 degrees that day).





The next four are from the display at the Boron Mine. Colors look familiar.....
Ken






kneighbarger
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Here  is a photo of a painting in the Boron, CA. museum......



Herb Kephart
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What's going on there?

Looks like some of them mules is goin on strike, and headin out on their own?

Herb 

mabloodhound
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Herb Kephart wrote: What's going on there?

Looks like some of them mules is goin on strike, and headin out on their own?

Herb 

Nope, that's one of the tricks of driving a 20 mule team.   While the front of the team follows the trail, the rear has to continue straight to get those wagons up the grade.   If they all followed the trail the wagons would eventually tip over.  Same on any curves.
Quite a job driving one of those teams and those mules had to be specially trained for each of their positions.

W C Greene
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Dave is right, driving a mule train was indeed a "man's job". One of my books has diagrams of how this was done, imagine working up a switchback road on the side of a mountain-no wonder those old dudes got plenty drunk at the nearest cantina! And they call sitting at a computer "work"...

Woodrow

Kitbash0n30
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JustTom wrote: Hi guys,

I still peruse around usenet a bit (am I dating myself here?), and on the scale modelling newsgroup, someone posted yesterday that there is a new kit available that came from the molds of the original 1950's kit.

http://www.muleteamkits.com/

It's right there on that website

SWINGING THE TEAM AROUND CURVES It was relatively easy to drive the 20 Mule Team along a straight road. However, swinging a curve in a mountain pass or over rough terrain presented a real test of driver and team. Sections of the 20 Mule Team were chosen and trained to perform special jobs. As the team started around a sharp curve, the chain tended to be pulled into a straight line between the lead mules and the wagon. Therefore, in order to keep the chain going around the curve, some of the span of mules were ordered to leap the chain and pull at an angle away from the curve. (see below) These mules the "pointers," the "sixes," and the "eights" would step along sideways until the corner had been turned.The Total Team Of Mules Swinging a curve successfully was a real demonstration of the training and intelligence of the mules as well as the skill of the driver


Herb Kephart
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Well GOLL--LEE

A feller could larn all kind of stuff around here if he warn't careful.

Herb 

W C Greene
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Probably staging the wagons being hauled up a switchback might be the only way to display this model since it is over 3' long when set up "as directed". Now, who will be the first to do this? Nope, it ain't me...but who knows?

Woodrow

chasv
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i got some b & w pictures from death valley from about and they looked the sam as the color ones mine were taken in about 1965

derailed
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What a cool thread! Starting to date myself here, but one of my earliest memories back around 1963 or so as a kid was the Borax Mule Team, my dad had a set down in our basement, many a time I'd think about that and go looking but never did find it...going to have to search a model out now..another project added to the list! Very neat though...thanks for the info guys...

Buck
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Hey all, to give you an idea on how the 20 mule team might have worked go look up the Budweiser Clydesdale's, and not just the superbowl commercials. I saw a team of 6 do a demonstration at a rodeo doing maneuvers that would put a good truck driver to shame.

Mike C
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Howdy folks,

I'll kick this old thread and ask are the mules 1/48" scale?

Have fun,
Mike C

W C Greene
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Howdy Mike, those mules appear to be 1:48 scale as do the figures. Over the years, I have read various "opinions" as to the scale of this kit...some say 1:40.25745, some say 1:49.672, you know, there are nuts everywhere. But yes, the mules are 1:48. In my scale (1:35) they become burros and the gigantic borax wagons become large ore wagons. I still have a couple of the original kits and one of the new ones which was made in China. But it is the same scale, just had the dies re-tooled.
Is this an "OK answer"...?

Woodie

Si.
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There seem to be a couple of versions of this kit.

I was looking to see if I could find one in the UK (cheap P&P !) ...

... no luck so far though.

:moose:

Si.

Ken C
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Along with the 20 mule team kit, there was also offered a covered wagon kit from Borax. Life-Like made a 1/48th
Chuck Wagon kit.
I have an old 20 mule team kit my dad built, in need to
some TLC and the Life-Like Chuck Wagon Kit. Perhaps one day
they will get built.
Years ago I saw a 32 Horse Hitch hauling 3 grain wagons at a local show, wish I had a movie camera at the time.


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