This is a very confusing area as these Gilbert marketed
products are not marked in any way as being Gilbert merchandise and the Tru-Scale
products are very similar differing only in minor ways. Usually the Gilbert
products are distinguished by color or numbering, but there may have been
exceptions to this.
For example, the Gilbert version crane, which is generally
thought to be made only in reddish orange, has been found in black in a
Gilbert Kleer Pak with a number thought to be typical of Gilbert version
cranes, but also used by Tru-Scale on their own merchandise. Also, reddish
orange cranes with a variety of numbers can also be found but have generally
been thought to be Gilbert versions and this is confirmed by noted Gilbert
historian, Dave Garrigues.
Ballast cars with numbers typical of
Tru-Scale marketed products have been found in Gilbert packaging and even if
they are not in Gilbert packaging, are easily mistaken for the Gilbert
version. These cars were derived from the wooden craftsman type of
kits marketed by Silver Streak, which was later taken over by Tru-Scale.
Some of these cars bear the same numbers, but can be distinguished by the
fact that they are made of wood, rather than plastic, but this may not be
apparent in Ebay or other online sales.
Even Tru-Scale crane tender cars,
which have a flat side rather than a bay window have been found in Gilbert
Kleer Paks, but with a removable smokestack, which is the only way they will
fit into the Kleer Paks.
To further complicate matters, these
work cars have also been issued by Train Miniature Products and can be found
in their sales lists from the early to mid 70’s. In short, one should be
cautious about items bearing numbers other than the generally accepted
Gilbert number. They may indeed be variations of items sold by Gilbert, or
they could be lesser value Tru-Scale or even Train Miniature items placed in
Gilbert packaging. It is impossible to tell if these apparent Tru-Scale
items “found their way” into Gilbert packaging at the Gilbert Factory or in