In my previous two articles: Modern European Outline O Gauge Trains: What’s Happening Today? and Modern European 0- Gauge Trains: A Look at the Continent, I reviewed three companies that produce replica and Märklin styled 0 gauge trains.
Darstaed of Zug, Switzerland, addressed in … What’s Happening Today?, produced and expanded the range of Märklin’s #1941 series of 40 cm passenger, baggage, and postal wagons to 31 types of wagons from the late 60’s until 1987. These are beautiful passenger train coaches and wagons and, like the Hehr replica 40 cm coaches, are highly sought after. The new Darstaed40 cm coaches, made by Andries Grabowsky in Bangkok, Thailand, are expected to be produced in 2011.
DEÁK of Budapest, Hungary, produces a range of replica and Märklin styled freight wagons. ZANKA, of the Czech Republic, produces robust freight wagons in the style of Märklin. The reader is invited to review these two articles for further information on the products of these three companies.
Hans-Gerhard Mundhenke produces his Märklin replica and compatible trains under the brand name HGM. Since 1984 he has been producing trains singlehandedly in very limited quantities in Bad Rothenfelde, Germany, north east of Munster, Germany.
Whereas Hehr, Ritter, and Selzer concentrate on replica Märklin trains, HGM produces trains in the style of Märklin that we can imagine Märklin might have produced had the company continued or rejuvenated its 0 gauge line. His first locomotive was a model of the Class E 18 Electric. His last locomotive was the Austrian Class 1145 Electric. His next, and soon to be released locomotive, is the impressive BR 96 pictured in the introduction to this article and below. He also produces trains in 1 gauge as well as stations and accessories and even a range of toy cars, trucks, and military vehicles.
Herr Mundhenke used to advertise and sell his trains via a website -Tommys-Toyfair – but now has a dedicated set of customers. The limited number (10 to 40) of pieces that are made are soon sold out and he does not use the web for sales. He does respond to email correspondence.
Auktionhaus Selzer, of Rüdesheimam Rhein, Germany, has dealt in toy trains of all gauges, steam engines, and antique tin toys for many years. Märklin trains populate his website www.selzer-toy-auction.com. Christian Selzer also produces replica Märklin trains as well as replica replacement parts.
In addition to the four locomotives above, Selzer is noted for his replicas ofMärklin’s “Amerikanishen” locomotives, the streamlined Commodore Vanderbilt Hudson (AK66/12920), the regular NYC Hudson (AHR/12920) and the (not pictured) older Pacific(AHR64/3021) from the early 1900s.
Ritter Restorations, www.ritter-restaurationen.de, restores antique model trains, ships, planes, and toy cars. The company makes and sells spare parts for 0 and H0 gauge Märklin trains and also produces a variety of replicas of Märklin 0 and H0 gauge trains. Gernot Ritter, the founder of the company, has been involved in the restoration of toy trains since the 1970s and in the 80s started restoring Märklin trains for Märklin.
Next to their restoration services, here in the US, Ritter Restorations is probably best known for their replicas of Märklin’s very rare, six axle, 53 cm models of the New York Central Pullman passenger coaches produced by Märklin in 1937. Not only did Ritter make the #2924 Pullman and the #2925 Observation, they created a Baggage car (#2926) as well.
Following the end of World War II Märklin resumed the production of 0 gauge trains in 1947 but ceased their production in 1954. There were really no new 0 gauge trains introduced in this seven year period and Märklin fans must have wondered what might have been produced had the company continued with its 0 gauge line. If so they had to wait thirty years!
To celebratethe 125 anniversary of Märklin in 1984, the company opened some of its archives to the public. The archives included three prototype model locomotives representing (Ref 3):
- a glass enclosed railcar ET 91- “Gläserner Zug”
Probably the best known replicas of Märklin 0 gauge trains are models sold under the name Hehr. The models are very faithful replicas of the original Märklin trains and the name Hehr has become almost synonymous with Märklin. Many collectors and operators of Märklin trains would readily settle for a Hehr replica in order to have a desired Märklin locomotive or piece of rolling stock in their collection or on their layout. Auction prices of Hehr trains approach those of the Märklin originals.
Hehr replicas are made near Stuttgart, Germany by the company Blumhardt & Cie. Founded by the Blumhardt family who opened a toy store in 1850 and then in 1864 Blumhardt became a supplier of toys to the royal court. Herr Bernhard Hehr has run the firm since 1968. The Hehr family acquired the firm in 1971 and originally produced 1:45 0 scale train models. (Ref 1)
Blumhardt/Hehr has been producing beautiful replicas of Märklin 0 gauge trains since 1976. The models are built in very limited quantities and are sold directly to established collectors/customers. Hehr does little advertising and has no website. But the models can be found at auctions such as those conducted by Christies, C. Selzer, eBay, Lankes, and Ralston.