All About Postage Stamp Trains
Aurora's Postage Stamp Trains marketing included several full-page advertisements, most of which were full-color. Here's a gallery of those ads I've found so far. The first one may look familiar, since it's very similar to Aurora's 1967 catalog cover. It appeared in the December 1967 issue of Boys' Life; the second one ran in the same magazine a year later. (Is it me, or does that kid look seriously bored?) The third ad ran on page 15 of the October 1968 issue of Model Railroader, possibly among others. All ads link to larger images.
The ad below left appeared on the back cover of a number of comic books, including Action Comics and Strange Adventures. Curiously, this ad claims "Aurora products are manufactured entirely in the U.S." I'm unclear as to how they got away with that. Anyway, Aurora ran ads for their bus system, along with a plug for their building kits, in the Sunday comics section of some 1969 newspapers (center).
The third item is something the general public was unlikely to see: an advertisement in the March 1967 issue of Toys and Novelties announcing the launch of Aurora's Postage Stamp Trains line at an event in New York.
Perhaps a sign that things weren't going so well for Postage Stamp Trains appeared in the November 1970 issue of Signature magazine with an ad for half-price train sets. The offer was made by the American Train Club of Hyde Park, New York. (Just like Postage Stamp Trains, the magazine and the train club no longer exist.)
An article written by Robert Schleicher appeared in the Hobbies section of the December 1967 issue of an unknown, small-format magazine. It reads something like an informercial for Postage Stamp Trains, which suggests Aurora may have commissioned it, although it does briefly mention other brands. Incidentally, the author has published quite a few books on model railroading and slot cars.
Postage Stamp Trains also appeared on page 523 in the 1968 Sears catalog, above right, along with sets from rival Revell (scroll down that page to see one of Revell's print ads).
Aurora even ran a television spot, narrated by none other than Dick Cavett. While you dig the groovy 60s soundtrack, watch very carefully, because things will get a little trippy around the 0:38 mark: the sharp eye will spot a pair of Arnold Rapido diesels! And at 1:03 you'll see Arnold Rapido passenger cars. Evidently someone didn't get the memo.
Incidentally, the narration was taken almost word for word from the text in the December 1967 Boys' Life ad.
Aurora published four catalogs: 1967, two versions in 1968, and 1969. But they don't tell the whole story; Aurora sold some products that didn't appear in Minitrix catalogs; Trix sold some North American products that didn't appear in Aurora's catalogs; and Aurora sold some products that didn't appear in their own catalogs. It's quite the challenge trying to sort it all out. Click a cover to view the entire catalog:
One curious oddity with respect to how Aurora presented this product line is that they referred to it almost exclusively as "Micro Gauge" and not "N Gauge"—indeed, the scale was never mentioned. Incidentally, the font that Aurora used for Postage Stamp Trains (most of the time, anyway) is called Bookman Swash.
The pages that follow are more than just tables of products and catalog numbers; each page is crammed with information, trivia and ephemera.
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Postage Stamp Trains is a Trademark of the Aurora Plastics Corporation.