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Author:  winced36 [ Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:06 am ]
Post subject:  Buddy-L

Hey Paul...A few years back someone was manufacturing a line of On30 trains under the Buddy-L brand...are they still around? I seem to recall they featured diecast boilers on the locomotives...

Paul II

Author:  paulrace [ Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Buddy-L

The same thing in Large Scale. The "Buddy L" trains that came out of China a few years ago were a cynical attempt to sell Bachmann knockoffs as a "name brand." Speculation was that when the old molds were wearing out and Bachmann sent new ones, someone "borrowed" the old molds instead of breaking them up as they were contractually obligated to do. They then fabricated molds for the individual parts they weren't able to "acquire" the molds for. I tried tracking down the supplier, but it was all P.O. boxes and shell corporations. Buddy L trains haven't been built since WWII-ish, and, to my knowledge, they never made electric trains, just push, pull, and riding trains. Since about 1990, a number of companies have serially owned the Buddy L trademark, but most of them went bankrupt or were sold off to other companies that subsequently went bankrupt, etc. It's possible that the importer who commissioned the Bachmann knockoffs under the Buddy L name actually owned the rights to the trademark at the time. It's also possible that the importer took a chance on NOBODY stepping up to protest if he used the name. At any rate, there was no web site, no service department, no support, nothing but mis-branded, sloppily-assembled knockoff trains in a box. Some folks who got them were pleased. Others were bitterly disappointed with them, but there was no one they could call to register their complaints.

Two or three other importers have sold Large Scale and On30 Bachmann knockoffs under other brand names since. They always seem to emerge with a very limited selection and no support or contact information, then disappear again in a few months. Reminder - if you ever commission a company in China to make something for you and you have to send them new molds, make certain you get the old ones back so you can destroy them yourself.

I've posted similar information and "educated guesses" in other forums and asked anyone who had real information about the source of these trains to correct me if I was wrong, but so far nobody has. So, if you see something advertised as a Buddy L train and it has a motor in it, run, do not walk. :-)

P.S. The current owner of the Buddy L trademark (Path Global LLC, AKA Imperial Toy Corporation) registered it in 2009. I can't tell if they acquired the trademark by assimilation of another holding company or just by registering a claim against a trademark that had been declared "dead" because of a lapse in use. At any rate, Imperial Toy Corporation (another Chinese toy importer) does not make or import trains, and it doesn't look like they ever did.

Hope this helps. Again, if I've overlooked something in my research, I would LOVE for someone to fill in the gaps or prove me wrong. . . .

If you aren't signed up yet, please contact me through this page: ... ontact.htm

Author:  winced36 [ Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Buddy-L

Thanks for the info. I haven't seen these Buddy-L branded sets at any meets for six or seven years, at least. I recall thinking they looked remarkably similar to other G-scale trains on the market at the time, or just a few years earlier. The only thing that seemed unique about them was that they supposedly featured die-cast components, which interested me at the time. At the time I never took the time to really take a look at them.

Paul II

Author:  paulrace [ Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Buddy-L

The boiler was cast pot metal with a bronze finish. That was the only thing "die cast" about them as far as I could tell. But of course it wasn't the same as having a real die-cast locomotive like the old Lionel beauties you keep showing us. :-)

Author:  winced36 [ Tue May 17, 2016 10:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Buddy-L

Saw a couple of these on eBay recently...thery're still out there:


Paul II

Author:  paulrace [ Wed Jun 08, 2016 7:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Buddy-L

Be afraid. Be very afraid. :-)

Author:  winced36 [ Wed Mar 18, 2020 6:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Buddy-L

There have been numerous issues with diecast components coming out of China the last 5-10 years. This is an issue that the toy manufacturers had to deal with back in the prewar era, caused mostly by impurities in the metal used in the casting process. Dorfan especially had issues with their manufacturing process back in the day, which is the primary reason original Dorfan locomotives are so scarce today. Now, here we are in 2020 and folks are seeing stuff made in the last decade crumbling to bits. For that reason, among others, I would stay clear of the Buddy-L stuff (if any of it is still circulating).

Paul II

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