How did you make HO scale honeybees?

  • The HO layout at the Baltimore Society of Model Engineers was about 55 feet long, with a city at one end, farms and small towns in the middle, and wooded mountains at the other end. One year I added a set of four bears --one standing next to a tree with one arm raised, one standing on all fours, and two smaller ones. During our open house shows, I would ask (very young) kids who walked by, "Did you see the bears?" Once they found them, I'd ask, "What's Papa Bear doing?" They would always answer, "Looking for honey!" (There was no beehive in the tree, but everybody knows what the bear reaching into the tree is looking for). During one open house, Pam watched me and some kids talking about the bears, and then said, "It's lovely, darling, but what really sets it off are the HO scale honeybees!" For some reason, instead of asking her what the heck she was talking about, I answered, "Oh, nobody makes HO scale honeybees!" Completely deadpan, she asked, "Then what did you use?" Seeing where we were going now, I replied, "I used O scale houseflies, and just painted them black and yellow." She put a puzzled look on her face and said, "But then they wouldn't be in proportion!" I too kept a straight face and said, "Well, at that distance, who could tell? YOU thought they were bumblebees!" She said, "I guess you're right," and then helped me restrain the grown-ups from climbing onto the layout to look at the miniature bees. (It's a joke, folks, there are no bees! No, really!"