Ohio Man is Avid Collector of Farm Toys

Ohio collector puts a premium on highly restored farm toys and models.

| November 2013

When you start buying farm toys for the kids, beware: You could be about to slip into your second childhood. Jim Poorman knows all about that. “I clearly remember my first toy tractor, a 1:16 scale John Deere Model 60,” he says.

“Over time, I had several to carpet farm or play with outside on the dirt pile,” Jim recalls. “As I grew older they were all packed away. When my wife, Joanne, and I started our family, we began buying toys for the children.” At about the same time, he began attending farm toy shows. “I started buying additional toys for our children,” he says. “I also started adding to my small assortment of toys from the past that had been stored away. And gradually I became a collector.”

Local shows offered a nice selection of farm toys. But Jim — who lives in Somerset, Ohio — began hearing about bigger shows, like one in Lafayette, Ind. and the National Farm Toy Show in Dyersville, Iowa. “Until you’ve attended those large shows, you really haven’t experienced what farm toy collecting is all about,” he says. “I’ve learned so much by attending those shows. All of that stirred my desire to have unique custom pieces for my collection. It also got me thinking about building a layout.”

The novice farm toy hobbyist learns through experience but often stumbles a few times before seeking help. Jim soon learned about people who could customize “that special piece.” Others provided input on diorama construction. “It’s been a pleasure meeting people from all over the U.S. and Canada involved in farm toy collecting,” he says. “They’re friendly and willing to help with anything you’re trying to do.”

Winner at the National

Jim exhibited the winning 1:16 scale diorama at the 2012 National Farm Toy Show in Dyersville. His highly detailed display featured a Massey Ferguson dealer’s inventory reduction sale. After helping a friend with his dioramas at the national show, Jim decided to get involved and built his first diorama in 2010. Eventually, he hit on the idea of a 1:16 scale display and he knew just what he’d put in it. “My farm toy tractor collection focused on Massey Ferguson,” Jim says. “It was a natural to use those tractors and implements for my 2012 diorama.”

Jim wanted the diorama to be realistic, complete with animation. He cut an oval track in the parking lot in front of the dealer showroom. The track allowed operation of a chain-driven Rhino ATV that transported the auctioneer. An auction recording was played as the auctioneer moved along, selling each piece of equipment. “We added a lot of detail throughout the entire layout,” Jim says, “including the dealer showroom and a mechanic’s bay in the service center.” The diorama includes 51 lifelike figures; several are hand-painted.

Finding the Black 860

The most unique gem in Jim’s Massey replica display is a 1:16 scale Massey Ferguson Black 860 combine. The original combine was built to commemorate the 1983 launch of a new line of Massey Ferguson combines. The combine was painted black to signify past company failures and carried a logo that symbolized the phoenix rising from the ashes. Built in Canada for promotional purposes, the one-of-a-kind full-size combine was used for demonstrations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Over time it was believed to have been sold to a farmer in the Midwest and then to have been scrapped. Jim decided to add a special version of the Black 860 to his collection. In November 2010, he asked Dan Kiley, Anamosa, Iowa, to customize a Black 860. After Dan completed the project, he made it part of his display at the 2011 National Farm Toy Show. Since then the piece has been on loan to the National Farm Toy Museum in Dyersville, where it remains on display.