Three articles on TSC a british fermodel magazine

(written by Mariofranco Mazzilli)

Yoghi bear

In 1946 the cousins Parretti, three railwaymen of the Italian FS (Ferrovie dello Stato), started to build for themselves a model of a locomotive; after showing it to some friends, who were most surprised at the quality of the model realised, they decided to start a production with

prim logo Conti

the trade mark CO.MO.G.E.

Bollino CO.MO.G.E.

which means Costruzione Motori Giocattoli Elettrici.


One year later they met Giuseppe Conti, who had been a producer of wooden toys and dolls since the beginning of the century and they convinced him to start producing trains.

Gius Conti & C

The factory was in Bollate a medium town near Milan and the building is now to be reconstructed for a new use .

Factory in Bollate
                                                                                            Factory in Bollate

Conti production lasted from 1947 to the beginning of the 1960’s finishing when the Parrettis left the company as Conti sold the business to Oreste Cicchetti.A last attempt of production of trains Conti was made with BUB

Conti Little

but only for few time. 

Conti Little Bub

Conti trains are toy trains and not modelled or any particular prototype, the models are very strong both in their construction and in the motors and they are built to a scale slightly larger than HO (approx 1:72). Originally the trains were built to be powered by AC current on 3 rail track but later models used DC power and 2 rail track. The majority of models were constructed in aluminium with parts in steel, zinc and bronze and some models such as the beautiful “Settebello” or the Belvedere have parts in zama like some old Maerklin trains.

15 - depliant belvedere settebello

Conti was the Italian competitor of Maerklin and made approx 20 models of locomotives and 50/60 models of rolling stock and with accessories and variation of colours or details there are around 300 pieces (maybe more) needed to represent a full Conti collection.

Conti trains are very rare as approx. only 55.000 pieces (locos were numbered

punzone su lamina

under the base with a paper label

Cucciolo rosso sotto etichetta

or with a punch)

punzone su contrappeso

were produced from 1947 to the first years of the ’60s……..how many still exist after approximately half a century? ….an estimation is no more than 5.000/6000 pieces (including accessories and coaches and trucks) and approximately 80/100 collectors in the world (obviously the majority are in Italy).

It seems now that new generation of collectors have started to appreciate the Conti models…one of the most well known models of locomotives by Conti is

424 N. 950

the E 424 this was produced from the beginning up to the final production there are two version with one or two engines and approx 12 different types, the body features pantographs which are fully operational, the 424 was sold also in a set named Trans Europe Express

TEE 424  4 carrozze

which included  four coaches, (the green baggage or the rarest in blue, the purple pullman, the blue restaurant and the blue wagon lit.

Like the locomotive all these coaches were produced with working lights or not, a part baggages which were not ligthy.


This train was available for use with AC or DC current

Pullmann tetto liscio

also with fixed couplings or with spring couplings

Carrozza ristorante tetto liscio

so many variation for to-days collector, there were also variations in the colour which sometimes was light blue and sometimes dark blue

Bagagliaio blu tetto crespato

with different tone of green and purple for the coaches.

Pullmann tetto crespato

Other variations were on some details on the roof of the old coaches produced…to complete the rake of coaches a fifth model was produced in two colours and named Milan-Rome, this is the rarest of the five almost in a version produced gold and green.


Other locos by Conti in this period (late 50’s early 60’s) includes the following three steam locomotives,

735 alternata fronte scatola

the SM 735 with lights, three axles with tender,

Locotender FS 475  a due assi

the 475 SM tank loco two axles,

Locotender 4000

the S.M. 4000 with lights, then the strange models

Locomotore Fs 4001

with pantographs the S.M: 4001,

Locomotore FS 480

the S.M: 480 and

390 FS Cucciolino

the 390 S.M. friendly called “Cucciolino”

The most beautiful models of loco from that period are the

Conti Cicchetti Belvedere

blue Belvedere,

Be 4 Arlecchino

 the Arlecchino Fs four pieces 

Settebello imballo

and  the Settebello seven pieces which is considered the top of the Conti range from this period.

There are also approx. 20 models of rolling stock between them some rare trucks as this with light,

carro con faro

cars and buses…all the rolling stock items were made of aluminium.

The first Conti production of the end of the 40’s is based on

Conti AT 772 rossa fianco

the “littorine” A.T.772

which were produced in different colours (red with blue band, kaki and brown band Be 772

and the rarest blue with brown or red band)

Conti 772 blu

and the much more rare littorine ALe 880 

A.L.e 880 primordiale , secondo tipo e rossa bis

A.L.e 880 primordial , second type and red bis

in three versions: primordial nut pinky colour

A.L.e. 880 primordiale

red with blue band

A.L.e 880 Bis

and sand colour with brown band

A.L.e.880 then elettrotrains two elements (in light blue and white)

ETR 330 due varianti

and the ETR 212 three elements (kaky with red and brown band) of which very few collectors own.

ftr212 b

Early Conti production is different from the production of the following years  as all the items have very distinct details and most items had a small logo of a coloured train (they put this logo on the base or on the back and sometimes more than one logo)…

also the couplings and the buffers were different.

Here are shown some of the locos produced at the time which were are all in the alternate power)..

see then the images of the loco

424 verde dettagli

424C  in a rare version in green , direct power

424 verde 2

while the traditional is in kaki colour  …

424 in alternata

The loco with pantograph FS 554 which is one of the smallest Conti locos and is called also “Cucciolo” with pantograph.

Locomotore 554 G

The steam loco FS 290 with lights

FS 290 PG

and the big steam loco with tender 836 in three or four versions…

Locomotiva Fs con tender 836

also coaches and trucks were very strange in the shape.

You can also see some examples of oil tankers

cisterna Esso carrelli

with carriages or two axels


such as Shell or Esso tank

cisterna Esso a due assi

The Tonic Rome has the tank in plastic

Cisterna Tonic Roma

and a decouville

decauville giallo inclinato

with real Conti coke

decauville giallo con carboneor a truck with real wood and logo printed on the wood…

Carro con assi e bollini

and the small blue and white coach which is difficult to find…

bicolore bianco blu bollino

Conti models railways included different stations, bridges and accessories.

Panchina vecchio tipo

Very little has been written about Conti trains (a part Catalogue-Book by Carlo Costamagna)  and should somebody know more I would be grateful if inform me

Now if you want to see my Collection follow the tour clicking on the Map below

Prosegui il Tour guidato


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