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For awhile my wife and I have been wanting a tinplate Christmas train. I only run conventional and couldn’t really justify, to myself or my wife, the recent pricing for either a MTH or LTI tinplate set. That only left me with one option, which was to make my own.

The search began for a donor consist at the last York, October 2019. I found two 332 baggage cars and one 341 observation car. I bought these from the TCA museum table for a bargain price of $45. These were in the pretty peacock and orange color combination and complete with all the accessories. The only planned reproduction parts were the couplers.





Next was the search for an engine frame and shell. I picked this up off of the bay for $25. I have several No 8’s so a motor swap into this engine would be the approach.



Everything was taken down to parade rest. I used TSP to strip all the paint. Which worked very well and required very little scrubbing.









A small parts order was made. I decided to use rattle cans for this project. Finding the deep colors my wife wanted was a challenge. As with many consumer products these days the store shelves were bare. So we settled on our selection of Krylon Colormaxx gloss enamel.
Here is the end result and we are both very happy with it. We can’t wait for it to be running when I convert the layout over to its Christmas theme.

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Rich that looks terrific, fabulous job.   I noted you said you used "TSP" for removing the paint.  I know this may be a dumb question but I am not familiar with that product, could you post its full name?  I have a set of Ogauge passenger cars that were originally "ogive" in 1925 and someone painted them green (date unknown). I can tell this because they only painted the outside and the original color is underneath and inside the cars.  Long term I am thinking or returning them to their proper color.

Don

@Don McErlean Don thank you for your comments. TSP is Trisodium Phosphate, which is available from any big box store or local hardware store. I used about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of TSP with warm water to cover a shell in a plastic pail. The painted cars and even the brass railings went in for about 30 minutes. The paint basically fell off and didn’t need any aggressive scrubbing. I was very pleased with how this worked. In the past I had used dishwasher pods without very satisfactory results. Looking forward to seeing your cars transformation in the future.

Here is a new arrival.  This is set 845 c. 1937, based on The W. Bingham Co. wholesale catalog from 1937.  These Champion sets were not shown in the regular American Flyer catalogs, so one has to search many sources to find what should be in these sets.

The set came with its original box and sleeves for all items, except the tender.  Note all of the sleeves are rubberstamped with the item numbers.

The box label, with correct number present

NWL

PS - after searching through the stacks, I found a sleeve for the tender.  It is a great match to the set, as it is rubber stamped 122? with the last digit being unreadable, so it is plausible that it would be 1221, which would be correct for the tender. 

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@Rich Wiemann: Thanks for the "recipe" not sure when I might launch on this project but I will definitely follow your advice.

@Nation Wide Lines:  That is really a  beautiful set.  I have one "Champion" set (or at least it came as a set-no box) but its a passenger set and the tender is very different, not nearly so elaborate.  The engine seems similar however but the trim on yours looks more like my AF 301 engine, more elaborate than my Champion loco.  What I really enjoyed however is that I have all the cars you pictured, but they were picked up at various times over the years as single car buys...and now I know they did come in some sets but uncatalogued and an approximate year 1937.

It really is amazing when you can find these things complete, even to the internal cardboard sleeves for the individual cars.  GREAT FIND!  Thanks for posting.

Don

@Nation Wide Lines:  That is really a  beautiful set.  I have one "Champion" set (or at least it came as a set-no box) but its a passenger set and the tender is very different, not nearly so elaborate.  The engine seems similar however but the trim on yours looks more like my AF 301 engine, more elaborate than my Champion loco.  What I really enjoyed however is that I have all the cars you pictured, but they were picked up at various times over the years as single car buys...and now I know they did come in some sets but uncatalogued and an approximate year 1937.

It really is amazing when you can find these things complete, even to the internal cardboard sleeves for the individual cars.  GREAT FIND!  Thanks for posting.

Don

Don,

The Champion sets with these type of freights were produced in 1936 and 1937.  They were never included in the official Dealer Price Lists, but I have several pages of "Specials" c. 1936-1937 that show these sets.  In revisiting these pages, I see my set 845 is included in the "Specials" information I have.  As for the engine, I believe it uses the same cab as the Type XX / 401 locomotive.  There is no rear truck, as the engine has the whistle unit in the cab. 

This style of freight car is shown in both 4 and 8-wheel frame configurations and are also shown as coming with the sheet-metal Hiawatha engines. 

As for information on these odd sets, I have browsed on ebay for years looking for wholesale catalog pages showing American Flyer and have found a lot of great information about uncataloged items. 

The cardboard sleeves are somewhat difficult to find, as they are easily lost, torn, and discarded, much like original wrapping paper from earlier sets, so it is nice when one finds them.

NWL

@NWL  I think you are correct.  Your comment about the "whistle in the cab" sent me scrambling for my Type XX locomotive (much the worse for wear than yours and without the leading truck) to see the resemblance.  This one has the whistle in the cab and has a similar amount of trim on the boiler but lacks (maybe its just missing) the cylindrical headlight extension on the boiler front and as I mentioned it has no leading truck.  Interestingly mine shows no evidence of ever having such a truck but who knows.  There is no question that this type XX resembles your engine more than the one that came with my Champion outfit.  My type XX shown below.

AF Type XX loco

Best wishes

Don

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Well here is a short post of an item that I think is cool although probably not either unique or very valuable.  It is a #612 American Flyer Station with Crane.  This was made between 1946-1951 and then available again in 1953-54.  It's condition is good, all the controls on the crane work, even the string is intact .  The station house itself is very good but it is missing the green window pane's on the inside and one "Mystic" sign. All of the doors on the other hand are in place and intact.   The windows were sheet stock plastic pasted on the inside, hopefully someone on the forum makes a reproduction replacement.  I sort of bought it on a lark, mostly because of the crane, and it was quite inexpensive ($22)   So this was made when I was between 2 (1946) and 10 (1954) years of age...I got my first train in 1947  at age 3 (or maybe Dad did ) from Santa like many other boys and it was Lionel, but these accessories seem to work fine with either Lionel or AF (I have a #593 AF switch tower of the same vintage on my current 0 gauge layout).

Front view, showing the "ticket booth"

AF Station front

Rear view, showing the other freight door and the ramp down to the crane area. The large baggage door is intact but I just left it open.

AF Station rear

Non crane end showing the "Mystic" sign

AF station - Mystic end

Crane end with better view of the crane.  The "rope" or "cable" driving the crane from the control wheels is well aged, but intact, the hook is complete and all the control wheels work and are functional.

AF Station crane end

Here is the American Flyer trademark on the end of the platform.

AF Station trademark

Best wishes

Don

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Well here is a short post of an item that I think is cool although probably not either unique or very valuable.  It is a #612 American Flyer Station with Crane.  This was made between 1946-1951 and then available again in 1953-54.  It's condition is good, all the controls on the crane work, even the string is intact .  The station house itself is very good but it is missing the green window pane's on the inside and one "Mystic" sign. All of the doors on the other hand are in place and intact.   The windows were sheet stock plastic pasted on the inside, hopefully someone on the forum makes a reproduction replacement.  I sort of bought it on a lark, mostly because of the crane, and it was quite inexpensive ($22)   So this was made when I was between 2 (1946) and 10 (1954) years of age...I got my first train in 1947  at age 3 (or maybe Dad did ) from Santa like many other boys and it was Lionel, but these accessories seem to work fine with either Lionel or AF (I have a #593 AF switch tower of the same vintage on my current 0 gauge layout).

Front view, showing the "ticket booth"

AF Station front



...

That's a beautiful piece, and a lot of fun too.

And it was a steal for the price.  Shouldn't be too difficult to figure something out for window glazing, especially since you're not restoring a rare collectible.

For awhile my wife and I have been wanting a tinplate Christmas train. I only run conventional and couldn’t really justify, to myself or my wife, the recent pricing for either a MTH or LTI tinplate set. That only left me with one option, which was to make my own.

Wow, that looks so good. I have never done anything like this before but you have now given me inspiration to try and make my own Christmas train from some old, used trains. I just need to go to a train show to start looking! Thanks.

Ok, Don - you're half way there - now you need to add this to your freight siding that way you will have two cranes to do the needed work in and around the freight/station area.



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  As for your missing windows - you are correct, they were frosted and at one point someone made reproductions but I can't recall who it was.

I used frosted milk cartons to make windows.

Steve

Ok, Don - you're half way there - now you need to add this to your freight siding that way you will have two cranes to do the needed work in and around the freight/station area.



AF_Station_Freight_97_Long_Base_Red_Green_RH

  As for your missing windows - you are correct, they were frosted and at one point someone made reproductions but I can't recall who it was.

And if you happen to find a spare crane you can create a larger freight depot like I did.

Northwoods Flyer

Greg

Finally got home to take a look at a set of 2613/4/5 pullmans that someone did a ratty home plating job on, well at least I think they did....s lol

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So far all I did was to unwrap them and take a rag and some mothers wheel polish to one end of one roof which you can see.  Looks like all that scruffy crap will polish off and they might look alright lol

240562416_1707035379502738_5271825184950983704_n - Copy240569861_1707035282836081_1560498525398772778_n - Copyplated 2613plated 2613-5plated 2613-6plated 2613-7

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Well here is a short post of an item that I think is cool although probably not either unique or very valuable.  It is a #612 American Flyer Station with Crane.  This was made between 1946-1951 and then available again in 1953-54.  It's condition is good, all the controls on the crane work, even the string is intact .  The station house itself is very good but it is missing the green window pane's on the inside and one "Mystic" sign. All of the doors on the other hand are in place and intact.   The windows were sheet stock plastic pasted on the inside, hopefully someone on the forum makes a reproduction replacement.  I sort of bought it on a lark, mostly because of the crane, and it was quite inexpensive ($22)   So this was made when I was between 2 (1946) and 10 (1954) years of age...I got my first train in 1947  at age 3 (or maybe Dad did ) from Santa like many other boys and it was Lionel, but these accessories seem to work fine with either Lionel or AF (I have a #593 AF switch tower of the same vintage on my current 0 gauge layout).

Front view, showing the "ticket booth"

AF Station front

Rear view, showing the other freight door and the ramp down to the crane area. The large baggage door is intact but I just left it open.

AF Station rear

Non crane end showing the "Mystic" sign

AF station - Mystic end

Crane end with better view of the crane.  The "rope" or "cable" driving the crane from the control wheels is well aged, but intact, the hook is complete and all the control wheels work and are functional.

AF Station crane end

Here is the American Flyer trademark on the end of the platform.

AF Station trademark

Best wishes

Don

You can google mistic station window set. E-bay has a set for 12.99 + 1.50 shipping. I got a set from Port Liones Hobby years ago. I didn't see it listed now at PLH, but you could call Doug @888-708-0782.

Chris

Finally found a little Electric Passenger set that runs beautifully.  Now I need a headlamp for it.  One observation is that it takes very little power to run at what I would call an acceptable speed.  A touch more and it is off like a rabbit!  In an original beat up box, and with the #248 Orange engine with a 629 Pullman and the 630 Observation that have peacock inserts.  I am looking for help with the headlamp, anybody have one to sell, or a favorite vendor?  I have not cleaned them up yet, so not bad for their age.

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Wow guys THANKS your comments and help on my need for "windows" for my AF station was really great.  NWL, beardog49, Steve Papa Eastman thanks for your input on the window material and confirming my recollection that the windows were "frosted".  Robert S. Butler and Greg J. Turinette...I agree guys I now "need" that earlier version of this station and Greg...an extra crane!.  Dennis Holler I have seen a lot of restored 2613/14/15 cars but never plated ones.  They are really unique and look super!.  Caa - Thank you especially for remembering the source of the windows I will pursue that for sure.

Thanks again guys...

Don

Chuck242:  IAW my reference material, the #248 with an orange body and peacock blue painted inserts dates from 1928-1929 and has a "cast" headlight.  OBTW your cars, the 629 Pullman and 630 observation with orange body and peacock inserts, are also correct for 1928-29 and did come with the orange engine in "Outfit 292" (Lionel's term for a set) as your box shows.

What a great find!  A beautiful set for certain.

Don

Hi tinplate fans...I am posting some pictures here of a Lionel #800 boxcar that I did list on "Box Car Sunday" , however I wanted to discuss a small but perhaps interesting detail that I discovered on the car after study.  Thought this thread being devoted solely to tinplate might have more interested members in what may seem as minutia.

Looking at the pictures.

Here is the interesting (and perhaps trivial) detail.  In Greenbergs very complete book on Lionel O gauge from 1915-1928 he treats this boxcar in some detail.  However he lists only two (2) variations on the rubber stamping (PRR) .  The first from 1918, labeled configuration (F) he describes as having NO PERIODS in the stamping "PENN R R" .  He then describes a configuration that he lists as (G) covering the period 1914-1925 ( yes it either overlaps or 1918 is a singular year, he does not say)  which is stated to have THREE PERIODS , hence it would read "PENN.R.R." on both sides of the door.  With a period after the N and after both R's.  The Three Period configuration then continues until 1926 when this fellow was no longer available.  The 1925-26 configuration had the item number #800 under the door vice on one end of the car as is shown below so clearly this car is pre 1925.

So - what's the big deal.  Well my little car has TWO PERIODS and only on one side of the door.  I thought at first this might just be an error in the stamping but both sides of the car are the same, the period after the "N" in PENN is missing in both places on the left and there are no periods at all on the right side of the door.  While the picture does show this but believe me even investigation up close with a magnifying glass reveals the absence of any period either after the "N" on the left side and no periods at all on the right side.

OK I am a "trivia fan", what do you think, is this a factory error, one of, just a screw up of some technician...? I doubt the latter as the periods, however many there would be would be incorporated in the stamp. So this car was obviously stamped with a different stamp or a defective stamp.  Anyway as a pre-war nut finding a configuration that might be undiscovered by as complete a source as Greenberg was kind of cool.

Side 1

Lionel 800 Box side 1

Side 2

Lionel 800 Box side 2

End of car (one end only)

Lionel 800 Box end



Comments are most welcome.

Don

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My latest Tinplate adventure starts out with the Ubiquitous Marx Commodore Vanderbilt Locomotive.  Clearly not something from the High End of the Shelf...  Looking a little sad here

But what does one do with a loco like this?  My layout is post war O27 and this won't even go around the track because the large diameter drive gear won't go through my switches.  So I came up with the idea of converting it.  I had a DC powered Lionel 1062 locomotive (another real high dollar item... LOL) that I took the motor from; then added some diodes so it could run on AC.

Here is a picture of the old on the left with the modified on the right.  The conversion was rather easy.  To the rearward facing slot on the motor chassis I needed to add a vertical shim to get the height correct, then a side to side shim to get the motor centered within the body.  Then I had to tap the existing hole in the Lionel chassis with a 6-32 thread and drill a corresponding hole in the Marx Cross beam.  I was even able to add the front trucks from the Lionel 1062 onto the unit! 

Here is the locomotive polished up and ready for action on my layout

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In March of 2020, I purchased a nice, original gunmetal gray 392E from a local estate auction. I have been searching since then for a matching set of Stephen Girard passenger cars with the correct, late nickel trim. Today, I received a nice set of original, matching nickel trim cars thanks to the fine folks at Stout Auctions in Indiana. I thought I got a great deal on these and they arrived better than I expected. These nickel trim cars seemed to be hard to find, but now my set is complete. I have always wanted a late Stephen Girard set and now I finally have one!

sg1sg2

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