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Looks like I have a couple of Mantua diecast tankers as well...They certainly need some work.  Does anyone run these with newer trains.  What type of couplers have you found work on these?  I am familiar with the older standard of Kadee #5's but not sure if they will fit the cast in boxes.  I also see Kadee has introduced versions with the springs integral to the coupler shank.IMG_1442IMG_1444IMG_1446IMG_1462IMG_1463


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I don't have any of the vintage Athearn or Mantua metal cars... yet.

BUT, I've taken a fancy to Varney's tinplate cars. They look surprisingly good. Just recently I purchased these three Varney's:


I have already fitted Kadee coupler boxes and Kadee's to the PFE and ATSF car, as well as installed steel wheels and attended to "issues" that I saw.  The MDT reefer is going to take a bit more work on account of the pot metal coupler pocket. These look plenty good enough to run among newer plastic models of such era equipment. I was specifically impressed with the sharp printing on the sides which is better than found on Athearn "Blue Box" injection molded cars!

I still find myself checking eBay for some deals on more Varney metal cars.



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I always felt that this era of H0 was the best: maybe because that's when I got started. To my mind you just couldn't beat these and others (Silver Streak, pre-plastic Mantua, Ulrich, etc.) for superior printing, free-standing details, durability (metal, after all). Sure, you had to build 'em, but that's what I liked doing.

Remember the Walther's annual "H0 Railroad Catalog & 'Craft Train' Reference Manual" of those times; a large portion of it was dedicated to parts and details, as well as all those wonderful structure kits.

Very much like post -war Lionel and Flyer, parts were always available, as were matching paints, trucks (think Central Valley), and I think the Kadee type you mentioned were number 58(?); an H0 version of their 0 scale coupler. I'll have to double-check on that.

Mark in Oregon


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F887A2FE-2647-499A-8A67-8CE42E566BC1DB13D8A9-0BCC-443D-A0E3-3D9C507E86A296812B70-1E48-44DD-84DF-8C8CF6BA6D02DB308BB0-3A9C-4D9E-973D-8632F4ED9CF2I dug out some more of my litter, think these are Silverstreak. They aren’t too bad but I am missing two buffer beams and one tank wnd between the four cars. I’ll have to clean them up up a little. Construction is a diecast frame, ends, and dome with a wood dowel tank and a metal foil wrap glued to the dowel. They have real nice sprung metal trucks as well.


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Last edited by Dennis Holler
Dennis Holler posted:

B394E082-197E-4EA7-BC73-2240349409C6I also picked up this fairly nice Magnolia tanker. It’s an Athearn shorty all metal tank car same as the Crystal car line above.

Oooo! Lovin' me a Magnolia tank! 

My mythical "Kansas City & Gulf" runs from Kansas City, down through Arkansas to New Orleans (the KCS needed some competition!), and passes through Magnolia, AR in the process. (I'm modeling a portion of my KC&G's Ozark Sub as it could have been in the early-mid 1960s.) The KC&G's main shops are at Magnolia, referred to as the "Magnolia Shops" by the railroad/railroaders.

In reality, there was a significant amount of oil industry around Magnolia up into the 70s, I think.

Gotta' have me one of dem' dare Magnolia tanks!

This is a really fun thread. Even by today's "good 'enuf" standards, these old metal cars look good 'enuf!


BA85E709-02AF-4CE5-9A16-01C6EA79434BD954A842-A632-4F3E-8B52-508FAE2AE2660F579585-510B-4B52-8B69-A84C50BBAB624119FC99-F1EE-4BE7-A57D-B9F48BAE564FI picked up a few things. The Globe Warren cars came and look good. I need to figure out if the built one is just dirty, maybe nicotene, or was it weathered. I’ll want to change the red trucks as well. Also managed to buy a couple of unused Mantua tank wraps as well!

I guess the question will be wether I am man enough to try to install a wrap on my wrapless Mantua tankers.  Nothing to lose really they only cost $3 each.  Maybe I should scan them in first.



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Last edited by Dennis Holler
jbmccormick posted:

I saw some the old boxes.  all the Athearn HO I had were in the blue boxes that they were using into the 1980s at least.  I built many many a kit as a kid.  I loved doing that.

Same for me. My first new trains were Athearn  Blue box  SF GP 35 and F7 in 1972. Before it was my dads Marx and after it was Lionel . Now it is a mix of everything.

Last edited by Dennis Holler

Got about 150 vintage metal Athearn/Varney and wood Silver Streak/Amroid freight cars:

I'm a big fan of these vintage cars from the 50's.  Nicely detailed.  They, usually, need Kadees and Intermountain wheel sets.

Page down to date 2-5-18 for pictures:  Look for individual freight car pictures.

page down to date 10-15-18 to see more:  Two different postings on this page.

Last batch at 4-29-19:  posting near the bottom of this page.





Last edited by samparfitt

000017DD-1310-4280-A7D8-0C3971981688102CADA5-8E06-406B-A3B0-D5DD8BF95CDEC0D62102-0FFF-4077-A2F3-1C1967464913904AF951-ECD0-4597-94AB-498FDC420A7D73378804-E71C-40B3-9F15-803CA6B8C99CB82DA9B0-90C1-4952-A749-9F330DB92F8C03F1C61C-C7CF-4471-A842-C356D740AA81Here are a few stacked on the Lionel factory. Mix of Athearn, Mantua, Silver Streak, Thomas Ind, Globe, and even a Hand lettered Walthers early prewar kit build car. Love em but have nowhere to run them lol. If I count Blue Box Athearn I bet I have 150 plus cars, maybe getting close to 50-60 early metal ones. If only I could focus on quality and getting nice boxes although I do have quite a few boxes as it is.


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Found this on the sidebar.  I was hoping somebody had found an Athearn O Scale tank.  I really liked my HO version - long lost.

I don't do HO, and I don't do plastic, but I still have eight of those Varneys.  Six had metal underframes and roofwalks.  Three of those exploded!

So I took one, sent it to Bob Stevenson, of Stevenson Preservation Models, and he made a mold and cast me enough in brass to replace the exploded ones.

They are not perfect, but way better than the early wood , and later plastic underframes.  And way, way better than the exploded ones.  If you need any of these, check with Bob.

So being nostalgic, I have replaced all my HO stuff including Bowser K11, Mantua Shifter, and all the Varney box cars except the grey CN ice car, and the Dockside, in either O Scale or 17/64.

And good news, the Dockside just got main frames cut in 17/64.

Dropping in, and dropping out.

I have zero HO tank cars, but indeed that long lost black triple dome UTLX sparked an interest, so I now have some forty similar cars in O Scale.

While we are drifting into box  cars, here are some of my obsessions.  For the Carnation, one of my very favorite Varney cars, I had decals made from a photo of the HO car.  Ditto the PRR Merchandise car.  But the rest were produced in O Scale almost exactly as if Gordon Varney had decided to duplicate his cars in O Scale.  I did search long and hard for the EJ&E, and as mentioned, still have not duplicated the grey CN ice car.  Herewith:CarnationEJ&EVarney 2ShifterMantua 001


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  • Carnation: These are O Scale, decals from the HO version
  • EJ&E: These are O, stock Athearn or All Nation.  White is a match for Varney
  • Varney 2: These are the original Varney.  Carnation has a new lost wax brass underframe.
  • Shifter: The famous Mantua Shifter
  • Mantua 001: A somewhat larger version in 17/64.

I did put captions on them, but somehow they do not show up.  The top cars are O Scale, with the two green cars Athearn or All Nation.  The green and white matches the early Varney car.

The third photo is HO Varney.  Still have not created decals to duplicate that grey ice car - in the works, soon.

The bottom photos show the original Mantua HO Shifter, and my somewhat larger 17/64 scale version.  I have done the same for my Bowser K11 and just cut the frame for a 17/64 Dockside.

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