I've always been a tinkerer in S, and my interests (as some of you know) run from fine scale S to the last gasps of the A.C. Gilbert company.  That being said, a while ago I picked up a Gilbert Santa Fe 21206, 21206-1 AA set of F-9s (in pieces).  I have also picked up a few spare parts over the years.  I have the motor running quite well, but in trying finish assembling the power unit, it seems like the bottom plate assembly doesn't quite fit.  The one in the bottom photo is one of the two from the dummy A unit.  But it will only fit on the power truck if I do some judicious bending of the bottom plate, and I hesitate to do that since it may not even work then.  So my question is: Are there two different bottom plate assemblies for these F-9s?  The dummy A unit has all the parts.

These F-9s are ugly, but in a way very interesting.  It has always bothered me when a toy can't be brought back to life.  I'd like to get this thing operational for no other reasons than it's a challenge and it would be cool to see running.



Original Post

Jerry, no pictures showing, but I looked at a number of my F-9s to see if I could detect any difference by examining them without taking them apart.  All powered units have holes on the power truck base plate for lubrication, but I see no visual difference.  What I have found is the plastic units that hold this plate that the nibs can wear and the plate won't attach and stay in place properly.

No pictures visible to me either.
Here is a scan of the Gilbert American Flyer factory service manual page for a 21206 power unit.
According to the manual, there is no frame. Just bars that snap into slots on the cab. I have seen a few Gilbert AF locos put together this way.
Here is the link:

Gilbert-21205 (also 21206)

Page two

Didn't see a diagram for the motor truck itself, but I could have missed it.

C.W. Burfle

Thanks for the replies, guys.  Especially the Gilbert manual pages.  The photos I embedded are showing when I open the OGR S page on my computer, though.  One photo was the power truck without any base plate, and the other was of a base plate with the coupler.  But even on the page from the manual you sent, CW, they list a different part number for the bottom plate on the power unit than the other trucks.  Three are listed, one for the power truck, one for a truck with no coupler and one with a truck with no coupler.  So it LOOKS like there is some difference between the trucks with couplers.  These locomotives really DON'T have an actual frame, but the individual trucks do.  They're listed as "truck body assembly"  The truck body assembly of the dummy trucks are a few thousandths wider than that of the power truck.  The non power trucks have the bottom plate fitting inside the body assembly while the bottom plate will not fit inside the power truck's body assembly. 

Since I had an "extra" non power truck bottom plate without a coupler, I decided to modify it.  After grinding off a few tabs, and narrowing the plate on the ends, the plate now fits along the bottom of the body assembly, while the ends go between the body assembly sides.  The tabs keep it in place.  I used a small screw and nut to attach a cobbled coupler arm and coupler and now it's running on the layout for the first time in at least 30 years, perhaps a lot more while towing a few Pikemaster cars.  With the thick plastic and hollow body, it magnifies the grinding noise similar to the Gilbert Baldwins.  I guess it's the nature of the beast.

An Bill, the side frames I have didn't fit either since the small tabs were missing.  I drilled and fit a piece of styrene rod, and the fit nicely and stay in place once the base plate is snapped in place.  It makes sense that a power truck bottom plate should have a hole in it for lubrication.  I guess I'll drill one.  I'm stillmissing one side frame assembly, but Doug Peck has either metal or resin side frames available.  So I guess I'll order one along with a few more restoration parts for myself and a few friends. 

I picked up these AA units for a VERY cheap price, so if I have to invest a few more bucks, it's worth it.  These things are WAY out of scale, but they're worth having just for their historic value alone.  At least to my way of thinking.

And BTW, I embedded the original photos in this message.  Let me know if they came through.




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Now that I think I have the hang of embedding photos, here's my solution to the "coupler-less" bottom plate.  I modified a bottom plate that had no coupler by screwing a piece of a knuckle coupler truck to the bottom plate after cutting it out of a junk truck.  I don't cut up anything good.  This truck was missing both side frames, the coupler itself, and was rusty.  I also added a drop of CA to the joint to keep it from rotating.  So after a bit of filing, it fit nicely and keeps itself in place with the little tabs already on the plate.

As I said before, these locomotives are WAY out of scale, but it's nice to see a toy brought back to life.  It actually runs quite well, if a bit noisy. Maybe a few thrust bearings will help.  But I can throttle it down to a nice slow "freight speed" if I want, or go supersonic.  Anyway, just for the heck of it, here's a few comparison photos with an American Models F7 unit:

The almost got the length right!

And one by itself:

What a come-down from the scale like offerings of years before. 

I used the parts available on the power unit, while the dummy is only lacking the side frame (with coupler cover) which I have ordered from Doug Peck.  I can't wait to see the "serious" modelers faces when I run this thing on my club's layout in Indy...




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We all have to remember that these were just toys when they were made.  And they had to be made so they could be sold at a low price.  They do operate well considering so they were engineered pretty good.  Gilbert toy trains were at the end of the line when these were their products.

You're right, Bill, that was my whole point on these F-9s.   I decided to put it next to a scale F7 simply to show just that.  As far as being toys, when you get down to it, they're all just toys if they're not revenue producing 1:1 items.  My trouble is I am interested in all aspects of the S trains hobby, from fine scale, scratch built things to the Gilbert's last gasp F-9s.  A few years ago, I scratch built an AEM7, and now I'm restoring (or just getting it working again) a Gilbert F-9.  I need help.... 





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Roundhouse Bill
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653