Post a write up and pictures of Homemade Lionel (or other) style cars or engines you have made or modified or scratch built. I have made homemade copies of several Lionel cars when I cannot find them or afford them at the time. I will start with my recently completed Lionel 6413 Mercury Capsule transporting car.
After looking for a reasonable or inexpensive Lionel 6413 Mercury Capsule transporting car or raised-center flat car body (they are rather hard to find and I have never seen one at a train show) I decided to make one.
I have the other two center raised-center flat cars. The first car is the Lionel ACMX 6519 Allis-Chalmers condenser car and it needed a raised-center flatcar deck to handle the tall height of the condenser (made 1958-61). Then Lionel made the Lionel TLCX 6544 Missile Firing car using the raised-center flat car body from the 6519 (1960-64). Later, the Lionel TLCX 6413 Mercury Capsule car (made 1962-63) was made from the Lionel Allis-Chalmers Condenser raised-center car body and the Mercury Capsule from the Lionel 3413 Mercury Capsule Launching car Missile. This let Lionel use the body molds from the Lionel Allis-Chalmers car for to two new cars, a typical thing Lionel does.
Here are a couple of the Lionel 6413 Mercury Capsule transporting cars I want to home make (picture from the internet). The slightly aqua green blue car in the front is rarer and brings more money. Notice the track can be seen in the openings between the two metal straps holding up the Mercury Capsules.
Zero money was used to made the car. A Lionel 6800 flat car, with a broken corner (the plastic was harder than normal after being stored in the hot attic) and no trucks and wheels was found. The second car used was a small Lionel un-numbered flat car complete with trucks in my junk box. Plastic from a discarded daily desk calendar base and a plastic paper easel were used. On hand glue, blue paint and letter decals and rub-on numbers were used. I did get to spend many hours of fun time building the car.
The ends of the small Lionel flat car with trucks were band sawed off to add to the cars height. I patched the broken corner of the 6800 car and added plastic to extend the skirts of the trucks.
I decked the top ends of the car with decking left over from the short flat car. Two small lugs were glued on to the edge to act as hooks for the elastic cord that would hold down the Mercury capsules. I added in some seams to the side of the raised center car and added skirts to the trucks and extended the raised hump as seen in black plastic in picture below.
I made the rest of the top decking from plastic with holes for the Mercury capsules. I made the deck a little wider than the car so personal can walk on the deck alongside the capsules. The Lionel 6413 is wider in the middle than at the ends.
The Lionel 6413 holds the capsules via two metal brackets across the near bottom of the car with opening from the top to the tracks, presenting a unfinished look. The Lionel Mercury capsules have cylinder on the bottom to simulate the mercury capsule retro rockets and the capsule is the same one used on the Lionel Mercury capsule rocket with the Lionel 3413 Mercury Capsule Launch Car and Rocket. The real Mercury capsules would never be transported with the retro rockets attached. My capsules set on the bottom of the car and the bottom is enclosed, the kind of job one would expect from NASA and the US Government. The real Mercury capsules are only 6 ft in diameter and 6 ft tall and would easily fit in a gondola or box car with wide doors so the Lionel Mercury Capsule cars is a fun item and allowed the use of existing molds to make and sell another interesting car.
My Mercury capsules are made from two toy optical viewers that lets the the grand kids see diamonds moving around when viewed and rotated. I took out the clear plastic end to make the cones lighter. I added some heavy paper strips to make the cones look more like they had heat shields on the sides and show the door and window. The astronaut sits with his back to the bottom heat shield and views through the window.
I painted the car with Model Masters 35183 F S Bright Blue paint which I had and is fairly close to the Lionel 6413 color. I then added “NASA” decals as I did not have room or letters for “Mercury Project Cape Canaveral” that Lionel used. I also added press on numbers of 6413, not as neat as I wanted and all I had room for. Clear glossy spray was used to seal on the lettering.
I added a metal washer to the top of each Mercury Capsule with clear caulking to allow the Lionel Gantry Magnetic Crane to lift them up and give another load for crane operation.
I think the Mercury Capsule car came out very well and it can serve as another car and load to use my Gantry Crane for, sort of an action car after all.
Let’s hear from a few of you all car builders about your cars. I find fixing up a common car into something more special or useful a satisfying part of the model train hobby for me. I have several more to share but do not have the pictures of the building process like the 6413. Most of them are painting and lettering projects.