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At first glance they don’t look bad.  We only received this two-car set so far.  More are coming soon.  What do you think?  The full-width diaphragms are nice.

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Last edited by JR Junction Train & Hobby
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Having a set of the Smithsonian cars I would say the light gray appears too light and the dark gray appears black but it could just be the lighting.  The paint actually looks pretty good to me.

However, the foreground cars says it's a Cascade which is a 10-5 and the windows are all wrong.  



The car in the background appears to be a 13 double bedroom/County and what I can see appears OK.

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  • mceclip0

I purchased the cars and sent them back immediately.   I'm sure this set will please Lionel collectors and people that want a Lionel 20th Century.  I am not addressing these folks.  If you are interested in accuracy read on.  The colors are a disaster.  The car body gray is so light it appears nearly an off white.  The thick stripe that runs down the body is for all practical purposes black.  If you like the old HO Concor Dreyfuss gray you will like this version.  The Dreyfuss will match the cars, but a Dreyfuss Hudson done in this whitish gray was a terrible decision.  The blue stripe also bled through on one car.  Lionel's institutional memory does not exist.  I know they were told all they had to do was match the colors of their own Smithsonian set and they would have a train that would please the Lionel collectors, the 3 Railers and those seeking an accurate historical paint job as well.  I'm sure this will be a beautiful set, but not match any attempt at getting the colors of the 1938 and 1940 20th Century correct.  My opinion only.  If you like the colors then that is great for you!    I'm mostly speaking as an NYC guy.

- Crank

Yes, we are and he illustrates my point.  He thinks the graphics and colors look incredible.  And they do.  However, they are not accurate.  The extremely white/gray carbody is so light that you can barely distinguish the car lettering as the pics show, and was the same on the cars I sent back.  The wide carbody stripe should not match the black roof color.  Again, I clearly wrote that collectors, Lionel guys and 3 railers etc. will be pleased with the set. But NYC guys will not be.  Look Rdunniii's pic of Lionel's very own Smithsonian car in this thread which was regarded as the most accurate color rendition of this train.  Those are the colors that these new cars should have been painted in.  

- Crank

Last edited by Eccentric Crank

I admit I'm no expert on this but the lighting in the above picture would seem to wash out the body color of the car because the cars I got are much darker in body in comparison. They are still in the box and I don't intend to take them out right now but they are displayed and I can see them clearly. The stripe does appear to vary from the averred proto accurate, probably HO behind the glass. Are there any actual pictures of the real thing?

Here are some photos. Pictures from that era are either B/W or color faded.

http://www.trainweb.org/fredatsf/NYC20th38.htm

http://www.trainweb.org/fredatsf/NYC20th48.htm

I think maybe these cars aren't perfect but they are pretty darn close unless you want to either buy a set from some brass train company for $10K for a set or have it repainted to prototypical perfection also for a lot more money.

Last edited by Dave 69 GTEL

I rarely post here anymore, but with more than a little trepidation I’ll step into this developing minefield. I did not order this set precisely because I did not trust Lionel to produce an accurate representation of this train, and it appears that in several ways they have not.

Like rdunniii above, I own a Lionel-Smithsonian 20th Century set. It’s not without its faults, but it is generally regarded to be the gold standard of O scale models of this train. I had hoped that Lionel would produce its new 3 rail set with the L-S set in mind.  Sadly this seems not to have been the case.

Grays are tough to get “right,” especially when based on reprints of old, mostly black-and-white photos of the real thing. That said, the colors applied to the L-S set or, for that matter, those used on their 3 rail Dreyfuss Hudson from 2002, no doubt would have been better suited to the new train and, I believe, satisfied a wider section of the market. This is a lesson that MTH seems to have learned over the 15 or so year-long period in which they produced Dreyfuss Hudsons and matching cars in both the 1938 and 1940 color schemes. The first issue was way too light. The grays looked like they had been lifted from the Rivarossi HO model of the 1960s. Subsequent releases were produced in much more appealing darker shades of gray. I’ve long thought that the last ones they made (2016/17?) were the best looking, and with the matching (though generic) cars made a very eye-appealing train.

Beyond the colors, I have a couple of other concerns with the new Lionel cars, such as the apparent mismatch between the window arrangements and car names called out in an earlier post. And where are the skirts? Are they supplied as owner applied parts, or are they just not there? Given the striping scheme, this apparently is a model of the train in its original years of service and all of the cars would have had full length skirts.

In spite of my reservations, I still do think an entire matched consist will make a good looking set, a point made by Eccentric Crank above.  So, if you’re in for one, enjoy it and leave the carping and second-guessing to the crotchety old Prototype Practice Police like Crank and myself.

- Mike

Last edited by Mike Casatelli

Here are some photos. Pictures from that era are either B/W or color faded.

http://www.trainweb.org/fredatsf/NYC20th38.htm

http://www.trainweb.org/fredatsf/NYC20th48.htm

I think maybe these cars aren't perfect but they are pretty darn close unless you want to either buy a set from some brass train company for $10K for a set or have it repainted to prototypical perfection also for a lot more money.

If it’s right in your mind, that’s all that matters,……if you’re happy with the set, then enjoy them,….no need for the defense,……

Pat

Indeed, enjoy your set!  But us old NYC guys....ignore us.  BTW lots of folks in days gone by try to use those very same photos to make a point about NYC color acccuracy but hint: notice a remarkable washout in the top photo?

Also guys, this is the 3 Rail Scale forum which has been given to us and those inclined to talk about the prototypical accuracy of a model in regards to scale, paint, details etc.   If this thread was on the 3 Rail forum then a different discretion would apply.  

- Crank

Last edited by Eccentric Crank

Indeed, enjoy your set!  But us old NYC guys....ignore us.  BTW lots of folks in days gone by try to use those very same photos to make a point about NYC color acccuracy but hint: notice a remarkable washout in the top photo?

Also guys, this is the 3 Rail Scale forum which has been given to us and those inclined to talk about the prototypical accuracy of a model in regards to scale, paint, details etc.   If this thread was on the 3 Rail forum then a different discretion would apply.  

- Crank

I see the forum now. I understand now why concern was raised regarding the color pallet and stripe design. I don't know why this thread started in this forum to begin with. Also please, which top photo were you referring to?

Last edited by Dave 69 GTEL

...

Like rdunniii above, I own a Lionel-Smithsonian 20th Century set. It’s not without its faults, but it is generally regarded to be the gold standard of O scale models of this train. I had hoped that Lionel would produce its new 3 rail set with the L-S set in mind.  Sadly this seems not to have been the case.

...

- Mike

To this day I still regard the Lionel Smithsonian cars as THE gold standard of O Scale passenger cars; even with their imperfections.  And they are almost 30 years old.  If the Wasatch CZ cars ever materialize they are supposed to be equal or better but I have may doubts that will ever happen.

@rdunniii posted:

To this day I still regard the Lionel Smithsonian cars as THE gold standard of O Scale passenger cars; even with their imperfections.  And they are almost 30 years old.  If the Wasatch CZ cars ever materialize they are supposed to be equal or better but I have may doubts that will ever happen.

Maybe but it begs the question whats there for the three rail guys. GGD cars are pretty darn nice, run on three rail track without modification and match their engine.

3rd_Dreywcar

Pete

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Last edited by Norton

@Norton, are those the 1938 cars? I know that they had done a run a while back(missed them), and haven't done a new run for a bit. Currently they only have the 1948 cars out I believe.

Dave, they are the 1940 cars. The white stripes are clue. ‘38 cars had blue outer stripes and thicker white inner stripes.

This is the ‘38 scheme. Lionel Century Club with MTH cars.

IMG_0637

Pete

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Last edited by Norton

Oh. Did they run 1938's though? I know we've probably discussed this way too many times. I just know that the 48's match closer to the diesel paint scheme with the grey.

If you are referring to GGD they ran the ‘38 and ‘40 cars together about ten years ago along with their respective engines in two and three rail. The ‘48 cars were offered a few years later I believe.

AFAIK Lionel only is offering the ‘38 cars shown above.

Pete

Oh. Did they run 1938's though? I know we've probably discussed this way too many times. I just know that the 48's match closer to the diesel paint scheme with the grey.

Yes.  GGD did make the 1938 (and also painted in the simplified 1940 scheme) Century cars in 2009.  They were made right about the same time as the 3rd Rail Dreyfuss Hudson.  The locomotive and cars paint matches.  The cars are really nice looking but very heavy.

GGD made the 1948 Century in 2012, and then reran it again recently.

Last edited by Jtrain

We probably ought to leave this thread to the new Lionel ’38 Century set, but since the discussion has moved beyond that, I have some observations that some of you may find useful.

In addition to the Lionel-Smithsonian '38 Century set, I own both the first-run Golden Gate Depot ’40 and ’48 sets. (This train has been a life-long guilty pleasure of mine.) Both are fairly faithful models of their prototypes, and both have their shortcomings, too.

The ’38 and ’40 sets are well done, good-looking trains, identical except for the paint, but they are terribly overweight thanks, I believe, to the heavy cast car ends. (The shipping weight of the 12 cars was a formidable 69 pounds!) Consequently, a twelve car set presents a serious challenge to any locomotive and, in my experience, the matching 3rdRail Dreyfuss Hudson will not pull the entire train. Eight cars seems to be about its practical limit. I also have found that these cars have frequent tracking problems.

The ’38/’40 train has another problem, although it’s more cosmetic in nature. GGD attempted to accurately model full-width diaphragms. They are true to the originals in their general construction and sprung operation, but they include rubberized bellows that quickly detach themselves from their frames. I have found them almost impossible to replace.

GGD learns from its mistakes, and the later ’48 set is both lighter and equipped with simplified, rigid, and problem-free diaphragms. Also, the trucks are fitted with bearings so the train is an easier haul and tracks just fine. The one quibble I have with this set is that the two Bay series sleepers are fitted out with coach interiors (?).  An encore run of the ’48 set has been recently released by GGD, and by all accounts it is significantly improved over the original. Rumor has it that a second run ’38 rain is in the works. If you’re interested, make it known to Scott Mann, sdmann@3rdrail.com

Now back to your originally scheduled program.

- Mike

@Mike Casatelli Yeah, this is true, we did wander around a bit. I would definitely be in for some other 38 cars, just has to happen when I am ready, haha. I'll have to chat with a friend elsewhere about some additional information that does not need to be brought up here since we do want to keep it about the Lionel cars. I know I will get the answer I seek. With that, now I just have to wait for the call when everything comes in, which by my estimation should be at least three weeks for me or an additional week onto that.

We probably ought to leave this thread to the new Lionel ’38 Century set, but since the discussion has moved beyond that, I have some observations that some of you may find useful.

In addition to the Lionel-Smithsonian '38 Century set, I own both the first-run Golden Gate Depot ’40 and ’48 sets. (This train has been a life-long guilty pleasure of mine.) Both are fairly faithful models of their prototypes, and both have their shortcomings, too.

The ’38 and ’40 sets are well done, good-looking trains, identical except for the paint, but they are terribly overweight thanks, I believe, to the heavy cast car ends. (The shipping weight of the 12 cars was a formidable 69 pounds!) Consequently, a twelve car set presents a serious challenge to any locomotive and, in my experience, the matching 3rdRail Dreyfuss Hudson will not pull the entire train. Eight cars seems to be about its practical limit. I also have found that these cars have frequent tracking problems.

The ’38/’40 train has another problem, although it’s more cosmetic in nature. GGD attempted to accurately model full-width diaphragms. They are true to the originals in their general construction and sprung operation, but they include rubberized bellows that quickly detach themselves from their frames. I have found them almost impossible to replace.

GGD learns from its mistakes, and the later ’48 set is both lighter and equipped with simplified, rigid, and problem-free diaphragms. Also, the trucks are fitted with bearings so the train is an easier haul and tracks just fine. The one quibble I have with this set is that the two Bay series sleepers are fitted out with coach interiors (?).  An encore run of the ’48 set has been recently released by GGD, and by all accounts it is significantly improved over the original. Rumor has it that a second run ’38 rain is in the works. If you’re interested, make it known to Scott Mann, sdmann@3rdrail.com

Now back to your originally scheduled program.

- Mike

These new Lionel 21” cars are a nice, less expensive alternative to the GGD cars and brass cars.  It is too bad they couldn’t do a better job with the paint, it seems like it wouldn’t cost any more for them to get the paint the right color, or maybe just a little more for inspections and quality control.  I saw the same problem with the Lionel Legacy Louisville and Nashville E6 and E8 diesels.  The catalog illustration showed the correct dark blue color but the locomotives were delivered in a very toy-like incorrect shiny bright blue.  I don’t understand what goes on with those Lionel manufacturers in China.

As to the GGD 1948 Century cars, the first run has a better looking paint job.  The rerun is too shiny.  The GGD Southern Pacific Daylight rerun had the same issue.  Maybe this is a general China problem, and not just Lionel’s manufacturers, with paint match and quality getting worse in the last few years?

@Jtrain posted:

These new Lionel 21” cars are a nice, less expensive alternative to the GGD cars and brass cars.  It is too bad they couldn’t do a better job with the paint, it seems like it wouldn’t cost any more for them to get the paint the right color, or maybe just a little more for inspections and quality control.  I saw the same problem with the Lionel Legacy Louisville and Nashville E6 and E8 diesels.  The catalog illustration showed the correct dark blue color but the locomotives were delivered in a very toy-like incorrect shiny bright blue.  I don’t understand what goes on with those Lionel manufacturers in China.

As to the GGD 1948 Century cars, the first run has a better looking paint job.  The rerun is too shiny.  The GGD Southern Pacific Daylight rerun had the same issue.  Maybe this is a general China problem, and not just Lionel’s manufacturers, with paint match and quality getting worse in the last few years?

The 38, 40, & 48 train sets ( the real ones ) were painted with synthetic enamel, today known as acrylic enamel. So they most certainly held a shine for some time before they went dull from age & lack of maintenance as ridership declined…..it’s hard to model that shine in 1:48 scale, so everyone’s mind says dull, dull, dull when in fact, the real ones had a shine to beat the band,….I’ve seen the rerun 48 cars, and personally, as an as delivered “new” set of cars delivered to the railroad, GGD got it right,…..not everything in O scale has to be dull to be accurate…..

Pat

@Jtrain  -  Actually, I agree that the new Lionel cars make a less expensive alternative to the high end offerings. That said, I still find them disappointing  given their price.

You may well be onto something about the paint problems. Some years ago I asked Joe Hater of Weaver Models if the colors on a particular brass engine would match their own Scalecoat paint equivalents. He told me no, that the builders in Asia would use whatever colors they had on hand. Anyone who got a Weaver Daylight or Blue Goose will have seen the result. Since then, I have suspected, albeit without further evidence, that the overseas manufacturers often tell the importers what colors they're going to get.

I also agree completely with @harmonyards when it comes to the finish. There's a reason many of these trains were referred to as the "Varnish."  From the heavyweight era through the lightweight streamliners, many of these trains had a high gloss finish, especially in their early years of service.

- Mike

Last edited by Mike Casatelli

Not that I am in the market for new cars, the lack of skirts on the Lionel cars would be bigger issue than the color.

I have also read that the 3rd Rail Dreyfuss can’t pull all the cars though I have yet to test that. A forum member and the driving force behind this forum was able to talk Scott in making some E7s in the beauty queen paint scheme that matches the 1940 cars. I was able to acquire a pair of powered As and replaced the Canon motors with Pittmans. I am hoping these can do the job.

Pretty sure Scott is planning to rerun these.

IMG_2247

Pete

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@Norton posted:

Not that I am in the market for new cars, the lack of skirts on the Lionel cars would be bigger issue than the color.

I have also read that the 3rd Rail Dreyfuss can’t pull all the cars though I have yet to test that. A forum member and the driving force behind this forum was able to talk Scott in making some E7s in the beauty queen paint scheme that matches the 1940 cars. I was able to acquire a pair of powered As and replaced the Canon motors with Pittmans. I am hoping these can do the job.

Pretty sure Scott is planning to rerun these.

IMG_2247

Pete

I have found that the 3 rail version of the 3rd Rail Dreyfuss Hudson will pull all 12 GGD 1938 Century cars, at least on level track with no grades, if the pickup rollers are removed from the cars to reduce drag.  I just need to figure out an alternative way to light the cars.  Maybe battery power?

@Jtrain posted:

I have found that the 3 rail version of the 3rd Rail Dreyfuss Hudson will pull all 12 GGD 1938 Century cars, at least on level track with no grades, if the pickup rollers are removed from the cars to reduce drag.  I just need to figure out an alternative way to light the cars.  Maybe battery power?

Tether the cars, ….but it’s hard to believe the rollers are what made the difference between pulling the train, & not pulling the train,……

Pat

@Norton posted:

Not that I am in the market for new cars, the lack of skirts on the Lionel cars would be bigger issue than the color.

I have also read that the 3rd Rail Dreyfuss can’t pull all the cars though I have yet to test that. A forum member and the driving force behind this forum was able to talk Scott in making some E7s in the beauty queen paint scheme that matches the 1940 cars. I was able to acquire a pair of powered As and replaced the Canon motors with Pittmans. I am hoping these can do the job.

Pretty sure Scott is planning to rerun these.

IMG_2247

Pete

I certainly like the E7 diesels on the 1948 Century but the 1938/1940 Century just doesn’t look right without the Dreyfuss Hudson.

I'm late to the fray (as usual) and not sure I can add anything else that my cranky cohort Mike C has said but,

so the Hudson's are light like I suspected from Ryan's video then? I do remember seeing that and thinking that it was off, sort of like the one run of MTH's that were the very light gray

I have not seen the engine but it appears it is also a very light gray.  There are two ways to tell.  Look at the very first photo and the end of the diaphragm.  This gives a good indication how light the engine will be to match the cars.  Another way to tell is much like when I first looked at my set, I couldn't make out the lettering as the gray was so light (it looks like there is also a blue tint to it but let's not go there).  Again look at the original photos, you have to get the cars in a proper light to make out the lettering.

- Crank

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