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@laming posted:

Failed to mention when you first posted the above pictures...

That picture of your 999 really shows the model at its best. That angle and your lighting really make it "burly" looking and quite handsome for what was in actuality a simple toy engine! Nice engine, good job on the photo!

Andre

Thanks for the compliments Andre.  I have a large collection of all gauges of American Flyer.  I wasn't trying to lure you into American Flyer, by posting the Marx die cast engines I was hoping to encourage you to look to Marx to pursue your collecting goals.  My advice to anyone who is a collector is to set goals and limits on what you will collect.  I have representative examples of other manufactureres in my collection and I have had to walk away from many tempting examples of equipment that is not Flyer.  Enjoy the hunt, and whatever you decide to collect is right for you. 

Northwoods Flyer

Greg

For Jim O'C

Greg:

No worries Mate on the AF mentions. Shucks, I learned a lot about AF during that discussion and I'm always up for learning something new about model trains, vintage stuff in particular. (Of course, I know it all when comes to HO. If 'n you don't believe me, just ask me! )

What impressed me the most about AF is their scale look and fidelity to detail. To my eyes, AF was likely the most discriminating engine maker among the toy market.

As for my collecting goals:

There ain't none! At this early juncture, I only have some vague general ideas about any future purchases.

I am confident that my actual tinplate interest (that is, thin metal trains that are litho printed and stamp shaped) will be limited to items among the Marx 3/16" 8-wheel rolling stock offerings. I just really do like the looks of most of their 3/16" 8 wheel stuff. At a glance, it's impressionistic nature tricks my mind into accepting it as "realistic", and I think that is a major reason for its appeal to me. 

I don't receive the "mind game" thing when I view a 4 wheel litho stamped offering, or 8-wheel offerings that are more "caricature" and simplistic in nature. Those types of litho trains always look like toys to my mind. Such a mind reaction is NOT a "bad" thing... just a difference in perception. But in my case it's a difference in perception that guides my preferences, thus my budding interest in select Marx 3/16" 8-wheel litho rolling stock. Like a late forum member used have as a signature here at OGR concerning toy trains: "It's a great big tent with room for everyone!"

Andre

Yup. I knew about AF's HO line. Some pretty neat stuff.

Some years ago, I allowed myself the fun of seeking out, finding, and purchasing a Lindberg Lines set just like the one I had received in Christmas of '62. (You know, the set that sidelined my Marx set!)

I found one, and of course, purchased it.

MySet2

What followed was a string of collecting some Lindberg Lines pieces. However, the Lindberg Lines offerings were VERY limited. (They were only in the train business from late 1950s to about mid-60s.) There was only ONE engine (SW600) ever produced in only four road names (B&O, ATSF, C&NW, and a special run of IC), and the small line of rolling stock was only offered in ONE name (except matching cabooses for the engines and for that special IC run). SO, having a nearly complete Lindberg Lines collection was very attainable, and I've almost got all of their stuff like new in box. Some of my engine collection:

MySWs

My appreciation for vintage HO spread over into Varney metal rolling stock. I have several in service on my HO layout and they blend in quite well with today's HO offerings! Here's a sampling of those:

080119a

SO... yup... I know a bit about AF HO as well as several other vintage HO mfg'ers!

Andre

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I thought about going after 3/16 Flyer, the 4-8-4 and 0-8-0, to run with Marx 3/16, and ran into zincpest!  That and the pricing caused me to give the idea up.

Obtaining an intact and operable Union Pacific Northern/Challenger is not too hard but can get pricey unless you either find a model with intact castings and lousy paint for a reasonable price (the tender is usually the hard part as the frames and tender shells seem to be more prone to decay caused by zinc pest or, as I've dubbed it, Dorfan's disease) and having tender truck frames that are tough to track down as only the UP Northern and the NYC Hudson used them, or ponying up for clean ones (not cheap).

The 574 Nickel Plate Road 0-8-0 switcher is the 3/16ths O gauge locomotive most subject to rot - everything from boiler and tender shells, engine frame and drivers, steamchest boiler front are pretty much assured of having some Dorfan's Disease. My friend Art Shifrin was a proponent of running Flyer 3/16ths O trains and managed to cobble together a running Frankensteined 574 from numerous carcasses - he used as much as he could scrounge from prewar 574s including the elusive drivers (repro drivers have been made and the allow a cosmetic restoration to be made, but they're not cast from metal that enables the engine to run as they're too soft/ poor conductors and distort when attempting to run). Art had to resort to a postwar 0-8-0 chassis to which he was able to add solid original prewar drivers, but needed washers to keep the drivers properly spaced for O gauge track. Here's a link to a photo of his "458" NKP switcher:

https://web.archive.org/web/20...et/trains/458big.jpg

More shots of customized Flyer 3/16ths O gauge trains Art dreamed up:

https://web.archive.org/web/20...s/customizations.asp

Art's summation of the joys and hair pulling nature of running 3/16ths O trains from Gilbert:

https://web.archive.org/web/20.../History/history.htm

From another publication a detailed thread with loads of snaps of Flyer's prewar offerings (including pictures and commentaries from Art and a fellow posting under the handle of Northwoods Flyer whose photos and posts bear an amazing resemblance to information from Greg J):

http://cs.trains.com/ctt/f/95/t/211963.aspx?page=-1

As you look over the pictures and info in the links you'll notice the trains look familiar to anyone who has seen Gilbert's postwar S gauge line of trains - the locomotives are identical save for the S gauge models having narrower locomotive chassis, linkage that loses the "doglegs" in some parts that was required to allow for the drivers to be spaced for O gauge track, steamchests with guides brought in for the main rods and insulated drivers for 2 rail running; tenders basically needed S gauge trucks applied (and tender shells modified to allow smoke units to be added). The locomotive shells are fatter than true S scale models would have - scale width boilers showed up with the postwar plastic boilered C&NW and diecast NH Pacifics. You can harvest most parts from the earliest few years of S gauge models if you have trouble locating O gauge original parts - if you have some mechanical aptitude you can maintain/rebuild and run Flyer 3/16ths O gauge trains...

Last edited by MTN

AF 3/16":

Is indeed beautiful stuff, but the war stories of zinc-pest in them is a downer. However, as mentioned above, after giving it some thought, I think I would rather spend my available hobby $ on Lionel PW steam first... then if desired... cautiously proceed with an AF or two? Who knows.

Don't know of a good thread running asking this particular question, so I'll go ahead and stick in this one...

Transformers:

I suspect the little 30-35 watt transformer that will come with my new set will be barely adequate for the 999 on a small loop of track. I'm thinking about adding a new transformer to the collection, one that can handle a bit more track, is compact and easy to store and handle (i.e. NOT a ZW for sure!), but won't break the bank. I intend to purchase a PW Lionel, for I think they made better quality transformers than Marx. Lastly, the transformer will need to be able to comfortably handle any Lionel PW "O" gauge premium steam engine w/smoke and whistle tender that I may purchase. (Like a 685 Hudson.)

I'm leaning toward a 1033 with its 90 watts. However, an LW could be in the running, too.

Input?

Andre

@MTN posted:

 

From another publication a detailed thread with loads of snaps of Flyer's prewar offerings (including pictures and commentaries from Art and a fellow posting under the handle of Northwoods Flyer whose photos and posts bear an amazing resemblance to information from Greg J):

http://cs.trains.com/ctt/f/95/t/211963.aspx?page=-1

 

Yup, the Northwoods Flyer posting on that thread would be me.  That thread was a lot of fun and contains a wealth of informtion on 3/16 O gauge Flyer.  I was sad to see it go dormant, and to lose contact with the folks who posted.  Gray Cat ran into the situation that many folks did when Photo Bucket started to charge for storing photos to their site.  MTN did you post there under a different handle?

Sorry Andre, I promise to try to stop hijacking the thread.

Northwoods Flyer

Greg

Yup, the Northwoods Flyer posting on that thread would be me.  That thread was a lot of fun and contains a wealth of informtion on 3/16 O gauge Flyer.  I was sad to see it go dormant, and to lose contact with the folks who posted.  Gray Cat ran into the situation that many folks did when Photo Bucket started to charge for storing photos to their site.  MTN did you post there under a different handle?

Sorry Andre, I promise to try to stop hijacking the thread.

Northwoods Flyer

Greg

I didn't post in the CTT thread but Art Shifrin did - I have posted here a number of times here about Marx and Flyer's 3/16ths O gauge trains. Art never got bit by the Marx 3/16ths O gauge bug (believe me, I tried); I personally found the lithographed Marx cars more attractive than the sheet metal Flyer 3/16ths O gauge cars (I will admit that several of the diecast Flyer cars such as the tank car and Pullmans look great, but boy do they weigh a ton). Without traction tires it's tough for the Flyer 3/16ths O engines to pull a very long train with diecast cars - Art had a machinist modify some drivers on his Flyer engines to accept traction tires so he was able to build up decent length trains. It is kinda fun watching the Flyer drivers slipping with a load that's a bit too heavy. I ended up running the Flyer engines (whose drivers I scored on the treads to enable a bit more grab) with the lighter weight Marx cars and that made for a very colorful combo which was of a reasonable length.

I don't have a layout these days so the trains are all tucked away - I have a pretty good stash of boxed/NOS Marx cars but never did end up with some of the tougher items like boxed flatcars or boxed passenger cars. As far as rare I have a red end PFE reefer car I scored out of a dollar junk box under a table at a local show about 15 years ago. A collector named Walt Hiteshew has a super site devoted to Marx trains - there's photos of tough to find 3/16ths O gauge rolling stock and photos of customized/custom built Marx trains that make it worth your while to take a look:

http://www.toyandtrainguides.com/marxtin.htm

Just received my Marx 3/16" B&O gon. Nicely proportioned. Cute as it can be. Seems to be relatively clean. No real rust issues. Coupler springs in place and seem to work with light touch. In all: Good purchase.

Question: Do any of you clean the years of dirt film off your pieces? If so, what do you use so as not to damage the paint/litho work and how do you dry it to insure all the water is gone and thus doesn't become a rust producer?

Andre

Went ahead and purchased an NKP gondola and a Lionel 1033 to supplement the little 30 watt cheapie transformer that will arrive with my set I recently purchased.

Also, I'm considering the possibility of a small semi-permanent layout to enjoy the postwar Marx and Lionel items I may be acquiring.

We shall see!

Andre

Last edited by laming

Received my little Marx set today!

It's a good news and not-so-good news situation.

First, the good news:

* All the cars are in very good shape. Minimal scratches, nice paint condition, etc. Most have bright side frames on the trucks. No rust issues that a quick look-over spotted.

* Engine and tender are in very good shape. Ditto: No rust that I saw.

* Box is in very good condition, complete with what appears to be the factory separator pieces of cardboard.

The not-so-good-news:

* There isn't a complete oval of track. Missing 5 curves sections needed to complete a circle.

* No "lock on".

* The transformer doesn't regulate current.

* Engine doesn't work.

The transformer:

Hums. There's spark when briefly shorting across the accessory posts. But there's nothing coming through the variable volts on the track power posts. Moving the handle to full results in nothing. I can feel in the handle that it seems to be wiping the resistor board. The unit is held together with metal "twist tabs" and not screws, so there will be a bit of risk (breaking a tab) opening it up to determine the issue.

The engine:

Applying the accessory post power to the slider and wheels results in the E-unit humming and the wheels trying, but I'm not just keeping the full power onto the wheels very long... just enough to see if it will break free. No need to sit there a burn up the brushes. Next stop for it will be the work bench, figure out how to disassemble it, and thorough clean the mechanism, motor, armature, lubricate it, etc.

So, there you have it! Would have been great if all was well from the get-go... but I'm going to have to attend to some things before I can a replica of my old set running around an oval of track.

No biggie!

Andre

Transformer:

Once opened up, it was plain as the nose on my face: This ain't gonna' cut it...

Marx_071720a

The connecting wire on the throttle lever that goes to one of the track posts was broke off. After cutting a new piece of wire (the cloth wrapped wire had stiffened with age), and tinning the tab that remained on the throttle contact (and the new stripped end on the replacement wire), then re-crimping the spade on the screw post connection: Presto. Transformer works as Marx intended. That's done. Sure does HUMMMMMMMMMMM.... though. (As loud as those old vibrating electric football games we played as kids!)

Engine:

Haven't been successful as yet in getting it to move on its own power. It hums (E-unit likely)... but ain't no go'em in it. I don't think it rolls as good as it should. When pushing it, I have to use quite a bit of downward pressure against the table or rails in order to get the wheels to rotate. Going to be a challenge to get it clean for it appears the mechanism sides, armature, main rods, side rods (staked to the drivers), cylinders, et al, appear to be "staked" together so it is a unit. Looks like I might be able to get the brush holder off and access the brushes and commutator face, but that's about it.

Any tips out there in Marxland before I get time to piddle with it again?

Andre

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Last edited by laming

Got it running!

YouTube to the rescue!

Watched a vid on tips n' pointers on cleaning/servicing a 999. Mimicked what I saw... got it cleaned and lubed... applied power while holding it aloft, and the little jenny start sputtering (a first) and before long it was humming with the rods in a swirl.  Runs reliably forward, hits neutral reliably... not so reliable reversing (like seldom). The E-unit looks to be sandwiched between the staked frames as well as wrapped. I don't see a way to remove it for servicing. I can see the plunger moving up and down under power... but I guess the pawl isn't catching so as to spin the drum into reverse.

HOWEVER... it runs again!

Now to find/purchase the needed Marx track to complete the set with an oval of track.

Andre

All:

You know, it's really a shame the Mark 3/16" (8-wheel) line didn't catch on better, thus the line growing to include more roadnames, more rolling stock types, more types of engines, and so on. For toys, they were really very nicely proportioned, and some offered surprises in regards to detail.

Take for example, the little center cupola caboose that inspired both Marx and Lionel to offer their tin versions they both produced. I'm assuming the inspiration for Lionel's, as well as Marx's, was what is generally known as the "Northeastern" caboose. 

In this post, let's take a look at the differences between the cabooses that Lionel offered, and what Marx offered. Here's a picture I snapped illustrating the models being discussed:

Lionel_cf_Marx

Looking past the "played with" condition of the Lionel offering, consider the following:

* Overall proportions: Marx is the clear winner here. The trucks are not huge, the car body snuggles down onto the trucks nicely, and thus is does not have the "short, stubby" look of the Lionel.

* Paint scheme: The Marx has two color sides and the roofs are black. Again, a win for Marx in my books.

* Detail: Looking closer at the two, they both have end ladders and handrails, but when viewed in person, Marx has a more delicate "scale like" result. And here's the real surprise: See the corner arched grab irons represented on both models? Lionel's is embossed into the metal. The Marx model actually has separately installed wire grab irons! (I was highly surprised to see this!) Another win for Marx!

Also, the nice proportions extend to all examples that I've seen to date concerning Marx 3/16" 8-wheel rolling stock offerings. I so wish that more content had been produced, as well as more engine types built (to supplement the 333 Pacific) along the same line of thinking, that is: Well proportioned and nicely executed.

Ah well, it wasn't to be, so therefore I'm grateful for what Marx did produce... and I intend to snarf up select examples of the one's I can't live without!

Andre

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I really like the proportions of the Marx 3/16 scale cars.  When I was a child in Taft a neighbor had a small oval with a 3/16 set.  Thought it looked great compared to my plastic Happi Time set.  Unfortunately Santa couldn't afford much during my formative years. 

Does someone have a listing of the Marx 3/16 cars and variations?  I am under the impression that there are only 30+ different cars.  True?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Don

@laming posted:

All:

You know, it's really a shame the Mark 3/16" (8-wheel) line didn't catch on better, thus the line growing to include more roadnames, more rolling stock types, more types of engines, and so on. For toys, they were really very nicely proportioned, and some offered surprises in regards to detail.

Take for example, the little center cupola caboose that inspired both Marx and Lionel to offer their tin versions they both produced. I'm assuming the inspiration for Lionel's, as well as Marx's, was what is generally known as the "Northeastern" caboose. 

In this post, let's take a look at the differences between the cabooses that Lionel offered, and what Marx offered. Here's a picture I snapped illustrating the models being discussed:

Lionel_cf_Marx

Looking past the "played with" condition of the Lionel offering, consider the following:

* Overall proportions: Marx is the clear winner here. The trucks are not huge, the car body snuggles down onto the trucks nicely, and thus is does not have the "short, stubby" look of the Lionel.

* Paint scheme: The Marx has two color sides and the roofs are black. Again, a win for Marx in my books.

* Detail: Looking closer at the two, they both have end ladders and handrails, but when viewed in person, Marx has a more delicate "scale like" result. And here's the real surprise: See the corner arched grab irons represented on both models? Lionel's is embossed into the metal. The Marx model actually has separately installed wire grab irons! (I was highly surprised to see this!) Another win for Marx!

Also, the nice proportions extend to all examples that I've seen to date concerning Marx 3/16" 8-wheel rolling stock offerings. I so wish that more content had been produced, as well as more engine types built (to supplement the 333 Pacific) along the same line of thinking, that is: Well proportioned and nicely executed.

Ah well, it wasn't to be, so therefore I'm grateful for what Marx did produce... and I intend to snarf up select examples of the one's I can't live without!

Andre

Marx 3/16ths trains are like potato chips - it's hard to stop once start in on them...

Better watch it with collecting Marx scale tin. I started down the road to the "tinplate side" that way. Now it has spread to Marx 6" and 7" tin, prewar American Flyer and Lionel tin, and lately even Hafner postwar tin.

Oh, by the way, Marx 7" is very similar to the Marx 3/16" scale stuff. If you want more diversity in your trains, converting the 7" to 8 wheel with scale trucks is a simple conversion.

Yup. Alco. The one I'm talking about, anyway.

Even though the little Marx Alco is a curious little booger of something borrowed something new, gotta' give Marx credit where credit is due: It does have a very Alco-looking cab, the radiator in the approximate location/etc.  Here's the Marx switcher I'm talking about:

MarxAlcoSwitcher

Andre

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start watching for an intermediate gear for each wheel first off. These are "double reduction motors" with more torque/less speed. There are armature differences, etc.; and some characteristics to running a few motors that make me think that the motors were tweaked in some applications, cost vs power..? But for the most part I haven't encountered anything to really complain about. (I have had a 90s motor become a mysterious PITA, but I didn't baby it when it showed signs of distress. It melted the armature bearing hole in the brush plate as that one isn't fiber. I rebushed but it simply won't make torque anymore. Unbushed, it's fine. Plastic bush, same thing. Spins like a top, just zero torque. If you pull steam wheels, beware. They can be brittle and for some reason nobody will re-pop some nice new ones.(Robert Grossman Co in Ohio best for parts imo if that hasn't been mentioned.) I'm thinking mylar tape between wheel and jaws maybe 🤔 You can always print any car you'd like on paper/sticker and wrap a crappy car. There was actually a business doing that about a decade ago. Files for some are likely online or at least at the "Wayback Machine" archive.

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