Lionel has reissued so many engines and cars from the postwar era, so why have they not done so for the super neat 3619 Reconnaissance Helicopter Car?  I know that in 2007, give or take a year, a Lionel catalog did show such a car as part of a high-end set, but the set was never produced.  I have waited and waited, and now I am about to break a hard and fast rule of no items before 1995--okay, I did break that rule for some character handcars produced in the late 80's and early 90's--which keeps my buying in check, and bid on a 3619 that is in very good condition.  Please save me from myself and give me some hope that Lionel will reissue the 3619.

Thank you, Janet (TCA and LCCA member)


Original Post
bmoran4 posted:

What's wrong with a nice original?

Aside from the price a mint one that still would probably work with an un-broken helicopter  - nothing. 

I'm all in for a re-issue as well.  I offered my dealer to buy that and any other car of his choosing from that set as a break up and he had agreed, but it never came to be.


mowingman posted:

I had a helicopter car with the4 blade helicopter, brand new. It broke within a few weeks an Lionel provided a new 2 blade helicopter. The 2 blade model never flew well like the old 4 blade one.

Pretty sure with the 2 blade vs. 4 blade you mean the regular flat car with operating helicopter (same mechanism as satellite launching car, I think).

The reconnaissance car being discussed is the boxcar that opens up like the missile launching boxcar, but has a small (smaller than the one that launches from a flat) helicopter.  I don't think there are 2 blade and 4 blade versions of that.


Keep in mind, it took until 2011 for Lionel to reissue the operating merchandise car - 65 years after the original was made - since they redesigned the whole mechanism. I imagine Lionel might redo the entire mechanism in this day and age to make it more trouble free for the operator.

Then again, I've heard the 3619 is less troublesome than the 3419 by comparison. Plus, Lionel's focus nowadays has seemed to stray away from the lower-end, traditional line and postwar reissues...


Somerset County 4-H Trainmasters

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LCCA 30247

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3619 trip lever and wire for launching helicopterI have an original 3619 and helo.  The mold is same as the generator car, the Safety Instruction car...…   The mechanism can be finicky, but most PW operating cars are at some point.  Have operated mine, but keep it limited, and a reissue of this would be great!   And the helicopter inside is an HO gauge piece.  

Jesse   TCALionel Post 3619 Helicopter Reconnaissance Car


Photos (2)

Thanks to everyone who responded.  After talking to fellow club members of the Paradise and Pacific RR, I believe that the launching mechanism could be improved upon using what is available today in other operating cars.  Even if that could not be done, so what if the operation is not ideal, it is still a neat car and I think that it would be well received.  With the uncertainty that one would be reissued and going against my hard and fast rule, I went ahead and bought a postwar 3619 in excellent condition on eBay.

Janet Mattern (TCA and LCCA member)


Well, they thought they were going to reissue the car, but for reasons unknown to us specifically, Lionel gave it a thumbs down. Since they have reissued the Minuteman and cannon cars, The problem is likely clockwork mechanism to raise the launcher, or the actual launcher mechanism, which I have already said went to Hornby.

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