A Gilbert Prewar American Flyer 3/16" O gauge pictures and information thread

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Posted by bkane on Sunday, May 19, 2013 2:55 PM

Grey Cat,

LOL!! Its always cool to have a neat factory variation in your collection.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 10:53 PM

Gray Cat,

As promised earlier, here are some photos of my 484 caboose variations.

 
Black railing variation with original box
 
 
White railing variation with original box
 
 
Both have diecast link and pin couplers
 
 
And here is the third variation that I mentioned earlier on the thread.  It is the white railing version, but it has S gauge trucks.
 
 
 
 
The trucks have nickel journal boxes.
 
 
 
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The Northwoods Flyer Collection

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American Flyer Trains

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Posted by Gray Cat on Thursday, May 23, 2013 7:30 AM

Thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures.. Wow that S gauge trucked prewar caboose is sure a curiosity. I wonder now if any other cars were done this way? If this was a mistake? So many questions unanswered.

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Posted by bkane on Friday, May 24, 2013 2:52 PM

Hi to all,

If you need parts for your 3/16th AF check out Portlines Hobbies and Leventon Hobby Supply, they both have a large selection of prewar parts, also if you need parts for the tootsietoy armoured car especially the guns that are always missing check out Thomas Toys Inc. They specialze in prewar / post war diecast vehicle parts.

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Posted by bkane on Monday, June 3, 2013 9:41 PM

Grey Cat,

I have an AF 806 northern with the spur gear drive, it is the grandady of all northerns. It has the same remote directional control as the 534 worm drive versions.

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Posted by Gray Cat on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 5:50 AM

Yes indeed that is the grandaddy.. and quite a valuable piece if I'm not mistaken. Please post a few photo's if you can. I'm sure everyone would love to see that rarity.

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Posted by Major on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 5:49 PM

Interesting S-Gauge truck!  However it looks to me like a previous owner carefully re-bent the original O-gauge trucks and put on S-scale wheel sets. That would explain the added height to the trucks.

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Posted by Gray Cat on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 6:03 PM

Major

Interesting S-Gauge truck!  However it looks to me like a previous owner carefully re-bent the original O-gauge trucks and put on S-scale wheel sets. That would explain the added height to the trucks.

Looks like you "might" have solved the mystery of the S gauge prewar caboose.. we need verification from NWF now to let us know if after careful and close examination there is any evidence of the bend.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Friday, June 7, 2013 10:06 PM

Major and Gray Cat,

Nice observation.  I had not thought of that explanation.  I went back and dug out the caboose and examined the trucks more carefully.

I think that the truck has indeed been re-bent from its original O gauge configuration to an S gauge one.

 
You can see there is still a faint line where the truck was originally bent.
 
 
And on one of the trucks there are some scratch marks on the inside of the truck, but only on one side at the line of the new bend.
 
Whoever made the alteration did a really careful and excellent job.  If you go back to the first picture, notice how even the curve of the new bend is.
 
The truck has obviously been altered.  I wonder if it was done by a previous owner, or if it was done by Flyer at the factory.  There is no damage to the caboose and the rivets appear to be untouched.  I wonder if the factory used up old O gauge trucks and re-manufactured them into S-gauge trucks at some point when there was a shortage of S gauge trucks.  I'm fairly sure we will never know the answer beyond a reasonable doubt.  It would be interesting to know if there are any other examples of re-manufactured trucks out there.
 
Nice catch Major   Smile
 
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The Northwoods Flyer Collection

of

American Flyer Trains

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Posted by Gray Cat on Saturday, June 8, 2013 6:29 AM

I have one of the earliest plastic sets in my S gauge collection. This is when Gilbert was first experimenting with plastics.. The caboose is all plastic and it is most certainly warped. I don't think I've seen any of these very early S pieces that weren't warped. I would be curious to know how quickly these pieces of rolling stock deformed.. perhaps one season in the attic would be enough to do it. Now this might be a stretch but....

I could see where an enterprising operator of a seasonal express could put his old and no longer used O gauge caboose back in service on the S gauge line.

Of course there are a million speculations.

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Posted by Gray Cat on Saturday, August 24, 2013 7:42 PM

Another addition to the family.. For some time I've been searching for a Tuscan baggage car to go with my passenger cars. It just seems to me that anything Tuscan is harder to find.. that could be because the nice ones are already spoken for. In any case I've had a devil of a time finding a Tuscan Baggage car until I saw this little fellow for sale. Consider my good fortune in not only finding a Tuscan Baggage car, but one with mail pickup, special track section and it's original mail bag. Based on what I have witnessed so far the Tuscan mail car is a hard find. If anyone has any input on this please chime in. Regardless, I am glad to have this one!

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Posted by AF53 on Saturday, August 24, 2013 11:18 PM

Gray Cat - Nice catch on the Tuscan mail pick-up! I have only the Green #492. After a closer look at my 492 there are 4 spots where they placed the decals on and none of the have the number, just "American Flyer Lines". I see no mention in my Greenberg book about this. It all looks original on the car.

I'm trying to acquire the 400 series freight cars and I'm more than half way complete. The 500 series will be next. As these were only made barely for three years it's not an easy task. Patience........

Ray

Bayville, NJ

 

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Posted by Gray Cat on Sunday, August 25, 2013 6:14 AM

Ray, collecting these trains is an exercise in patience for sure. But well worth the wait when we find a coveted piece. As to the decals it's like so many other things we see. Perhaps on the day they finished your car they ran out of number decals or the person putting them in place didn't know any better? We just don't know. But it is neat to see the variations.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Monday, August 26, 2013 9:11 AM

Gray Cat,

You have been doing a great job of documenting Gilbert's 3/16" O gauge line.  So good in fact that you have tempted me to start adding a few pieces to my collection.  Like AF53 I have been adding one piece at a time.  I've been trying to put together a passenger train of the 400 series cars; but mine are in green.  Those Tuscan cars are indeed a difficult set to find.  Here is what I have so far.

 
The 561 and tender
 
 
 
 
 The #492 operating mail car.  Mine has a 492 and an American Flyer Lines decal on each side.  (I have a suspicion that you and I got our operating mail cars from the same source.  I have the special operating track and mail pickup and the original mailing box too.  We'll have to check in with each other to make sure we aren't bidding on the same item.  Wink)
 
 
 
And finally for now;  the #497 Pullman Observation
 
 
 
Gilbert did a great job with American Flyer when he took over and redesigned the trains.  Somehow I still prefer the older prewar designs.  However I have just about everything they made in S-gauge after the war.
 
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The Northwoods Flyer Collection

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Posted by AF53 on Monday, August 26, 2013 10:13 AM

That's all I need, more competition, UGH!!!!!!

All kidding aside Northwoods, good luck.

Ray

Bayville, NJ

 

Life is what happens to you
While you're busy making other plans - John Lennon

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Posted by Gray Cat on Monday, August 26, 2013 11:24 AM

AF53

That's all I need, more competition, UGH!!!!!!

All kidding aside Northwoods, good luck.

HaHa that's what I was thinking too! (of course I'm kidding too! There's still plenty of this stuff around)

Lover of all things Gilbert, truly a man ahead of his time.

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Posted by Gray Cat on Monday, August 26, 2013 12:05 PM

Northwoods, as I am finding out it is no easy task to collect these trains or is it easy to keep a thread on them going and interesting. They were manufactured for such a short time. Fortunately with continued support here on the forum we are keeping it going. As we have noted the side effect of keeping up or renewing interest is that they become "interesting".. Big Smile

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Posted by Gray Cat on Monday, August 26, 2013 12:07 PM

Here are a few more shots of my Tuscan Mail car. It does indeed have a number and American Flyer Lines on each side. Luckily the number/letter size and font match my other passenger cars and the condition is very close. This essentially "looks" like a set now.

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Posted by Gray Cat on Monday, August 26, 2013 12:13 PM

Another recent find is an upgrade to my Royal Blue passenger set. I was able to find this beautiful Royal Blue "Chugger" with box. These chugger tenders add a whole new level of play value to the toy trains. Imagine being a boy running his locomotive down the rails and being able to hear it chugging along. The "Chugger" unit that came with was not working, luckily I had one all serviced and ready to install to replace the bad one. I'd be curious to learn if this chugger tender was offered in sets or for separate sale only? I'll have to see if I can read up on it.


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Posted by AF53 on Monday, August 26, 2013 1:08 PM

Gray Cat - This indeed could be a variation to the Mail Car. All the decals look original with slight wear.


Ray

Bayville, NJ

 

Life is what happens to you
While you're busy making other plans - John Lennon

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Posted by Gray Cat on Monday, August 26, 2013 2:40 PM

Yes, sure looks like it is.. my decals are AFL on the left and 492 on the right. Be curious to see if any came the other way around?

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Posted by Gray Cat on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 8:30 AM

Northwoods Flyer


 
Gilbert did a great job with American Flyer when he took over and redesigned the trains.  Somehow I still prefer the older prewar designs.  However I have just about everything they made in S-gauge after the war.
 
Enjoying the World's Greatest Hobby
Northwoods Flyer
 

    One of the (many) appealing things about the prewar 3/16" line to me is that it still has that tinplate feel with it's bright colors and sheetmetal rolling stock of the Chicago Flyer O. Yet there is that certain realism in the truer to scale sizes and the detail of the motive power is over the top.   These are still toy trains. The S Gauge line gets closer to realism in many ways and farther away from toy trains, but not close enough to scale model railroading and too far away from toy trains for some. S Gauge will always be my first love.

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Posted by Major on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 1:09 PM

In the 1941 catalog you can buy the "Chugger" tenders separately to upgrade your equipment. The chugger tenders also came with higher priced locomotives and in higher priced sets that same year.

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Posted by Gray Cat on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 1:53 PM

Thanks for the input Major. I would imagine that a "Royal Blue" could be considered a premium set.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 8:14 AM

Gray Cat and AF53,

You have no one to blame but yourselves if the competition for 3/16" O is getting stiffer. Wink   You have taken a relatively obscure niche of the American Flyer collecting world (actually a well kept secret) and shown just how great it looks when you put it all together and run it.  Whenever I have put on a display of American Flyer trains most people are surprised to find out that Flyer made anything but S gauge.  Then when you show them that there was the brief window of 3/16" O they are really surprised. 

Thanks againg for your dilligence in posting to this thread.  It only takes the patience and persistance of one or two people to keep it alive and before you know it there will be more contributors.  That's what I have discovered on the Pre War thread.

Nice additions to your collections.  I particularly like the Royal Blue chugger tender.  I'll have to keep my eyes open for one of those, and then another engine to pull it and then................  Now see what you did!  Laugh

The Mersenne6 Special

 
 
490 Whistling Baggage Car  -  a later addition
 
 
Enjoying the World's Greatest Hobby
Northwoods Flyer

The Northwoods Flyer Collection

of

American Flyer Trains

"The Toy For the Boy"

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Posted by Gray Cat on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 9:45 AM

NWF, I for one am glad to be a part of keeping this little slice of A.C. Gilbert's legacy alive. Also glad to see others like AF53 joining in, I enjoy the competition. The other side of keeping interest alive is that someday my heirs might benefit from the recognition as opposed to having a bunch of old trains no one knows anything about. Stick out tongue

The whistling baggage car in Royal Blue is nice.! I have a grey one and boy is it heavy. How neat would that be to have the mail car and whistler on the same consist, I just wonder if the RB loco could pull it?

Now the problem is I need more rail laid to handle all these trains! and more wall space and more storage space and AAAHHHH see what we've started.. Smile

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Posted by bkane on Monday, September 2, 2013 1:37 PM

Grey Cat, I remember when I started collecting AF 3/16th about 18 years ago they were still not easy to come by, but they weren't really in demand so you could get them a little less than you can now. The 1st time I saw them they became my favorite. I think that the engines are some of the nicest ever made and the bright colors of the tinplate stock always looked great goin around the track! Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if A.C. Gilbert kept them on 3rail after the war?? I shutter to think of the possibilities!!

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Posted by Gray Cat on Wednesday, September 4, 2013 8:29 PM

Every once in a while I cruise the S gauge Flyer section on "that" auction site. I'm still an active S gauge collector so that's not too hard to do. I find that many times folks will post what they think are S gauge American Flyer parts, rolling stock or accessories when they are actually prewar 3/16" gauge O. I just landed this little guy hidden in among some S gauge accessories and parts. Funny thing is someone else has a good eye too! I was the high bidder, but not the only bidder. The Directional controller in the picture is a hard to find piece. This is what is needed to operate (change direction) on a Remote Directional Control locomotive. It's a simple DC converter and momentary contact button. It sends the DC pulse needed to activate the RDC.

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Posted by Gray Cat on Saturday, September 7, 2013 11:11 AM

pgXMgdY7CQwHere's a Royal Blue with Chugger tender in action. Hope you enjoy!

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Posted by AF53 on Sunday, September 8, 2013 9:06 AM

[tup] Totally Awesome!

With just a sliver in time from American Flyer's history, 3/16" O Gauge is very unique. Still in the hunt to expand my collection from that era.

Ray

Bayville, NJ

 

Life is what happens to you
While you're busy making other plans - John Lennon

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