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Can anyone tell me if the TRAIN MINIATURE HO scale cars are a good quality buy?

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Posted by farrellaa on Thursday, February 27, 2014 10:05 AM

alco_fan
 
yanni48
I found this Train Minature Spotter's Guide web site on the net

 

Even more interesting _with_ the link

http://www.steamlocomotive.com/model/tm/

 

 

Great info, thanks for posting it.

   -Bob

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Posted by "JaBear" on Thursday, February 27, 2014 2:07 AM

ACY
I wonder whether TM ever actually released the Fairbanks Morse H16-44.

I presume from this from the HOseeker site that it was to be released October (72 ????). Prehaps it wasn't.

http://hoseeker.net/TrainMiniatureslist/tmlist1971pg1.jpg

Cheers, the Bear.

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by ACY Tom on Thursday, February 27, 2014 12:09 AM

In response to the list posted by alco_fan, I wonder whether TM ever actually released the Fairbanks Morse H16-44.  I sure don't remember it, and I think it's an engine that would have grabbed my attention at the time.  Does anybody know?

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Posted by alco_fan on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 2:23 PM

yanni48
I found this Train Minature Spotter's Guide web site on the net

Even more interesting _with_ the link

http://www.steamlocomotive.com/model/tm/

 

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Posted by ACY Tom on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 1:50 PM

I had quite a few T-M cars in the past, but most were replaced over the years by more accurate cars. The T-M cars were notable in their time because they introduced variety in the size and styles of cars, plus the variety of trucks.   The only T-M car I have left is a M.I.N.X. (Minnesota Mining & Manufacturers) DS car that bore a resemblance to some old SS and DS cars that were stored near where I lived in the early 1960's.  I'm keeping it, if only for the logo.  Maybe some day I'll get enough info together to build a convincing 3-M car, but until then I have this one, and I suspecgt I'll keep it around for a long time 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 12:31 PM

Thanks for your kind words, John.  I have pretty-well all the freight cars required for my layout, but I still find it difficult to resist when I see TM cars on the used table at my LHS.


Wayne

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Posted by yanni48 on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 7:42 AM

Hi Wayne.....I really like what you did with the Train Miniature cars.....excellent work. The weathering and detail work is superb. The double door box cars are superb.

I found this Train Minature Spotter's Guide web site on the net and it shows all the different cars that were issued during the 70's & 80's. This is an exellent resorce guide for those who are stlll interested in these cars. I now have about 200 of these cars and I still buy and sell them on ebay. If there is anyone out there willing to sell what they have I'd be more than glad to take them off your hands.

John

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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, February 24, 2014 2:09 AM

I had some of those Tobacco Road cars, too, but bought them mainly because they were cheap.  All of them were stripped, re-worked, and re-painted.  I'm not positive, but I believe three of them were re-done like this:


Among the first TM cars that I re-worked, these were also low-height cars like most of the TM line.  I filed/sanded the moulded-on sidesills flush with the cars' sheathing, then scribed that area to match the board pattern.  After adding new side sills (strip styrene), I had a car similar to the USRA doublesheathed boxcar.  Doors and ends are from Tichy and the fishbelly underframe is simply sheet styrene cemented to the original frame.  I scraped off all of the moulded-on grabirions and replaced them with wire parts - the grabiron-style ladders are what was used on this road's cars.  Lettering is C-D-S dry transfers, and with the herald applied, is too modern for my late '30s era layout....that's not a great concern to me, though, as the real cars weren't acquired until November of 1940, from parent NYC.  This is my hometown road, so I can live with the anomaly.

 

Here's another car of the same type under construction - The sidesill has already been scribed to match the car's siding:

 

After adding new ends and doors and a bunch of other stuff (the floor/frame is from an Accurail car), I ended up with a fairly accurate representation of a 1918-built Michigan Central car:


Another TM car of the same type was used to make this AT&SF Bx-9.  The existing sidesill was scribed then a length of styrene angle iron was cemented in place along the bottom edge.  The ends and roof are stock, while the doors are modified Athearn parts.  The Dalman Two-Level trucks are from Tahoe:


The USRA Design steel boxcars are very similar to one of the TM steel cars, and required only the addition of styrene strips to better represent the prototype's sills.  I change the ends and doors to match the prototype:


Here's a TM single sheathed boxcar.  It's a pretty good representation of the "alternate" 1924 ARA Standard boxcar,  "alternate" because the diagonal bracing was arranged in a Howe truss rather than the recommended Pratt-style.  More cars were built to the alternate design than the standard design, though, so the TM car is a pretty good stand-in for a number of roads' cars.  I add .010"x.040" strip styrene to the bracing to give it a little more definition, and change the ends and doors to match the prototypes which I'm modelling. 


Such a car is a good stand-in for CNR and Central Vermont boxcars, as seen in a link earlier in this thread.  Many such cars need only a little "freshening" of the details and some appropriate lettering.  Most of my cars were lettered with either C-D-S dry transfers or Champ decals. 
Another prototype car which can be represented by this model is the 40' Fowler Patent car.  This D&RGW boxcar and the M&StL car below it are examples:



With a little more work, you can convert the same car into the "recommended" version:


This car, with its bracing not altered, was originally going to be a stand-in for a Seaboard car, but some research showed that the herald in the Champ decal set that I planned to use on the car was too modern.  Without the herald, the car would look pretty plain - lost in a sea of boxcar reds and browns.  Laugh   I contacted the SAL/ACL Historical Society and was able to purchase the correct lettering, including more era-appropriate heralds.  That in-turn inspired me to make the car a little more accurate, resulting in the change shown above.  I also discovered that the SAL favoured flat ends, similar to those used on Pennsy's early X-29s.  Not wanted to hack-up one of TM's versions of those cars, I opted to build my own. 
Sheet styrene, some Archer rivet decals and some Tichy brake gear did the trick:




I didn't, however, change the roof, which should have been a flat riveted type similar to those used on the X-29s.  Embarrassed

Even Train Miniature's plugdoor boxcar is a useful candidate for rebuilding as an older-style car.  Simply shave off the door latching hardware and the tackboard beside it, then add new sliding-type doors.  Here's one done as a C&O door-and-a-half car:


...and then re-lettered in a more era-appropriate style:


I can't say if the C&O car is an accurate model of an actual C&O car, (done when I was less concerned with such matters) but I think that it looks suitable for my era.  Likewise for this doubledoor U.P. car:


If you're freelancing, you have a little more leeway when the rivet counters show up.  I used another plugdoor car to create this, lettered for a friend's home road.  The doors are from Red Caboose, and trucks from Proto:


...and another one of the TM doublesheathed boxcars.  This one got some leftover Bowser doors, and new ends from Tichy, along with angle iron sills similar to those on the Santa Fe car shown earlier.  I used custom decals from Rail Graphics to letter it for a late friend's road, as a tribute to his memory:


So, to answer the O.P.'s original question:  yes, the Train Miniature cars are, in my opinion, a good quality buy.  You can find them used or as unbuilt kits at most train shows, usually for less than $5.00.  Many are fair representations of prototype cars, and some are pretty good representations.  With upgraded details and/or modifications (such as shown above), plus more accurate lettering, you can have good-looking and accurate cars at a fraction of the cost of similar r-t-r cars or craftsman-type kits.  As an added bonus, you can learn more about the prototypes through research and you'll have the pleasure of creating rolling stock which is unique to your particular skills....a lot of bang for your buck.


Wayne

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Posted by farrellaa on Sunday, February 23, 2014 11:15 PM

I have about a dozen of their Tobacco Road collection and they are really unique in the 'Brand Names' they carry; like Lucky Strike, Piciquene (?) and others I can't remember without going to the storage closet where they are. I plan to build all of them and put Kadees and metal wheels on them. I think they are very well designed kits, but don't have the level of detail as newer 'high end' RTR models are.

    -Bob

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Posted by Ron High on Sunday, February 23, 2014 9:03 PM

I thought the TM cars were nice when they came out.One interesting thing was the lower profile and the x29 style cars .They were different enough to make you understand that all box cars were not the same. I still have them and operate them today with Kadee couplers and Central valley trucks ,the standard in those days.

The FA 1/FB1 was the first decent model of the FA and first pretty good plastic body. The drive was terrible, a junk motor and gearing,smoked more than a few. I ended up using some of the shells and fuel tanks on Hobbytown drives agreat combination .I still have a set today of course there are better FA1s FB1s today .

Ron High

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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, February 23, 2014 7:39 PM

doctorwayne

Hi John, and Welcome to the MR Forums.

I was surprised to see this old thread come up, so I'm guessing that you're here as the result of an on-line search regarding Train Miniature cars.  They're still among my favourites, and it's with some difficulty that I'm resisting adding photos of more recent efforts.  Smile, Wink & Grin


Wayne

 

 

Wayne,That would be a interesting topic if you shared your photos..

As a thought maybe other members could post photos of their TM cars as well?

 

Larry

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Posted by Guy Papillon on Sunday, February 23, 2014 5:27 PM

Wayne,

Please don't resist any longer.  Your work deserves to be seen. I like the way you paint, detail and weather your cars and structures.

Bow

 

Guy

Modeling CNR in the 50's

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Posted by dknelson on Sunday, February 23, 2014 5:13 PM

Start a new thread when an old one already exists on a topic you'd like to chat about, and you will be chastised by some.  Revive that old thread to chat about your topic rather than start a new one, and you will be chastised by others.

To me it makes more sense to revive the old thread since its contents did not literally answer the original 2009 question but it did contain a good amount of on-topic discussion.  

I'd only add to it that while I liked the look of Train Miniature freight cars, I never did care much for their all-plastic wheels.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by steemtrayn on Sunday, February 23, 2014 12:45 PM

don7

Why was a three year old thread brought forward, the posting could easily stand on its own, as a brief history of the FA Walthers Trainline

 

 

It's his first post... give him a break.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, February 23, 2014 12:36 PM

Hi John, and Welcome to the MR Forums.

I was surprised to see this old thread come up, so I'm guessing that you're here as the result of an on-line search regarding Train Miniature cars.  They're still among my favourites, and it's with some difficulty that I'm resisting adding photos of more recent efforts.  Smile, Wink & Grin


Wayne

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Posted by yanni48 on Sunday, February 23, 2014 7:24 AM

Train Minature cars are my favorite of all the brands. Of course they are not manufactured anymore except for a few that Walther's offers but if you can aquire them on ebay, you should be very happy with their simplicity of building them. The printing is not always the best quality (Walthers improved that when they bought out TM's tooling back in the eightes. And the 8000 series spotters cars that were offered by TM had better graphics plus some of them came with assembled strung trucks. The thing that I never liked was the way the supplied plastic wheel sets performed. The car would often wobble slightly when running on the track so I replaced the wheelsets with intermountain 33" brass wheels and they run so smootly and never de-rail. I am always on the lookout for TM's at the train shows but they are getting harder to find these days. Some of the tobacco and beer cars are very collectable and some have fetched as high as $75.00 on ebay. Todays models that are available are far too expensive compared to the Train Miniatures cars that you can find at show or on the net.

John

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Posted by don7 on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 12:29 AM

Why was a three year old thread brought forward, the posting could easily stand on its own, as a brief history of the FA Walthers Trainline

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Posted by Stourbridge Lion on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 8:18 AM

kingsway3030 - Welcome to trains.com! Cowboy

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Posted by kingsway3030 on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 7:17 AM

Train Miniatures first FA-1 Freight Diesel was made in Japan by Micro Cast (Mizuno)

Released and distributed in America by Train Miniature of Illinois in late 1970 and reviewed in the October 1970 edition of Model Railroader.

 The September release was a powered FA-1 dummy FB-1 retailing at $17.98 for the A-B set.

The Company was acquired by Walthers in 1984 and the original Micro Cast FA-1 FB-1 Locomotive shell casts with updated shell modifications and new chassis and drive mechanisms became the basis for Walthers FA-FB-1 locomotives under the Train Line Series.

The original Train Miniature FA1 FB1 release in 1970 had a really nice shell for the period, but the drive was an abomination, the frame was formed sheet steel, not sure what the gear ratio was, but the motor was a 1/32 Strombecker (Hemi) slot car motor, no flywheels, slot cars which are extremly light and normally run like 30:1 high RPM's

The TM Loco drive ratio didn't permit the motor to get anywhere near it's power curve.

As a result the TM FA-1 ran really smooth and quite more so than any other HO diesel on the market at the time. It had a top speed of about 15 MPH, and that was reduced dramatically to 6 MPH with a  5 car freight train behind it and then to zero quickly once the motor then overheated.

Believe it or not the motor got hot enough to burn the skin right of your fingertips.

Many removed or never installed the screw in block weights that came with the Train Miniature FA-1 as the Loco would tilt that way, or this way depending on it's direction.

The drivers were about 46" tall, not 40" the frames were hard to work with. The whole Loco  was made by Micro Cast (Muzino) of Tokyo Japan. The nylon gears were also prone to cracking.

Train Miniature in 1979 did a clone of Athearns F7 cast metal chassis which was fitted with Athearns non Flywheel Jet 400 motor Athearn Part 4001 and Athearn Trucks from Athearns G.E. U-28.

The Train Miniature FB-1 dummy ran with Athearns ATH 34023 dummy trucks.

With this set up the Loco Cab front steps sat far to low to clear the truck leave springs resulting in one having to trim the leaf springs of the front trucks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, June 07, 2009 4:17 PM

Thanks for the kind words, guys.

Actually, those sprung trucks aren't too bad to assemble if you clean the flash from around the ends of the bolster and from the opening in the sideframes, in which the bolster seats.  This also lets the wheels move vertically more easily around the axis of the bolster, useful if your track is especially rough. Smile,Wink, & Grin

Wayne

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Posted by twhite on Sunday, June 07, 2009 3:54 PM

Wayne: 

Beautiful, just beautiful!  Bow  And I see that you kept the original sprung trucks.  Now THAT'S patience!  Tongue

Tom Wink

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Posted by SteamFreak on Sunday, June 07, 2009 1:39 PM

 

doctorwayne

If you have some time, here's a link to a roll-by featuring many upgraded TM cars.

 Wow, Wayne. TongueThumbs Up Remind me to go "fishing" with you sometime. Bow

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, June 07, 2009 12:59 PM

The Train Miniature cars are among my favourites, and I often find them on the "used" table at the LHS for under $5.00.

I modify them with wire grabs, new paint and lettering and updated underframes, and they make into decent-looking cars that are perfect for my mid-to-late '30s era layout.  All of the cars shown were lettered with either Champ decals or C-D-S dry transfers.

Here are a few:

This one was one of my first efforts, involving new ends, rebuilt sides and floor, and lots of wire grabirons:

Here's the TM version of a Pennsy X-29:


And, for comparison, the Red Caboose X-29:


If you have some time, here's a link to a roll-by featuring many upgraded TM cars.

Wayne

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Posted by SteamFreak on Sunday, June 07, 2009 12:27 PM
BRAKIE

CNJ831

The re-motored Walthers Train Line version of the FA-1s were good runners. I really can't say just how good/bad the original TM examples were.

CNJ831

The original FA ran like a non Flywheel Athearn since they used the old  Athearn drive.

http://www.hoseeker.org/TrainMiniatureslist/tmalcofa1.jpg

Then they had the old Athearn Jet 600 motor and cast GE B trucks, and should have been as reliable as any Athearn from that time. They could run a little hot sometimes, but it sure doesn't sound like the description I read, unless there was an earlier run with the larger Athearn motor. Thanks for the info.
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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, June 07, 2009 9:36 AM

CNJ831

SteamFreak

  CNJ831, I'm surprised to hear the FA's were good performers. I read somewhere that they were problematic, due to a high RPM motor, and insufficient gear reduction that caused it to run hot. I didn't know they existed until I saw one on eBay a while back, which got me curious.

The re-motored Walthers Train Line version of the FA-1s were good runners. I really can't say just how good/bad the original TM examples were.

CNJ831

 

The original FA ran like a non Flywheel Athearn since they used the old  Athearn drive.

http://www.hoseeker.org/TrainMiniatureslist/tmalcofa1.jpg

 

Larry

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Posted by CNJ831 on Sunday, June 07, 2009 6:29 AM

SteamFreak

  CNJ831, I'm surprised to hear the FA's were good performers. I read somewhere that they were problematic, due to a high RPM motor, and insufficient gear reduction that caused it to run hot. I didn't know they existed until I saw one on eBay a while back, which got me curious.

The re-motored Walthers Train Line version of the FA-1s were good runners. I really can't say just how good/bad the original TM examples were.

CNJ831

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Posted by SteamFreak on Sunday, June 07, 2009 4:31 AM

 My father bought a set of 3 of the old beer reefers for me, so they were probably the first car kits I ever put together. Dknelson, I forgot about the axle length on those cars being a perfect fit for AHM rolling stock, because I replaced some of my AHM wheels with Train Miniatures as well.

 At some point they offered a set of those reefers decorated for all 50 states, probably during the Bicentennial. The last time I was at the LHS, he was selling a complete set of them secondhand in what appeared to be in perfect condition.

 CNJ831, I'm surprised to hear the FA's were good performers. I read somewhere that they were problematic, due to a high RPM motor, and insufficient gear reduction that caused it to run hot. I didn't know they existed until I saw one on eBay a while back, which got me curious.

Steamlocomotive.com has a cars spotter's guide, and Tony Cook is in the process of adding TM to his site.

http://www.steamlocomotive.com/model/tm/

http://ho-scaletrains.net/id50.html
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Posted by twhite on Friday, June 05, 2009 7:41 PM

Stix: 

One of the things I remember about the TM trucks is that the supplied springs from Walthers were not of the same consistency, or even the same length, sometimes.  Fitting them was a nightmare, and after they were together, the trucks themselves rode very unevenly.  And God forbid that you coupled the cars together with too much force, because the shock would make the springs pop out of the bolsters.  Even running, you weren't sure that they wouldn't come loose and collapse the truck.  I had several derailments in the middle of the train because the truck on my TM car just gave out. 

Not one of Walthers' smarter moves, IMO. 

While this thread has been going on, I've been looking at some of my older TM cars.  It seems that I replaced the trucks with either Kadees or Athearn truck frames with Kadee wheels.  They're still rolling along quite nicely. 

And the cars themselves still look darn good! 

Tom

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Posted by wjstix on Friday, June 05, 2009 3:48 PM

twhite

I remember when Walthers began releasing the TM cars under their own banner, that the trucks provided--though seemingly correct for the type of car--were also in kit form and extremely tricky to put together.  In more than one instance, it took me about 45 minutes to assemble the car and 3 days to get the trucks right.  Tongue  And even then, the rolling qualities were not that good.  I finally ended up purchasing separate trucks for every TM kit I bought.  But I sure liked the kits. 

Tom Smile 

That's right, I had forgotten about that. Dunce They had springs and everything. I guess in a way they were very realistic but wow!! I think I got one together and working (sort of). Luckily right about the time I started into HO Walthers came out with "normal" style plastic trucks (where you just put the wheelsets in) and I bought a set of those for any Walthers kits that came with the other type. After a while the Walthers kits of the old TM type cars came with the one-piece trucks.

I sure did like those cars though, I must have bought 20 or more back when Walthers made them.

Stix

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