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Train Miniature

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  • Member since
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Train Miniature
Posted by Run Eight on Sunday, September 18, 2016 3:25 PM

Started out as Tru-Scale Models freight and building kit line....

Then became Silver-Streak Models Plastic Line....

On to becoming Train Master of San Diego....

Next for the longest run as Train Miniature of La Mesa...

Moving to Illinois, they became Train Miniature of Illinois....

Ending as Wm. K. Walthers Company of Milwaukee...

The Walthers 50'0" Airslide kit tooling was cut by TMofI, before they went under....

TMofI did the tooling for a least one Weaver Models O Scale Car Kit....

TM announced in later 1971 that both a powered and dummy Fairbanks Morse H-16-44 would be released in 1972..... Was released by Willie K. some years later

TM 50'0" 1 1/2 XM was annnounced for release in May 1972....Did the tooling ever exist??????

TM for the years that the glass window packaging was used had a 36 single dome tank car drawing....Tooling was cut...but never released...until Willie K. did some years later...

TM did indeed cut tooling and did produce a very limited number of the 42'0" drop bottom gondola... A new product announcement did appear in MR, with a photograph of the undec model....

TMofI had injected molded kit boxes, that were not tall enough to contain assembled high car kits.....

Then switched to cheap carboard boxes, the paper thickness being the rolls for paper towels....

A interesting company (s).....

Care to add more????

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Posted by mlehman on Sunday, September 18, 2016 3:41 PM

Can't forget those trucks with actual springing...sounds good, but the scaled down physics didn't quite work so well as the theory. Some expressed frustration with getting the springs in. I just found they tended to bind and not follow track as well as the design promised. Still run a few for nostaligic reasons.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, September 18, 2016 4:36 PM

Run Eight
...TM did indeed cut tooling and did produce a very limited number of the 42'0" drop bottom gondola... A new product announcement did appear in MR, with a photograph of the undec model....

Would that have been the basis for Walthers Proto1000 composite drop-door car...?

...or was it a full drop-bottom car, like the one from Red Caboose...?

I wasn't aware that there was so much history of Train Miniature, and can't really add to it.  Thanks for posting it.

EDIT:  I almost forgot that TM also offered an FA-1/FB-1, although I never owned one.

Train Miniature has always been one of my favourites, and while I have many, the ones which really got me hooked were their X-29 boxcars:

I eventually re-worked all of them, moving the trucks closer to the cars' ends, to match the real ones:

...a few others...

If you model the period between the mid-teens and the late '50s, the TM cars can fit in quite well, and they certainly add to the authenticity of those times when car heights varied widely.

Wayne

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  • From: Canada, eh?
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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, September 18, 2016 4:53 PM

mlehman
...Some expressed frustration with getting the springs in. I just found they tended to bind and not follow track as well as the design promised....

I found that cleaning-up the castings, especially the portion of the bolster ends which fitted into the sideframes and the matching portion of the sideframes, really helped those trucks to work well.  I moved some of the TM sprung trucks to my Athearn 2-bay hoppers and found that the loaded cars, at 8oz., actual compressed the springs somewhat, allowing the sideframes to pivot slightly about the bolster when passing through turnouts.

Wayne

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  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
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Posted by dknelson on Sunday, September 18, 2016 5:28 PM

Thank you for doing this.  An interesting chronology, some of which I was unaware of, and which made me go to the shelves to see what I had.

One thing I note: one plastic box is labeled Train Miniature of Illinois LTD.  The other is labeled Train Miniature LTD of Illinois.  So it seems there was at least one other slight variation in the name apart from your list. 

One other general comment.  As I recall, it was not easy to find a replacement metal wheelset that would drop into the TM/TMofI trucks and roll well.  Often I just replaced the entire truck.  The truck tuner tool solved the problem but by that time TM had long since been sold to WKW.  Another peculiarity -- the Train Miniature plastic wheels in turn were just about the only replacement 33" wheel with RP-25 contour that could drop in and roll well in the trucks that came with the AHM freight cars on the 1960s -- of which I had so many that after removing all the plastic wheels from my TM cars, I actually purchased more TM plastic wheels for my AHM cars.  There cannot have been many of us who actually purchased TM wheelsets because they were not really very good.  But the AHM wheels were severely undersized and had huge flanges, and again this was pre truck tuner.  Fortunately I replaced the wheels BEFORE I body mounted the couplers, so there was at least a chance of getting the height correct.

So here is what I find on the Nelson shelves.

Train Miniature (La Mesa CA) 8093, Ahnapee & Western 40' double sheathed reefer.  Cardstock box but a glassine or plastic window for much of the cover.  The instructions (which refer to a 2300 series) call the firm "Train Miniature Products."  Yet another name?  I bought the car used, and someone had spilled solvent or lacquer on the roof and this was a difficult salvage job.  The ice bunker hatches are not, I think, factory originals because those had literally melted into goop.  The back of the box shows a gondola and tank car which I don't know as I ever noticed or saw on a shelf.  

Train Miniature of Illinois LTD 3010 -- a Virginian & Ohio 2 bay hopper.  Packaging is an all cardstock box, yellow, no glassine window.

Ditto 3011, an L&N two bay hopper.  Same packaging.  

Train Miniature of Illinois LTD2154, a Soo Line "outside braced" [sic] single sheathed boxcar.  Plastic box, which as you say was usually inadequate to hold the finished model.   Of particular interest is the brake wheel.  It is ornate, with five spiral spokes and a scalloped outer ring, but no inner ring.  The closest prototype seems to be the very early version of the Superior hand brake wheel.  Some fussy prototype modelers might regard the kit as worth it for that handbrake wheel alone.  Speaking of worth it, the sticker says $3.75.  

Train Miniature LTD of Illinois (note the different sequence of words in the name) 3102, billed as a Pennsylvania Railroad 40' A.R.A. boxcar.  I.e., their X-29 that Walthers also released.  Plastic box.

Train Miniature 2051, PRR X-29 boxcar and here it is billed as such.  Cardstock box with no "window."  Interestingly both PRR X-29s are numbered 100800, but the one in the plastic box is matte brown not unlike the "standard" Athearn boxcar color, and has a vertical mounted 8 straight-spoked brakewheel "sort of like" Ajax, or perhaps Champion Peacock, with corrugated ends in a 3-3-3 pattern, while the cardstock box car is a shiney dark rich brown paint - more like Pennsy passenger colors -- slab flat ends, and the early Superior brake wheel noted earlier, mounted horizonally.  The lettering is identical on the two cars including the Blt and New dates, and a reference to experimental air brakes.  Both cars have the same three-panel door (Creco?)

Train Miniature LTC of Illinois 2904, a Seaboard 40' bulkhead flat car (the bulkheads are removable castings).  

At some point I tired of the TM plastic box so I have no series number for a B&O "X-29/ARA" boxcar numbered 274389, with 3-3-3 corrugated ends, vertical brake wheel with 6 straight spokes,  and what I judge to be Youngstown doors.

When Walthers acquired TM they also acquired various parts and unbuilt cars and sold them off cheaply on their bargain shelves here in Milwaukee.  Thus a Central of New Jersey "X-29/ARA" boxcar with flat slab ends, three panel Creco type doors, came without floor, frame or trucks.  I scratchbuilt a floor including AB brake set with piping.  And I might have added from the scratch box the horizontal brake wheel (5 straight spokes).  Just cannot recall.

Someshere in the house is a bunch of TMofI flatcar body castings without frame or weight or trucks, all painted black and all lettered Erie.  I'll get to them one of these lifetimes I suppose.  I think Walthers sold those on the bargain shelf for a quarter each or some such.  That was years ago of course.

Although for Walthers the TMofI line became train set fodder for the most part, when they were new TM and TMofI were respected because they at least tried to reflect either exact prototype or plausible believability, with different ends and doors and brakewheels at a time when the standards for inexpensive mass produced plastic kits often involved buying mongrel cars of no actual prototype that would combine doors, ends, and roofs that perhaps no car at all had at the same time, and in any event were cookie cutter identical with no effort to reflect what a particular railroad might have had in the way of doors for example.   Maybe it now seems like a baby step, but it was an important one.

Dave Nelson 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, September 18, 2016 8:37 PM

I worked in a hobby shop during the late 70's, we sold lots of those kits, I have my share still.

As for their sprung trucks, or any sprung trucks, I never had any real problems.

In fact, to this day, I run mostly sprung trucks on freight cars - for equalization.

My prefered sprung truck is a Kadee truck refitted with Intermountain wheel sets. more than three quarters of my fleet rides on that setup.

They add weight down low, they track very well, and they are very free rolling.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ACY Tom on Sunday, September 18, 2016 8:41 PM

Most of this is familiar to me, but I have only a vague recollection of an FM H-16-44. I thought it was announced but never released, and I was surprised by the suggestion that Walthers released it later. I find that a bit hard to believe. However, I was always under the impression that the Walthers FA-1 and FA-2 were based on TM tooling.

Tom

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, September 19, 2016 7:38 AM

 Yes, the Walthers FA is the TM body shell, with a much improved drive. The run very well on DC and since everything is nicely wired (no chassis power), they aren't hard to put a DCC decoder in. They just need the application of a disel dress-up kit to get free standing grabs, ladders, and lift rings, and they look fine.

                            --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Ron High on Monday, September 19, 2016 9:31 AM

When Train Miniature brought the FA/FB1 years back I bought a few .Unfortunately the drive was just OK. My solution was to use theHobbytown FA drive chassis. This was a pretty good combination.I added some details.On the FA the number boards did not look that good so I used some Athearn PA1 number boards shave down which gave a better Alco look. It wasn't untill the Proto FAs and E&R FAs came out the I noticed how far off the TM/Walthers FA nose is . If you place the TM side by side with  the Proto and E&R you can easily see the difference . Both the top of the nose and rounded front of the TM are way off. Place the TM unit next to an EMD F7 shell and they look like cousins.

I have had my TM FAs with Hobbytown drives for over 40 years and would not give them up. I do think the Proto and E&R FAs look much more like  the real thing. I do have a number of both in NH colors. I do not have the MTH FAs but I think they look good .I don't know how well they run I really like their New Haven McGinnis version but I think they on the high side for cost.

Ron High

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Posted by 7j43k on Monday, September 19, 2016 11:08 AM

rrinker

 Yes, the Walthers FA is the TM body shell, with a much improved drive. The run very well on DC and since everything is nicely wired (no chassis power), they aren't hard to put a DCC decoder in. They just need the application of a disel dress-up kit to get free standing grabs, ladders, and lift rings, and they look fine.

                            --Randy

 

 

I'm inclined to think they just need replacing with the P2K FA-1's that Walthers ALSO has.  Those would be the ones with options like two different number boards and w and w/o db's.  And more.  And they came with all that other stuff already on.

I've got a few undecs of these just waiting.........

 

 

Ed

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 10:08 AM

ACY

Most of this is familiar to me, but I have only a vague recollection of an FM H-16-44. I thought it was announced but never released, and I was surprised by the suggestion that Walthers released it later. I find that a bit hard to believe. However, I was always under the impression that the Walthers FA-1 and FA-2 were based on TM tooling.

Tom

 

Yes IIRC the H-16-44 was announced but never released by TM or Walthers. Walthers did come out with an FM switcher, but a different locomotive entirely, an H-10-44. The earlier poster may be thinking of the Bachmann (or Atlas) H-16-44.

Stix

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