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silver streak train models

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silver streak train models
Posted by claricethered on Saturday, April 29, 2017 1:00 PM

i just discovered some silver streak models in my grandmothers closet, and i dont know anything about them.  the boxes appear fairly old, and when i opened one up, the little parts to the model were very cool.  can anyone tell me abouit them?  thanks, leslie

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, May 01, 2017 11:52 AM

Silver Streak kits were "craftsman kits" - wood and metal vs. the plastic kits we have now. I think I have a not-yet-built HO reefer kit from them laying around somewhere

Not sure how far back they started, maybe in the 1940's? I think they made HO and O kits. Silver Streak line was taken over by Ye Olde Huff-N-Puff maybe 10-15 years ago....

http://www.yeoldehuffnpuff.com/sstreakkits.htm

 

Stix
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Posted by dknelson on Monday, May 01, 2017 1:04 PM

Silver Streak did introduce some plastic kits towards the end; I recall a model of a 57' steel mechanical refrigerator car that was nicely painted and lettered plastic; somewhat tricky to assemble due to slight warping of the parts.  The sides and ends were separate parts so they were not like Athearn, Bowser or Accurail kits.  Walthers acquired Silver Streak and kept that plastic kit available for a few years. 

It is a sign of how the hobby has changed that when Silver Streak wood and metal kits were introduced and sold they were advertised and regarded as "easy to assemble" but eventually became regarded as "craftsman kits."  It was a large number of steps, but no one step was all that challenging.  It became a craftsman kit not because of the skills it called for, but because of the attention span and patience it called for.

They were easy to assemble in the sense that the sides were painted and lettered, were cut to correct size, and had holes drilled already for the grab irons and ladders.  Other parts were also correct size or needed only modest trimming if that much.  So it was largely a matter of just assembling the parts.  Some craftsman kits were basically scratchbuilt cars working from a box of raw materials the manufacturer had been kind enough to gather together for you.  But Silver Streak cars were never kits of that kind.  As with any kit, careful work with no short cuts was rewarded with nice results, so I guess you could say that a craftsman building a Silver Streak kit had a leg up on the rest of us impatient mortals. 

For all practical purposes the Silver Streak "house cars" (boxcars, reefers) built up like a small box: the wood floor was glued to wood "inner" ends and the wood roof was glues to those ends.  You can get the idea from the sample instructions on the HO Seeker website:

http://hoseeker.net/silverstreakinformation/silverstreaksantafereeferdiagram1949.jpg

One of the challenges was that the sides came painted and lettered but other parts were not, so you needed to match the paint for ends/roof and detail parts, or know if the ends and roof were black. 

If I was to build a Silver Streak wood/metal kit today I guess I would have to decide whether to use the supplied detail parts and do honor to the original manufacturer, or use the opportunity to introduce the finer detail parts (e.g., grab irons and stirrup steps) you can acquire now.  If you have never built one, I'd build at least one exactly as it comes out of the box just to get the experience if nothing else. 

Dave Nelson

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Posted by E-L man tom on Monday, May 01, 2017 1:55 PM

Seems I have a Silver Streak unbuilt kit or two. Acquired them from an older gentleman's collection. Right now I have too many unbuilt plastic kits, from Athearn blue box to Bev Bel and about everything in between, to build without attempting construction on those kits. I even have an old cardboard kit, with brass trucks and brass coupler boxes. You even have to build the trucks; all the parts are there. I forget who manufactured that one, but it is an Erie gondola, which, at $1, I just couldn't pass up.

Tom Modeling the free-lanced Toledo Erie Central switching layout.
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Posted by dante on Monday, May 01, 2017 8:47 PM

When I was a kid in my early teens, I built some Silver Streak kits. I enjoyed doing them, as I recall. In particular, I built a bobber caboose kit complete with interior (sides did not come painted or lettered) and entered it into a national competition sponsored by Silver Streak. My LHS owner-a great guy for many reasons-gave me the kit for free in hopes of the publicity his shop would get if I won, and I did. The car still runs on my layout. My eldest son still has one or two others I built. They were quality kits.

Dante

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, May 01, 2017 9:33 PM

I built my first one at age 12, have built many since. And I have more to build.......

Most of the line is still in production by Ye Olde Huff and Puff last I checked.

Walthers owned them from the late 70's into the late 80's, then sold them to Huff and Puff.

For the types of cars they represent, they make up nice, and yes you can use some newer/finer detail parts to make them even nicer.

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by arbe1948 on Monday, May 01, 2017 9:52 PM

I believe they were part of Tru-Scale before becoming part of Walthers.

Bob Bochenek
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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, May 01, 2017 10:03 PM

Hi Leslie:

I haven't anything to add to the information already provided by others, but I would like to say  Welcome  to the forums.

Cheers!!

Dave

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, May 02, 2017 6:11 AM

arbe1948

I believe they were part of Tru-Scale before becoming part of Walthers.

 

Yes, that is correct.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, May 02, 2017 6:34 AM

I remember the Tru-Scale scenery materials.  HOSeeker, as Dave has mentioned, has a lot of info, listed under Silver Streak.

Mike.

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Posted by HARVEY GEORGE on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 10:15 AM

Here's a Silver Streak car I purchased and built within the past two years.  There are many steps to assemble one, but it is all straightforward and fun to do.  As mentioned in a previous response, Silver Streak was purchased by Ye Olde Huff n Puff and they offered Silver Streak kits.  Ye Old Huff n Puff closed about two years ago and their models, including Silver Streak are no longer available.  I continue to build cars from scratch using Silver Streak techniques but the detail parts are becoming difficult to find.

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Thursday, August 22, 2019 3:39 PM

https://www.labellemodels.com/ purchased Ye Olde Huff n Puff.

They are running ads saying to watch their site for the reintroduction - but it hasn't happened yet. 

Paul

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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Posted by maxman on Thursday, August 22, 2019 7:49 PM

HARVEY GEORGE
Here's a Silver Streak car I purchased and built within the past two years.

Oh, yes, I remember this item.  The famous invisible box car.  A very rare item.  Very hard to determine if it was out of stock at the hobby shop or you couldn't see it on the shelf.

(See the stickys on the first forum page to get some instructions on how to post pictures Welcome)

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Posted by NHTX on Thursday, August 22, 2019 8:39 PM

    I believe the plastic reefer referred to was in fact a kit first introduced by a company doing business as Pacific HO, in the very early 1960s.  It was based on a 50 foot Fruit Growers Express mechanical refrigerator car and although a bit fussy to build and get square, produced a very fine model, with free-standing detail.  It, and the Kurtz-Kraft PS-1 boxcar were the fore-runners of the highly detailed plastic models of today.  I believe Pacific HO was acquired by Silver Streak/Tru-Scale in the mid 60s.

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Posted by dknelson on Saturday, August 24, 2019 9:38 AM

NHTX

    I believe the plastic reefer referred to was in fact a kit first introduced by a company doing business as Pacific HO, in the very early 1960s.  It was based on a 50 foot Fruit Growers Express mechanical refrigerator car and although a bit fussy to build and get square, produced a very fine model, with free-standing detail.  It, and the Kurtz-Kraft PS-1 boxcar were the fore-runners of the highly detailed plastic models of today.  I believe Pacific HO was acquired by Silver Streak/Tru-Scale in the mid 60s. 

Right.  I had thought that perhaps "Pacific HO" was a name Silver Streak came up with to differentiate their venture into plastic from their standard wood kit with metal details line -- not unlike the way Athearn dipped its toe into the world of plastic by using the name of the Globe firm whose tooling it acquired for the famous F7.  This, at a time when many modelers hated all things plastic with a passion, and firms that did not use plastic would brag about that fact in their ads -- until they DID use plastic.  And nobody associated "plastic" with "challenging."  Perhaps Jordan's vehicles were the first to create plastic kits of genuine challenge, then a year or two later Kurtz Kraft had its boxcar.  The fact that really skilled modelers accustomed to metal, wood and strathmore board found that they had to learn new skills all over again how to do an equally good job with plastic seemed to only increase the anti-plastic feeling.  I recall a letter in MR saying plastic was bad because it couldn't be soldered (I suspect the guy tried!) and could not be glued (I bet the guy tried Ambroid or other cellulose or acetate based cement which, yeah, works poorly on plastic). 

The funny thing about that Pacific HO ("Golden Spike" series)/Silver Streak/Walthers 50' reefer, which does indeed build up into a rather nice looking car if you have the patience for it ("fussy" as you out it, which is different than truly difficult), is that certain clear mistakes in the original kit (a mirror image air brake line cast into the metal floor casting; a needlessly troublesome location for the left side grab irons) were carried over by every subsequent outfit that sold the kit.  OK, tooling is expensive to re-do or correct.  But even funnier is that some likely errors in the instruction sheet about sequence of steps and parts were also never corrected, even when Walthers was selling the car.  Instructions sheets are easy to change, but nope (which suggests to me that nobody at Walthers ever tried to build the kit).  I have carefully kept my marked-up instruction sheet just in case I buy another one at a swap meet.  So carefully have I kept it that I no longer remember where I put it!

As to the "real" Silver Streak line of mostly steam-era (and pre-transition era, meaning K brakes, horizontal brake wheels, double sheathed wood sides) freight cars and cabooses, I think they make the best possible entry level for someone who wants to sample what kit building used to be like without being easily frustrated and giving up.  The parts fit together which cannot be said of, say, the entire line of the roughly similar metal kits of Red Ball that Cannonball Car Shops tried, in vain, to cast in plastic, which made the bad fits worse.  There are no confusing bundles of color coded sticks with instructions to locate and trim as there are with Ambroid and similar lines.  You DO have to match the side's color for the unpainted doors, details, and ends and roofs, easy back in the Floquil era, harder to do now.  And it paid to know something about air brake systems (K or AB) to do the nicest possible job with the Silver Streak cars, particularly when deciding what trucks to add and whether brake beams could be added.  As I've written before, when they were new the Silver Streak line was billed as "easy to build" and nothing about them had changed by the time they were being sold by Walters as "craft train kits."  Only the world had changed, not the kits.

Dave Nelson 

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Posted by rrebell on Saturday, August 24, 2019 10:28 AM

Silver Streak had better details than many of their rivals at the time and things like roof walks were much thinner. The leaders in the out of scale (by a lot) for grabs at the time were Central Valley and Northeastern but over time Northeastern used beter details.

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