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HO and OO Pictures - Lionel, Flyer, Marx, Etc!

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HO and OO Pictures - Lionel, Flyer, Marx, Etc!
Posted by Leverettrailfan on Thursday, December 23, 2021 10:57 PM

It's hardly a secret, but I seem to have been bitten by the HO bug.
Please, hear me out! I'm not talking about just any HO. I'm talking about HO produced by the "big three": The Lionel Corporation, The AC Gilbert Company, and Louis Marx & Co.

Inspired by Northwoods Flyer's wonderful thread for prewar American Flyer, I decided I wanted to start a thread for HO (and OO, why not!) that was produced by the notable toy train makes of the pre- and postwar eras.
Looking forwards to seeing some pictures from others!



-Ellie

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Thursday, December 23, 2021 11:12 PM

I'll start us off with some nice finds I scored on my birthday this year- a Lionel 0566 from 1959, and an American Flyer 433 from 1957.

Both need some work, but have good motors. The 433's smoke unit still works, and the chugger mechanism looks good too. I need a new steam chest and pilot, though- and a new axle for the tender. Note how much the built quality, design, and materials mirror those of the S-Gauge line.



The Lionel 0566 'Texas Special' ALCo FA is a lovely "miniaturized" version of the 211. Referencing the Greenberg Lionel HO book I was able to check out from the Archive.org library, the style of motor and drive would date this model to 1959- the first year Lionel offered HO that was actually made by the Lionel Corporation. It features an interesting combinartion of worm gear drive, and belt drive. My example (unsurprisingly) is in need of new belts, but the motor still runs. Plans are to replace the original belts with cassette machine belts, since they should outlast an ordinary rubber band. The headlight bulb also is due for replacement.





Yes, those are metal horns on the cab. Not bad, Lionel!
Though perhaps they would have done well to avoid the belt drive when designing these locmotives. At least they eventually saw the error in their ways and moved entirely to using gear drives.

-Ellie

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, December 24, 2021 8:37 AM

Interesting Ellie!

Some might say these belong on the "Model Railroading" Forum but not me, they're classic toy trains in their own right.  

Keep 'em coming, and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Wayne

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Posted by Swiss-Colorado-Lines on Friday, December 24, 2021 9:35 AM

I really love that early H0 stuff! There is a simplicity to it.Just the basics. It's all part of the story of the evolution of model trains.

Paul

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Friday, December 24, 2021 1:12 PM

Flintlock76

Some might say these belong on the "Model Railroading" Forum but not me, they're classic toy trains in their own right.


I agree they still count as classic toy trains- if you look at some of the stuff that Lionel and Flyer were offering, it becomes very clear that for the most part their HO product lines followed in the tradition of their O and S gauge lines, respectively. Lionel's 1960s HO in many cases directly mirrored products in the O gauge line.


A number of cars used the same loads as O gauge cars (for example, the 0842 TCLX Culvert Pipe Transport Car, or the 0875 Seaboard Missile Flat Car).


(all auction or website pictures, not mine)

On the subject of "mirrored" HO lionel products, Lionel issued an HO equivalent to its famous 6464 series, the 0864 series. A good number of the 6464 paint schemes were done in HO, though a number are 40-footers, rather than being 50-footers like the 6464s. None the less, I'm going to be keeping my eye out because they seem to look just as good in HO as they do in O, albeit much smaller.

-Ellie

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Sunday, January 2, 2022 10:34 PM

I figured I might as well use this thread to offer an update on my HO toy train doings-
My 0566 was unfortunately a bust. I was told that the motor ran, however after a very thorrough cleaning and proper lubrication, the motor would often refuse to start from a standstill- reversing polarity would get it going though. With a freely spinning armature, clean brushes, commutator, and a strong magnet, the only fault I could see was that I had a shot winding. So I had to tear the motor down. I'm going to attempt to re-wind it at some point. Also on the list of 'to-do's for this loco is sourcing new drive belts. Someone on eBay offers them, as well as reproduction nylon clips and couplers, but golly will you look at those prices! Yikes! I can understand the expense of reproducing plastic parts in presumably very limited demand, but it seems unlikely nobody makes a suitable drive belt that costs pennies per unit. An old Lionel brochure I've seen on the web describes them as neoprene O ring drive belts:

However the pulleys have a 'V' shaped groove, suggesting that a square cross-section belt might be favorable. I may end up trying both if I can locate them in the right sizes and for minimal expense. The eBay seller gives no dimension other than 3/4" diameter, but I would assume this is the inner diameter as it would make the most sense. I estimate the cross section to be around 1mm, since a typical cassette machine belt fits nicely in the groove. More news as the story develops...

In regards to the Gilbert 433, I am happy to report I found an axle kicking around which will cooperate with the tender. I can't properly run the loco without the missing steam chest and pilot, but without the shell on it will happily run. It isn't as silky smooth as some of my American Flyer, but runs quite happily. Unfortunately even though it has both smoke and "choo-choo", the latter is rather quiet and you can barely hear it over the noise of the motor. The smoke output is rather poor until you're running at around half-throttle (so, maybe 6-8 volts?), but I think that's normal. I don't want to mess with it since it does work right now.
At some point soon I hope to shoot a short video of it running! It's a nifty little engine, and it makes me want to own its counterpart in S gauge! They would look so cute side by side.
I was looking forwards to maybe hunting for more HO toy trains (as well as the usual gauges) at a forthcoming annual show I usually attend, but unfortunately it's looking like I won't be able to attend this year. Hopefully next year is a better year for attending the show.

-Ellie

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Monday, January 3, 2022 7:43 PM

I was able to identify and resolve some troubles I had, and can now get the 433 to run with the shell on. I took a short video of it running on the workbench:

The boiler front doesn't fit very tight, and despite my best efforts it's run off and I need to figure out where it went. I'm debating lightly glueing it in, we shall see.

-Ellie

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, January 3, 2022 9:47 PM

Great job Ellie, looks like you've got a good runner there!

I suspect the smoke unit's working as well as it ever did.  Honestly I'm surprised AF managed to get a smoke unit in an HO engine back in the 50's.  

The "choo-choo" sound's probably working as well as it ever did too. 

Wayne

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Saturday, January 8, 2022 11:39 PM

Thanks Wayne- I would agree, except I have a flyer pacific that is a lousy smoker- and found that the fiberglass wick had somehow compacted/baked around where the heater element wraps around it, and the change in consistency ruined the proper capilary action. I am curious to see if that is the case with my 433. But you could just as well be right. I am sure that were I to run the switcher on more typical track of its era, the sound of the loco operating would be much less and you'd be able to hear those "choo-choo"s much better.

For better or for worse, I made a visit back to the hobby shop where I got the 433 and 0566. It's not my favorite place to go but it's the only train-focused hobby shop anywhere close to me. I regretted not going for a little Lionel 0-6-0 switcher I'd seen in a box of stuff that needed fixing. I hoped maybe it would be less of a disaster than the 0566 turned out to be.
Today my family made a trip out and I got some time in the shop- I hunted around through the used rolling stock this time, hoping to find some appropriate rolling stock to go with my HO toy trains. My determination paid off somewhat, as I did manage to find some Lionel rolling stock hidden amongst the boxes. In total I found 5 pieces of Lionel rollingstock, and one I suspected to be Gilbert, but in the end I only bought 3 cars. Prices weren't exactly the cheapest, generally I don't want to pay more than a couple bucks for some old HO cars since that's what I remember being able to manage back when I was still into HO, and buying stuff at the annual show I go to. 
Due to the expense, I had to pass up on buying a boxed Marx F unit. I don't generally obsess over getting boxes, but it was cool to see and looked decent. Very much had that 'Marx' look to it. 
I had brought some old HO I had around that I wasn't in love with, in hopes it might help offset the cost of anything I bought. Well... it did, but just barely- I didn't end up able to get a lot for it, but I figured it was for the best to pass it on. Still feels a little tough having parted with them, but I'll make peace with it. I really didn't get much use out of the stuff I parted with.

I did a bunch of photographing of my Lionel/Flyer HO roster, I didn't have a perfect backdrop so I need to tidy up most of the images I took, but I'll start off with sharing some pictures that came out fairly "ok". This was one of the cars I got today, an 0847 Exploding Target Range Car. It was in a Marx box for some reason when I found it in the store. It's not in such terrible cosmetic shape and still functions as intended. Seems like it would be all too easy for something to get broken, that said it is a bit more rugged feeling than you'd think just from seeing a picture of it.



The mechanism inside is much the same as the O gauge counterpart- a 'mousetrap' style mechanism that is released by an impact to one side of the car- internal plastic projections on the car sides are caught by the unleashed sprung arm, to send them flying- this also throws off the roof. Snap!
A few key differences are present, however. The most obvious, when looking at the car (ignoring the sprung trucks, which were standard fare for Lionel HO during this car's production run) is the lack of a metal pin that is inserted into the roof to 'disarm' the car. Lionel must have wisely determined that a little metal pin would easily get lost, and might be finicky to insert into the car. Instead, under the car is a locking lever, which can be reached on the same side of the car used to trip the exploding feature. I would venture it's a much better system than what was used on the O gauge car.
Locked
"Armed"
The bit of metal that the lever "hooks" is the base of the rocking 'latch' that retains the sprung arm, until an impact to the target side pushes it inwards, releasing the arm.
Here's how it looks from above:
The inner workings

I'd say there's no big surprises inside, some differences to the layout of the plastic projections that engage with the mechanism, but the basic function is identical to the O gauge car.
One last interesting difference between the HO model and the O, is that unlike O gauge cars, the 0847 (and presumably its successor, the 0847-100) has a bi-directional roof. There's no "wrong" way to fit it on! Without the need for a hole to drop the locking pin in, there's no need to make it a one-way fit.

Fortunately my car (as of this writing) still has both couplers, so that's one less thing to fuss with. I will clean the wheels, and the mechanism, to improve how well it rolls and how well the mechanism functions, but nothing major should be needed.
I will try and make some sort of video of it in action, but I don't have an HO scale 'minuteman' car to fire at it! Perhaps I'll try using the O gauge missile car I have.

Tomorrow I'll try to post images of the other aquisitions, the other two cars are quite interesting to me.

-Ellie

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Posted by traindaddy1 on Sunday, January 9, 2022 7:18 AM

Leverettrailfan: So many years with HO but age, eyes and flexibility moved me to the bigger stuff. Thanks for the memories.

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Sunday, January 9, 2022 11:32 AM

traindaddy1
So many years with HO but age, eyes and flexibility moved me to the bigger stuff. Thanks for the memories.

My first proper electric train set was HO. I had a lot of fun with it but being small, it was perhaps a little fragile for me at the time. I have happily transitioned away from the smaller stuff, and mainly work with O and S gauge, and a bit of Standard Gauge. Last year I helped a friend (we volunteer at the same museum) exhibit his HO layout at a small show, and someone dropped a bunch of trains at the layout that needed a home. I discovered there was a nearly complete Lionel HO train set, and I thought it was neat so I laid claim on it. That got my curiosity ticking so I decided to try learning more about it. I always assumed it was cheap stuff that wasn't worth anyone's time but it's actually quite substantial feeling and the Lionel-made items (1959 onwards) use the same decoration techniques as O gauge stuff, so they're rather charming to me. My first love is still the larger stuff, and I mostly just collect the odd HO item that intruiges me, and/or comes my way for free. I'm still quite young as far as 'train people' go, so my fingers are able to work on them ok. That may well change in 30-40 years!

-Ellie

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Friday, January 21, 2022 9:12 AM

Well, I was meaning to post these but didn't get to it until now.
While the 0847 is an example of Lionel following the trend of sturdily built, less realistic rollingstock, the HO line began in 1957 with models aimed towards realism and scale modeling, and were more for the adult model railroader than the child. I wouldn't really conmsider them 'toy trains' since nothing about them feels toy like, but Lionel did catalog OO and O gauge items directed at the scale modeler, so perhaps they still have every right to stand beside the rest of the Lionel Line.
These cars are very exciting to me, because they are both rare Lionel by Rivarossi. I felt pretty lucky to be able to find not just one, but two cars. They are identical to cars produced by Rivarossi under their own brand, with the exception of a tiny little Lionel "circle L" logo. The cars even say "Made by Rivarossi" underneath. The cattle car is in quite lovely condition aside from the broken coupler, which is shocking considering how fragile it feels. The gondola is in less nice cosmetic shape, but is fully intact.

Lionel/Rivarossi 0862-25 Gondola:
0862-25 Michigan Central Gondola
0862-25 Michigan Central Gondola
0862-25 Michigan Central Gondola
0862-25 Michigan Central Gondola

Lionel/Rivarossi 0866 Stock Car:
0866 MKT Stock Car
0866 MKT Stock Car
0866 MKT Stock Car
0866 MKT Stock Car

See if you can spot the circle L!
Found it? Great! Keep an eye out, because the guy at the store I got these from didn't seem to have any idea these were special. You might be able to find a desirable piece hidden amongst a bunch of ordinary, common HO equipment by Athearn or Rivarossi- if you can spot the L!

Rivarossi only manufactured Lionel's HO line for 1957. Some items remained cataloged for 1958 but presumably Lionel were just depleting remaining stock.

Stay tuned for more, there's one final piece of Lionel HO I have to share from this 'haul' (if you could call it that) and it's gone from being a disaster, to being somewhat of a success story.

-Ellie

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, January 21, 2022 9:51 AM

Great finds Ellie!

If memory serves, Lionel bought HO articles from Athern, Roco, and Rivarossi, so the Athern and Roco pieces are probably ones to keep an eye out for if you're pursuing Lionel HO.  

It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it, right?  Wink

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Friday, January 21, 2022 10:45 AM

I've done some research, Roco actually never made anything for Lionel Corp as far as I can detirmine. Rivarossi and Lionel made a deal for 1957, with the goal to produce quality HO models- the idea was that Rivarossi was well regarded, and their models were both detailed and well made, and Lionel as a brand name had very wide recognition in the US so it was favorable for Rivarossi to sell through them. However some sort of dispute caused the contract to end with 1957, and Lionel approached Athearn to make their trains for 1958. The arrangement worked out that Athearn provided Lionel with trains, however were allowed to sell the exact same trains under the Athearn name (just without the Lionel logo or name). Interestingly the shell for the rectifier was always a Lionel product, even though originally the chassis was made by Athearn.
In 1959 Lionel bought most of the tooling from John English's HObbyline, and set about coverting over to producing their HO in-house using modified HObbyline tooling. The first Lionel made HO started rolling out in 1959. Lionel no longer needed Athearn to make trains now they had their own tooling, so 1959 was the last year Athearn had a deal with Lionel to make trains. The Lionel Corporation ceased HO production in 1966.
As for "modern" Lionel HO, after MPC took over... I don't know much about that. I've learned what I just said from reading a Greenberg book that I was able to check out of an online library. The information all seems to make sense to me. If there is a more up to date book, though, I'd love to look at it.
If Roco made anything for Lionel, it definitely wasn't during the postwar era.

It makes sense that Lionel by Rivarossi is the hardest to locate since it was only manufactured for one year. Interestingly, the two Rivarossi made steam locomotives Lionel cataloged (0600 docksider, 0610 consolidation) bear no obvious indication they were sold as Lionel other than the box they came in!

-Ellie

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Monday, March 14, 2022 11:31 PM

I haven't had much major news to report to this thread, but the other day (aided by parting with some various items I was less attatched to) I purchased a few new items for the collection. With these latest aquisitions, I can now proudly say I have at least two locomotives made by each of the 'big three'!

From what I've seen of the quality of their HO models, Gilbert, during its heyday, produced the best locomotives of the lot. Lionel locomotives seem to be a mixed bag. Marx models seem to me to reflect their O gauge counterparts in principle- simple, inexpensive, and durable. They may not look as realistic as Gilbert, or feel as premium as Lionel, but they definitely seem like they were excellent bang for the buck.
I wound up purchasing a few cars by mistake (sort of) that weren't made by the big three- I'll probably keep them (at least for now) but I won't focus on them here.

First up, a subject matter I think I want to delve into further at a later date: I purchased a second red Michigan Central gondola! That said, although I haven't made any rule against buying duplicates yet, I can safely say that while my two gondolas share a number, and markings, that is just about all that is identical between them. Pictured below, at left, is my 0865-250, which dates to 1961. On the right, is my "new" car. According to the old Greenburg guidebook on Lionel HO, there were a significant number of changes made over the course of gondola production between 1959 and the end of production in 1966, and the catalog number for different versions of the car changed many times- but the number on the side of the car only ever matched three catalog numbers: 0862-200, 0865-200, 0865-225, and 0865-250. So, while my second gondola at first glance looked to me like I had bought another 0865-250, according to the guide it is actually an 0865-375, and if I had the original box, it would presumably display this number on the end flaps.

I intend to make a whole post dedicated to examining the differences between these two, because I was staring at them tonight while taking a few pictures and went from thinking "these two are exactly the same" to "these two are completely different"!

Next up, is a very sad and neglected 0319 (or 0319-100?) Operating Helicopter Car. This car had almost nothing going for it... it seems like someone attempted to convert the car over to match with their "scale" model rolling stock, but ended up mostly just making a mess of it. I had to scrounge around for some couplers and coupler pockets since the original trucks were gone and the replacements weren't set up with "talgo style" couplers. I did my best with what was on hand, it's no showpiece but it makes my train longer- the main reason I bought it. That and the $1.99 price tag.


Tomorrow I'll share the rest of the finds... from here on out, we change gears from Lionel to Marx.

-Ellie

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, March 15, 2022 8:08 AM

Leverettrailfan
Marx models seem to me to reflect their O gauge counterparts in principle- simple, inexpensive, and durable. They may not look as realistic as Gilbert, or feel as premium as Lionel, but they definitely seem like they were excellent bang for the buck.

That was always the secret to Marx's success, they may not have been the best, but they were more affordable. 

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 1:03 AM

I said I'd feature my new Marx, so here it is... late, as usual Smile, Wink & Grin
First up, the Santa Fe A-A lashup. Found these seperately in the same store. They're not the most flawless examples, but the powered unit runs quite well now. Though the motor gets rather hot after not much run time, even though it's been properly lubricated. Maybe that's just normal, it's survived since the '60s so maybe it's tougher than I think and it can take a little heat.

These are the gray plastic version, apparently there's also a version molded with silver plastic. I think the gray might be more common, but I'm really just guessing.

Next up, is an incomplete set- number 74642. The track is missing, and someone inserted two Mantua(?) cars in place of the Union Pacific boxcar and Cities Service tank car that should come with it. While there is a Cities Service tank car in the box, it is not of Marx manufacture. Nonetheless, present is the original box, transformer, powered Rock Island A unit, dummy B unit, Western Maryland gondola, and Rock Island coupula caboose. The caboose is in really nice shape- the ladders are slightly bent out of shape but other than that it's in as good condition as I could ever ask for.



I'm going to be keeping an eye out for some original Marx track. And for the missing cars. I made off decently none the less, because there was an odd assortment of parts kicking around in the box, including maybe 5-7 Marx trucks, and about that many, maybe more coupler pockets- and several couplers. Very handy to have.


I haven't serviced the powered unit yet, but it is able to run, just barely- I wouldn't dream of trying to use it until after I've been through it, though. I really love the paint scheme and aside from a few damaged steps, the locomotives are in pretty decent cosmetic condition.

That's all for the Marx pictures for now, folks! Thanks for tuning in.

-Ellie

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Saturday, April 9, 2022 7:56 AM

Today's breakthrough is that I was working on trying to train my eye to recognize Marx HO pieces on sight... and I remembered that Model Power supposedly bought all the old Marx HO tooling. Looking into the formerly Marx boxcars, at least earlier versions seem to be constructed exactly the same, down to the same trucks, couplers and everything, with decoration and colors being the dead giveaway. Marx boxcars seem to be molded all one color, whereas for the Model Power cars, the frame is usually black- molded into the frame are the lower door guides and four locating tabs (two on each side) that hold the plastic body on the frame. Because Marx cars have the body and frame molded in the same color, this doesn't stand out, but on the model power cars, especially ones painted in light colors, the black tabs and lower door guide stand out like a sore thumb!

I don't yet own any of either, but here's some pictures I found online that show what I'm talking about quite nicely:
Marx boxcar (note the two tabs and lower door guide are the same color as carbody):

Model Power boxcar (note tabs and door guide are now black, not matching the body color):

This doesn't really seem like a practical method to ID manufacturer, since there are more obvious ones- paint schemes and road names are probably the best, as well as looking for a marx logo (I think these cars should be branded?) on the underside of the car. It is a neat additional tell to have, though. If the frame and shell don't match in color, it's probably not original marx. 

I'm tempted to pick a car or two up some day, since colors aside they really do seem to be a perfect match. I imagine I could also strip model power rollingstock for parts to repair original Marx.

-Ellie

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, April 9, 2022 8:22 AM

You know, I should  come clean and admit I bought an HO engine at the last train show.  I was looking for an older piece with hook couplers to pull some Dairylea milk cars I inherited from my late brother-in-law and found one, a 0-4-0 steam switcher that should fill the bill nicely.  It's a heavy little beast, the seller thinks its a Mantua product, I'll have to look it over with a magnifying glass to see what I can find. I had to do a little cleaning and lubing to wake it up, now it runs fine.  NOT what I'm used to, by any means!  

I was suprised to find an open-frame motor in there and wondered if it was AC, but no, it's DC all right.  Interestingly, it's marked "Delaware & Hudson" on the tender.

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Posted by fifedog on Saturday, April 9, 2022 10:07 AM

Can't help but think that somewhere my ol' buddy Banks is smiling.

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Saturday, April 9, 2022 11:39 AM

Flintlock- nice find! If it is a Mantua, they're definitely well made. One easy way to rule things out is that Mantua/Tyco steamers use the tender to pick up half their power, and a wire runs from the tender frame to one side of the loco's motor. I'm pretty sure most/a lot of these were sold as unpainted kits, so you might not find a D&H 0-4-0 listed in any Manuta/Tyco catalog.
I have a few of their diesels that have wound up in my hands through various means, usually for free or next to nothing. Mantua/Tyco diesel motor trucks are a pain to service if you need to remove old lube, since they're riveted together, BUT they run really nicely when cleaned and lubed. They remind me a lot of the American Flyer ALCo/Geep drive, with the motor truck and dual worm gears. 5 Pole motor too, something Lionel, Flyer and Marx never put in their stuff. Tyco's later 'Power-Torque' drive system is a far cry from it.

Did you know that Gilbert's HO fronteirsman set was supplied by Mantua Tyco? Both the cars and locomotive were uniquely decorated for Gilbert to mimic the larger S gauge set, and they're quite hard to find. Keep your eyes peeled at the shows...

Most vintage HO uses DC open frame motors, it wasn't just the O gauge AC stuff. Just be careful, I've learned that due to the nature of them, most of these vintage DC motors can have their permenant magnetic fields damaged by removing the armature. So, only do it as a last resort- I've played around a little bit with replacing weak Lionel HO magnets with Neodymium magnets, I think it is possible to save a motor this way. I think so far one of my favorite HO mechanisms is probably the Athearn 'blue box' drive- it's very well designed with a level of servicability in mind. I believe a lot of folks use it to repower Lionel postwar HO geeps since they're a million miles more reliable, and the original chassis has ALCo trucks Smile, Wink & Grin

Fife-
I feel nervous every time I post in this thread, for fear that one day I'll have crossed the line and be banished to the Tyco forums! Not saying they're a bad place to be but I swear I'm a toy train person...

-Ellie

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, April 9, 2022 1:59 PM

Hi Ellie!

I took a look at that HO engine an hour or so ago and it's a Mantua, the name's molded into the tender frame, so there's no mistaking it.  and you nailed it, there IS a wire from the tender to the motor.  Very substantial under the hood with a worm drive, I'm very impressed. I am going to ballast the tender so it tracks better, it's a bit on the light side. 

Since I've never heard of an HO engine being AC I initially tested the motor with a DC transformer so no problem there.  Yeah, after cleaning the innards, wheels, and re-lubing it ran just fine. And don't worry, I have NO intention of disassembling the motor.  "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

I won't be running it much anyway, probably just once a year as part of a Christmas table display.  Now to get some quality track! 

Oh, don't worry about being banished to a Tyco or "MR" Forum, as far as I'm concerned "Classic Toy Trains" means just that, toy trains, size is immaterial! 

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Posted by fifedog on Saturday, April 9, 2022 3:48 PM

I agree with Flint. And besides, some of my favorite YouTube videos are of TYCO trains and US1 Truckin'.YesCool

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Posted by pennytrains on Saturday, April 9, 2022 6:39 PM

Buzzr TV has been running really old episodes of the Price is Right on Saturday mornings.  This is the original format version of the show as it ran in prime time hosted by Bill Cullen from the late 50's into the early 60's.  This was a once a week version that had prizes of a more valuable nature than the regular daytime Price is Right.  Several times I've seen a Mantua/Tyco train set as one of the prizes up for bid on the show.  (I think I've seen a switcher set at least once and a Western set pulled by the Jupiter several times.)  So, based on where the trains appeared I'd say they thought they were of high quality.

By the way, Don Pardo pronounced it Man Choo Uh.  Up here in Ohio we have a town called Man Away, spelled the same.  Wink

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Saturday, April 9, 2022 10:32 PM

Flintlock, I forgot to note but you probably already figured out for yourself when you checked out the guts of your switcher, but the steamers have 5-pole motors too- just a detail I realize I missed. I don't think these little locos are considered rare or valuable, but are they good? Absolutely!
The tender should have a diecast chassis- the 'ground wire' coming from the motor is screwed to it, using the same screw that holds the drawbar to the tender. The frame grounds to the trucks- unlike on an American Flyer engine, you want all the metal wheels on the same side- it's good not to mix them up Smile, Wink & Grin
Is the tender shell plastic or metal? It's possible that it could be slightly topheavy if the shell's metal. Either way adding weight low down in the tender sounds like the way to fix it. My 2-6-2's tender was having a hard time grounding, I made some simple brass wipers for the axles to help improve continuity to the frame and that fixed it.

Fife- I've seen a few of those videos, absolutely fantastic! Just the sorta thing that would have blown my mind if I ever got to play with one as a kid. Faller made some things with similar concept, but German! They lean more towards realism- one of my favorite things I saw is a Märklin(?) freight car and some loading platforms that allow you to drive a vehicle onto the freight car, then the train can take it away... bring it back to a loading platform, and you can drive the vehicle right back off!

Becky, older Mantua/Tyco was very well made- starting around the late '60s or early-mid '70s, the tyco brand became mainly cheap stuff. Locomotives equipped with 'Power-Torque' drives need a lot of TLC to run well, but can usually be brought back to life if you're thorough with them. They're definitely a step down from the older 5-pole worm drive motors, but personally I like them better than the drives Life-Like and Bachmann were using in their (budget) diesels. 
Oh, and Don got the pronounciation right, at least if the TCA Western article can be trusted!

Glad to know I'm still on good graces with some CTTers, I'll still be treading carefully but it's good to know what you can get away with Laugh

PS- I won an auction I figured someone would quickly outbid me on... a few more cars to add to the Lionel HO consist. I mainly wanted it for the 0864 DSSA boxcar and 0850 missile car included, but there were two red MC gondolas as well. Looking at the pictures, I should have a duplicate for both my 0865-250 and 0865-375.
I'm not unhappy, the former even has it's original load and box with insert... still. I can't help but think "Lionel made this car in 5 different color combinations... 5! And three of them seem to be common as dirt! Yet all you have are red ones!"
There's no shortage of blue and gray gondolas on eBay, ever. They just aren't worth paying $15-30 for! My pristine 0865-375 (complete with undamaged mallory x2f couplers) cost me $6...

-Ellie

"Unless bought from a known and trusted dealer who can vouch otherwise, assume every train for sale requires servicing before use"

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, April 10, 2022 8:00 AM

Ellie, I'll have to look at that tender again, I'm pretty sure the shell's plastic.  Aside from cleaning the wheels I didn't look too closely at the tender since I was directing my efforts towards the engine. The tender is a bit of a flyweight compared to the engine.

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Posted by pennytrains on Sunday, April 10, 2022 10:44 AM

HO may not be as popular over here, but there are some true classics out there!  Big Smile

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Sunday, April 10, 2022 8:04 PM

Flintlock- I wouldn't be too surprised if the shell is plastic, I think they did make some all diecast but I'd rather plastic- My AF 343 S gauge loco gives me operational headaches with floor layouts because the topheavy diecast tender shell often rocks wildly enough to life the whees up of one rail- it took me a while to figure out why the reverse unit kept tripping without warning despite the wheels & pickup shoes being clean and wiring good. 

Becky, I'd certainly agree.
I think the trouble with HO is the intersection between toy trains and scale models becomes more blurred- many HO trains which really feel more like toys than models- but then there's O and S gauge trains that are true to scale, and realistic. A 3rd-Rail brass model won't meet any hesitance here, but an HO train is something that doesn't seem to come up much. 
It raises the question "what exactly is the criterea for a classic toy train?" and I think, innevitably, there would still be trains that did not meet all those criterea, which still have a place in the CTT forums. And there would be trains that fit all the critera, yet nobody really considers them classic toy trains or worth discussing here. 

I thought that, at the risk of dipping into this gray area, it would be fun and interesting to discuss collecting HO.
That said, could even the most stern, anti-HO enthusiast, who only ever collected in O, S, and Standard, take a good look at something like a Lionel 0365 Minuteman Missile Launcher car and tell you it "didn't count" even though it's big brother does Laugh

(Not my image)

-Ellie

"Unless bought from a known and trusted dealer who can vouch otherwise, assume every train for sale requires servicing before use"

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, April 11, 2022 8:38 AM

Ellie, whether HO trains are toy trains/scale models are concerned is a non-issue for the club I belong to, the Virginia Train Collectors Association.  Since HO's been around since the late 1930's we look at them this way:

Do people collect them?  Yes.

Do they bring those collectors pleasure and joy?  Yes.

Does it matter whether they're toys or models?  No.

End of story.  

If we have a meeting program of "Bring in your models of..." no-ones going to moan if anyone brings in HO articles, or anything in any scale for that matter. It's a big tent as far as we're concerned.

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Posted by pennytrains on Monday, April 11, 2022 6:04 PM

Most of the guides I have contain at least a cursory overview of Lionel OO and HO.  Volume 3 of the TM book Lionel A Collector's Guide & History is a prime example.  This Standard Gauge tome has 5 pages on OO and 4 covering HO.

The Obrien's series of Collecting Toy Trains books, of which I own copies of volumes 3, 4 and 5, all have extensive listings for Lionel, Marx and American Flyer HO production.  Although in the older editions they're mixed in with the Standard and O Gauge listings rather than having their own chapters.

And Doyle's Standard Catalog of Lionel Trains 1900-1942 covers OO very thoroughly.  Strangely, while this book goes into great depth to cover the uber-rare 2 7/8 gauge, something most of us will never see outside of a museum, later volumes (1945-1969 and 1970-2000) ignore HO all together.

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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