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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

"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 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

"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 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

"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 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

"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 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

"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, 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

"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 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

"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 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

"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 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

Wayne

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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

"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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