Old Trains, New Parts?


John Sykes III
 

I have been acquiring a bunch of old Revell train models from the mid to late-1950's (about 15 so far).


My motives are two fold; first, these were the first HO trains I ever owned, when I was 7 or 8 years old.  Second, some of these old Revell models were very accurate for the time (e.g., the Revell caboose is dead-on for a UPRR CA-1).


Now here's the question . . .


How much effort should I put into upgrading these trains?


All the Revell models used the catalog number for the road number and they all have metal Kadee-style Bettendorf trucks with talgo NMRA X2f couplers.


Since the models are cast in the final color, removing lettering is a snap (isopropyl alcohol and a Q-tip are all that is needed).  The trucks can also easily be changed out; however, to put body-mounted couplers on the cars requires gluing some spacers between the draft gear box and the body to drop the couplers to the right height.


I bought these cars for an average of less than $10 a pop, so their cash value is not exactly great, but the question is one of asthetics.  E.g., am I better off leaving them as original as possible or upgrading them to fully-operating condition with correct road numbers for my DCC layout?


Any suggestions?


-- John


Brad Smith
 

My vote is to upgrade the cars.
 
Brad
 
 


Benjamin Hom
 

John Sykes asked:
"I have been acquiring a bunch of old Revell train models from the mid to late-1950's (about 15 so far).

My motives are two fold; first, these were the first HO trains I ever owned, when I was 7 or 8 years old. Second, some of these old Revell models were very accurate for the time (e.g., the Revell caboose is dead-on for a UPRR CA-1).

Now here's the question . . .

How much effort should I put into upgrading these trains?"

The question you need to ask yourself is "what is really my goal for these models"? If you want some representative cars from your early days in model railroading, minimal upgrades for operation (e.g., couplers, metal wheelsets) is probably all you need to do. However, if your goal is to make more accurate scale models to run with your other "Green Dot" models), beware the law of diminishing returns as all of these models will take some effort to turn into credible models, especially the reefer and stock car, which are exceptionally crude.

Ben Hom


Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>
 

John,

I agree with Ben. The caboose is good, and I did an upgrade on this car many years ago (I don't own it anymore). IIRC, the gondola and flat car are acceptable, and actually have prototypes. I believe both were eventually reissued by Con-Cor. I have never seen the stock car, but the boxcar and reefer aren't worth the trouble except as nostalgia pieces. All will require metal wheels. The flanges on their wheels are about a scale foot deep.

I have long searched for a contemporary Lindberg gondola. It was about 46' long, and might have kitbashing possibilities to represent WP and Rio Grande GS cars.

Some other interesting 1950s-era cars to look for are the Gilbert 50' flat car and 40' drop-center flatcar. These were one-piece metal castings, and as I remember them, weren't all that bad. I don't know about prototypes though. Their weight made them track really well. A couple of years ago I scored a pair of Thomas 8K tank cars in remarkably good condition (their getting rare because their zamac parts tend to crumble). I found both the single-dome and twin-dome cars. These have finally been upgraded, repainted and relettered. They look pretty nice, though they're not quite up to Proto, RC or Intermountain standards.

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff



On 4/5/15 11:04 AM, Benjamin Hom b.hom@... [STMFC] wrote:
 

John Sykes asked:
"I have been acquiring a bunch of old Revell train models from the mid to late-1950's (about 15 so far).

My motives are two fold; first, these were the first HO trains I ever owned, when I was 7 or 8 years old. Second, some of these old Revell models were very accurate for the time (e.g., the Revell caboose is dead-on for a UPRR CA-1).

Now here's the question . . .

How much effort should I put into upgrading these trains?"

The question you need to ask yourself is "what is really my goal for these models"? If you want some representative cars from your early days in model railroading, minimal upgrades for operation (e.g., couplers, metal wheelsets) is probably all you need to do. However, if your goal is to make more accurate scale models to run with your other "Green Dot" models), beware the law of diminishing returns as all of these models will take some effort to turn into credible models, especially the reefer and stock car, which are exceptionally crude.

Ben Hom



John Sykes III
 

Garth:

Thanks!  You answered one question I had.  To pick up a good Revell caboose for the shell, it was "loaded" on a drop-center flat car minus trucks.  The flat car had no mfr markings on it that I could make out, but was unusual in that it was cast metal.  So it is a Gilbert, eh?  It is marked as Erie 7210 which is a 50-something ft long drop-center flat, but has 6 wheel trucks for a rating of 250,000 lbs or so.  How  do you get the trucks off of that beast?  they have no fastener heads on them (screw, hex or whatever).  What, are they press fit into the body?

Also I tend to agree with you and Ben.  I think I will upgrade the better stuff, and just put metal wheels & Kadee couplers on the lesser items as nostalgia pieces.

-- John 


Benjamin Hom
 

Garth Groff wrote:
"I have long searched for a contemporary Lindberg gondola. It was about 46' long, and might have kitbashing possibilities to represent WP and Rio Grande GS cars."
This model (and the other Lindberg HO scale freight cars) had a second life in the Mantua "Heavies" line. Here's an example.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/MANTUA-HEAVIES-HO-GONDOLA-W-COAL-LOAD-PENNSYLVANIA-/121605426324?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c503f8c94

Lindberg catalog pages from Tony Cook's website:
http://s143.photobucket.com/user/tonycook1966/media/Lindberg/01_Lindberg.jpg.html
http://s143.photobucket.com/user/tonycook1966/media/Lindberg/02_Lindberg.jpg.html
http://s143.photobucket.com/user/tonycook1966/media/Lindberg/03_Lindberg.jpg.html
http://s143.photobucket.com/user/tonycook1966/media/Lindberg/04_Lindberg.jpg.html


Ben Hom


Tim O'Connor
 

except that gondola does not appear to be 46' long. I have some old
Mantua gondola car bodies and they're not 46' long either. Garth did
you mean to type 46' ?

Tim O'

Garth Groff wrote:
"I have long searched for a contemporary Lindberg gondola. It was about 46' long, and might have kitbashing possibilities to represent WP and Rio Grande GS cars."
This model (and the other Lindberg HO scale freight cars) had a second life in the Mantua "Heavies" line. Here's an example.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/MANTUA-HEAVIES-HO-GONDOLA-W-COAL-LOAD-PENNSYLVANIA-/121605426324?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c503f8c94

Lindberg catalog pages from Tony Cook's website:
http://s143.photobucket.com/user/tonycook1966/media/Lindberg/01_Lindberg.jpg.html
http://s143.photobucket.com/user/tonycook1966/media/Lindberg/02_Lindberg.jpg.html
http://s143.photobucket.com/user/tonycook1966/media/Lindberg/03_Lindberg.jpg.html
http://s143.photobucket.com/user/tonycook1966/media/Lindberg/04_Lindberg.jpg.html

Ben Hom


Benjamin Hom
 

Tim O'Connor wrote:
"Except that gondola does not appear to be 46' long. I have some old Mantua gondola car bodies and they're not 46' long either. Garth did you mean to type 46'?"

The model is indeed 46 ft long. Do not confuse the Lindberg "Mantua Heavies" model with Mantua's own gon models. The Lindberg model also has a representation of drop doors and a half-profile brake cylinder in a centersill integrally molded in the carbody. The RPI website has a side-by-side photo of the two models.


Ben Hom


Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>
 

John,

The car with six-wheel trucks is not the Gilbert car. That said, there were actually quite a few cast metal cars or metal kits available through the 1950s. I recall seeing a Selly 40' car in ads, Authenticast made some, and there were several odd Red Ball kits.

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff

On 4/5/15 3:28 PM, johnsykesiii@... [STMFC] wrote:
 

Garth:


Thanks!  You answered one question I had.  To pick up a good Revell caboose for the shell, it was "loaded" on a drop-center flat car minus trucks.  The flat car had no mfr markings on it that I could make out, but was unusual in that it was cast metal.  So it is a Gilbert, eh?  It is marked as Erie 7210 which is a 50-something ft long drop-center flat, but has 6 wheel trucks for a rating of 250,000 lbs or so.  How  do you get the trucks off of that beast?  they have no fastener heads on them (screw, hex or whatever).  What, are they press fit into the body?

Also I tend to agree with you and Ben.  I think I will upgrade the better stuff, and just put metal wheels & Kadee couplers on the lesser items as nostalgia pieces.

-- John 


John Sykes III
 

Garth:

Correct, the HO car I have does not have 6-wheel trucks, it has 4-wheel Bettendorf trucks.  The prototype Erie car with the 7210 road number did have 6-wheel trucks.  This model car is far too short to handle 6-wheel trucks.

-- John


Jeff Pellas <jppellas@...>
 

Gilbert did make a cast metal 50' flat although it had four wheel trucks.

Jeff
jppellas@...


-----Original Message-----
From: Garth Groff sarahsan@... [STMFC]
To: STMFC
Sent: Sun, Apr 5, 2015 8:12 pm
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Old Trains, New Parts?



John,

The car with six-wheel trucks is not the Gilbert car. That said, there were actually quite a few cast metal cars or metal kits available through the 1950s. I recall seeing a Selly 40' car in ads, Authenticast made some, and there were several odd Red Ball kits.

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff

On 4/5/15 3:28 PM, johnsykesiii@... [STMFC] wrote:
 
Garth:

Thanks!  You answered one question I had.  To pick up a good Revell caboose for the shell, it was "loaded" on a drop-center flat car minus trucks.  The flat car had no mfr markings on it that I could make out, but was unusual in that it was cast metal.  So it is a Gilbert, eh?  It is marked as Erie 7210 which is a 50-something ft long drop-center flat, but has 6 wheel trucks for a rating of 250,000 lbs or so.  How  do you get the trucks off of that beast?  they have no fastener heads on them (screw, hex or whatever).  What, are they press fit into the body?

Also I tend to agree with you and Ben.  I think I will upgrade the better stuff, and just put metal wheels & Kadee couplers on the lesser items as nostalgia pieces.

-- John 




Jeff Pellas <jppellas@...>
 

Guys,
      I collect and model almost exclusively with "vintage" ho locos and rolling stock but I try to do so as accurately as possible. I am on this site to help me discern the models that aren't worth upgrading from the ones that are. To do that you have to have a general knowledge not only of the prototypes that are from your choses era but also what was available from the model manufacturers. Exactly where you draw the line to decide what to collect and what to pass on is subjective. For me it has to do with, of course, what prototype is represented by a particular model, how accurate is the model car's dimensions, how accurate is the paint job, of there are discrepencies, can they be fixed or lived with.. 
     The real fun for me, though, is kit bashing cars that aren't available using various parts from vintage models. I asked, a couple weeks ago, about info regarding a Seabaord B5 boxcar. I used the diagram on this website as a guide while I have been building the model from a combination of Ulrich, Train Miniature and Silver Streak parts. I'm actually building three variants of the XM1 boxcar as used by the M&STL, Seaboard and B&M all using the Ulrich car as the starting point. 
     My models will never be good enough for competition and the closer you look, the lack of fine detail will be obvious but they will help me achieve the general look of railroading in 1944.        

Jeff
jppellas@...


-----Original Message-----
From: Garth Groff sarahsan@... [STMFC]
To: STMFC
Sent: Sun, Apr 5, 2015 11:40 am
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Old Trains, New Parts?



John,

I agree with Ben. The caboose is good, and I did an upgrade on this car many years ago (I don't own it anymore). IIRC, the gondola and flat car are acceptable, and actually have prototypes. I believe both were eventually reissued by Con-Cor. I have never seen the stock car, but the boxcar and reefer aren't worth the trouble except as nostalgia pieces. All will require metal wheels. The flanges on their wheels are about a scale foot deep.

I have long searched for a contemporary Lindberg gondola. It was about 46' long, and might have kitbashing possibilities to represent WP and Rio Grande GS cars.

Some other interesting 1950s-era cars to look for are the Gilbert 50' flat car and 40' drop-center flatcar. These were one-piece metal castings, and as I remember them, weren't all that bad. I don't know about prototypes though. Their weight made them track really well. A couple of years ago I scored a pair of Thomas 8K tank cars in remarkably good condition (their getting rare because their zamac parts tend to crumble). I found both the single-dome and twin-dome cars. These have finally been upgraded, repainted and relettered. They look pretty nice, though they're not quite up to Proto, RC or Intermountain standards.

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff



On 4/5/15 11:04 AM, Benjamin Hom b.hom@... [STMFC] wrote:
 
John Sykes asked:
"I have been acquiring a bunch of old Revell train models from the mid to late-1950's (about 15 so far).

My motives are two fold; first, these were the first HO trains I ever owned, when I was 7 or 8 years old. Second, some of these old Revell models were very accurate for the time (e.g., the Revell caboose is dead-on for a UPRR CA-1).

Now here's the question . . .

How much effort should I put into upgrading these trains?"

The question you need to ask yourself is "what is really my goal for these models"? If you want some representative cars from your early days in model railroading, minimal upgrades for operation (e.g., couplers, metal wheelsets) is probably all you need to do. However, if your goal is to make more accurate scale models to run with your other "Green Dot" models), beware the law of diminishing returns as all of these models will take some effort to turn into credible models, especially the reefer and stock car, which are exceptionally crude.

Ben Hom




Andy Harman
 

I too have some stash of vintage HO freight cars from the 1950s and 60s, but my reason for having them is nostalgic rather than prototype modeling. As such I look for complete original cars in good condition, built or unbuilt. Athearn metal line, MDC when it really was "die cast", Revell, Varney, Hobbyline, Ulrich etc. I do occasionally set up some code 100 track and operate these cars behind a Mantua Pacific or other blacksmith-era power. One thing I have done is put Kadees on everything. I may be nostalgic but I'm not a masochist. I always despised horn hook and Mantua loop couplers, and that's one headache I don't need.

This really started with the Ulrich GS gondola, which I think was a well detailed and good looking model in its day, and unlike its modern superplastic or even brass counterparts, it actually had operating drop doors.

I really can't think of any instances in which I'd use this vintage stuff to make a state of the art prototypical model. Doesn't mean it can't be done, but that's not really what I'm wanting from them. They are what they are, and I consider the vintage stuff to be a separate hobby. I didn't cut my teeth on Lionel like so many of my generation and before, so I have no childhood memories there to try and reclaim - Lionel was something the other kids had. My childhood memories are of these old metal, metal and wood, and early plastic rolling stock.

Andy


Benjamin Hom
 

Andy Harman wrote:
"This really started with the Ulrich GS gondola, which I think was a well detailed and good looking model in its day, and unlike its modern
superplastic or even brass counterparts, it actually had operating drop doors.

I really can't think of any instances in which I'd use this vintage stuff to make a state of the art prototypical model."
Actually, you just named one instance. The Ulrich GS gon is still the only game in town for SP Class G-50-12; the Red Caboose and Detail Associates models are not the same prototype. Here's one of Tony Thompson's models (scroll midway down page):
http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2011/04/choosing-model-car-fleet-8-gondloas.html


Ben Hom


Tony Thompson
 

Ben Hom wrote:

Actually, you just named one instance. The Ulrich GS gon is still the only game in town for SP Class G-50-12; the Red Caboose and Detail Associates models are not the same prototype. Here's one of Tony Thompson's models (scroll midway down page):
http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2011/04/choosing-model-car-fleet-8-gondloas.html


    Ben's link unfortunately misspells "gondolas," so won't work. Here is the right link:


Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705         www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history





paul.doggett2472 <paul.doggett2472@...>
 

The link is not working.
Paul Doggett UK




Sent from Samsung mobile

"Benjamin Hom b.hom@... [STMFC]" <STMFC@...> wrote:
 


Andy Harman wrote:
"This really started with the Ulrich GS gondola, which I think was a well detailed and good looking model in its day, and unlike its modern
superplastic or even brass counterparts, it actually had operating drop doors.

I really can't think of any instances in which I'd use this vintage stuff to make a state of the art prototypical model."
Actually, you just named one instance. The Ulrich GS gon is still the only game in town for SP Class G-50-12; the Red Caboose and Detail Associates models are not the same prototype. Here's one of Tony Thompson's models (scroll midway down page):
http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2011/04/choosing-model-car-fleet-8-gondloas.html

Ben Hom


Andy Harman
 

At 07:45 PM 4/14/2015 +0000, you wrote:
Actually, you just named one instance. The Ulrich GS gon is still the only game in town for SP Class G-50-12; the Red Caboose and Detail Associates models are not the same prototype.
As you know I have kind of a drop bottom gondola fetish that, like my passenger train fetish, extends beyond my normal modeling era and scope. I actually have a couple of Challenger brass GS gondolas and I think one might be a G50-12, but I'd have to go down two flights of stairs to check at the moment. I have a whole stack of the Ulrich cars I picked up for an average of <$10, in fact I think I got 5 of them for 40 bucks at Winterail one time. I don't know when I'd get around to it but nice to know I could still build something unique from it.

And I do have Tony's book....

Andy