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 Post subject: American Flyer Sets
PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:08 am 
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First train set I ever received...The New Mountaineer from 1956:
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File comment: Flyer 283
Flyer 283.jpg
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Somewhere over the years I misplaced the caboose...replaced it with this custom version:
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Still runs like a champ. Let's see your set(s).

Paul


Last edited by winced36 on Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: American Flyer Sets
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:38 am 
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Paul, my first set had #303 plastic Atlantic. I'm not sure of the car consist. The caboose said only "American Flyer Lines." Dad was "into" trains in a big way and bought a new car or three every year for a while. By the time I was old enough to take "model railroading" seriously, AF had stopped making everything but the cheapest sets. So we shopped classifieds, flea markets, etc. for trains. At one of these sources, we got your Pacific, already in bad shape. I repainted it, filed down the handrails and ran wires, made a water pump that stuck out like God intended, etc. It ran like a champ, I have to say, in spite of previous abuse and my "maintenance.
I had two of the flatcars, too, but I don't recall ever having the "stakes." Instead I made my own stakes and put my own loads on them, as a way of keeping them on the track as much as anything else. Somewhere along the line, we also scrounged a PRR 0-6-0 with a slope-backed tender and a K-5 Pacific. Then I grew up, got married, bought a house that had no room at all for such things, had kids, and discovered that the train were taking more and more maintenance just to run, on the few times I did get them out. I kept the Atlantic and a few other pieces, and sold the rest to a collector friend. Sometimes, when I see a K-5 I miss it hard, though. More than you wanted to know, I'm sure. :-)

- Paul Race (other Paul)


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 Post subject: Re: American Flyer Sets
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:42 am 
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Here's one of the few remaining photos from those days:

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K5 diecast Pacific, 29X plastic pacific, Plasticville switch tower and freight station, repainted, cardboard farmhouse and storefronts, Matchbox cars, "trees" from floral picks, "grass mat" surface, gray plaster scooped over it to represent a road. HO "roadbed" under the rails, we were going to make wooden ties to insert in the gaps between the metal ties but never did.


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 Post subject: Re: American Flyer Sets
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 6:58 pm 
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Brilliant stuff Paul! My father bought the Mountaineer set second-hand, not sure from whom, probably someone he worked with, around 1962 or 1963. I got it for Christmas. It was perhaps the greatest toy I ever received from my parents (well maybe only topped by my Schwinn english-racer bicycle). It ran, and continues to run, great, although the smoke-unit pushes out just a faint wisp of smoke now...need to rework that.

Nearly all of my friends who had trains had Lionel, which was a drag because I couldn't take my Flyer over to their house or vice-versa. Some had HO. I don't ever recall having the three-rail vs. two-rail debate with them. Later, when Aurora started selling N-gauge stuff I flipped for that and the Flyer set went into the bottom of the closet. It still amazes me that it has survived all of these years.

In the 1980's I started getting back into toy trains and collected a bunch of vintage S-gauge Flyer. However, what I really fell for was prewar O-gauge (Lionel, Flyer and Ives). Back then nobody seemed interested in that stuff...when you went to the shows the prewar was under the table, and you could buy alot of it for really reasonable prices. Not so much anymore, although prices seem to be beginning to come down.

Thanks for posting the pic of your childhood "garden" (that's what we call them here in Maryland). It looks like you guys amassed quite a collection...is that an 0-6-0 Docksider in the background? Always wanted one of those... Brings back many great memories...

Paul (the second)


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 Post subject: Re: American Flyer Sets
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 7:49 pm 
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Paul, you have good eyes. That is a Docksider 0-6-0. They're fairly rare today because they didn't run well. Plastic drivers and four little shoes that would corrode and or gum up after two or three times around the track. When we sold most of my AF, that one and the cars that came with it were worth almost as much as the rest together, because so many got pitched along the way. My favorite two engines were the K5 and the Pennsy 0-6-0 with the slope back tender. My 0-6-0 had a short in it when I got it (third hand, I think) so it took a lot of finagling to get it running. The K-5 ran like a champ, but then again so did all my other larger format AF locos.

I scratchbuilt a wooden trolley body to put on one of the "rocket sled" engines. Never did paint it, but you should have seen it fly around the tracks. :-)

- other Paul


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 Post subject: Re: American Flyer Sets
PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:10 pm 
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That Pennsy 0-6-0 with the slopeback tender is one of, if not the rarest AF S-gauge locomotives. They were neat, but they looked weird to me because the back-end of the motor filled the cab (at least that's what I remember). Lionel remade the Docksider a few years back...from what I understand it still ran like a banshee. All of this talk of AF makes me want to pull that stuff down off the shelves...

I have a 310 K5 Pacific, which was the earliest version. It has these weird little brass "buttons" on the underside which I believe were for an activation system AF never manufactured. The valve gear on the K5 is just a marvel to watch...

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Paul


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 Post subject: Re: American Flyer Sets
PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2014 6:48 pm 
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You're right about the PRR 0-6-0, the motor just about stuck out of the back of the cab. But it ran like a champ, and pulled long trains, more than I can say for the Docksider. :[)


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 Post subject: Re: American Flyer Sets
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:11 pm 
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Here's a pic of a 332 Challenger (Northern), which I guess is right at the top of the S-gauge food chain:

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A kid must have really gone crackers if he was lucky enough to get one of these for the holidays or his birthday.

Paul


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 Post subject: Re: American Flyer Sets
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 10:40 pm 
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I used to drool over those, but it never got me one. :-)

Just looking at these photos brings back the smell of the things. Hot transformers, hot lubricating oil, hot smoke fluid, if you had any left. Not to mention the whole house rumbling when you set them up on a real table or a hardwood floor.


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 Post subject: Re: American Flyer Sets
PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:57 am 
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I got the 332 at a local meet from a guy that was selling out his Flyer collection (I don't remember if he was going on to another scale or just getting out altogether). The 332 was in decent shape but the tender was in pieces. It has a die-cast frame which had crumbled to bits. He had purchased a replacement frame from somewhere which he included.

I always have a problem sorting through the wiring for Flyer S-gauge, so I took it to Don Carver in Gettysburg, PA for repair. Don did a great job, including relettering the tender and loco with some dry transfers. If you ever go to Gettysburg, swing by Don's shop. It sits on the backside of Seminary Ridge, right behind the seminary, on Chambersburg Pike. He's a great guy...well worth dropping in.

Paul


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