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American Flyer Trainorama backdrop

The question of backdrops, especially for a tinplate layout, is always a difficult question. Lots of commercial backdrops are available today, but modern backdrops often look more appropriate with scale models than with a traditional toy train layout. American Flyer’s Trainorama is a potential solution that works well with prewar and postwar style layouts.

The American Flyer Trainorama was a 3D backdrop, 9 feet long, lithographed on heavy cardstock by Niagra Litho Company. Its catalog number was 790 or 791, and it was only available in 1953. The packaging was a large paper envelope.

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Will vintage American Flyer trains run on Lionel S gauge Fastrack?

I heard a good question the other day. Will vintage American Flyer trains run on Lionel S gauge Fastrack? Given that the trains and track were made by different companies more than half a century apart, it’s fair.

Lionel S gauge Fastrack is designed for both modern production American Flyer trains and vintage Gilbert American Flyer trains from the 1946 to 1967 period.

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Clean and polish Bakelite

Bakelite was the world’s first synthetic plastic, common in the first half of the 20th century but rarely used today. Many consumer goods used it into the 1950s, such as phones, radios and even some toys, such as Lionel transformers. When in good condition, Bakelite has an attractive appearance very distinctive from modern plastics. Here’s how to clean and polish Bakelite to bring out is unusual beauty.

Bakelite frequently is dull and dirty in as-found condition, but you can clean and polish it with household items. Bakelite frequently responds well to Dawn dish detergent.

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Lionel smoke pellets

Lionel’s smoke pellets are certainly iconic, and a memorable part of the post war Lionel experience. Pre-war trains didn’t have smoke, and the big three train makers raced in the early 1950s to introduce smoke units to give their trains something new. The sight and smell of those smoke pellets is unforgettable for a generation or three. Why did Lionel stop using smoke pellets, and why can’t you buy them anymore?

Lionel smoke pellets made postwar steam locomotives emit vapors from their miniature stack to create toy train pseudo-smoke. This new twist to Lionel trains became an unforgettable part of the toy train scene and an enduring old postwar favorite.

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Game box repair

Vintage computer games and vintage toys display better in their original boxes. But frequently those boxes are in less than ideal condition, especially if you got it at a good price. A pristine box can be worth more than the contents. I recently lucked into a couple of vintage Commodore game cartridge boxes. Their best days were behind them, but I was able to make them presentable again. Here’s my approach to game box repair.

I fixed up quite a few battered books in my day to make them more suitable for resale. The tricks I learned fixing books helped me with fixing game boxes and toy boxes as well.

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O gauge curved track dimensions

When it comes to O gauge trains, I don’t know if there’s a more confusing topic than track dimensions. Standards, schmandards. Let’s see what I can do to de-mystify O gauge curved track dimensions.

O gauge track comes in some common dimensions, the most common being 31, 36, 42, 54, 72, and 96 inch diameters. The problem is not every track system has each diameter, and the measurements tend to be nominal, kind of like lumber.

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