Marx 1829 locomotive

Marx 1829 locomotive

The Marx 1829 was arguably the largest, nicest plastic steam locomotive of the postwar era. It was a plastic locomotive with a 4-6-4 Hudson configuration, a type of locomotive usually reserved for higher-end diecast models.

The 1829 wasn’t just a plastic Marx 333. The design of the casting differs from the diecast 333, and it used a different trailing truck, since the 333 was a 4-6-2 Pacific. The motor was similar, and like the 333, it came in both smoking and non-smoking versions.

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How do Lionel trains work?

How do Lionel trains work?

Lionel trains entertained kids for generations, and inspired some to become engineers. And not just train engineers. Sometimes it inspired them to electrical or mechanical engineering. But how do Lionel trains work? Let’s step through it.

A Lionel train is just a flow of electrons. The hot wire from your electrical box goes through a transformer to the center rail, then through the motor and out to the wheels, through the outer rails and back to the transformer and finally, back to the outlet and out of your house back through the panel.

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Marx Commodore Vanderbilt

Marx Commodore Vanderbilt

The Marx Commodore Vanderbilt was one of Marx’s most enduring and beloved locomotives, produced from 1934-1942 and again from 1946-1952. It remains popular with collectors and operators today.

Based loosely on the New York Central’s streamlined Art Deco-style Hudson locomotive introduced in late 1934, Marx typically packed the Commodore Vanderbilt into sets with its six-inch cars. The sets were available anywhere toys were sold, and came in windup and electric versions.

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Do Lionel trains have lead paint?

Do Lionel trains have lead paint?

Do Lionel trains have lead paint? Lionel LLC says to the best of their knowledge, no. But Lionel LLC didn’t make those vintage trains. Some Lionel trains do, indeed have lead paint in them. Here’s what to do about that.

One has to assume that any Lionel train made prior to 1978, and certainly prior to 1970, would have been painted with lead paint. Not every paint Lionel used necessarily had lead in it. This means you must take precautions when running vintage Lionel trains. Namely, wash your hands afterward, and ensure children who participate in the session wash theirs.

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LEDs for American Flyer, Lionel, and Marx trains

LEDs for American Flyer, Lionel, and Marx trains

A frequent, sometimes heated topic of debate is upgrading to LED lighting in the headlight of vintage American Flyer, Lionel, or Marx trains. It shows how sometimes a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. You have several options for LEDs in old electric trains, and not all of them are expensive or difficult.

Specialty retailers like Town and Country Hobbies sell screw-in replacement LED bulbs with an E10 base for vintage trains. It’s also possible to wire up your own circuit. You can also take your chances on cheap 12V E10 LED bulbs from Ebay.

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Reduce American Flyer voltage drop

Reduce American Flyer voltage drop

If your American Flyer train slows down on part of your layout, you’re experiencing voltage drop. Fortunately, there are things you can do to lessen the effect of voltage drop and give yourself a smoother running layout. Some of them won’t even cost anything. Here’s how to reduce American Flyer voltage drop.

Make sure you use a thick enough wire (thicker than 18 gauge, generally), run feeder wires every third or fourth track section, have a good electrical connection between each rail, and treat any rust present to ensure good, consistent electrical conductivity throughout your layout for smooth running trains.

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Using landscape transformers on train layouts

Using landscape transformers on train layouts

It’s fairly common for hobbyists with extremely large train layouts to use outdoor landscape transformers instead of specialized train transformers to power the lights and accessories on their layouts. Landscape transformers are large, rugged, and less expensive. But it can be confusing how to set them up. So here’s a step by step guide to using landscape transformers on train layouts.

I use PC power supplies to power lights and accessories, but that limits me to 12 volts DC for power. I’m OK with that. But if you want 15 volts AC, or you’re uncomfortable modifying a PC power supply, low-voltage landscape transformers are another viable alternative. I don’t think they’re as economical as an old PC power supply, but they cost much less per watt than a train transformer.

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Transfer an image to metal with paper

Transfer an image to metal with paper

I’ve wanted for years to be able to transfer an image to metal from paper. I experimented with it a lot in the 2004 timeframe, but I was never happy with the results and I eventually gave up. Until now. Today, the materials you need to transfer an image to metal with paper are readily available, work well, and are inexpensive.

The trick is to print a reverse image on a laser printer (color or black and white) onto paper that the toner doesn’t stick to very well. Apply a thin coat of adhesive to your metal, then stick your image down and smooth it out. Let it dry, then peel the paper back to leave your image behind. Apply a clearcoat and enjoy.

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Wiring Marx Accessories

Wiring Marx Accessories

Wiring Marx accessories isn’t too hard, and Marx accessories are forgiving. You can just run two wires to them, somehow, and they’ll probably work. But that’s probably not what you’re after. You probably want efficiency in terms of how much wire you use, and you probably want to hide your wires. Marx’s design allows for some clever tricks hobbyists have devised over the years.

The main rule to remember is to use around 20 AWG wire and connect the non-insulated binding post on the accessory to the common post on your transformer, and the insulated binding post to the hot post, using the dedicated accessory terminals if your transformer has them. This allows you to do some tricks when it comes to saving wire.

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How to disassemble and service a Marx 333 locomotive

How to disassemble and service a Marx 333 locomotive

The Marx 333 was Marx’s biggest, fanciest, and most expensive steam locomotive during the postwar era. It shares some parts commonality with other Marx engines but if you’ve never worked on one before, it can be a little unclear how to disassemble and service one.

The main thing to keep in mind with a Marx 333 as opposed to other Marx diecast locomotives is the linkages. After you remove the screws from the front, you have to remove the linkage or the siderods, depending on the vintage. After that, the motor drops out easily. Servicing the plastic-bodied Marx 1829 is essentially the same.

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