I had a Lionel 2034 engine that had, at some point in its life, suffered a fall off a table, most likely onto concrete. The result was a severely bent corner on the cab roof.
But a fall off the table doesn’t have to be the end of the line. It’s possible to fix this injury.
To fix it, I needed a source of heat, some vinyl electrical tape, my favorite pair of locking pliers, and another regular set of pliers. I didn’t need any hammers, but it can help to also have a couple of different hammers of different shapes and sizes.
First of all, I wrapped the jaws of my pliers with the electrical tape, to keep the serrated jaws of the pliers from scarring the locomotive cab further.
Next, I just started bending the cab a little bit closer to back into shape, using nothing but hand pressure. At first I wasn’t seeing much difference, but then I compared it to the picture I snapped at the beginning and could see I really was making slow progress. Slow progress is the key to preventing breakage and paint loss.
Next, I heated the area up with my Weller soldering gun. The idea was just to warm it up, not to melt anything. After doing this, the cab was a bit more willing to bend. A few more bends with my pliers, and the cab was back in shape. I probably worked too fast, as I lost all of the paint on the bent area. If you want to preserve whatever paint might still be there, you might want to do this gradually over the course of days, instead of doing it in half an hour like I did. But since a beat-up Lionel 2034 is worth more as parts than it is complete, I didn’t worry about it.
This happens a lot, due to Lionel’s super-sharp curves and the high speeds the trains run at, and once you know what to look for you can recognize other trains that have suffered similar falls and been fixed.