Toy Train to Model Train

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funnelfan

Member
Like most model railroaders, I tend to avoid those toy trains from the likes of IHC, AHM, Life Like and Bachmann. But occasionally there are some items on the toy train side that can be made into nice model with just a little bit of work. Mostly this involves removing the talgo trucks and adding a body mounted coupler and better trucks. For instance, I give you the two items below.

AHM makes a decent model of a "Flexi-Flow" car that has a fair amount of detail. A little bit of paint, some new trucks and couplers. And you get a decent model of a unusual prototype. The old Tyco 50' flatcars were as common as dirt, but they were really great models with some of the best wood deck detail that I've seen on any model. Again, a little paint and some decal work, and you have a great model of a typical riveted 50' flatcar.

Anyone else have some cheapo plastic toy train cars that make great models with a little bit of work?
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Wow, I'll have to find some of those flexi-flow cars! As for my stuff, I have a Tyco C425 awaiting a remodel (if I don;t end up buying a Stewart or Atlas replacement. Besides that, I'm scrapping most.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
Josh;

If you can find one, one of the "easiest" upgrades was the old AHM PS-1 boxcars. They came with a molded detailed underframe, and separate ladders. All that was needed was body mount couplers, new trucks/axles, and if you are energictic, new grabs. These were the most accurate PS-1s on the market at that time. Their paint jobs were good as well.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
Those old Tyco's were great.
Here ya go Jos. Finally got around to taking some photos of an old Tyco gon I updated. It originally was the bright yellow UP gon. Count the panels on the side. This was/is the only 11 panel gon on the market that is a match for one of the SRR's classes of gons. Not having any info on the class as to how it was painted, (SRR gons were either black or red depending on class/year/assignment), I painted it SRR Freight car red.

I soaked the body in denatured alcohol for 10 mins to remove the paint. and spent the next 30-60 minutes removing cast on detail and replacing with A-line grabs and an old Ajax brake from the scrap box. I still need to add a piece of chain from the wheel to the bottom of the gon.

All in all a short project with very satisfying results.
 
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Alcomotive

Grandson of ALCO Bldr
Wow!
I am impressed! I have a lot of these in my scrap box...looks like I will try my hand at this. Now you got me wondering about the other rolling stock in my scrap box...hmmm. Thanks for the "second" look!
 
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Steve B

Firefighter
I have a Canadian grain hopper made in Guam or somewhere like it, it had terrible oval wheels and a coupler i have never seen before. Anyway i cut the trucks and couplers and fitted new ones and hey presto a great addition, the detail's not fantastic but it's close enough for me.
 
C

catt

Guest
This is the same casting that Athearn used(uses)

gilbert1.jpg


a TYCO PS2 covered hopper with body mount couplers Athearn trucks and Branchline 36" wheels and a custom paint and decal job.I've had this car since 1980.:eek:
 
C

catt

Guest
part two

This is a 30 year old LifeLike Thrall Alldoor boxcar.

bennett1.jpg


The only mods sofar are new wire stirrups,Athearn trucks with metal wheels and body mounted Kadee #58 scale couplers.I also did some paint work on the end railings.This will someday become a fullfledged GVR car but I think I'll keep the light blue paint.

I buy all of these cars I can find.
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Giving me more idea's. The Model Railroad Musuem has a swap meet on Jan 20th, gonna stop by & check out.
 

FP45

New Member
You can actually make several versions of the Flexi-Flos by modifying the side-ribs on the AHM cars. I made a Penn Central version with two heavy horizontal ribs over twenty years ago, and it is still my favorite freight car. I used Herald King decals. The AHM cars, once commonplace, are getting harder to find.
 




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