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Made in Japan


bertiedog

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Bought from Ebay for the grand sum of £4.95, a die cast loco, an HO scale Atlantic, US outline at first glance, with no tender, bearing the mark Tokyo, Japan on the chassis.

 

 

I assume a AHC/AHM from the 1950's , it is in an AHC catalogue for 1952, looks very similar, and the design went on for years, changing to plastic later on in Polk's adverts.

post-6750-128060680126.jpg

NOT an original paint job, and described when tested as non runner, but this is obviously the missing tender, no earth return! I have a suitable Varney tender that will run with it, and with detailing should be OK.

 

I am wondering what the prototype was, a US influenced Japanese Atlantic steam loco, or a genuine US design?

Stephen.

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Stephen,

 

More than likely a freelance or ficticious design. There is a section at the back of every issue of Model Railraod Craftsman that deals with old models, very similar in appearance to yours, and in most cases there was no actual prototype for those models or they varied considerably due to the need to fit in a motor, or they had existing chassis on hand etc.

 

Geoff

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The Craftsman is almost unobtainable in the UK these days apart from subscribing, I know well how generic the early Japanese makers were, but just trying to identify the age, looks 1950's to me, as they changed to using old Varney moulds and plastic in the 1960's under the Life Like label,(and others).

 

What's unusual is the stays on the boiler side are continued up above the side boards, a bit odd. The Mantua Atlantic of the period had a widened firebox to accommodate the motor width, which this does not do, so I assume a KTM copy of a Pittman is used.

 

It seems intended for the US market as it has modern NMRA tyres, and a NMRA coupler on the front. I have found a picture on the net of an almost identical model in SP livery with a Vanderbilt Tender(Varney I think), claiming 1949 as the date of the Loco, two years before the first AHC advert I can find from old Model Railroad magazine adverts.

 

On a Japanese site is a near identical loco with a different cab, from Tenshodo's Tokyo retail shop, dated 1947, numbered as a Japanese class loco, it may be the base of the export version, in the same way as the 060 diecast Japanese loco sold in the States as a US loco.

 

Stephen.

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I found this useful guide, but couldn't find anything like your loco, though MDC has something on similar lines.

http://railroad.unio...20Loco%20Models

 

Looking through I found this (look under Stephenson's Rocket)

http://railroad.unio...hp?article=2590

 

It would be unfair to take up the bet re tender drive.

 

I also found this

http://railroad.union.rpi.edu/displayimage.php?i=23287

 

Could this have been the inspiration for the Trix Twin US switcher? (What's a set of driving wheels between friends?) The passenger loco, then followed on with a few mods to make it look a bit different. (Pilot headlight and tender.)

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The details of the early years of Japanese exports is poorly documented, it started with Tenshodo Tokyo shop, who supplied early hand made brass from several smaller makers, and some diecast items from existing Japanese locos.

 

Strangely they could not export the Japanese outline at all, far preferring to convert to the huge US market, after the Occupied Japan restrictions came off.

 

AHC/AHM/IHC/Polks/Sears etc, bought from whoever could supply, taking Rivarossi, Farish, Tri-ang, and German makers in about 1950 onwards, mainly to rival the domestic RTR/kit Varney and Mantua ranges, and to some extent the Lionel RTR toy ranges.

 

The HO seekers site has copies of some of the early catalogues on line for reference. There are lots and it takes time to plough through to find particular locos! The one from Ebay must be earlier than 1960, as most had changed to plastic from the FE suppliers to keep costs down, only Mantua/Roundhouse continued with die cast.

 

The reason I queried this is that the reason the tender might be missing is that it might have been a domestic loco with a six wheeled tender, removed to make it take a US bogied version. A collectors site in Japan shows an Atlantic with a six wheeler tender, but it has a different cab fitted, the boiler being the same.

 

If it is an early Japanese type not meant to be US then it might be worth seeking out a tender to suit, but it looks nearer 100% US outline to me in the picture. Anyway Japanese diecast are rare in the UK anyway, even if once common in the States.........Can't go far wrong for £4.95 anyway!!!

 

Stephen.

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I think it's at least somewhat possible it's got a basis on a real US design, 4-4-2's might not have been most common and certainly didn't get a lot of press amongst the giants of US steam but they did exist, look at the rosters of midwestern roads such as C&NW and Milwaukee road for some examples (Milwaukee even added streamlining to some of theirs!)

 

Here's a CNW one preserved in St Louis, which looks a passable (although not an exact) match to my eye.

http://transportmuseumassociation.org/chicagonorthwestern1015.html

 

Couple more shots on here of CNW ones:

http://www.yesteryeardepot.com/chinwst.htm

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post-6750-128086737384_thumb.jpg

 

Solved, it's an Aristo-craft Atlantic of 1960/62 period, diecast , Made in Japan, and the Varney Old Lady tender will match fine, may even be a copy of the Varney done by Aristo-craft, who may have obtained Varney moulds and dies by then, after Varney folded in the States.

 

It should run OK.,Aristo-craft were plainly detailed, but good runners. Unusual in the UK though, I don't think they were ever imported officially, but lots of Model Railroad, and toy items, came in via American Forces bases etc.

 

Stephen.

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As suspected, the Aristo-craft Atlantic runs fine, will require a bit of work on a slightly distorted body mount around the cab, and more detailing before a major re-paint. The motor works well, it has enclosed gears, and decent brushgear, with typical plated brass wheels, with RP-25 compliant NRMA small flange wheels.

 

I have found the matching Varney Old Lady type plastic tender body, the rest of the Varney including the underframe succumbed to severe mazak rot. One set missing, and the usual poor Varney spray paint to try to remove.

 

It will need a brass tender floor made, and I have some spare lost wax sideframes for neat vintage bogies. They have to be metal for the earth return for the power.

 

Stephen.

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Although the motor runs, the chassis is in quite good condition for it's age, and the wheels are 100%, the body certainly is not, having suffered old crack repairs under all the old paint.

 

The cracks are not true mazak rot, but distortion has caused crack damage to the smoke box and to the side boards.

 

I think it will all hold together, it was previously repaired with epoxy glue by it's owner, and no powdering is visible.

 

However it is quite easy to replace the boiler with a brass one, with some new domes and chimneys.

 

Most of the fittings are 100% and re-usable, as is the cab which is quite sound and un-warped. So I will look out a tube and some side boards, and get soldering.

 

The fire box can be a thin nickel wrapper with the rivets, and a separate nickel smoke box to allow rivets detail around the rim. The smoke box door can be done in the lathe, as can the domes etc.

 

The motor is near 100%, a KTM 5 pole, runs OK, but needs new rear bearing, which is loose.The Gear set is correctly hobbed with fully formed teeth, and a generous sized worm, with an enclosure under the gear to keep grease in and dirt out.

 

The cylinder unit is diecast, a Varney design, as is the fully working valve gear unit, all plated brass and steel, quite well done, better finish than original Varney. Driving wheels are fully spoked, Varney design match except for plated rim, and the other wheels are all sprung, with diecast bogies.

 

The Varney tender is a 100% match, I am pretty sure the whole thing is a Varney design, used after the closure of Varney in the States

 

So sort the chassis and a new boiler, a Japanese 442 for £4.75 not bad value!

 

Stephen.

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