Paint schemes for Flyers

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by 77railer, Dec 11, 2004.

  1. 77railer

    77railer Member

    Hello all,
    I was wondering if anyone had any tips on restoring old flyer cars/locos. I have several that could use a good cleaning/painting but I dare not do anyhing to them that would mess them up. Anyone out there have a database that contains the exact color codes I could use to repaint these dinos. And just how in the heck can I remove scratches on these darlings.

    Thanks Gang,
  2. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

  3. 77railer

    77railer Member

    No visible rust that I can see. One car is missing back wheels other than that they seem near perfect. My uncle had them running 20yrs ago and put them in boxes for me as a gift. They have been in the boxes since that time until two weeks ago when I opened the boxes like a kid in a super duper candy store. I'd love to talk more about this with ya. Do you yahoo?

  4. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    No, But wehave a chat room right here on The Gauge

    We're on almost every night from 9 PM to 11 EST & some days around 12 Noon too :)
  5. 77railer

    77railer Member

    Will taking an old toothbrush to these things mess them up? And is it okay to use water? Thanks for your help. I appreciate it.
  6. My advice? Don't do anything except clean up any accumulations of dust in the journals where the ends of the axles go into the truck side frames. Why? Modifying the original finish will devalue the piece. Think in terms of 25-50 years from now as these pieces become rarer and more valuable. The original finish on old metal pieces, particularly the collectible Flyer and Lionel, regardless of the condition, will only add value to the piece. This is the case with antique toys and furniture, too. Flyer/Lionel collectors want to see the original finish...not that you'll ever part with them, but this is something that you need to consider. If you repaint them or refinish them, they will then immediately fall into the collector/dealer category of 'reconditioned tinplate' and you can never go back and use the term 'original condition' again! You may also consider just testing them and then putting them on a shelf for display purposes. Think in terms of damage that could be sustained by a derailment that put 'em on the floor if you're operating from a layout? Hope this helps! ;)
  7. 77railer

    77railer Member

    Thanks for the info. I just took some water and que tips/cloth to them to get the dust off.
  8. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Hi 77railer:
    Welcome to S-Gauge. You're now a member of a great cult. A couple of things to think about while you play with your new trains.

    1. Do you know what you have and approximately what it is worth? If not, buy a copy of Greenberg's guide to AMerican Flyer. Read what they have to say about how to evaluate and grade the condition of trains, and then look up your trains and see what they are worth.
    2. If you have some very rare items, you should consider setting these aside for restoration and preservation. Especially if they are in "excellent" condition and have the original packaging. Only the stuff in very good and excellent condition is going to be worth anything in the future. Folks have been collecting and hording the "good stuff" since the '70s and '80s so most of what you see being traded around on ebay is second tier stuff, not the museum pieces that go for thousands of dollars. People will call stuff excellent "except for a little rust on the trucks". Well, if there is rust on the trucks, it's NOT excellent.
    3. IF your stuff is fairly common, only in "good" condition, and you want to run 'em, then run 'em. That's what they were made for. Clean and lube them first so they don't grind themselves into oblivion. Get the K-Line book on repairing AF trains. It's only about $30 and is a wealth of information.
    4. If they are rusted, busted and well played with, then consider "restoring" them by repariing, painting, etc. so you can enjoy running them and have the satisfaction of bringing a piece in poor shape back into "mint" condition.

    The Lionel colors mentioned in an earlier post are not american flyer colors. Go to Paul York's website and check out the links. There are several sources for Flyer colors. An exception to this is steam engine black. For many of us, "charcoal grill" black is close enough.

    The microfiber cloths are really good to use on old equipment when you are cleaning it. Check their effect on a small corner to be sure the paint is in good enough shape to stand the cleaning. With one of these and a little dish soap you should be able to get your stock cleaned right up. I use a white eraser on wheels to get the grime off them. Old track responds to a little silver or brass polish and then some Radio Shack tuner cleaner. Try not to use any abrasives on the track as it is just tin plated.

    Check out the S-Trains group on Yahoo. Also where are you in SC? I'm in the Atlantic Coast S-Gaugers and our division has folks all over north and south carolina. Going up to Kings Mountain tomorrow to run trains at a layout we set up in the museum.

    Wanna play trains tomorrow?

  9. 77railer

    77railer Member

    Wasnt able to make it up to see yall today. How did things go? Would be great if you could put me in touch with someone or if we could talk. I started to take one apart last night but after 4 screws I was a shaking wreck. Im so afraid Im gonna mess them up,lol. Ive got the entire next two weeks off so this is an opportune time,lol. Benifits of being a teacher....2wks @ chritmas and 2mths in the summer....hehe.

  10. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Hi 77:
    Had a good time up in Kings Mountain. We've got a 14 x 22 foot oval layout made out of our 48x24 inch modules. Everything is fleeced in snow and every module has action accessories that the visitors can operate. There are also about 7-8 display cases with model trains of various scales on display. We generally had 1-6 families visiting the museum all day. The fire department dropped Santa off around mid-day and so the kids had a doubly good time after his arrival.

    Ran a combination of Flyer, Flyonel, and S-Helper equipment. Even had an AMerican Models Pennsy K-5 on the rails for a while. The museum staff are very supportive and seemed to bear up well in spite of all the noise and "smoke". The layout will be up through the first of the year with the museum closed on Christmas and New Years Day. IF one of our guys isn't there when you visit, the staff member will plug in the layout so the two trains will run and then you can push the accessory buttons and run the accessories yourself.

    As to your work on the Flyer equipment. If i was you, i would email Joe Heann at or Doug Peck at and order the "Complete Service Manual for American Flyer Trains" published by K-Line. ISBN 0-934580-06-5. This hard cover book is only about $30 and is a wealth of infomation. It has parts lists and exploded views of most engines, operating cars, transformers and accessories. It has wiring diagrams of many accessories and explainations of how they operate. There are a few track layouts, layout wiring diagrams and layout tips in the book. There is a "complete" list of post war Flyer equipment numbers and a guide to proper lamps.

    Even if you decide you don't want to work on the equipment yourself, the book will help you know how to hook it up and maintain it. Both Joe and Doug repair flyer equipment and do good work. There are some other worthwile books on Flyer such as Greenberg's pricing guide and Greenberg's guide to american flyer equipment vol I by Joe Deger (vol II is out of print).

    Our club will have a layout at the GATS shows in Winston-Salem (1/22-23) and Columbia (4/2-3). We also make several other shows in Spenser and Raleigh. Feel free to drop a note here or PM me with questions. I'll do what i can to help. You can check out the club at

  11. 77railer

    77railer Member

    Well gang,

    I actually got two out of my three flyers running and I think I was so happy I actually skipped thru the house,lol. Awful noisy and in desperate need of oiling so only ran each a sec but it was awsome to hear them running after 20yrs and a 7 yr olds dream finally coming true. I will keep everyone posted on progress. I need to lay some track,lol.

    :wave: 77Railer :wave:
  12. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Very glad to hear it. It's normal for a Flyer or Lionel locomotive to be louder than a modern HO loco even after you clean and lube it, but if they've been sitting 20 years they definitely need a good lube.

    I'm not surprised that they run. When I bought a Flyer set this summer that looked like it had been ignored for 20-30 years, it only took me about an hour to get it running again, and it was a very smooth runner. I was impressed. A. C. Gilbert knew what he was doing and it's a real shame his company died with him.
  13. 77railer

    77railer Member

    Well Gang,

    The flyers are once again alive and well. I drove over 50 miles to the nearest yes I said nearest hobby shop. The guy who runs the place cleaned and lubed all three trains and only chrged me 7.50. I thought that was an awsome christmas gift,lol. The 303 had a stuck e-unit and once he fixed it and had it running on the track it started smoking thru the stack. I asked him if he added smoke and he said no. So the smoke that was in there was 20yrs old and still working. Cool or what. I also grabbed some s guae buildings while I was there and some rock casts. Cant wait to get started on laying some track. Im sure I will continue to have tons of questions. Thanks to all for the help offered. Merry Christmas.

  14. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Excellent. Glad you found some 1:64 buildings. They're a little tough to find, though you can buy 1:64 vehicles anywhere. Kmart's Route 66 brand vehicles are 1:64 scale and appropriate to the 1950s, so they're a good match for Flyer and they're reasonably priced.

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