Need 2 ID's, Old Mantuas or Bashing ?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by TedTrain, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. TedTrain

    TedTrain Member

    Jan 17, 2004
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    Hi all again!
    These 2 are from the same tag sale. One Santa Fe , El Capitan. It has Cardboard sides, wood bottom. The other is Canadian National, it is Metal with wood bottom. Any ideas?
    Many thanks, Ted


  2. wjstix

    wjstix Member

    Nov 18, 2004
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    They could both be Mantua. The couplers certainly are, but then before Kadees came along, Mantua couplers probably were the most popular HO couplers so many cars from the forties-fifties would have them.
  3. pjb

    pjb Member

    Dec 22, 2000
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    Look at the Trucks and Possibly on diecast frames

    The comments made are correct as far as they go, but
    are not definitive. This is for several reasons, not the
    least of which is that at one time many kit makers
    employed these materials. You may never get a
    definitive fix on the makers, without becoming an
    expert yourself on old car kits.
    Basically, determining
    who made the trucks on them may prove most
    useful, for most 'HO' car kits came with trucks then.
    By the same token, over a half century or so trucks
    get changed on cars running on layouts.That also
    brings up the matter of cars
    made from components of kits that were also sold
    separately by kit makers. The ladders and grabs
    on Athearn kits are individually applied by the kit builder
    and are as fine as any made today. Varney's were
    not as fine, and he switched to plastic molded
    ladders prior to dropping stamped metal bodies.
    Some of their competitors used staples with paper
    sides and wooden ones that were too large for these
    The CNR boxcar, if it has a side body
    silk screened by the maker, is going to be the easier
    of the cars to run down, because Santa Fe reefer kits
    were "a dime a dozen", as they say. If the boxcar is
    an all zamac die cast unit, or used stamped steel or
    brass elements that is a major discriminant.
    Printed paper sided cars with lead cast ends were a
    Red Ball technique, and they made an enormous
    number of low cost kits using those components
    glued to a wooden body. Their trucks were cast
    lead, unsprung and had brass wheels. These trucks
    are still sold today, after passing through several
    different manufacturers hands over the last half
    century since they were produced in over twenty
    different styles.
    Stamped metal cars were made by Varney
    and Athearn prior to their shift to plastic in the
    mid1950s. Athearn's metal stamped, predecorated
    cars were afterwards produced, using their tooling,
    by Menzies - and then in the 1980s and into the 90s by Bowser.
    The trucks shifted to being sprung somewhere
    in that period, and Athearn and Varney went to
    nylon or combination metal units prior to dropping
    metal stampings. Mantua used brass, but applied
    molded paper material sides for detail purposes,
    into the 1950s. They then switched to cast/moled
    zamac and then plastic. MDC went from all zamac,
    to plastic, and then reintroduced zamac cars as higher
    cost kits for a period in the 1960s,'70s,'80s. Most
    of the latter were open cars or passenger cars.

    Some cast frame elements have makers names, but
    almost all have part numbers. This is why avid
    collectors also collect makers catalogs, so they can
    cross reference part numbers to trace makers.

    At the time in question, the MODEL RAILROAD
    EQUIPMENT COMPANY catalog , from their store
    on W. 43 St in NYC, was the definitive publication.
    WALTHERS' catalog was a list of their manufactured
    products. By the way, they are also another possible
    maker of your reefer. The MRE catalog, especially
    the post 1951 catalogs that were issued in an 'HO'
    gauge only version, describes the materials used
    in the kits and has many illustrations, so it is the best
    source of information. America's Hobby Center on
    W. 22 St, and E&H hobbies in Philly have less
    useful catatlogs, because they have less product
    detail, that do list information as to whether you
    got trucks and couplers with a kit, and who was
    selling what kind of trucks and the like. So if you see
    one of them, pick it up.
    I hope this helps.
    Good-Luck, PJB