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Discussion Starter #1
I often buy cosmetically decent Postwar Lionel equipment that sometimes needs mechanical work to run well as I don't enjoy doing cosmetic restorations very much (my painting/decal skills are lacking). I picked up this Lionel 1400 passenger set from 1946 on eBay because I've been wanting an example of the two year only 221 Dreyfuss style locomotive for some time.

The locomotive needed a little work. One of the lead truck wheels was loose on the axle and could slide right off. I peened the rear of the wheel around the axle hole which snugged up the fit and reinstalled it. Other than that I gave it a good cleaning and lubrication and installed some new pickup shoes. It runs great.

The cars were a little rougher. The roofs were horribly scratched and scraped and the trucks have been modified over the years to replace damaged or missing couplers. Somebody installed a coupler on the rear truck of the observation car which involved bashing in a portion of the skirting around the rear railing to allow clearance for the coupler that wasn't originally there. That modification I will leave as a touch of its history.

I broke down and decided the roofs needed some attention. The blue paint on the bodies is in pretty good condition aside from a few chips here and there, but the roofs just distracted from the condition of the rest of the car. Three coats of Rustoleum Aluminum enamel later and they look great once again. Although the paint job isn't show quality, it looks much better than the chipped up roofs I started with and really makes the set look nice.

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They look too good, now you have to paint the blue.:p

Looks like you did a good job.:smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys.

Ed, I don't plan on touching the blue. That paint as well as the lettering are actually in decent shape for the most part. I like a few dings and scratches here and there, but the silver roofs were a bit too far gone for my taste.
 

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Those roofs look great. Did you have to do anything to prepare/smooth out the old surface before painting it or did the paint just dry out as smooth as it looks?
 

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Jake, the roofs turned out very nice.

I repainted two sets of those passenger cars, one set for the SP&S and another set for the Northern Pacific. The cars originally had more rust than paint.

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks guys, it gave me a nice project for a Saturday off work.

Mike, I shouldn't have said I didn't plan on touching the blue as I did give them a good cleaning inside and out. They look a lot better than they did when I started.

I definitely could have done more prep work before I painted the roofs, so I'm not sure how it'll hold up in the long run. I cleaned the silver paint that was there and simply painted over that with pretty good results as far as appearance. If it starts chipping or flaking off I'll take them to work and give them a light once over in the sandblasting cabinet and then actually prime them before repainting.

Bill, breathing new life into what would normally be considered junk is always fun. If they start off rusty and nasty, why not make them useful and good looking.
 

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Looks great! Still loks old and grand, but now in good condition!

Great job. I think the key with projects like this is to not try to overdo it! This is really a good job of walking that line perfectly.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks guys!

Lee, you put it well. I like the original fabric and a few dents and dings here and there, but there's a point that things need to be fixed up just a little more to make them perfect.

I suppose working on 1:1 scale museum piece steam locomotives for a living has opened my eyes up to restoration a little more when it comes to my older toy trains. I'm definitely less opposed to jumping in and fixing something up cosmetically if necessary to make it a little more presentable.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I believe the rear coupler on the observation car is likely an add on modification (and apparently a common one). Mine was rather poorly done as no cuts were made to the rear railing apron, it was simply bent upward. Yours looks like another one that was shared with me where two cuts were made on either side of the coupler and the material folded neatly out of the way.
 
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