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Discussion Starter #1
I'm at a loss for words.
I've had this in storage in a large box with other cars for a few years in a finished attic. The rest are fine and in the same shape as stored, except the Santa Fe. What do you think happened?
I've never seen this type of disintegration before. Something I did? Flaw in the composition of the shell? Something with the motor inside?
As collectors, do you know what may have happened?
 

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I've never seen anything like that before. It's not the motors, they're in the trucks at each end. What is visible is the reverse unit. The early plastic sometimes would warp because of its composition but that's usually found on freight cars and some 650 series passenger cars. Its possible that there was some bad plastic in some of the engine shells but this is a first for me. The fact that the shell is held rigid by the amount of screws holding it to the frame might account for the cracking of the shell, but that's just a guess. Sorry you had to find it in this condition. Wish I could be more helpful with my answer.
 

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What a bum deal. Never seen that. I have seen zinc frames rot but not the plastic.
Bet that was a shocker.
 

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It almost looks distorted, from some heat source.

Or some sort of caustic liquid dripped on it???

Very strange.

Damn mice! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Really appreciate the input. I thought the same thing, liquid? Battery acid? But nothing like that was near the box and nothing else in the box was destroyed.
It's possible some Lionel Smoke liquid may have gotten on it before storage but just a few drops.
Otherwise I blame the mice, too.
I posted this primarily to see if there was ever a problem with the old plastic and if it disintegrated in certain conditions.
I've heard of a white substance coming off of Bakelite and the early post-war plastic.
 

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Really appreciate the input. I thought the same thing, liquid? Battery acid? But nothing like that was near the box and nothing else in the box was destroyed.
It's possible some Lionel Smoke liquid may have gotten on it before storage but just a few drops.
Otherwise I blame the mice, too.
I posted this primarily to see if there was ever a problem with the old plastic and if it disintegrated in certain conditions.
I've heard of a white substance coming off of Bakelite and the early post-war plastic.
Wow... that white substance you see on some Bake-lite is actually a mold-release agent, used to help get the molded plastic out of the mold.
 

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Something spilled on it, causing the damage.. Look at the red nose of the engine.. It looks like there's something on the nose, bubbling up the paint.
 

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I'm at a loss for words.
I've had this in storage in a large box with other cars for a few years in a finished attic. The rest are fine and in the same shape as stored, except the Santa Fe. What do you think happened?
I've never seen this type of disintegration before. Something I did? Flaw in the composition of the shell? Something with the motor inside?
As collectors, do you know what may have happened?
I just ran across your post and thought I would chime in. One of the first passenger sets I bought when I started collecting (back in 1980) was a Santa Fe passenger set with aluminum cars. I too had it safely tucked away in a bedroom closet. Sometime later (maybe 10 years or so) I got it down and noticed the paint on the B unit starting to bubble, which was disconcerting because it was originally in pristine condition. That paint issue in time led to the shell warping and eventually to the shell totally disintegrating. Before things got too bad I removed the shells from both the A and B units and noticed the dates stamped underneath were one or two months apart. I'll note that these were both white plastic shells just like yours. I was lucky enough to find another white plastic B unit at a train show shortly thereafter which was almost as nice as my A unit and actually had the exact same date stamp as the A unit. They have both been fine ever since. I also have a "black plastic" Santa Fe passenger set with aluminum cars that has never had an issue. I can only speculate that Flyer got one particular batch of "white" plastic that wasn't formulated right or was somehow contaminated or something.
 

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Wow. I think 55flyer hit it on the head bad plastic mixture. Or plastic wasntic up to temp or air bubbles. When shot the plastic in mold that suck they anit cheep.

Al
 

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Sure looks like battery acid damage to me, but I understand that didn't happen.

I do have a question. Why is it that American Flyer plasters their name on everything they made? Even if it is a nationally known line?
 

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Wow what a shocker Lewis 77882! Mopac has steel eating squirrels. Maybe you got mice with a taste for Santa Fe engines made with that flavor of plastic since nothing else was damaged in the box.
Seriously, that is a shame. Were you able to salvage the motors and e unit? As much as I have had stored for who knows how many years I haven't got one thing with any damage. All of it, until now, has been in cardboard boxes. All is being transferred to clear plastic containers.

Kenny
 
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