Model Train Forum banner

Flood Victims ~ Another Junk-Pile 1681 Loco (& Set) for TJ

26028 Views 106 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  eljefe
Hi Guys,

Well ... It's official ... I have a problem ... an addiction, really. I've tried to resist, but I can't stop succumbing to the temptations that taunt and haunt me daily. It's not normal, I know. I need to break the vicious cycle. I want to live a life without being compelled to repair these bloody things, but I just can't quit cold turkey. I need help. They say the first step in "getting clean" is admitting to yourself that you have a problem. So, here goes: "I ... have ... a ... problem!" :mad:

My latest vice ... yet ANOTHER Lionel 1681 prewar tinplate loco. This is now my third ... well, two and a half, really. The middle one is a shell, only, with no motor.

This latest one has a motor, is teamed with a tender, a gondola, a tanker, and a caboose ... all the victims of a FLOOD. Really. The ebay seller said they were submerged for quite some time. I bought the lot for $36, which is likely way too much, but that's what addicted people do.

They arrived in the mail today. The bad news: the paint is literally jumping off all over. The slightest touch, and it flakes off. Some rust underneath, but not disasterous. The good news: all of the tinplate metal has held its shape quite well, with very few dents or bends. No broken tabs (from what I've seen), and no missing parts (with the exception of the loco drive rods and front truck).

I have no idea if I'll be able to get the loco motor to work. I'm not sure if the armature and/or field are fried. It needs a full rewire, at least. The gears and armature turn, though, so that's a good sign.

T-Man ... here's a comment/question for you ...

This loco is a 1681 (no E) ... I wasn't sure if it had an e-unit or not, because is DOES have a toggle on top of the loco, just like my 1681E that has an e-unit.

Well, when I opened the loco up, I "discovered" my very first viewing of Lionel manual switch (installed originally in lieu of a e-unit). See the first photo, below. Have you guys seen these before? It's essentially a disc that can rotate about 1/4 turn (via the manual toggle). When it does, it pivots a pair of contact plates that flip-flop the circuitry of current direction going to the armature (or field ... I'm not sure which yet). Pretty simple technology, but nice. Give the user the option to toggle forward or reverse.

All of the cars had lithographed original paint, each with simulated (litho) details like rivets, windows, doors, etc. Everything's gotta be stripped to bare metal and then repainted (with the exception of the tanker top, I think). I have no idea how I can attempt to reproduce even some of the litho detail? Does anyone know if somebody makes decals for old stuff like this? My other (crude) option is to try to pen in the line details with a fine-point Sharpie pen (after base color repaint). Other ideas from anyone???

Anyway ... I don't think much of this will materialize anytime too soon. I've still got to finish my 259E loco, and (hopefully) shake my demons for at least a little while.



See less See more
1 - 20 of 107 Posts
Times change, so a manual or e unit does not surprise me.

You will have to rewind the coil, Radio Shack has wire. Maybe you can find a better armature, thay are a pain to rewind.

For Litho. Paint in layers with a stencil. Cutting them is slow and tedious. TO start wrap tape on the ouside 360 and spray the inside. Now on the tape you have window locations and a start of a stencil.
Or you paint your own look.

Just my thoughts.

TJ, Another one saved:thumbsup: In your capable hands, it should turn out to be a winner

Keep us posted:D
Thanks guys. I may be mulling this project over for a while before delving into it.

Funny thing I noticed on the loco when I got it ... some prior owner had obviously worked on the drive wheels. How do I know? The left/rear drive wheel has its drive crank sticking out, as normal, as shown above. However, on the right side of the loco, the wheels had been flipped-flopped ... the drive rod crank was on the FRONT wheel, and no crank on the rear wheel. Go figure ... I don't have a clue how that could have possibly worked!

Thanks for the comments, guys!

Maybe that was why he threw it in the river? *L*
Jim (Stillakid) --

I'm hoping you see this post ... I have a question for you ...

I've begun to disassemble the freight cars shown in the pics above, in prep for a strip / repaint job. I've removed the wheels and the journal boxes, but the trucks themselves (which are tinplate) are rivetted to the car frames. My choices are either to:

A. Leave the trucks attached, and attempt to strip / prime / paint with them still attached to the frame, or ...

B. Drill out the rivets, strip / prime / paint individually, then reassemble with new screws and nuts (instead of rivets).

(A) maintains original rivets, but runs the risk of not fully priming / painting areas of metal where the truck and underside of frame overlap.

(B) primes and paints everything, but destroys the original rivets in the process.

So ...

What would you do, if you were me???


PS -- Sidenote ...
When I had looked at prior photos of your restoration projects, I assumed (naively) that the journal boxes were newly PAINTED copper or gold color. I am now surprised (and delighted!) to see that the journal boxes are actually made of real copper. I've polished one up with the Dremel, and it looks fabulous. I'm thrilled! Only 23 more to go!
See less See more


Jim??? Anyone else???



Jim??? Anyone else???

have you considered option B, but doing a re-rivet... you can probably get everything you need from the local hardware store... You can also try flat head screws with bolts with nylon locking rings... screw heads on the outside... bolts inside
TJ, I use brass nuts(2) and screws(6x32, or 8x32)-depending on whether the coupler is attached to the frame(6x32), or the screw(8x32) . I use the 2-nuts as a locking set-up. Rich's idea would also work!

I can offer caboose pictures in red or brown, Your choice when you get to it.
Re: Trucks -- Sounds like there's a concensus ... I'll drill out rivets later today, so that I can prime / paint pieces separately. Thanks to all above.

Re: Caboose -- T-Man, I think I'm gonna attempt a full repaint on that one. I'm hoping I can tape off adequately for the cream windows, then add all of the black line and "rivet" details with a Sharpie pen. We'll see.

There's a nice dead-side-on photo of the caboose in Doyle's book, so I think I'll scan that to get an image of the elliptical "Lionel Lines" logo ... I'll make that via my printer and just glue it on.

I disassembled and remove the caboose cupola yesterday ... I have an even HIGHER LEVER of appreciation for your craftsmanship in your recent custom cupola fabrication ... that thing is super tiny, and I'm amazed that you bent, cut, and windowed your piece so nicely. Super!

What you need, is this.................

View attachment 3350

It would solve all your problems!:laugh::laugh::laugh:
Yeah! Either that, or my very own Lithograph printing machine ... whatever it is that they look like!?! I'm still amazed as to the quality of image they printed on "tin" way back 100 years ago. How they achieved that is beyond me...

TJ, the roof sections are too small for me. I had to make one, remember, so it is oversized. I would like a raw picture to resize. That would help.

I just sent new, larger roof-tile images to your Gmail account. See note in the email.


Interesting article ... thanks!

So if I read this correctly, the litho printing process is done BEFORE the resulting FLAT-SHEET-TIN is bent into its intended shape (car, roof, etc.) ??? Fascinating!

TJ, like you, I wonder how people get such fine detail when spraying. I still want a Airbrush system, but the "Boss" wants to go to the beach in August, so no extra $$$, laying around:(

Check this out and tell me your thoughts;

I wish I could offer some advice / feedback. I'm 100% clueless in this subject, though I'm always impressed with what talented people can do with an airbrush.

That Prevail system above looks neat ... inexpensive, for sure. My guess (???) is that the spray volume (as limited by reservoir and aerosol propellant) is limited to very small jobs.

There are several other mfrs that offer portable (i.e., aerosol propellant driven) airbrushes on the cheap ... here's one ...

But no verdicts from me ... never tried one ...

See less See more
1 - 20 of 107 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.