‘Flying Colonel’ restoration completed

July 2011 was where I left of the restoration saga after the production of the first roof in brass.  Although the basic shape was good I wasn’t happy with the ‘dimpling’ as a result of the shaping process.  This was going to take too much time to cover up in order to obtain a smooth finish for painting.

The answer was to use copper and to roll the shape out rather than beating it.  Originally I had dismissed copper as being to malleable and likely to bend easily, but as was pointed out to me the shape of the roof will give rigidity and copper can be hardened.  Thank you Alex for the advice.

American Flyer 4343 and 4341

Original roof on left, repro on right

Forming the roof end by overlapping

The hardest part was to sort out the elliptical ends, which was achieved by carefully cutting slots to allow the copper to bend to the shape. This inevitably gave  overlapping.  So by cutting off the overlaps it then produced the shape.

American Flyer Standard Gauge cars

Ready for stripping and painting


The joins were then brazed and cleaned up.  Simple!

The results were more than satisfactory.





American Flyer reproduction roofs

What a difference a decent coat of paint makes!

American Flyer 4340 Club Car

4340 Club Car ready for painting

There was no original colour to match to so a green was chosen that best matched photo’s of similar sets on the internet.  Not the most reliable way!

The state of the car bodies can be seen leaving little option but to repaint too.


American Flyer 'Flying Colonel' and 'Shasta'

Finished at last!

To my mind the original paint job was poor.  It seems that the original finish was just one layer thick straight onto the metal.  Where this had not been cleaned properly the paint had fallen off many years ago leading to corrosion.

As the original colour remained, albeit very faded and scratched, I matched as best I could selecting a Dulux gloss mixed at B&Q.  This was hand painted and when dry has given a very acceptable finish.


American Flyer 4340

Restored Club Car 4340

American Flyer 4341

Restored Pullman Car 4341

The internal metal work was originally nickel plated and had flaked off due to corrosion.  So I decided to paint and chose a Dulux colour.

The brass work is lacquered to slow tarnishing.

American Flyer 4343

Restored Observation Car 4343

So there we have it, three passenger cars returned from the scrapyard, 75% original 1930’s American Flyer.  The set is only missing the Veranda end car.  Does anyone have one?  Scrap condition of course!

Technical notes:  The cars are painted as follows, 3 coats of Halfords yellow filler primer followed by 3 coats Dulux gloss ‘Tuscan Treasure 3’. The internal fittings and coupler bars are painted Dulux gloss ‘Mineral Haze 1’

The Dulux colours are hand painted using a Winsor & Newton Galeria brush.

The copper roofs are painted as follows, 1 coat Phoenix Precision paints ‘Single pack self etch primer’ followed by 2 coats Halfords yellow filler primer and finished off with 2 coats Plasti-Kote fast dry enamel ‘Garden Green’.

The brass work is lacquered using Tamiya color Acrylic paint ‘Clear X-22’ which drys in minutes.