Growing up my dad help me build a few different steam locomotive kits. For the most part they were fun simple projects especially some of the old timers like the ten wheeler and the 2-8-0. They had fairly simple running gear. Some of the more modern steam locomotive kits that Tyco offered had more complex valve gear that took a little more finesse assembling. One of my favorite parts on the kits was painting them. I still have my first couple of kits. I have a D&RGW 4-8-0 that I repainted as an olive green with silver smoke box. I also purchased one that is still in it’s original colors. I found a very cool source for info on the old Tyco kits you may want to check out. They have some cool images and a bunch of data on the different models Tyco offered in steam.
What Steam Locomotives Did Tyco Offer?
I am not sure if all of the steam locomotives Tyco offered where available as kits or not. But from what I have seen, they offered a total of 15 different steamers. The smallest was the 0-4-0 booster, the largest a 2-10-4 Texan. You won’t find a Texan, as according to the source listed above, they were advertised but never produced. You can still find plenty of Tyco Steam locomotive kits unboxed and some even sealed up on ebay. You can even find some parts here and there online. I have grabbed a few parts here and there for a rebuild of one of my first kits.
In addition to the kits, you will find many assembled Tyco locomotives in varying conditions. Some are pristine and still sealed Others are well played with and my be good for your parts collection. One of the steam locomotive kits that Tyco produced a ton of is the Spirit of America 4-6-0 Bicentennial version. This is basically the Tyco 1890 4-6-0 in red white and blue paint. That being said it makes either a good parts locomotive or a great subject for a repaint!
A Few Last Thoughts On Tyco Steam Locomotive Kits
The steam locomotive kits Tyco and Mantua offered were never super detailed or complicated. What they accomplished is to build imagination and skills that started many in the hobby of model railroading. Whether you want to build, run or just collect, these great kits will suit you just fine.