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Ambroid Wood Craftsman 5-Series Kits 1-of-5000 One-Of-Five-Thousand
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Ambroid Wood Craftsman Kits

 

The "1-of-5,000"Kits and their Prototypes

1 of 5000 Series No.1

Kit #1-1, 1 1/2 Door 50' Automobile Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1957: $5.00 
Recent price (high/low): $32.89 Jul 2004 $7.75 Mar 2005
(average/median): $16.77 / $15.50 

Introduced in June, 1957, this is a model of a Southern Pacific Automobile car, Pacific class #A-50-6 designed by Northeastern's Jim Doyle.

The kit was advertised as being delivered in a "Gold foil package stamped: "One-of-5,000". The retail price was $5.00 including trucks and decals. The kit even included a tube of "premium-quality AMBROID CEMENT".

It was reviewed prominently in the September, 1957, issue of Model Railroader in the Trade Topics column. It was said to be "one of the best-detailed, most complete car kits we've ever examined". It was a three evening project, and they meant full evenings! In the end, the final words were: "The completed car is beautiful - we can think of no better word to describe it", and it was well worth the $5.00 price tag!

This kit was later sold by Northeastern as kit #HB-3.

 

Kit #1-2, Von Allmen Pickle Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1957: $5.25 
Recent price (high/low): $61.49 Jul 2005 $2.00 May 2004
(average/median): $31.08 / $29.00 

Introduced in October, 1957, the ad did not give any prototype information.

The kit was sold with Ulrich Sprung Trucks at a retail price of $5.25.

The Model Railroader, Trade Topics review in January, 1958 stated the prototype was built in the 20's. Even this car got rave reviews and was considered well worth the asking price.

This car was later sold by Northeastern as kit #HT-1.

 

Kit #1-3, Outside Braced Caboose click for larger picture
Original price: New 1958: $5.10 
Recent price (high/low): $127.50 Mar 2004 $12.05 Jan 2004
(average/median): $25.76 / $22.03 

Introduced in May, 1958, this is a model of a Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis caboose.

The kit came with Silver Streak brass caboose trucks, Kadee universal coupler pockets and a sample tube of Ambroid Liquid cement. All at a price of $5.10

The Model Railroader, Trade Topics review in June, 1958 stated the prototype was built in 1916 and represented an "advanced" design at the time, since it had a metal frame which allowed it to be used between the helper locomotive and the train, something that was not possible with the older wood-framed cabooses.

This car was later sold by Northeastern as kit #HC-2.

 

Kit #1-4, Vinegar Tank Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1958: $5.25 
Recent price (high/low): $102.52 Jul 2005 $9.00 Feb 2006
(average/median): $33.69 / $29.69 

Introduced in September, 1958, this is a model of a M. Richter Sons Co. Vinegar Tank Car from 1929. The pictures in the ad and in the review are not that clear, but it looks as if the road name code is RSCX.

The kit came with Silver Streak Bettendorf trucks, Kadee universal coupler pockets and a tube of Ambroid Liquid cement. The price has now gone up to $5.25

The car was reviewed in the Trade Topics column in the November, 1958 issue of Model Railroader. The final words, after a positive review, were: "A superb kit at a fair price".

The September, 1958, issue of Model Railroader had an extra Ambroid ad, where the sales manager, Art Laneau, regretfully notified the "model railroad fans" that all earlier kits in the 1-of-5,000 series were sold out from Ambroid, and to avoid being disappointed again, order this new kit from the dealers today.

This car was later sold by Northeastern as kit #HT-2.

 

Kit #1-5, Outside Braced Reefer click for larger picture
Original price: New 1959: $5.25 
Recent price (high/low): $57.00 Jun 2003 $5.00 Sep 2005
(average/median): $21.17 / $20.00 

Introduced in February, 1959, and modeled after a 1912 American Railway Express Ventilated Refrigerator car, with Pennsylvania reporting marks (PRR class R7). The Ambroid ad claimed that a few were still in service (in 1959 I guess they meant).

The kit came with Silver Streak sprung trucks, Kadee universal coupler pockets and a tube of Ambroid Liquid cement. The price is $5.25

The staff at Model Railroader must either have been very busy in 1959, or lost a bit interest in the Ambroid kits, because this car wasn't reviewed until the August issue (the same month as the next kit in the series was announced). The Trade Topics review was, again, very positive, and concluded: "A terrific kit worth every penny of its price tag". They also made a reference to a construction article in the April, 1958 issue of Model Railroader where a duplicate car was described (this car even has the same road number #5342).

A picture of this exact same car appears in the Student Fare column in the January 1973 issue of Model Railroader. The accompanying note claims that the young modeler built this model from a Northeastern Scale Models kit. I don't know if this means that Ambroid and Northeastern already had gone separate ways prior to 1973, or not. However, Northeastern sold this as kit # HR-2.

 

Kit #1-6, Western Union Material Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1959: $5.25 
Recent price (high/low): $33.50 Aug 2004 $4.99 Feb 2006
(average/median): $18.89 / $20.00 

Introduced in August, 1959, this is a model of a 1929 car for the Western Union Telegraph Company. The ad claimed that only 20 of these cars still exist in the U.S. and Canada.

The kit came with Silver Streak arch bar trucks, Kadee universal coupler pockets and a tube of Ambroid Liquid cement. The sides are prepainted Pullman Green and lettered. The price is still $5.25

The kit is reviewed in the November, 1959 issue of Model Railroader in the Trade Topics column. Even this review was, as usual, very positive, and concluded: "We feel this kit is an excellent buy. It is a type of kit that provides several hours of pleasurable construction". (What? No reference to the price this time? - Just kidding). They made a reference to a construction article in the February, 1957 issue of Model Railroader where a car similar to this car was described.

This car was later sold by Northeastern as kit #M-3.

 

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Kit #1-7, Mathieson Dry Ice Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1959: $5.00 
Recent price (high/low): $74.00 Dec 2004 $7.95 Nov 2003
(average/median): $21.86 / $20.50 

Introduced in December, 1959.

The kit came with trucks, Kadee universal coupler pockets and a tube of Ambroid Liquid cement. The price is now back to $5.00

The January, 1960 issue of Model Railroader contains a very short review in the Trade Topics column. The reviewer claims it is almost exactly the same kit as the American Railway Express reefer (Kit #5 in the 1-of-5,000 series) reviewed earlier. The review was concluded with the words: "An excellent buy.".

This car was later sold by Northeastern as kit #HR-3.

 

Kit #1-8, Wooden 4-Hopper Car, and Drop-Bottom Gondola click for larger picture
click for larger picture
Original price: New 1960: $7.95 
Recent price (high/low): Combo:
$60.99 Jul 2005
a/m: $27.12 / $26.25
$7.01 Mar 2006
Hopper
$104.50 Jul 2003
a/m $44.83 / $30.95
$4.25 Nov 2003
Gondola
$49.55 Jul 2006
a/m $33.39 / $32.59
$22.39 Jan 2006

Introduced in March, 1960 as a "50th Anniversary Birthday Special", this double kit contained a model of a WW-I era Norfolk and Western wooden 4-hopper car AND a Milwaukee Road drop-bottom gondola, built around 1925.

Both kits came with trucks (Andrews on the hopper and Bettendorf on the gondola), Kadee universal coupler pockets and a tube of Ambroid Liquid cement, and were "handsomely packaged in gold foil". All for the price of $7.95

The review appeared in the July, 1960 issue of Model Railroader in the Trade Topics column. The N&W hopper was built during World War I to conserve metal. It had a minimum of metal parts and this model follows the actual construction almost to the board. The kit is rather difficult to build, as opposed to the gondola, which is considered by the reviewer to be "rather easy to build". That's the first review where those 4 words have been printed, so this may be the ideal Ambroid kit to start with. The review was concluded with the words: "This is a choice buy - two fine car kits at a reasonable price".

This kit was the inspiration for an article in the December 1973 issue of Model Railroader. The author describes the steps to build an award-winning scratch-built model, using this car as the base for his construction.

The N&W Wooden Hopper kit was later sold by Northeastern as kit #HH-1 and the gondola as kit #HG-1.

 

Kit #1-9, ACL Hopper Bottom Phosphate Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1960: $5.25 
Recent price (high/low): $89.98 Nov 2005 $7.75 Jul 2006
(average/median): $18.07 / $15.49 

Introduced in October, 1960 as a model of a 1922 44-ton gondola built expressly for hauling phosphate. The prototype was unique in that it loaded from the side and dumped between the rails. It is a covered hopper car with the upper half of the sides and the top built of wood, and the rest of the car built of metal.

The kit, designed by Northeastern Scale Models, came with Bettendorf sprung trucks, universal coupler pockets and a tube of Ambroid Liquid cement, for the price of $5.25

The kit was reviewed in the February, 1961 issue of Model Railroader in the Trade Topics column. According to the review, this kit is about 6" taller and wider than the prototype, but these discrepancies are not really noticeable unless you actually measure the model. The review is in general very positive.

This car was later sold by Northeastern as kit #HH-2.

 

Kit #1-10, Speedy Poultry and Reefer Combination Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1961: $5.25 
Recent price (high/low): $86.99 Apr 2006 $10.00 Feb 2005
(average/median): $30.17 / $28.77 

Introduced in April, 1961, this is as a model of a 1928 car. This car is said to be one of the most unusual kits in the "5000" series. Half of the car was meant for poultry and half for refrigerated meet and dairy products. The color scheme was white body, green ends, roof and doors, and black underframe. About 600 Palace poultry cars were built. This particular model was designed for communities which did not have a full carload of poultry to ship. A picture of a different type of a Palace Poultry car is printed in the Trackside Photos section of the May 1973 Model Railroader.

The car is reviewed in the September, 1961 issue of Model Railroader in the Trade Topics column. Even this review is in general very positive.

This car was later sold by Northeastern as kit #HS-4.

 

Kit #1-11, St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Stock Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1961/62: $5.25 
Recent price (high/low): $42.00 Jun 2003 $6.50 Jul 2004
(average/median): $18.71 / $17.00 

Advertised in October, 1961 in an ad that stated both that the car is "Ready in September", and that the kit will "be at your hobby shop soon". A February 1962 ad claimed it is "Now Ready". It is a model of a 1922 stock car that was unique in that it had top and bottom on the side and end doors as well. The car was intended for hauling hay, coke and lumber in addition to livestock.

Kit designed by Northeastern Scale Models sold for $5.25, including trucks and universal coupler pockets.

Northeastern sold this as kit #HS-3.

 

Kit #1-12, NYC Container Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1962: $5.25 
Recent price (high/low): $55.60 Oct 2004 $5.50 Jul 2004
(average/median): $17.81 / $15.88 

This, the last car in the series, was introduced in March, 1962. It is a model of a 1921 car built as a low gondola with compartments for removable containers. It was built to speed the delivery of L.C.L (less-tan-carload) freight.

The price for the kit was $5.25, including trucks and universal coupler pockets.

This car was later sold by Northeastern as kit #HG-2.

 

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1 of 5000 Series No.2

Kit #2-1, US Navy Helium Gas Tank Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1962: $5.00 l/t 
Recent price (high/low): $139.39 May 2006 $12.62 Dec 2003
(average/median): $24.49 / $20.25 

Introduced in September 1962, but not advertised as "It's Here!" until December 1962. It is a model of a 1931 car built to transport Helium gas under very high pressure. The 42-foot car carried 30 fixed tanks mounted so the cylinders could expand and contract with changes in temperature and pressure. The ad claims that, although the Navy's lighter-than-air program had been suspended, new uses for helium kept these cars running in 1962.

A Google search on "Helium Tank Car" shows that one car (MHAX #1202) is preserved at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum.

(A silly thought: is this the only car that is "lighter" when loaded than what it is when empty?)

This kit was later sold by Northeastern as kit HT-3.

 

Kit #2-2, Southern Full Door Box Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1963: $5.25 l/t 
Recent price (high/low): $46.65 Apr 2005 $3.75 Nov 2003
(average/median): $12.78 / $11.01 

This model of a 56 foot, all-door, 75 ton-capacity box car used by Southern Railway was released in October 1963. It was reviewed in the April 1964 Trade Topics column in Model Railroader.

200 of these cars were built by Pullman-Standard in 1962-1963, numbered 9800-9999. They were listed in the January 1964 issue of the Official Railway Equipment Register. The interesting-looking side doors on this car are built like roll-up garage doors, rising into the roof of the car. The center support posts can be moved to the ends of the car, thus opening the whole width of the car for loading. A prototype photo of this car is available on the Southern Railfan's web site.

The same site ( Southern Railfan) also has a note that 16 of these cars were rebuilt to bulkhead flatcars. The holes in the center sill easily show that this is the same car.

The price for the kit was $5.25 less trucks and couplers.

Another version of this car was produced as a wood kit in 1/4" scale by East Penn Models in 1972.

This car was later sold by Northeastern as kit #HB-7.

 

Kit #2-3, ACF Center-Flow Covered Hopper click for larger picture
Original price: New 1964: $7.95 l/t 
Recent price (high/low): $26.51 Jul 2005 $2.30 Aug 2005
(average/median): $10.71 / $9.99 

Introduced in September 1964, this is a model of the ACF (American Car & Foundry) 140,000 to 200,000 ton center-flow covered hopper car.

The kit came with enough parts to make two cars. Two sets of decals were included: Shippers' Car Line and Koppers Plastics. Trucks and couplers were not provided in this kit.

A similar looking car, the High Cube Center Flow Tank Car, was produced as kit K-11 with several road names.

The kit was reviewed in the January 1965 Trade Topics column of Model Railroader (hence my guess of the introduction time frame). The reviewer stated that SHPX, a division of ACF, owned several hundred of these cars as of January 1964. The model was said to be very difficult to build for anyone but the very experienced builder. As an example they mentioned the construction of the ends of the cars, where very little guidance is given in the instruction sheet. However, with the proper finishing, the end result is said to be "excellent".

This special "2 in 1" kit sold for $7.95 less trucks.

This appears to be the only kit that was produced by Display Craft. Northeastern later sold a similar car, but I have not been able to confirm if it was this kit, or the K-11 kit (see above).

 

Kit #2-4, Riverside Insulated Oil Tank Car click for larger picture
Original price: New: 
Recent price (high/low): $52.00 Oct 2004 $4.95 Feb 2005
(average/median): $18.21 / $15.75 

This kit was later sold by Northeastern as kit #HT-4. To make things a bit more complicated, this kit has also been sold with a Northeastern instruction sheet, marked HT4, in the Ambroid box.

 

Kit #2-5, 70' Pulpwood Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1966: $6.50 
Recent price (high/low): $50.35 Jun 2005 $5.50 Jan 2005
(average/median): $17.39 / $16.01 

Advertised in April 1965, this is a model of 69'-6" long pulpwood car, used by MC and BAR. The car has a center bulkhead to stabilize the load. MC is said to have 200 of these cars in 1966 (numbered 1400-1599) and BAR has 168 cars (numbers 1100-1267).

The kit came with enough parts to make two cars. Two sets of decals were included: white for BAR and yellow for MC. Extra numbers were included so that different car numbers can be applied. Trucks and couplers were not provided in this kit. The price for this double kit, manufactured by Northeastern Scale Models, was $6.50

An Ambroid ad in the September, 1966 issue of Model Railroader claims that the kit reached the dealers in July, 1966, so there was a considerable delay between the first announcement in April 1965 and the actual delivery.

The kit was reviewed in the March 1966 Trade Topics column of Model Railroader where it is said to be kit number 2 in the second "1-of-5,000" series. There have been pictures of the kit box on eBay clearly showing that this is kit #5, so I must guess that MR had the numbers mixed up. The reviewer stated that the inexperienced builder may have difficulties building this kit unless they study the instructions very carefully. As with any steel car prototype, they recommend to apply sanding sealer before painting. The final words from the reviewer were: "The kit is of fine quality, such as Ambroid's products usually have maintained".

This car was later sold by Northeastern as kit HF-1. It is interesting to note that of all Northeastern kit numbers I have been able to trace, this is the only number given to a different kit in S and H0 scale. SF-1 is the Western Maryland 50 Foot Welded Flat Car.

 

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Kit #2-6, S.R. "Big Boy" Tobacco Hogshead Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1965: $5.25 l/t 
Recent price (high/low): $46.00 Oct 2004 $7.49 Sep 2004
(average/median): $19.05 / $18.50 

Advertised in November 1965, this is a model of 92' car built for the Southern Railway. It is said to be one of the world's longest cars. With 10,000 cubic feet of space, the car's interior is 84 feet long, 9 1/2 feet wide and nearly 12 feet high and it has carried 100 hogsheads of tobacco (that's 105,000 pounds of tobacco, or about 80 acres of tobacco). See the Southern Railfan's web site for information (where you also can find some amazing prototype photos of this car.

The complete kit with hardware, decals, coupler pockets, but without trucks, sold for $5.25

So, what is a Hogshead? Besides being something with which the Scandinavians used to decorate the Christmas food table, it is also a measurement of volume; a barrel, sort of. But since I don't know the exact volume (in gallons), I leave it like this for now.

This car was later sold by Northeastern as kit B-8.

 

Kit #2-7, Cushion Coil Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1966: $5.95 
Recent price (high/low): $26.50 Apr 2005 $4.52 Feb 2005
(average/median): $10.92 / $9.99 

Probably introduced in 1966 (I guess), this is a model of an Evans Products Co. car for transporting coils of sheet metal up to 84" in diameter. B&O had 100 such cars, numbered 8300-8399 in 1966. The car is very sturdily built since the load weighs about 500 pounds per cubic foot, and is loaded above the bolsters. Trucks were included, but couplers are not mentioned. The price for this kit was $5.95

The kit was reviewed in the October 1966 Trade Topics column of Model Railroader. This car had not been advertised during 1966, so I am not sure when it was introduced. The reviewer ended the review with: "We encountered no difficulties building this car, but a modeler should have built a few kit cars before tackling one of this type".

This car was later sold by Northeastern as kit #HG-3.

 

Kit #2-8, Combine - Work Caboose click for larger picture
Original price: New 1967: $5.95 l/t 
Recent price (high/low): $67.84 Apr 2005 $9.95 Apr 2004
(average/median): $28.23 / $25.25 

This kit was introduced in March 1967. The ad stated that several roads had made this unique car, and that was it as far as background information goes in the ad. The price for this kit was $5.95 excluding trucks, decals, figures and barrels (referring to the very detailed built car in the ad).

The August 1967 review in the Trade Topics column of Model Railroader speculated that this car had no specific prototype, but that it is a composite of ideas developed into a jack-of-all-trades car. The model scales to a 67' long car, and the construction is basically the same as for the B&O Passenger car. It is not a beginner's kit, but will nevertheless make a fine model. Some construction points are said to not too clear.

An ad in October 1967 announced the last call for this car since the following kit in the series was coming "next month" (but it took two months before that kit was advertised).

This kit was later sold by Northeastern as kit HP-4. click for larger picture

 

Kit #2-9, CB&Q Dynamometer Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1967: $5.25 l/t 
Recent price (high/low): $58.44 Mar 2005 $4.86 Oct 2004
(average/median): $14.22 / $13.00 

A dynamometer car was used, primarily, in the steam-era to measure performance of the steam engine. It is, and I'm reading from the Ambroid instruction sheet, equipped with apparatus for measuring and recording drawbar pull, horse power, brake pipe pressure, and other data connected with locomotive performance and train haul conditions. The same type of data can be measured in today's diesel-electric engines without special equipment, hence we don't see this type of cars very much these days.

This kit was first advertised in December 1967, even though it was first intended to be released in November 1967. It is a member of the railroad maintenance family that was doing its job for the C.B.&Q. back in 1884. The price for this kit was $5.25 less trucks. The correct trucks for this car would be old style short passenger trucks.

This kit was later sold by Northeastern as kit #HM-4.

 

Kit #2-10, Triple Decker Dormitory Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1968: $6.40 
Recent price (high/low): $50.00 May 2006 $5.50 Oct 2005
(average/median): $20.16 / $18.14 

This kit was mentioned in an October 1968 ad as "Watch for the New kit", and in a December 1968 ad as "Now Available". A full ad with picture and history of the prototype appeared in January 1969. This is a model of an 1887 car built for the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway. It was used to house the large crews and maintenance personnel employed as the railroad moved westward. It was also called "skyscraper bunk car" and it included a suspended storage platform under the car body to store tools and boxes. The large ropes that were fastened to the upper corners of each side may have been used to tie the car down during high wind storms.

The kit sold for $6.40. The ad does not mention what was included in this kit, except for the Northeastern seasoned basswood.

 

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Acknowledgments

Ambroid is a registered trademark of Graphic Vision, Inc. and is used here with permission.
Ambroid adhesives can be found at Ambroid.com

Model Railroader is a registered trademark of Kalmbach Publishing Co.


Updated 07/28/2006 Copyright © 2006
Per Harwe
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