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Ambroid Wood Craftsman K-Series Kits
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Ambroid Wood Craftsman Kits

 

The K-Kits and their Prototypes

Kit #K-1, B & M Snow Plow click for larger picture
Original price: New 1950: $2.501955: $3.00
Recent price (high/low): $61.00 Jul 2006 $7.87 Sep 2003
(average/median): $21.16 / $18.47 

This car was advertised (although not as a new kit) in the April, 1950 issue of Model Railroader. No reviews were made in 1951 of any Ambroid cars. If this means MR did not review them, or the kits were introduced early enough to be reviewed in 1950, or earlier, is the big question here.

Price for the kit in 1950 was $2.50 including trucks, and had gone up to $3.00 in February 1955, and to $3.50 in November 1961.

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

 

Kit #K-2, Convertible Stock Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1950: $2.501955: $3.00
Recent price (high/low): $56.00 Oct 2004 $4.25 Jun 2004
(average/median): $17.79 / $15.51 

This car was advertised (although not as a new kit) in the April, 1950 issue of Model Railroader. The ad states that this is the AAR recommended practice stock car design and that it is used by the railroads as a basis for their own design. It is said to be correct for practically any prototype road. The illustration in the ad shows the NKP markings. The car was sold in 7 road names: Nickel Plate, Santa Fe, Southern, Atlantic Coast Line, MKT, Missouri Pacific, and Pennsylvania. This car was interestingly enough called "Outside Braced Stock Car" in the November 1961 ad.

Price for the kit in 1950 was $2.50 including trucks, and had gone up to $3.00 in February 1955, and to $3.50 in November 1961.

This kit was reviewed in the Trade Topics column in the December 1955 issue of Model Railroader. I find it a bit strange that it would be reviewed as "Ambroid's latest offering" almost 5 years after I saw the first ad for this kit. It may be a re-release of the original kit, or it may be a totally different kit, because the reviewer states that it "comes in red for Southern and in black for MKT". The original kit came in 7 different road names. The reviewer had, however, only positive things to say about the kit, and ended the review with: "For the fastidious HO modeler, this car is a must".

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

 

Kit #K-3, ACL Ventilated Watermelon Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1951: $2.901955: $5.95
Recent price (high/low): $57.57 Jul 2003 $9.50 Jul 2005
(average/median): $23.52 / $22.50 

This car was advertised (although not as a new kit) in the January, 1951 issue of Model Railroader.

Price for the kit in 1951 was $2.90 including trucks, and had gone up to $5.95 in February 1955, and back to $3.50 in November 1961. Originally this kit came printed and stenciled, but the later models (in the R box) were not painted.

This kit was later sold by Northeastern as kit #HB-5.

RPI's Model Railroad Club (NEB&W) has some nice prototype photos of this car on one of their web sites.

 

Kit #K-4, Great Northern Express Refrigerator click for larger picture
Original price: New 1951: $3.50 l/t1962: $3.75 l/t
Recent price (high/low): $39.90 Oct 2005 $8.50 Jul 2006
(average/median): $18.51 / $16.01 

This car was originally advertised as a new kit in the September, 1951 issue of Model Railroader. Ambroid informed in a November, 1951 ad that the new kits were delayed, and in February 1952 gave the reason for the delay as the defense need for high-speed tool steel. The next time it appears in an ad is September 1954, when it is announced as "Now Available". This kit, made by Northeastern, came prepainted and lettered. The price was $3.50 less trucks. The car was listed in February 1955 as $3.50 with trucks, which is probably a misprint, because in November 1955, it is back to $3.50 less trucks, but in January 1962 it has gone up to $3.75 l/t.

It was reviewed in the October 1954 Trade Topics column of Model Railroader. These cars were used at the head end of passenger trains, and were also seen in hotshot freight trains from time to time. The reviewer was very please with the kit and how detailed the model is. As usual, only high remarks were given.

The later version of this kit (in the Bg box) came unpainted.

This kit was later sold by Northeastern as kit #HR-1 (unpainted version).

 

Kit #K-5, Open Platform Passenger Coach
a.k.a. Passenger Coach
click for larger picture
Original price: New 1951: $3.95 l/t 
Recent price (high/low): $63.00 Jul 2005 $4.95 Nov 2004
(average/median): $26.85 / $23.95 
Kit #K-5, Open Clerestory Passenger Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1963: $5.50 l/t 
Recent price (high/low): $42.59 Sep 2005 $14.00 Sep 2004
(average/median): $23.51 / $23.10 

The model of the B & M prototype car was advertised as a new kit in the January, 1951 issue of Model Railroader at a price of $3.95 less trucks. It is said to be the circa 1908 prototype which is still much used in local passenger service and local commuter runs.

This car, and the following two, were re-released in improved versions in March 1963. The improved versions featured "hollowed-out roofs, distinct end-castings and the finest hardware". The kit was now called "K-5 Open Clerestory Passenger Car", although the instruction sheet, titled "Boston and Main 61 ft Non Vestibule Passenger Coach. 61 ft. Combination Smoking and Baggage." is the same as for the original car. It took until May 1963 before this car, and the following two in the series, were featured with a picture in the ad.

As for the boxes, the original kit came in the old, Amber box, and in the K-series blue-and-white box (now with the name "Passenger Coach" on the box), while the improved kit seems to have been delivered in the shiny blue box with gold print.

The later release kit with hollowed-out roof was later sold by Northeastern as kit #HP-1. click for larger picture

 

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Kit #K-6, Open Platform Combination Baggage Car and Coach
a.k.a. Combination Coach
no picture available
Original price: New 1951: $3.95 l/t 
Recent price (high/low): $77.01 Nov 2003 $8.50 Nov 2003
(average/median): $26.32 / $22.50 
Kit #K-6, Open Clerestory Combination Passenger Coach click for larger picture
Original price: New 1963: $5.50 l/t 
Recent price (high/low): $33.77 Jan 2006 $9.99 Dec 2003
(average/median): $22.99 / $20.00 

The model of the B & M prototype car was advertised as a new kit in the January, 1951 issue of Model Railroader at a price of $3.95 less trucks. This is advertised as the match to the above passenger coach.

This car was also were re-released in an improved version in March 1963. The improved version featured "hollowed-out roofs, distinct end-castings and the finest hardware".

As for the boxes, the original kit came in the old, Amber box, the K-series blue-and-white box (named "Combination Coach"), and also at some time in a yellow box, while the improved kit seems to have been delivered both in the shiny blue box with gold print.

The later release kit with hollowed-out roof was later sold by Northeastern as kit #HP-2. click for larger picture

 

Kit #K-7, Open Platform Baggage Car
a.k.a. Baggage Car
click for larger picture
Original price: New 1952: $3.95 l/t 
Recent price (high/low): $49.00 Dec 2005 $7.50 May 2005
(average/median): $21.85 / $20.25 
Kit #K-7, Open Clerestory Baggage Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1963: $5.50 l/t 
Recent price (high/low): $62.00 Mar 2006 $17.02 Jul 2006
(average/median): $27.97 / $21.00 

This car was originally advertised as a new kit in the September, 1951 issue of Model Railroader at a price of $3.95 less trucks. Ambroid informed in a November, 1951 ad that the new kits were delayed, and in February 1952 gave the reason for the delay as the defense need for high-speed tool steel. It appeared in an April 1952 ad as a new kit: "Your Dealer has it NOW!". This is also a model of a B & M prototype. Price for the kit was $5.50 less trucks and couplers.

This car was also were re-released in an improved version in March 1963. The improved version featured "hollowed-out roofs, distinct end-castings and the finest hardware". It had 4 doors instead of the 6 doors on the previous version. The kit was now called "K-7 Open Clerestory Baggage Car"

As for the boxes, the original kit came in the old, Amber box, the K-series blue-and-white box (named "Baggage Car"), while the improved kit in the shiny blue box with gold print. The special "Three-Kits-In-One", called K-S, was shown in an October 1964 ad as being delivered in the blue and gold box.

The later release kit with hollowed-out roof was later sold by Northeastern as kit #HP-3.

 

Kit #K-8 (K-S), Open Clerestory Series, "Three-In-One-Kit" click for larger picture
Original price: New 1963: $11.50 l/t 
Recent price (high/low): $102.50 Mar 2006 $23.85 Sep 2005
(average/median): $55.31 / $56.39 

To introduce the above three improved kits (K-5 through K-7), Ambroid made a special 3-pack that was sold for $11.50, less trucks ("An $18 value!"). In a September 1966 ad, the K-7 alone was advertised for $5.50 less trucks and couplers.

This kit was first numbered K-S and later K-8.

 

Kit #K-9, Great Northern Caboose click for larger picture
Original price: New 1956: $3.95 l/t1967: $3.95 l/t
Recent price (high/low): $88.50 Apr 2005 $4.25 Nov 2005
(average/median): $21.88 / $20.27 

Introduced in September, 1956, this is a model of a Great Northern steel framed, plywood sheathed, series 200 caboose. It is designed by Northeastern's Jim Doyle.

The 1956 ad listed the price of the kit as $3.95 less trucks and decals but including a 3/4 oz. tube of Ambroid Cement. This seems to be the caboose that is shown on the "H" boxes.

There must have been a long time without any new kits produced by Ambroid, since the K-7 kit was advertised in 1951.

This kit was reviewed in the November, 1956, issue of Model Railroader in the Trade Topics column. It was said to be the type of kit "a guy can really have fun building". The kit was deemed "not designed for beginners, even though it goes together well". The final words were: "The profusion of detail requires a good many hours' work, a factor that gives the kit challenge - and appeal".

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

 

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Kit #K-10, B&M Winged Snow Plow click for larger picture
Original price: New 1955: $3.95 l/t1962: $3.95 l/t
Recent price (high/low): $73.59 Mar 2006 $4.99 Dec 2003
(average/median): $23.99 / $20.50 

This kit is listed as new in an October 1955 ad. If I have the time line correct, this is a kit that was first released in S-scale, followed by the H0-scale model some months later. The kit was sold for $3.95 less trucks, a price that was still good in January 1962.

This car was later sold by Northeastern as kit #HM-2. Northeastern seems to have changed the numbers on their kits at some time. One of the two snow plows (the "Russell" plow) was also sold with number 1302.

 

Kit #K-11U, Unicel Refrigerator Box Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1951: $3.501960: $3.75
Recent price (high/low): $26.02 Jan 2005 $5.00 Jun 2005
(average/median): $12.23 / $10.50 

This car was originally advertised as a new kit in the September, 1951 issue of Model Railroader. Ambroid informed in a November, 1951 ad that the new kits were delayed, and in February 1952 gave the reason for the delay as the defense need for high-speed tool steel. I don't know when it was originally introduced, but it appears in a January 1953 ad without being listed as "New", so I guess it came out in 1952. It was re-released in May, 1960. This is a model of a unique 1950 50' car by Pressed Steel Car Co. Apparently there was a shortage of steel after the war, and this car is claimed to have saved 11 precious tons of steel per car. The car-body was built using a laminated plywood construction, similar to that used in the Navy's PT boats and the DeHavilland "Mosquito" bomber. The review states that PSC had plans to build 50 cars per day, starting in 1951, but that only 1, or maybe 2, cars were ever built. The A.A.R. turned down the design, apparently due to lack of woodworking shops at the railroads as the primary reason.

The re-released kit came with sprung trucks, Kadee universal coupler pockets and a tube of Ambroid Liquid cement, for just $3.75, a modest price increase from the original 1953 kit, which cost $3.50 with trucks.

The review appeared in the October, 1960 issue of Model Railroader in the Trade Topics column. The review was very positive, as usual when it comes to MR's reviews of Ambroid kits.

This is the "original" K-11 kit. The K-15 was later renumbered to K-11, making it the second K-11 kit. To keep them apart, I refer to them as K-11U and K-11H, respectively.

This car was later sold as kit #HB-6 by Northeastern also with pre-printed sides.

 

Kit #K-11H, HC Center Flow Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1966:1967: $3.95 l/t
Recent price (high/low): $24.27 Sep 2004 $3.00 Apr 2006
(average/median): $10.45 / $9.99 

This car was advertised with the K-number in September 1966 in Model Railroader. The ad does not mention if the car was newly introduced at this time, but it was either a pre-announcement, or the car was actually released at this time. It appeared again in February 1967 ad with the text: "Another beauty from Ambroid!". It is a model of an ACF (American Car & Foundry) 55-ton High-Cube car for handling chemicals, powders, etc. The kit, designed by Northeastern's Jim Doyle, comes in 6 road names: GN, UP, MKT, NYC, ATSF and ACF Industries. The ad shows a picture of SHPX car #5250 (see discussion in the Kit #2-3 review, above). I also have evidence of a car with PRR reporting marks. I don't know if this is a later re-run, or what.

This car was first introduced as kit #K-15, and for some reason later given the number K-11. Go figure!

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

 

Kit #K-12, 40' Single Sheathed Box Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1961: $3.751966: $3.75 l/t
Recent price (high/low): $38.00 Jul 2005 $5.00 Mar 2005
(average/median): $20.24 / $19.49 

This car was first advertised in March 1961 in Model Railroader and then with the K-number in September 1966 in Model Railroader. Price $3.75 less couplers in 1961 and the same price but less trucks in 1966. It also appeared in a November 1961 ad at the price of $3.50. This was an ad for the K-1 through K-3 cars and this car, and all of them were said to cost $3.50. Take that for what it is worth. The car came in 6 road names when first released in 1961. This was extended to 7 road names in 1966. My guess is that PRR was added at that time. The original road names were MKT, B&M, CN, SP, CB&Q, and DRGW. The kit could be built with either 7 or 9 panels.

An ad in April 1961 specifically pointed out that this was not a limited run kit, and that the company hopefully had made enough of these famous old box cars so most serious railroaders can have one.

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

 

Kit #K-13, Livesay Poultry Car click for larger picture
Original price: New 1966: $3.75 l/t 
Recent price (high/low): $67.51 May 2006 $16.50 Jan 2004
(average/median): $30.82 / $27.51 

This car was announced as a new kit in a September 1963 ad in Model Railroader. The ad states this is a car typical of the live poultry cars from the '20's and '30's, but "have all but disappeared today". The picture in the ad shows a car belonging to the "Live Poultry Transit Co." Price $3.75 less trucks.

This kit was later sold by Northeastern as kit #HS-5.

 

Kit #K-14, CP 8 Hatch Reefer click for larger picture
Original price: New 1961: $3.75 l/t 
Recent price (high/low): $36.00 Apr 2006 $6.50 Oct 2003
(average/median): $18.17 / $18.00 

This car was reviewed in August 1964 in the Trade Topics column of Model Railroader. The prototype was built in the mid 30's. The 1940 Equipment Register listed 48 cars, numbered 289940-289987. These cars were 41'-9" long with a 75,000 pound capacity. The cars were equipped with heaters to prevent freezing during winter shipments, but it is a refrigerator car nevertheless. It was equipped with insulation and brine tanks for cooling with crushed ice and salt. Since the ice bunkers were overhead, these cars were equipped with eight loading hatches on the roof.

Price $3.75 less trucks and couplers.

The kit was made by the Madewell Company who also sold the kit with a different decal set in (I guess) 1966. The decals featured the NMRA Northeastern Region's 20th Anniversary, and the set came with paint instructions. I have not seen the Madewell Company listed as maker of any other Ambroid kit than this one.

 

Kit #K-15 (K-16), ACF HC Center Flow Hopper click for larger picture
Original price: New: 
Recent price (high/low): $15.99 Jun 2004 $9.99 Jul 2003
(average/median): $12.99 / $12.99 

This seems to have had both K-15 and K-16 numbers on the box. The kit was later renumbered to K-11 and the original number covered with a label marked K-11.

 

 

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 05/28/2007 Copyright © 2006-2007
Per Harwe
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