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Phantom IV phantom (n) 1. something elusive or visionary. 2. a representation of something abstract, ideal or incorporeal. (adj.) fictitious

The fourth car in my Phantom series of rolling stock is a New Haven style combine painted and lettered for the Silver Bullet set.

We all know that Gilbert had a Royal Blue passenger set before the War but they didnít carry over the set to S gauge. Many operators have made their own, and they look so good, one wonders why they werenít produced! The locomotive and cars are based on an actual prototypes. Classic Toy Trains (May 1998, p.59) once ran a photo of an actual Royal Blue, and it had the New Haven style cars with a combine included. I based my model on this and other photos.
I originally picked up the basket case loco and one car at a flea market for $10. Although scratched and dirty, the loco ran, and was worth repainting. The car, however, had a large section of the end missing. A lot of cutting, filing and sanding styrene plastic pieces produced the model you see. A total of three double windows were filled in and a baggage door was fabricated along with a skirt extension on the baggage door end. The car was painted with a custom mix silver, lettered with dry transfer lettering and decals, then given a plausible Gilbert number. The body was placed on a die cast frame, and joins a five car Silver Bullet set I made from similar scrap pile parts. All the cars ranged in price from a high of $10 for a car with a frame and just a few cracks to an almost crushed body for $1.
For the bodies without a frame, I was able to fabricate a frame from sheet metal (see photo). I used various sizes of sockets to form the truck bolsters in the metal by squeezing the frame in a vice. The metal was then blackened using gun bluing. Repro rivets, light sockets and couplers joined junk car trucks and wheels to complete the cars. The illuminated cars with their silhouettes look great on my layout with the room lights dim.
Could this car ever be confused with a Gilbert original? One only needs to look at the lettering and stickers used!

Jerry Poniatowski
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