My Custom American Bicentennial Passenger Set

Return to Bicentennial Trains Home

I have always wanted a HO scale passenger set painted in the red, white, & blue Bicentennial scheme. There are several really nice sets in O scale but nothing like this concept in HO scale that I have ever seen.

Working with a few friends, we have developed a concept and the materials for my first attempt at this project. Here is my idea for a custom painted streamliner celebrating our country's 200th birthday.

P0004954.JPG (466656 bytes)

Starting with the original Tyco / Mantua Bicentennial Alco 4301 version one engine and some Tyco streamliner passenger cars I would apply a paint scheme modeled after the Lionel "O" scale TCA Bicentennial Passenger set.

P0004831.JPG (412431 bytes) P0004833.JPG (646746 bytes) P0004832.JPG (555803 bytes) P0004834.JPG (302815 bytes)

I worked with Robb Lozano to develop custom decals for these streamliners, we selected several images to create the exciting bicentennial theme. Robb used his expert skills to edit the digital images and create some incredible decals for the project. We started with the basic replacement decals Robb had already developed and then I found a digital image of the original American Bicentennial Emblem or "Fat Star" that Robb digitally re-mastered. For the last step or finishing touch I developed some text with various road names for each of the cars, road numbers, and of course the theme or title line for the project.

abs_project_1776_a.jpg (80034 bytes) abs_project_1776_concept.jpg (108413 bytes) abs_project_1776_b.jpg (40403 bytes)

(click on image to enlarge)

Once I was able to scan in a good image of the flags that I like from the decal sheet below we had almost everything we needed for the project.

P0004824.JPG (336340 bytes)

(click on image to enlarge)

I really liked the flags on this decal sheet and with some of Robb's digital magic we would be able to make our own flags in various sizes for this project. Robb took the scan that I had made and cleaned it up to make absolutely beautiful flags in two different sizes for the engine and passenger cars. You can purchase many of his digitally created decals on  eBay or contact Robb and have your own custom decals created.

These images below are in the early stages of the decal development, we wanted to create custom road names, numbers, and car names to complement the bicentennial images. At this point we were just trying to decide on the font style and size to fit the cars properly.

P0004820.JPG (540769 bytes) P0004821.JPG (594592 bytes) P0004822.JPG (489996 bytes) P0004823.JPG (526131 bytes)

(click on images to enlarge)

I played around with the images to try and visualize what the cars would look like with the paint scheme I had in mind.

abs_color_concept.jpg (271038 bytes)

(click on images to enlarge)

Starting with the engine I found one of the rare version one Tyco / Mantua Alco 4301 Bicentennial engines that made it out into the public before the famous "Richard M. Nixon" recall,  these have the really good quality motors that run strong and quiet.

P0004837.JPG (481100 bytes)

(click on images to enlarge)

The engine was in wonderful condition with the exception of the decals which were badly flaking off. With Robb's awesome replacements that would not be a problem. I carefully disassembled the engine and stored all the parts while the project continued.

P0004837a.jpg (406082 bytes) P0004837b.jpg (438268 bytes) P0004837c.jpg (362762 bytes) P0004837d.jpg (393383 bytes) P0004837e.jpg (395911 bytes)

P0004837f.jpg (344021 bytes) P0004837g.jpg (305353 bytes)

After soaking the shell in hot soapy water to clean off all the dirt, grime, and remaining decal residue the shell was ready

P0004859.JPG (363098 bytes) P0004860.JPG (356295 bytes)

(click on images to enlarge)

Next was the passenger cars, I found a set of cars on eBay of all places that were in mint condition. When they arrived I could not have been more pleased, it did not appear that these cars were ever put on a track.

 P0004838.JPG (493006 bytes) P0004839.JPG (503511 bytes) P0004840.JPG (495108 bytes)

(click on images to enlarge)

Rolex Di Tong took the replica watches first time in 1963, and 6239 was the rolex replica watches first generation of the design. This is only produced in 1968 6239 kept in good condition, and are rare, so you can take replica watches uk 150 thousand Swiss francs (about RMB 1 million) the price is not replica watches

There were no marks or dirt anywhere, even the brass on the wheels was super clean.

P0004835.JPG (575246 bytes) P0004836.JPG (569521 bytes)

(click on images to enlarge)

I carefully disassembled each of the passenger cars and removed the plastic window inserts along with the silhouettes of the people in preparation for the new "American Bicentennial Special" paint scheme.

P0004848.JPG (370856 bytes) P0004850.JPG (392996 bytes)

(click on images to enlarge)

Then I carefully erased the original Amtrak road name, car names, and washed the cars.

P0004861.JPG (401183 bytes) P0004863.JPG (393362 bytes) P0004862.JPG (249506 bytes)

(click on images to enlarge)

Here is the washed engine shell with some of the dry test decals to give me an idea of the placement.

 P0004864.JPG (248181 bytes) P0004865.JPG (282209 bytes)

(click on images to enlarge)

The passenger cars after the first base coat of white paint.

P0004869.JPG (184016 bytes) P0004868.JPG (340475 bytes) P0004870.JPG (258164 bytes)

(click on images to enlarge)

Engine shell with the new decals from Robb applied.

P0004884.JPG (486694 bytes) P0004885.JPG (509097 bytes)

P0004886.JPG (383782 bytes) P0004887.JPG (423927 bytes) P0004888.JPG (375324 bytes) P0004889.JPG (399347 bytes)

(click on images to enlarge)

After two coats of flat white the passenger cars were carefully masked for the second color, the first coat of blue paint was applied to the roof of each car. With each step I am becoming more and more excited about this project. I can not wait to see the finished set of passenger cars with the restored engine.

P0004897.JPG (277441 bytes) P0004898.JPG (466388 bytes) P0004899.JPG (300671 bytes)

(click on images to enlarge)

Here is the finished engine shell; It has been carefully disassembled, washed, receive new decals & road number badges, and then everything was protected with dull coat to preserve all the new decals. This is a early version one Tyco / Mantua Bicentennial Alco 4301 engine but I decided to include the "Spirit of '76" nose emblem that was only found on the version three and later models. This decal was also added to both sides of the engine along with the American Bicentennial "Fat Star" which I plan on using on all the passenger cars as well. While the first coat of blue paint is drying on the passenger cars I will start reassembling the engine.

P0004895.JPG (371273 bytes) P0004896.JPG (270098 bytes) P0004894.JPG (375600 bytes)

(click on images to enlarge)

With two coats of the blue paint on the roof sections the masking tape was removed and the excitement continued. This was the first look at the bicentennial paint scheme taking shape. After masking off the window areas I would apply the third color... red.

P0004900.JPG (373171 bytes)

P0004901.JPG (331775 bytes) P0004902.JPG (339669 bytes) P0004903.JPG (344221 bytes)

P0004904.JPG (457820 bytes) P0004905.JPG (384043 bytes)

(click on images to enlarge)

The final color red has been applied, the masking tape has been removed and this is the first look at the completed bicentennial paint scheme. After all the paint completely dried and the detail painting has been completed I will start applying the decals to the passenger cars.

P0004906.JPG (394734 bytes)

P0004907.JPG (341267 bytes) P0004908.JPG (345662 bytes) P0004909.JPG (355780 bytes) P0004910.JPG (339564 bytes) P0004911.JPG (351353 bytes) P0004912.JPG (338856 bytes)

P0004913.JPG (350145 bytes) P0004914.JPG (455068 bytes)

(click on images to enlarge)

Here they are, all finished. The engine has been dull coated and reassembled, the cars have received the red, white, and blue paint scheme along with the great decals. After I finished with the three base colors Sandy added some details for me with some gray paint on several key locations giving the cars some extra excitement.

P0004929.JPG (419652 bytes) P0004931.JPG (442506 bytes) P0004930.JPG (429067 bytes)

 P0004932.JPG (449597 bytes) P0004933.JPG (406971 bytes) P0004934.JPG (431877 bytes) P0004935.JPG (438585 bytes) P0004936.JPG (416525 bytes)

 P0004938.JPG (378617 bytes) P0004939.JPG (375762 bytes) P0004940.JPG (381540 bytes) P0004941.JPG (406487 bytes) P0004942.JPG (380257 bytes) P0004943.JPG (384256 bytes)

(click on images to enlarge)

The engine was renumbered with 1776 badges, road numbers on the sides of the cab, and several new decals. The American Bicentennial "Fat Star", Spirit of '76, and Presidential emblems were added. I also used the large '76 emblem on the nose even though this is a rare version one model that did not have that decal.

P0004946.JPG (425558 bytes) P0004944.JPG (388970 bytes) P0004945.JPG (355327 bytes) P0004947.JPG (414190 bytes)

All of the passenger cars received the "Fat Star", Spirit of '76, and American Flag along with it's own unique name and road number all celebrating our country's 200th birthday.

P0004948.JPG (345221 bytes) P0004949.JPG (354695 bytes)

P0004950.JPG (365867 bytes) P0004951.JPG (365295 bytes) P0004952.JPG (368075 bytes)

This page was last updated on 05/31/09. Enjoy your visit to "My Trains"

Return to Bicentennial Trains Home

Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright 1995 - 2009 Steven M Hodell