American Flyer Locomotive 283
The American Flyer Locomotive 283 lettered for the Chicago North Western made its debut in 1954 with a plastic tender and knuckle coupler. This was Gilbert’s first postwar, newly tooled steam locomotive with a plastic boiler. With the 4-6-2 wheel configuration and simplified valve gear it was designed to provide a more impressive presence than the smaller Atlantic locomotives but could be cost competitive. The 283 is part of a series of numbers and features that continued in the American Flyer S gauge product line until the end of operations in 1966.
For features, the American Flyer 283 Pacific type locomotive included a Lucite headlight lens, smoke and choo-choo effects, and remote control reverse (reverse unit mounted in the tender). The locomotive appeared after the transition time for couplers from link to knuckle and change to plastic molded parts from formed sheet metal.
The 283 continued the use of the tooling for the 282 and became one of the workhorses of the Gilbert American Flyer locomotive product line. If the 5 digit continuation of this locomotive is included, the basic unit was in the cataloged products from 1953 to 1966 in the same form.
The 1954 production moved to a plastic molded boiler & tender body and all examples have knuckle coupler trucks instead of the earlier link couplers. Other variations include tenders with coal pushers, marker lights and traction or “pull-mor” tires on the drivers.
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