model train set on track

MTH Reproduction Ives Standard Gauge Black Diamond Cars #1174

e*Train Issue: Jun 2002   |   Posted in:

by Bradley Kaplan

Over a year ago MTH cataloged a reproduction of the Ives Black Diamond set and I ordered it. Finally a year latter it arrived, and the question, was is it worth the wait?

MTH cataloged the 3 car set and a reproduction Ives 1134 Steam engine to pull the set. I decided not to buy the 1134. I have 2 Ives engines, a 3236 that I am restoring in black to eventually pull this set, and an Ives 3241 which I am currently using to pull the set.

Originally in the late 1920’s when these cars were originally cataloged by Ives, Ives was owned by Lionel and American Flyer. Lionel and American Flyer were looking for ways to save money. The Black Diamond cars were actually American Flyer car bodies on Ives trucks and Ives couplers. The original Black Diamond set is very rare and valuable.

MTH has been making the Flyer cars for almost 15 years starting with the Lionel Classics in the late 1990s. I would assume that MTH is using the same body tooling they have been using for the Flyer cars for these Ives cars in the same way Flyer originally did.

I happen to think that these cars in this paint scheme is nicer then any version that Flyer created in their colors, and the Ives trucks look much better on these cars then Flyer’s trucks.

MTH was meticulous with a perfect fit and finish of these cars.

Each car has a light switch to turn the interior lights on and off. I think that when Flyer made the bodies for Ives, they removed this switch to save money and distinguish these cars from their own. But if this is or is not the case, who cares. Either way. it cost MTH more $$$$ to put the switches on.

I never knew the original versions had a drum light on the observation car. This is a great feature that Lionel never had.

So far 3 friends have come to my place and have seen these cars and said they think they are the nicest looking of all my trains. I agree!

Some MTH repro Ives Transition passenger sets have been snapped up by collectors and are almost as impossible to find as the originals. I got a feeling this set may follow this trail.

I am waiting for MTH to catalog a diner for this set. I know Ives never cataloged one originally, but I hope MTH take the license do so!

This set is not for display! I’ve run it every day since it arrived!