August 7, 2008 - Even if youﾒre not a tinplate fan, itﾒs hard to deny that our Tinplate Traditions 4696 steamer is drop-dead gorgeous. Our die-cast model replicates American Flyerﾒsﾮ top-of-the-line Wide Gauge (Standard Gauge) steam locomotive, cataloged from 1931 to 1935. Known among collectors as the ﾓBrass Piper,ﾔ the 4696 was distinguished from its competition by a large number of added-on brass details, and brass piping that included elaborate cooling coils under each running board. The 4696 also sported additional drive rod parts that represented steam locomotive valve gear ﾗ a detail unheard on most other tinplate steamers. In many ways, the 4696 was a forerunner of what would become American Flyerﾒs claim to fame after it was acquired by A.C. Gilbert a few years later: more realism and more prototypical proportions than competitive Lionelﾮ models.
Check out the Piper in Taylor's latest Product Update VIDEO.
Like the original, our replica of the 4696 features a die-cast engine and tender, but without the metallic impurities that caused many of the original castings to deteriorate drastically with age. Enjoy the 4696 in the original gleaming black and brass, or in attractive new paint schemes including crackle black and brass, as well as two-tone blue with either brass or nickel trim. Each version is available with your choice of a 1930s-style open frame motor or modern Proto-Sound 2.0 electronics with sound and puffing smoke. Reproductions of 4000-series American Flyer freight cars, with the same long, lean, more-realistic proportions that characterize this locomotive, will be arriving at M.T.H. dealers this fall.
With not a touch of modesty, the 1931 American Flyer catalog introduced the firmﾒs new standard gauge steamer: ﾓThe magnificent realistic wide gauge Steam type locomotive Model 4696 is a faithful reproduction of the crack B. & O. locomotive President Washington. The faithful design is a striking example of scale reproduction. It is conceded by the most critical to be the finest miniature model ever made.ﾔ In fact this description had a lot of truth to it. Of course Flyer, like Lionel with its 400E, ignored the fact that the prototype locomotive had one more set of drivers than the model. But Flyerﾒs fully die-cast steamer with added-on brass parts was arguably better proportioned and more accurately detailed than competitive sheet-metal models from Lionel and Ives. The 4696 was introduced at a price of $43.50, the equivalent of several weeks pay for an average worker. To allow for shipping west of the Rockies, the engine had a higher ﾓWestern Priceﾔ of $47.50.
American Flyerﾮ and Lionelﾮ are registered trademarks of Lionel LLC.
Our run of this standard gauge classic includes a two-tone blue version as seen in the detail photos below.