Site Mission Statement
My goal and interest in creating this website is to
present a visual record of a period in Athearn's history. Athearn's production begins prior to what is found on
this site and very successfully continues today beyond the scope of what I present.
This site focuses upon Athearn from the mid
1960s to the early 1980s. The Athearn I knew growing up was the top of the line in HO-scale plastic trains. With the demise of Athearn's fabled "blue box" kit series, I hope this site will serve as a scrapbook
and reference for what I see as the classic era of "blue box" kits. The days when Athearn had only so many models and
only made so many roadnames.
As you search swap meets and online on eBay, you'll find many examples of cars
that at first glance appear to be genuine Athearn releaess. Often these turn out to be Bev-Bel or other secondary companies
stamping and lettering Athearn kits. This site will be a resource only for Athearn releases.
Beyond the mentioned releases of the late '60s to the early 1980s, I am including
examples and some information on earlier Athearn products like their '60s steam engines. I knew Athearn once made steam
engines and offered ready-to-run train sets, but that was ancient history to me growing up in the 1970s.
Some may laugh at honoring these older Athearn items. The metal sideframes
that frequently sparked as they ran and could short out with some degree of ease. The wide body shells and clunky handrails.
The now crude appearing tampo stamp printing of heralds and lettering. However, if you grew up on these Athearn models
you'll appreciate the charm of these features today. They're fun to collect too. Because of the quantity produced
and number of years made, nearly all these Athearn pieces are easy and inexpensive to obtain. The challenge and entertainment
may be in locating unbuilt, mint examples with all the paperwork, etc.
Why Athearn? Why Just These Releases?
If you grew up in the 1970s, these Athearn kits were likely some of the first freight cars you assembled yourself. Many other
readily available and amply produced HO-scale model trains were ready-to-run at the time. On shelves of hobby shops and toy
stores when I was a kid, I found cars and locos from companies like AHM, Bachmann, Cox, Lionel-HO, Model Power, TYCO and others.
The Athearn releases were a bit different in the need to put them together and were also at the upper end of quality for
Please note that this site was created for use by those with an interest in HO-scale model trains and does not necessarily
represent the current Athearn line available today. The author is not affiliated with,
nor representing Athearn and/or Horizon Hobby in any way.
This site is intended for your enjoyment and information only.
Images and information presented on this site comes from a variety of sources including magazines, internet, catalogs, visitor
input, and the author's collection.