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
1950s and the purchase of Globe Models and start of injection-molded plastic kits and continues to the end of Irv
Athearn's ownership of the company with his passing in 1991.
The Athearn I knew growing up was among the
top of the line in HO-scale plastic trains. This is, in general terms, Athearn's
fabled Blue Box Era. I hope this site will serve as a scrapbook and reference for what I see as a classic
period in the model railroading hobby. The days when Athearn had only so many models and only made so many roadnames.
I hope you enjoy your visit and find some useful information and images that bring back memories or assist in your collecting.
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.