3409 Flatcar w/ Helicopter
The 3409 Flatcar with Launching Helicopter was produced for only one year -- 1961. This is a scarce freight car for several reasons:
- Production was limited to a single year.
- It was only listed in one uncatalogued set for the year.
- The general train buying public was not aware of the car. It did not appear in the annual consumer catalogue, only the advanced consumer catalogue for 1961. Since the advanced consumer catalogues never received widespread distribution, most people were not aware of its existence.
Lionel produced several flatcars with a launching helicopter during the postwar era. This one -- the 3409 -- was Lionel's least expensive version as it had Arch-bar trucks, non-operating couplers and a manual launching mechanism.
The 3409 is part of Lionel's "Space & Military" series. As with many of the items from that series, there are delicate parts that are prone to damage due to improper handling. Locating a complete, all original flatcar with helicopter is a difficult task as few helicopters have survived intact.
Standard features of the 3409 include: unpainted light blue flatcar with white lettering, Arch bar trucks, black tail support structure, winding and launching mechanism plus a brakestand -- which did not include a metal brakewheel to further save money!
The winding and launching mechanism is the smaller version -- 1.375" in diameter. The metal mechanism attached to the bottom of the car was always plain sheet metal, not blackened metal as seen on other helicopter freight cars. The helicopter was always a single blade version.
Additional Detail, Photos & Box Information
The length of this flatcar is approximately 11 1/4" long (coupler to coupler).
Only Known Variation - The 3409 was always a light blue flarcar with a gray helicopter. The launching mechanism was always manual and never remote control activated.
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