Lionel Ambassador Review

by Steve Scagnelli

Virginian LEGACY USRA 2-8-8-2 Y-3 steam locomotive #737(6-82486)

Weathering as an option:

Model Railroading has many facets to the hobby, and its participants fall into various categories, notably Operator vs. Collector. Another way to distinguish the hobbyists is Purist vs. Realist. The Purist will maintain their train collection in pristine condition and displayed in new toy-like condition. The Realist, on the other hand, has opted for a weathered look. The trains reflect the elements they are exposed to as they do the hard work they are built for. Faded lettering, mud, dirt, dust, and rust are just a few of the daily issues all engines face on the tracks.
About the artist - Lionel’s weathered engines are done by hand in the USA by veteran train enthusiast, artist and expert modeler Harry Hieke, who brings over 20 years of experience and personally details and weathers each locomotive. Harry offers a weathering service and is available to weather any engine or rolling stock in your fleet, in addition to his Lionel obligations. Harry also maintains a full line of buildings, all delivered with a realistic weathered look and all modeled after real railroad buildings.

I recently purchased my first weathered steam engine, the Virginian LEGACY USRA 2-8-8-2 Y-3 steam locomotive #737, product #6-82486
(Catalog Photo)
Performance aside, it’s the look I went for. The weathering is airbrushed and sealed with an additional dull finish. I opt to run my engines with the smoke units on. As neat as I try to be, some of the oil, either spilled by me or residual grime from the smoke when wiped off, did NOT affect the weathering colors. The colors are spot on and in doing some online research, Lionel’s artist has truly captured the real world weathered look.
Here are some additional photos of my Y3 positioned on my home layout
Lionel is again offering weathering as an option in its Built-to-Order product line. In the 2016 volume-2 catalog, pages 8-9, is a Norfolk and Western Y6B, delivered fully weathered by Harry Hieke. If you are considering adding some realistic trains to your fleet, the new Y6B, Lionel product 6-84063 is the way to go. If you have some existing trains you would like weathered, contact Harry Hieke and have Lionel’s commissioned artist work for you too.

As a purchaser of a Lionel weathered engine and having had Harry Hieke weather several engines and cars in my railroad fleet, I highly endorse both Lionel and Harry as products and services you will be pleased with.

Enjoy the journey!!