"Military Special Set R3.S of 1959"
for the Canadian market
by Peter Zimmermann.
The first version of this "Military Special Set" was introduced late in 1958. Publicity for the set in 1958 did not describe the locomotive beyond stating that it was the "new double ended diesel locomotive" The 1959 Canadian illustrated price list stated that the loco was green and orange.
correspondence with Pat Hammond in the early 1990s the subject of the
loco colour came up but, at the time, the single set that had been seen
was the 1958 RSX set and it contained a standard blue & yellow R.159
loco. Thinking that someone must have replaced the locomotive the
information published in Pat's first book was based on the 1959
description. Since then two more examples of the 1958 RSX set have been
found and they both contained the standard blue and yellow locomotive.
After Pat's first book was published
this pristine 1959 R3.S version
was found which contained a green & yellow loco, not green & orange and
the green of the plastic was similar to that used on the dark green
0-6-0 Diesel Shunter of the period.
Other differences in the 1959 set, other than the
Series 3 track and Mk3 couplers, are the colour of the Avro Bomber and
one of the well wagons. This wagon also has a non-standard
"43171" number. This was possibly
done using the tooling for the R.120 maroon Suburban Brake Coach albeit
without the preceding "M" making this possibly the rarest version of the
bufferless R.118 Well Wagon which in 1960 received its own designation
of R.236 Depressed Centre Car.
Since we acquired
this set we have become aware of several other boxed examples and they
all include a dark blue well wagon with the 43171 number, however, we
have recently been made aware that a medium gray example exist. At this
time it is not known if it is from an R3.S set or if they were made
Tri-ang did not produce another military set for the Canadian market until 1964 with the issue of an un-catalogued set designated simply as R3
Photos and information
from Vintage Toy Oasis.
1959 Canadian Price List