Mantua Big Six & Tender 0-6-0

Among the “new” Mantua’s releases for 1978 and the famous hobby name’s return to model railroading, three offerings shared a similar boiler and cab design tooling: Big Six & Tender 0-6-0, Pony & Tender 0-4-0, and Prairie & Tender 2-6-2. Mantua’s late 1970s Big Six was provided a slope-back tender and arrived with four road names: Chesapeake & Ohio, Great Northern, Northern Pacific, and Rock Island. The 1978 listing also shows an undecorated kit (504) for this HO-scale Big Six release. The late 1970s retail for decorated ready-to-run Big Six releases was $35 and the kit version carried a $31 suggested retail price.

By the mid-1980s, Mantua catalogs included a trio of Big Six road names: Great Northern (green boiler jacket), Jersey Central, and Southern Pacific; as well as the kit (504) offering through 1984. The 1985 retail was $53 for ready-to-run Big Six offerings.

For 1989, Mantua introduces two new road names (New York Central and Rio Grande) and returns the kit to its catalog listings. The ready-to-run Big Six listed for $38 in 1991. During the early 1990s, Mantua doesn’t include its HO-scale Big Six among individual locomotive model releases; however, you will see a Great Northern example at the head of the company’s “Red Ball Express” (904-304) train set beginning in 1992. A similar “Midwest Freight Hauler” (944-304) appears in Mantua’s 1994 catalog, but there’s no appearances after the mid-1990s until the end of Mantua’s second generation run.

A New York Central 0-6-0 with Slope Back Tender (304-522) appears in Mantua’s 2000 catalog. This fully assembled release came with an MC-94 can motor and shows a July 2000 availability in the company’s 2000 Price List and retailed for $119.99. This Pennsylvania Railroad 0-6-0 returns for Mantua’s last independent catalog in 2001, which marked the compnay’s 75th anniversary.

The description in Mantua’s 1978 catalog for its Big Six & Tender 0-6-0 steam locomotive stated, (p)rovided with six powerful wheels for extra traction, the “Big Six” was a favorite for both short and long hauls. There was a sloping tank on some tenders, low tank on others. They were designed to allow good vision to the rear for switching operations.

Chesapeake & Ohio

304-24 -1978 release

Denver & Rio Grande Western

304-008 -1989 release

Great Northern

304-61 -1978 release

Jersey Central

304-34 -1980 release

New York Central

304-022 -1989 release

Northern Pacific

304-04 -1978 release

Rock Island

304-60 -1978 release

Southern Pacific

304-11 -1980 release

Undecorated Kit

504 -1978 release