Mantua Little Six 0-6-0

Mantua Little Six 0-6-0

The “new” Mantua as it was referred to in the 1978 catalog introduction offered HO-scale models from 1978 to 2001. The line was then distributed by Model Power and later Model Rectifier Corp. (MRC).

The first group in the late 1970s included 15 HO-scale steam locomotives offered in decorated ready-to-run versions and as undecorated kits.

Mantua’s 1978 catalog promoted this Little Six 0-6-0 steam locomotive as, (d)esigned for yard work, a typical cut for an 0-6-0 was about six cars. Even when at work, the switcher was waiting more of the time than actually working. It had a small firebox.

The first group presented in 1978 included three road names: New York Central, St. Regis, and U.S. Navy for ready-to-run releases (retailing for $30 each). An undecorated Little Six kit sold for $27 at the time.

Mantua’s 1984 catalog presents a revised Little Six 0-6-0 model that reflects the boiler design appearing back in the company’s 1978 catalog. This new die-cast Little Six retained the same 302-series stock numbering for assembled and decorated models and 502 number of unassembled and undecorated kit release. The 1984 asking price for a ready-to-run Little Six release was $42 and the kit carried a $33 suggested retail price.

It appears the regular production of Mantua’s Little Six 0-6-0 steam locomotive may conclude in the early 1990s. I find the die-cast Little Six last listed among the manufacturer’s 1991 items.

ABOVE: Mantua’s 1978 catalog presents a B&O decorated 0-6-0 featuring a boiler design that would arrive a few years later in the company’s line. The late 1970s production offerings featured a plastic boiler shell versus this die-cast metal version. This style Little Six body appeared in Mantua’s 1984 catalog and was promoted as featuring a die-cast shell.

Historically, Mantua offered a die-cast metal Little Six beginning in the mid-20th century. Produced by Mantua, TYCO included a Little Six in its catalog in the 1960s. You’ll find TYCO’s Little Six 0-6-0 as a kit only release in the 1963-64 catalog (MSRP: $7.98). The kit returns for several years in the mid-1960s and a ready-to-run release is included in 1966 and a new release. The assembled 1966 TYCO Little Six 0-6-0 sold for $12.95 and was offered in Pennsylvania Railroad (T217-A) and Union Pacific (T217-B) decoration.

ABOVE: Initially, the new Mantua’s Little Six 0-6-0 offering would share boiler shell design with the line’s Booster 0-6-0, as this late 1970s New York Central example illustrates.

Baltimore & Ohio

302-025 (die-cast body) -1984 release

Eastman Kodak

302-112 -1980 release

ABOVE: This 0-6-0 appears in Mantua’s 1992 catalog and is labeled a Tank Switcher. The model appears to use basic components of the company’s past Little Six 0-6-0 offerings.

Leetonia & Cherry Valley

361-059 -1992 release

New York Central

302-22 -1978 release

302-022 (die-cast body) -1984 release

Pennsylvania Railroad

302-020 (die-cast body) -1984 release

393-020 (0-6-0 Tank Switcher) -2001 release

ABOVE: This version of Mantua’s Reading 0-6-0 debuted in the company’s 1994 catalog. This was the only road name offered for this mid-1990s production and it retailed for $92.98. This Reading 0-6-0 Tank Switcher release enjoyed a run of several years in Mantua’s catalogs lasting through 1998.


302-021 (die-cast body) -1984 release

393-021 (0-6-0 Tank Switcher) -1994 release

Santa Fe

302-001 (die-cast body) -1984 release

St. Regis

302-101 -1978 release

Southern Pacific

302-011 (die-cast body) -1984 release

U.S. Navy

302-102 -1978 release

Undecorated Kit

502 -1978 release