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Army Men Homepage

The #44 Army Missile Train

1959 saw the debut of  Lionel's #44 Army Mobile Launcher.  This missile-laden locomotive gave electric trains a combative edge.  Four small rockets could be fired from the back of the locomotive, either by use of a remote track, or by hand.  An operator sat at the controls, and a red light beamed atop the cab.

 The #44 was included in missile sets, as well as being sold alone.  The sets featured several cars carrying missile loads.  Later, a Marine Corps version of the locomotive was made.  The Marine loco was number 45, and it was done in olive green.

Lionel recently reissued a missile train with the #44 mobile launcher.  The new model features electronic control, and is a more complex item than the original from the 1950s.  Our example is from the original 1959 - 1962 batch.  The owner had bought one of the new versions, and sold his old one to us.  It is a good, smooth-running train that adds plenty to our home railway.  Best of all, it also goes with our plastic toy soldiers.

The coupler and front "bumper" were added by the first owner. Lionel did not put couplers on front of the missile launching locomotives.

Rear view.  These rockets look formidable!  

Here you can see the man with his "control panel."  The ring atop the locomotive usually houses a red bulb - our bulb is missing.

Another view of this impressive locomotive. The #44 was the vanguard of a wave of military and space trains issued by Lionel from 1959 until the mid-1960s.  These included car-mounted missile launchers, exploding boxcars, ammo dumps, Mercury capsule carriers and rocket gantries.  Facing falling sales due to competition from other toys, Lionel hoped its military and space trains would revive it.  The #44 remains the kind of the fleet.

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