The Mercury Capsule Launching Car No. 3413 would launch a Mercury Capsule located at the top of the rocket into space and return it to earth with the aid of a parachute.
Lionel used the a RED No. 6511-2 flat car chassis because of the slots molded into this frame that were needed to mount the launching platform. Produced from 1962 until 1964, the number "3413" was not stamped on the chassis that is usually found with two operating disc couplers on early AAR trucks.
The original rocket that was used on this car is brittle and will crack if flexed. There are two types of rocket that have been found for this car. One is has a DARK BLUE insignia (illustrated) and the other is LIGHT BLUE. The rocket was secured to the car with a No. 6418-9 elastic band. Because of the interchangeability of these rockets they are not considered viable variations.
The rocket platform railings are often found broken and collectors should also examine the rocket for cracks. The rocket is launched with considerable force and, given a choice, most operators of this car use reproduction rockets which are available. To achieve an excellent or like new grading on this piece all of the original components of this car must be present.
The Mercury Capsule Launching Car came with a two page instruction sheet No. 3413-8. We’ve shown both pages of this instruction sheet below.
There are two variations:
Variation A: Has a DARK GRAY launching platform that is not painted.
Variation B: Has a LIGHT GRAY launching platform that is not painted.