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Hammer & Sickle Soviet Flagman Hammer & Sickle

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About This Accessory

The flagman included in every Stalin-era and Khrushchev-era train set produced by the Soviet Union in the 1950's and 1960's is a very interesting item: while the figure itself appears to be an original design of a Russian guard, the mechanism was clearly copied from Lionel's #1045 Watchman! The Soviet man is most commonly dressed in a black overcoat, black pants, brown shoes and a red hat with a black brim. A red star adorns the front of the hat and the overcoat has green epaulets and green lapel trim plus white buttons.

One flagman found in an early Stalin-era set was dressed in a black overcoat (but with gold buttons) and with green stripes on his sleeves. He was also wearing dark-blue pants with a green stripe on the sides. Another flagman found in a late Khrushchev-era set was dressed in a black overcoat (but with silver buttons) and had black shoes.

When the accessory is energized, the flagman's right arm rises to display the green flag. When power is interrupted, gravity causes the arm to return to its normal position -- hanging by the flagman's side. The Soviet flagman is 3 inches tall and the overall height of the accessory is 4 inches. The wiring harness included a separate pair of wires ("pigtails") for the flagman. This item was first produced in 1951 and although other Soviet items were produced as late as 1969, it is likely that this piece was discontinued much earlier. This piece, although constructed of metal, is rather delicate and easily broken. In addition, it is often misplaced and separated from the set.

Flagmen Photos
Photo of Two Soviet Flagmen
ABOVE LEFT: Green platform on gray base ~~~ RIGHT: Reverse Colors
Photo of Rear of Flagman & OB
ABOVE: Rear view of Flagman + special wires & RARE Original Box
Photo of 3 Rare Flagmen
ABOVE: Three very rare versions of the Flagman


While there are apparently no significant design differences in the flagmen included with the Stalin-era sets versus the Khrushchev-era sets, it appears that the earlier versions were "well-fed" and looked pudgier compared to the more slender-looking, later ones. The size and shape of the hat changed somewhat through the years as did the skin color of the face and hands. In addition, a flagman from an early Stalin-era set had on shoes that looked "clunkier" and more pointed than the smaller and more rounded ones worn by the later flagmen. Since the flagmen were hand painted and not mass produced, each one tends to have a slightly different facial expression as compared to any other one. Like snowflakes, it looks like no two are exactly alike!

The most obvious variations stem from the colors used to paint the platform that the flagmen stand on (usually dark green or medium gray) and the contrasting color used to paint the base (usually medium gray or light green). However a flagman with a dark gray platform on a red base has been found in a very early Stalin-era set. In addition, these unusual variations were found in Khrushchev-era sets: one with a dark green platform on a brown base and another with a dark green platform on a light gray base. Since it appears that the flagman was never dated, it is not known precisely when specific combinations of features and colors were produced.

The flagman is illustrated accurately for the first time in the September 1958 instruction manual. All of the earlier manuals only show a very small sketch of a taller-looking flagman next to a sign post as part of the depiction of the layout. It is very doubtful that a Soviet flagman was produced in that form and it is unclear as why the flagman was given "second-class treatment" as compared to all of the other major set components.

The original box -- which is very rare -- is made of soft gray cardboard which is covered with a cream colored paper that may have had an adhesive backing or may have been applied with glue. In any case the box is fairly flimsy and few have survived. The box is square and measures 3 1/4 inches wide by 3 1/4 inches deep by 4 1/2 inches high with the lid on. There are no identification marks or other printing on either the box or the lid.

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This page is an information document only; nothing on this web page is being offered for sale. This page and all of the other pages from Our Soviet Archives were developed to assist you in understanding the components of the train sets produced in the Soviet Union during the 1950's and 1960's. These sets are known today as "Stalin-era" sets and "Khrushchev-era" sets. We have used pictures from our old files and personal collection to construct this area of our website. If you are interested in buying something, please view our inventory listings to see what we currently have for sale.

This web page was last updated on September 9, 2005. If you have suggestions for improving this page or if you see any errors, please contact us.

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