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From the Archives of Dave's Trains, Inc.

Hammer & Sickle Soviet Instruction Manual Hammer & Sickle

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About This Item

Every Stalin-era and Khrushchev-era train set produced by the Soviet Union in the 1950's and 1960's included operating instructions in the form of an illustrated manual written in Cyrillic. The booklet consisted of front and back covers plus eight pages of text, sketches and diagrams for a total of twelve pages. The manual has been found in two different sizes: 8 1/2 inches wide by 11 1/4 inches tall and also 8 1/2 inches wide by 11 1/2 inches tall. The earlier versions have been found with only a Stalin-era engine on the front plus a plain back cover. The background color on the covers of those manuals have been found in green and in blue. Later versions have a very colorful front and back cover which combine to show the entire train (the engine and four cars). Subsequent printings show the train in that same format but with a Khrushchev-era engine.

Soviet instruction manuals
Photo of 1955 Manual Photo of 1956 Manual
LEFT: 1955 instruction manual . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RIGHT: 1956 instruction manual.

Front & back cover of later Soviet instruction manual
Photo of 1967 Manual
ABOVE: The very colorful November 1967 instruction manual.

The manual includes diagrams of the resulting layout, charts indicating which color light each block signal will produce depending on the position of the train, sketches of the engine, rolling stock and accessories, plus the text to assist in connecting the wiring harness to the transformer, track and accessories.

Photo of the layout diagram from the instruction manual
Photo of Layout Diagram
Above: Diagram legend. ------- NOTE: letter references added

The booklet -- which also served as the sales brochure in the 1960's when the Soviets finally tried to sell the trains -- was apparently produced each year (at least through 1958) and revised throughout the year as necessary. Depending on the issue, the print date can be found on the back cover or the inside of the back cover or the inside of the front cover. Additional data -- including the number of copies printed -- can also be found in those same places. The following chart provides details about the 14 catalogs that have surfaced to date:

Soviet Catalogs Through the Years
Print DateYearCover ColorMadeFeatures & Changes (from prior version that we have)
November 5 1951 Aqua-green 100 First generation, early-style lamp post is illustrated; three different layouts are suggested; engine depicted on cover.
December 7 1951 Aqua-green 300 No changes compared to the November 1951 manual.
August 9 1952 Aqua-blue 3,000 Only one layout is suggested.
July 31 1953 Aqua-blue 3,000 No changes compared to the August 1952 manual.
February 3 1954 Turquoise 5,000 No changes compared to the prior two manuals.
December 16 1954 Green 2,500 No changes compared to the prior three manuals.
May 27 1955 ? 2,600 No changes compared to the prior four manuals.
September 12 1955 Green 4,000 No changes compared to the prior five manuals.
November 29 1956 Light blue 500 No changes compared to the prior six manuals.
March 20 1957 ? 2,500 No changes compared to the prior seven manuals.
March 22 1958 Green 3,000 The older gate crossing, having been out of production for many years, is finally replaced in the manual as the newer-style gate crossing is illustrated for the first time on page 7; layout diagram still depicts the older-style gate crossing.

The earlier suspension bridge, having been out of production for many years, is finally replaced in the manual as the arch-over bridge is illustrated for the first time on page 8; layout diagram still depicts the older suspension bridge.
September 23 1958 Blue, red,
yellow, green
10,000 Colorful front and back covers combine to display the entire train; new-style block signal and new-style lamp post are illustrated; the station is shown with the second generation, early-style lamp posts for the first time; the flagman is depicted accurately for the first time in a large illustration apart from the layout diagram, which still shows an older-style flagman; page layouts were revised.
August 19 1964 Blue, red,
yellow, green
10,000 Issue of using 220-volt household current is addressed in item #3 of the "Basic Instructions" section on the last page of text.
November 5 1967 Blue, red,
yellow, green
5,000 Khrushchev-era engine is displayed on cover and on page 4; page layouts were revised plus the cars and accessories are shown from different angles; a new (topside view) layout diagram is shown which depicts the arch-over bridge; "MEP" was removed from the depictions of the cars.

Additional Information

Finding an original instruction manual in collector-quality condition is very difficult. Various English translations have been done over the years.

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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 11, 2005. If you have suggestions for improving this page or if you see any errors, please contact us.

Trains From the SOVIET UNION
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