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Versioning the Marklin 314 tank wagon freight cars

The vintage Maerklin "314" tank wagon (kesselwagen) series manufactured between 1947 and 1955 continue to provide vintage die cast collectors with sought after cars for their collections.  Marklin produced 5 different models of tank wagons during this period as described below - taking note of their model numbers, production years and general chacteristics:

  1. 314 - (1947-1948) - Light or dark grey tank with no markings - 2 variants

  2. 314 BP - (1950-1955) - Green tank - "BP" - (British Petroleum) - 3 variants

  3. 314 E - (1947-1955) - Grey or silver tank - "Esso" - 6 variants

  4. 314 G - (1950-1955) - White tank - "GASOLIN / MOTANOL" - 3 variants

  5. 314 S - (1949-1955) - Yellow tank - "SHELL" - 4 (5?) variants

The following series of interactive images and photographs will help you discover the correct version of your tank wagons.  We'll start with...

Versioning for the 314S "Shell" tank wagon.

Marklin 314 Shell - Version 1

The first variant (Koll's versioning numbers) is the easiest of the 314S's to identify.  Like the other tank models produced in the years leading up to 1950, the V1 has two principal features that help to classify it. 

The first is the the presence of a wire brake rod or "Bremsspindel" in German.  On the brakesman's cabin end of the car notice the wire rod that extends down from the middle of the cabin to attach to the chassis.  Later versions do NOT have a wire brake rod - rather the rod is molded into the cabin casting.  It has been suggested that the wire was removed as a cost saving measure.  Also note that the cabin window is punched out in the first version and it is closed (covered over) in later versions. 

Using the pointer of your mouse (or your finger if using a touch device [tablet or phone]) drag the arrows to the left and right in the accompanying interactive image to note the above differences.  The image on the left (as indentified by the label) is the first version and the image on the right is representative of later versions (version two in the example)

The second principal feature that identifies the first version from later versions is the presence of the Kolls Type BK 4.2 coupler, often called the "hook" coupler.  Later versions of the 314S all were fitted with Kolls Type BK 5 couplers.  Note the differences in the image below.


Marklin 314 Shell - Version 2

The main features that identify a 314 S version 2 are the previously mentioned lack of a wire brake rod (present only in V1) and the use of Type BK 5 couplers.  It is worth noting here that a version 2 (like a V1) does NOT have brake shoes or "Bremsbacken" (German).  

Using the interactive image to the left note the difference between a car that does NOT have brake shoes and one that HAS brake shoes.  The image on the left is from a version 2 and the image on the right is from a version 3.  Note that the brake shoes extend down from the chassis on both sides of the wheel and would grab the wheel at a 9:00 and 3:00 o'clock position would they be functional.  Obviously in the model they are non-functional and merely cosmetic. 

Marklin 314 Shell - Version 3

Besides the presence of brake shoes in version 3 there is another interesting feature only found in the 3rd variant* - a round hole in the middle of the chassis.  In the photo to the left notice the location of this hole.  It's use will become clear in version 4.

* - There may be some instances of a version 3 WITHOUT this hole, but I have not seen an example in about 6 samples.

Marklin 314 Shell - Version 4

The 4th and final version of the 314S also had brake shoes like it's predecessor,  but V4 is marked by the presence of a tube that attaches the tank to the chassis.  Evidently the tanks with the attachment tubes were not ready for production at the same time as the prepared chassis and this resulted in version 3.  Version 4 was only produced in 1955.  In the interactive image to the left note the tube that connected the tank to the chassis.

Final thoughts on the 314S - Version 0 ????

In the 2018 edition of Koll's PreisKatalog there was a new variant for the 314S - "0" (version 0).  Often times when a new version is discovered/uncovered that proceeds the first version, Kolls will assign a version "0" or even "01" to this variant rather than disrupt the versioning numeration that has existed for years.  In the case of the 314S Kolls has identified a color variant "zitronengelb" (German) or lemon yellow that is different from the yellow color of the V1. 

Recently I have acquired a vintage collection from the late 1940's/early 1950's that "may" have contained a 314S version 0.  Since the only difference between the 314S version 0 and version 1 is the color I attach photos below to show the possible Version 0 between other version 1 examples.  In favor of the version 0 argument would be the original box that came with the model.  The date stamp on the plain brown cardboard original box is stamped with a "9" which would indicate "1949" - the correct year for the version 0.  

The color difference is subtle and I will leave it up to the reader to come away with their own conclusions.