To clip or not to clip.......Coupler pins

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Chessie1973, May 17, 2004.

  1. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I have a couple suggestions that might work for photography, while still allowing you to have the advantage of automatic uncoupling. 1. When I install Kaddees, I assemble the coupler in it's box, then I use a 2-56 screw and nut to hold everything together. I cut the "ears" off of the box, unless I need to use them to mount the kaddees. So far I have not found any plastic model that needs them. I suspect that they are used on wood kits, but I don't have any of those. Finally I use Testors liquid plastic cement to glue the box together just around the edges, being careful not to get any glue inside the box of course. Once the glue dries, I remove the screw, and my Kaddee is ready to be mounted to a car as an assembly. If you also get some dummy couplers like those from MDC/Roundhouse, you can mount them in spare Kaddee boxes and glue the boxes together. Then you just change out the coupler assembly for photos. You would not need to change out all of the couplers for photos. I think just changing those couplers on the ends of rolling stock that aren't coupled to other cars would be sufficient. 2. The other method would be to build a few cars for photo purposes with dummy couplers, and complete air brake hose and glad hand detail. These cars could be extremely highly detailed if you like since they won't be operational. Then you use these highly detailed models for photography only. They would be removed, and perhaps put on display in display boxes when you are operating your trains. I have found that many of the kits from Lifelike p2k, Intermountain, Red Caboose, etc. have so much under body detail and detail around the couplers, that they don't operate very well, anyway. I hope this thing didn't get too long for a quick reply.
  2. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Russ, what a great idea!! You're right, why not have a few pieces of super-detailed rolling stock for photo and display purposes? Brilliant! I'm going to hit the detail parts section ASAP! Thanks a lot. :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    It may have to be a compromise between operation and photography.
    Many years ago, there was an article on mounting concealed uncoupling pins. It invoved replacing the Kadee pin with a longer pieces of soft iron wire (?) which was bent backwards, around an axle and then out to where the magnet would grab it.
    One suggestion: try not to glue the coupler bixes in place. If you have a screw mount, you can always replace it if it breaks or gets out of adjustment.
  4. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Val,Detail Associates and Details West both have scale HO air hoses. Also there are several mfgs. that have scale dummy couplers. But nothing beats good old Kadee's for operation. :)

    OH...BTW...Just a little trick....Try using Kadee HON3 couplers on HO cars. They are 3/4ths the size of say #5's and not quite as obvious, but it won't be a "drop in" installation. You'll have to figure out a way to mount them.
  5. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the detail hoses are in the unhooked position and can't be connected? Last time I chatted with Val I thought she was looking for ones to look like they are coupled to run? Isn't that right? FRED
  6. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Yep You're 100% right Fred. I'm thinking that they could be drilled in at an angle so that the glad hands would touch for photo purposes.
  7. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Vic and Fred - thanks for all your suggestions. :thumb: :thumb:

    I want to have about 3 or 4 cars coupled together just for photos, not operations. The front and back cars will need the uncoupled configuration on one end and coupled on the other, the middle car(s) would be coupled at both ends. For my operational cars, I'll stick with the Kadee #5's as I have already converted all rolling stock to those and have a supply on hand.

    Now what I need are some reference photos for what this really looked like back in the 1950's. Got any ideas where to find some?

  8. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    How about cutting the glad hand details off and CA it to wire insulation? Then stick the other two ends to the cars on a "pin" and let them droop U like the real thing. Would be very delicate but doable. FRED
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Besides the old standby (Fallen Flags), Ian Wilson's books on steam in the 1950's have excellent photos. I just borrowed (last night in fact) the first three books. I stayed up way too late looking at them all. :)

    The first book is Steam at Allendale, and the opening photo is a heartbreaker, I have to say. It is all the steamers - and there must be hundreds of them - waiting in the yard to be towed to the torch... :cry: :(

    Anyway, Ian's web site is . He is on the fifth book now, and there are rumours of a 5 book set of these books. Might be a little pricey, but worth the money in my opinion, for any dedicated CN steam enthusiast.


    PS - Two other thoughts - 1) if the superdetail brake hoses are white metal castings, maybe they can be bent into position on your photo models. 2) If you are looking for scale accuracy for photo purposes, why not use dummy couplers, rather than modified #5's or #58's? I have some I could send to you for "experiments" if you don't have any. I think I got mine out of the Accurail "shake the box" kits. OOPS! After rereading, I see that Russ has already suggested the dummy couplers. In any case, the offer stands... ;)
  10. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    How about this?

    cut the ends off the detail hoses, and glue them onto some black pvc inulated wire, then you can form them however you like. ~or~ just use the insulation, so they are soft, and joint the glad hands with some hobby tack.
  11. neilmunck

    neilmunck Member

    Hi val

    In the 2001 Great Model Railraods there is an article about David W. Davis' layout. It is a finescale HO layout with scale couplers. The air hoses from Kadee angle cocks, transmission wire and glad hands that he punched from kitchen magnets (this is more or less a quote - i have the article here). The magnets means he can connect the airhoses for photgraphic purposes and the photos look pretty good to me :)

    H also appears to be using working uncoupling levers in one of the photos but it is difficult to tell.

    It doesn't say how he punches out the glad hands though.

  12. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    I think I might have that issue - I'll have a look for it. Thanks for the tip!

    :thumb: Val
  13. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    One trick that some british modellers use is a casting that has a representation of two joined couplings and the joined brake pipes. These are usually used in "fixed rakes" of passeneger cars on display layouts. The casting then becomes a drawbar and is either bolted to both cars or is bolted to one and has a hook for the other.
    Unfortunately, the prototypes for both couplings and pipes are wrong for your road.
    Maybe a project for one of our casting experts?
    Brake pipes have not changed much in the last hundred years. The biggest difference is that with the cushioned couplings, the pipes are mounted on the movable drawgear next to the coupling with a flexible hose between that and the car body.
    You might be able to soften the plastic air bags with warm water and bnd them out to touch.
  14. pdt

    pdt Member

    If you want prototype couplers, look no further than here:

    From the website's "about" page:

    They look absolutely stunning.

    For my purposes, Walthers dummy couplers fit the bill nicely. I have somewhere near 100 coal cars with 75% equipped with dummy couplers and the remainder with Kadee #58s (they couple easier with the Walthers dummies than #5s). Slack is reduced with the dummy couplers, backing is more reliable, they actually look better than Kadees and they are far cheaper. Now, if I hadn't dumped so much money into all those #5s, then replaced them with #58s, I could probably be persuaded to go with the Sergent Engineering couplers.

    If I wanted to have a cut of cars for photography purposes, I'd definitely go with Sergent Engineering couplers.

    As for me, all the Kadee gladhands get the chop right away. I hate the way they look and magnetic uncoupling always annoyed me.
  15. mykroft

    mykroft Member

    I clip mine, as I do't use Magnetic uncouplers.

    I'm eventually going with the Sergent Couplers, but I haven't had a chance to order them. Note that they function prototypically, coupling is (Semi) automatic, uncoupling is manual (Via a magnet passed over the coupler instead of a lift pin)
  16. atsfman

    atsfman New Member

    My layout is three decks. We use skewers to uncouple in most locations, but there are some hard to reach industrial sidings, and to avoid having someone lose their balance and go belly down on the railroad, I have magnets at those points. So all of my cars have the Kadees with gladhands in place. The once in a great while gladhand that snags gets bent with a Kadee coupler tool.

    I guess I would urge caution in performing the snip thing, is that someday you may have a situation where you really do need to use a mag on a siding and then you will have the rolling stock all dehorned and unable to use the siding.

  17. RioGrande

    RioGrande Member

    I keep my KD pins on...

    I figure they would be alot of trouble to put back if I changed my mind later! Plus I want the option of using the magnetic automatic capabilities of the couplers.

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