When I first began construction on my 4 x 8 G&D, I bought a diesel and started buying freight cars every month when the old SS check came in. Now I have three different types of couplers on my cars and diesels. Several have the old, cheapie horn hooks, the old standard that comes with inexpensive freight cars. Even then, some are just not compatible with the others. They just don't mate. I thought that the trackwork or the wiring would be my problem.....way passed that now!
So, now I have to spend the rest of my life retro-fitting my entire roster, and I decided on the generic horn hook couplers for simplicity. I'l buy 3 dozen, and begin retro-fitting, ASAP. This sure can take the joy out of Model Rail Roading...I'm not a modeler, I just want to build a shortline, and a small town and play God!
Thanks for putting up with my venting about couplers.
Mike wrote: When I first began construction on my 4 x 8 G&D, I bought a diesel and started buying freight cars every month when the old SS check came in. =A0=A0Now I have three different types of couplers on my cars and diesels. Several have the old, cheapie horn hooks, the old standard that comes with inexpensive freight cars. Even then, some are just not compatible with the others. They just don't mate. I thought that the trackwork or the wiring would be my problem.....way passed that now! So, now I have to spend the rest of my life retro-fitting my entire roster, and I decided on the generic horn hook couplers for simplicity. I'l buy 3 dozen, and begin retro-fitting, ASAP. This sure can take the joy out of Model Rail Roading...I'm not a modeler, I just want to build a shortline, and a small town and play God! Thanks for putting up with my venting about couplers.
------------------------------------------------- What you could do is to make a transition car or two with the horn hooks on one end and one of the other types on the other end. Then you can mix 'em up on the same train. That's how I do it on my N scale railroad. Saves time and money.
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad:
Did that a few months ago, but went with McHenry. Compatible with the cars I had Kaydees on already, and just as simple as replacing horn hooks. $20 got me 25 pairs, sitting down and swapping them out, not a big deal.
Wow, this is a subject I am currently working on. I too like Axi, am getting back into the hobby, put away since the 80's. And back then my experience was with 60's and early 70's trains. During the 80's I was "getting back" into them again.
I still have all those (and love them) earlier trains.Have finally settled down. Now I have encountered all the new couplers. My 80's experience was of the then new Kaydee units. But I had a very large collection with horn hooks. Like an earlier poster suggested, I had a few trains with a "transition" car - Kaydee on one end and horns on the other.
Speciffically a custom painted and decaled Athearn Southern RW passenger car set made for a friend who had bought (another) custom painted SRW set of Athearn F-7's with Kadees. She had a couple of other Southern diesels with hornhooks.
Last Christmas, I put together a train set for a young cousin in Maine. She had requested help with getting a train set. Kit-bashed a beautiful Bev-Bel B&M F-7 shell onto one of my 80's Athearn "super power" "F" mechanisims. Quiet, smooth, heavy and perfect (: With horn hooks.
Also got a new IHC "Preimer" Maine Central 2-8-2. Another quiet, smooth beauty. It had Kaydee clone knucle couplers.
She has a small space and is new to model railroading. So I chose the
60' Penn Line and Life Like passenger cars for her. Custom painted streamlined and heavyweight cars in B&M and MC. Lighted too, they are beautiful! But wondered about how to handle the coupler situation.
But it turned out that the IHC loco's knuckle's worked perfectly with the horn hooks. Believe me, I tested them very much. Sigh, hated to see them go (:
And now I am building a layout again for myself. And I have the coupler question again. I have so many horn hook locos and cars. And have converted some of them to Kaydee #5's. But now am faced with Kadees, Bachmann "Magic Mate," and McHenry couplers. I can't afford to convert all of them right now and am looking for a good choice, based on others' experiences.
I am thinking about how well that IHC loco's Kaydee clones worked with the old horn hook cars. And I have heard that McHenry couplers also work well with other couplers. But do not know.
I do know that Kadee's do _not_ work with horn hooks. Do McHenry's? And does anyone know about Bachmann Magic Mate? And does anyone know what those knuckle couplers are on the early IHC Premier trains?
Of course my dream is to have all Kadees on my whole fleet, but perhaps you all might bring me "up to date" on the current state of HO couplers.
I think most people gravitate in and out of hobbies over the years, I know I don't look at it as anything unusual. As far as couplers go, most of my stuff is logging, although here in the midwest, the logging loco was likely to be the same thing as was running on the mainlines, older, smaller rod locos were more common than geared. I suppose to be "in prototype", link and pin would be more appropriate, but screw that, I like the way the McHenrys look. There will be a "main line common carrier", if you want to call it that, a single loop that nowhere intersects the logging line, and passenger train to boot. This is where the McHenry comes in nice, to replace the couplers on my old AHM cars, and even the newer ones that are intended to go over my door, on a shelf and never be moved, it's only a matter of pulling the old ones out and pushing the new ones on. They work well on any car I've put them on, I haven't had any problem with them coming disconnected yet, but there's always a first time. They match nicely with the Kaydee, and what ever couplers IHC is now using, no problems there. Bachmann is now using something similar, they seem to match with them also, which in no way compensates for the poor running loco. The coaches had the truck mounted couplers, both AHM and the older Bachmann cars, but the new Bachmann cars have their EZ-Mate, which looks to me as identical to the McHenry. The new Bachmann cars also do not have the truck mounted coupler, and show that the bottom dollar controlled the manufacturing. Compared to the older stuff, pretty bad.
Knuckle type couplers seem to be emerging as a new "standard", and I have seen some attempt, IHC I believe, to make a coupler that will work with either the knuckles or horn-hooks. How successful, I don't know, I replaced them without trying them.
At any rate, as long as they operate to your satisfaction, nothing else counts.
(And the next guy that tells me I'm not following the prototype is going to be told to run the Hiawatha, pulled by a MDC Climax, with a Kaydee bobber on the end. Sink your prototype, it's MY world I'll do what I damned well please with it.)
In what way is it 'amazing'? It probably matches the sentiments of about half the model railroad hobbyists I know.
One of the great strengths of the hobby is the MANY different 'ways' each person can go with THEIR railroad. Different folks want different things, partly determined by their experience, skills, and budget.
About every other month we have the big 'coupler' HOO-RAH, and everyone states their opinions. None of the 'old hands' ever changes their position, because they've all thought out the options and have chosen what they either like, or works for them.
As a 'newbie' one may not even be aware of the various options. That's where the discussion may be useful, or when some new product appears that nobody has experience with yet.
Ultimately, though, each person should try a few of the major coupler options/variations and see what suits THEM. That's one good reason to visit other layouts, and especially to try operating on them. You'll then learn what works, or doesn't, in what ways, for whom, for what purposes, and why.
I have my own preferences, which I've stated here many times, yet I still enjoy operating on friends' layouts who do things quite differently.
Not really, just intended to convey the message that anything anyone does with a model is ok, there's nothing wrong with going out of prototype if it pleases you. We accept many compromises, variations from reality, and in fact, making reality on a reduced scale isn't really possible. We can come close to it, but too many things can't be scaled to be exact. We can put people in a scene, but people move, they're almost never still, unlike our models. Couplers, I don't think any of them are really in scale, but we accept both that and the devices used to couple and uncouple as just something we have to do. One can go out of his head trying to reproduce something exactly, but should also realize that exact isn't going to be possible. A fair approximation that pleases the eye and one is happy with is far better than an almost exact model that the builder is pointing out every tiny deviation, or having someone point it out for him. We can't reproduce life as it is, we can only produce something that resembles life as we would like it to be.
You actually have horn-hooks that won't couple? First I've ever heard of that happening. And I've played around with most of them, as my dad's been a HO model railroader since the 1950's (and he's still got most of it). Are you sure some of them aren't broken or something?
Jeez, why on earth would you do that? Sure, they're cheaper, but they can lead to so much frustration it's just not worth it, IMHO. I've never had a knuckle couple cause a derailment, but it used to happen all the time with horn-hooks as the side force they put on the cars is too much at times, and it can force the wheels off the track on tight curves usually found on
4' x 8's (or in backing up). Then there's that whole little realism thing going on...horn-hooks just don't have any.
Horn-hooks are going the way of Mantua loop couplers, dodos, and quarterbacks that stay in the pocket. ;-) IOW, they are becoming unpopular at best...
There are a lot of Ready-To-Run (RTR) models out there that come with knuckle couplers (and you can't get any easier than RTR). In fact, I can't think of any these days that actually come with horn-hooks installed. If you want to save yourself some grief, go with knuckle couplers and throw away those horn-hooks like most of us have.
It's the internet...isn't that why it exists? :-)
Paul A. Cutler III
************* Weather Or No Go New Haven
The first knuckle couplers other than Kadee came out in, IIRC, 1996 by McHenry when the Kadee patents ran out. Everyone else (Atlas, Life-Like, Accurail, etc.) got into the act shortly thereafter.
Kadees date back to, IIRC, the 1950's (certainly by the 1960's).
You know, I thought the same, too, way back in the early 1990's. That my dad and I had way too much stuff to convert to Kadees, that we'd never afford it. However, it wasn't that bad. Kadees make great presents for birthdays and holidays once you let the family know, plus when I would buy a car, I would buy a 2-pair pack of Kadees allowing me to convert another car. Just take your time, as who buys all their stuff at once in this hobby? What's nicer is that you can now get Kadees for as little as a dollar a car if you get the 20-pair packs, or you can get some of the plastic couplers for even less.
I wouldn't make a big deal of this feature. In a year or so, probably all your horn-hooks will be in the trash...
Whatever you buy, make sure you get the ones with a metal knuckle spring. Anything that has the plastic "finger" spring is a failure waiting to happen.
Paul A. Cutler III
************* Weather Or No Go New Haven
Have you ever heard of "Lincoln Pin" couplers? From what I've seen and heard, they look and operate quite well and are, no surprise, link and pin couplers.
As long as you don't use the plastic knuckle spring couplers, it ought to be fine. I know I've not had a problem with the metal spring couplers...
Um, what? Body mounted couplers are usually a good thing to have...
I don't have a problem with that, we do that kind of thing at our club all the time. However, if someone is trying to sell themselves as a "prototype modeler" and does the above, then I'm going to call them on it. :-)
Paul A. Cutler III
************* Weather Or No Go New Haven
That part might be ok, but the cars themselves, as well as the loco are far below anything that I'd want to showcase anywhere. Lousy paint, sloppy trucks, detail in the toy class. Could be why the only way the cars are available is in the complete set, which is the reason I bought the set to begin with. IF the cars were done as well as the older AHM cars I have, they would be worth a little more, but this set is nothing but junk, with the cheapest motor I've ever seen in it. I'm going to try replacing it with a Mabuchi that I have a few of, (Roughly 450) to see how it works out. The motor worked well in a box cab converstion, maybe,,,,
Indeed! It was a MAJOR problem. Years back I TRIED to get horn-hooks to work decently, and experienced LOTS of kinds that would NOT couple dependably, NOT uncouple, or stay coupled ... some would hardly couple together at all.
The problem was not with the NMRA's proposed design (it was NEVER even an "RP" recommended practices), but with the various manufacturer's redesigns of the concept. They varied in overall SIZE by nearly a factor of 1.5, had all sorts of spring pressures, and different shaped hooks and horns. The trip pins also varied considerably (some would snag one another).
The result was that some simply would not couple to others, and NO available uncoupling ramp would work with even most of them.
I finally switched to the "Rail Line" versions, and used them whenever possible. These worked with each other quite well. Later, they even had a magnetic version that also worked rather well, but LOOKED even worse than the standard horn-hooks (BIG maagnet ON the trip pin).
I never did use the Mantua hook-loop couplers ... they just looked too bad. I tried the Devore/Roundhouse mechanical couplers. They looked better, but didn't work for 'beans'. I tried the mechanical Kadees, which worked better and looked decent, but was unimpressed. Then Kadee came out with their magnematics, which looked the same, but worked far better. Now I use about 95% real Kadee couplers, and have been unimpressed with most of the 'clones'. I still have some 'clones' in service, but most soon start to cause problems, and I replace them with Kadees.
On Wed, 09 Feb 2005 20:46:27 -0600, Greybeard wrote: (in part)
Thanks Greybeard, for your information of your experience.
My experience with the IHC couplers is that they work very well with other types. And they are of good quality as well. Another poster here, Len has confirmed this. And Len identified them as IHC Magic Mates. I had written my earlier post and had mistaken MM's as Bachmann. Another poster identified the Bachmann product as "EZ Mate" a similar product.
Indeed. That is the most important thing for my railroad. I like to see trains running through scenery and towns. And aren't the towns and buildings and stuff as pleasing as the trains? (: Really don't "see" the couplers, but see a well put together train. And of course, I want them to work well. To stay coupled when they are supposed to and provide a realistic distance between cars. And to not screw up when backing and switching etc.
As I wrote, I prefer the Life-Like and predecessor Penn line 60' passenger cars for my pike. Repainted, lighted and detailed, they look just great on the "4X8" scale layout, which itself is way out of scale. A steam loco or a couple of F's pulling four or five cars fit perfectly in the reduced scale and look just right. Just got to please me and make me happy (:
Thanks to you all and all the posters for your help and experience! I think that the Magic Mates will be a good choice as I convert my 60's,
70's, 80's collection to knuckle couplers, one by one. As well as adding new locos and cars. I have some trains that are exclusively Kadees, and have all those old horn hooks too. I will get some McHenry's as well. This is my plan. The MM's and MH's will bridge the gap, until I get the whole lot converted to KD's. Or perhaps find that several brands suit my needs.
I have retired!!! After 37 years with the Feds. And have a fine new, old 1935 house with a full, empty basement. Just begging for a great layout. I think this will be the last time I will be "getting back" into the hobby, and will be in for the long haul. Yea for me! (:
Have a lot of time now, and have some experience converting something large one by one. Like "Johnny Appleseed" or perhaps the story "The Man Who Planted Trees"
I like the "birthday" idea (:
Have already converted a few trains, that would normally be run together and not with any others. And thanks to the other posters and their replies, I have a good start, without having to re-invent the wheel.
Very Best Regards,
On Thu, 10 Feb 2005 17:01:23 GMT, "Pac Man" wrote: (in part)
The magic mates are good for your transition period to a single coupler type. But my policy has been to buy s package of KDs (more recently, the scale KDs) every time I buy anything else at the hobby store. Now I'm all converted and have a large supply of discarded horn-hooks. I use the KDs (and also McHenry scale ones where I want a non-metallic coupler, or where the original was an ez-mate and the shaft doesn't work well with KD) to replace ez-mates with the plastic finger springs, too. Both the KDs and the McHenry's with their metal springs work better in my estimation.
in article email@example.com, Robert at firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on 2/10/05 3:38 PM: