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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    1,268

    Close-coupling Kato F units

    Just a few photos of some experimenting I've been doing to improve the coupling distance of Kato F units:

    Before:



    After:



    I'll post more info and photos if anyone is interested. The new couplers are Kato dummies, and the diaphragms are improvised using some off-the-shelf Kato parts and a fabric "filler." Total cost for a B unit is less than $3 and an A unit is under a buck and a half.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Edmond, OK
    Posts
    348
    I'm interested! That looks great!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Kent, Washington, United States
    Age
    44
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    Blog Entries
    131
    I was looking at a pair of Kato F7s last night and thinking that the coupling distance seemed redicoulous. I wish I'd seen this last night though, because I just placed an order with Kato, and I probably could have thrown in some of those dummy couplers.
    Greg Amer
    Locomotive Engineer (EN05 564) - Stacy Yard

    THE INDUSTRIAL LEAD
    facebook.com/TheIndustrialLead


  4. #4
    Is that Kato part #923090 ??? Also, do the roof points bump each other when the slack runs in like they do with short shank unimate's?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Sarasota, FL
    Age
    55
    Posts
    1,736
    Can you post some pictures of these "Kato dummy" couplers? Do you have a part number?

    Thx.
    John Sing
    Sarasota, Florida

    Modeling the Santa Fe's 'Peavine Line' from Ash Fork AZ to Phoenix AZ in the 50's/60's
    http://home.comcast.net/~j.sing

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Sydney AUSTRALIA
    Posts
    139
    Great improvement, I wasn't aware of the Kato part you mentioned
    I had installed Unimates on my F3 A + B's but I like what you've done..especially with the foam block.

    Great stuff - thanks for posting :thumbs_up:
    Steve

    "rivet counting, yeah right - I was never good at maths anyway......."

    My D&RGW images & stuff...


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Sugar Land, Texas, United States
    Age
    62
    Posts
    13,805
    Blog Entries
    1

    923090
    Close Coupling Knuckle Coupler (Truck Mount), 8 ea N-Scale / Fits: BethGon
    Russell Straw, Sugar Land Route

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas
    Age
    69
    Posts
    13,606

    Smile

    I've just put some American Limited diaphragms on my F units. I am very interested in your method and techniques.

    For close coupling on kato F units, I have used the Micro Trains conversion on one and a Unimate dummy coupler on the other facing unit. IIRC, the correct prototype spacing between the car bodies is four feet.

    [edit] That Russell Straw has parts for everything! :thumbs_up:

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    Pittsburgh
    Posts
    2,502
    Quote Originally Posted by Flash Blackman View Post
    I've just put some American Limited diaphragms on my F units. I am very interested in your method and techniques.

    For close coupling on kato F units, I have used the Micro Trains conversion on one and a Unimate dummy coupler on the other facing unit. IIRC, the correct prototype spacing between the car bodies is four feet.

    [edit] That Russell Straw has parts for everything! :thumbs_up:
    The "T" shank Unimates were the close coupling coupler of preference as they came in three shank sizes. They were a drop in fit for units with truck mounted couplers like the Kato F7's and the early [plastic frame] LifeLike FA/B2's. The IM and later LifeLike units needed the body mount and required more work. Great for drawbarring an ABBA set together to preven uncouplings. Apparently the Unimates are in scarce supply. The Kato coupler looks a lot like the new Bachmann coupler. I got several of those on some spare tenders I purchased and from the limited testing I did they seemed okay but I did not have the opportunity to test them under the load of a long train ala Ntrak.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    1,268
    Quote Originally Posted by r_i_straw View Post

    923090
    That is the coupler I used. The packages now include ten couplers attached to a sprue, which comes in handy for painting. I wanted mine to be silver, so while still attached to the sprue, I gave them a bath in isopropyl alcohol and then spray painted them silver. I don't like the way the Kato spring fits with these, so before installation I've been lightly filing the back surface of the coupler (where the spring makes contact) and glueing the springs to the coupler prior to installation. I tried gel super glue, but found that Micro-scale Krystal Klear works better for me. I prefer to remove the shell during installation, as it makes it easier to get a small screwdriver in to pop off the original coupler cover (on top of the coupler pocket). After that, it's just a matter of twisting the original coupler 90 degrees to remove it and installing the dummy coupler with a similar 90 degree twist.

    The diaphragms are just Kato CZ parts that have had the mounting "ears" snipped down a bit, but not removed entirely (the remaining nubs make positioning on the locomotive easier). They are glued on using Krystal Klear, which seams like it could be removed later if so desired. The final addition is a piece of fabric that I found with my wife at a fabric store. It is grey automotive headliner and consists of a smooth grey surface with small ribs on one side and a black foam backing on the other. I folded it over so that there is a continuous grey surface with a rounded top and glued the two sides together. The result is a flexible, foam filled piece with a smooth grey surface on both sides and the top. Then I just trimmed it to fit with scissors and slipped it between the two engines prior to coupling. If it is examined under magnification it probably won't look very good, but I'm looking for a cheap, non-invasive way to add working diaphragms to passenger consists and this is a first attempt. Without the reduction of coupling distance, this wouldn't work. I bought a lifetime supply of this fabric for $1.06, so it is essentially free.

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