N scale close coupling alternatives

NorsemanJack Jul 6, 2018

  1. NorsemanJack

    NorsemanJack TrainBoard Member

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    Just fyi. A combination of one Kato 923500 and one Kato 923090 will provide a coupling distance approximately the same as the asymmetrical Unimate solution (one medium shank and one short shank). The advantage is that because of the 923500 coupler, the cars will couple by simply rolling them together. It also means a person has 50% less couplers to replace. I've just added the 923090's to the front of each car in a set of CZ cars, and they couple very easily. I did have to watch some old videos to verify what was "front" on some of the cars. Uncoupling still requires a lift and separate.
     
  2. SF Chief

    SF Chief TrainBoard Member

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    Beautiful work on the E5 coupling. Looks like it's time to get a bunch o' Kato 923090s. Thanks. Rick
     
  3. Joe D'Amato

    Joe D'Amato TrainBoard Member

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    It would be easier for us if nothing under 14" was used as a basic radius. A lot of folks still use 10" and I get angry emails when our heavyweights can't negotiate their track. That's the nature of body mount, even with our off set bolsters... which is what the market is demanding. We could have used truck mount, gotten rid of the steps, but then you'd have the old Rapido/Atlas situation and these days no one wants that. We have to allow for all conditions out there and it makes it difficult to get longer cars closer together as you are finding out. It's an on going process, we always try and look at ways we can get cars closer together and still meet the broader market demands. I've switched to Drawbars on my FT's and F units and even on my Overnight Mail Train I've been noodling with.
     
    nd-rails likes this.
  4. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    As long as we perpetuate the mindset of wanting to get the most railroad in the smallest space the problem will be with us. As with everything there are limitations which we have to recognize applying to everyone including ourselves. Sharp curves and long cars are one of those limitations. The problem I have with the MT heavyweights is also the body mounted couplers. They have an overy large coupling distance between cars. My old Atlas/ModelPower/Lima heavyweights with the truck mounted couplers have a much closer coupling distance even with Rapido couplers. I run them more often than I do my MT's. An added plus with truck mounted couplers is that the coupler is always lined up with the track centerline.

    Trying to satisfy both sides in the truck vs body mount debate is impossible. The only thing to do is to provide for both so modelers can decide for themselves. This might even go as far as to sell cars sans trucks and couplers letting the modeler buy his preference separately.
     
  5. NorsemanJack

    NorsemanJack TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for weighing in Joe. I'm sure it's a challenge with a market that can't agree on the priority of a) tight radii, b) closer coupling and c) body mount couplers. I personally am most interested in prototype consist appearance, which translates into avoiding tight radii and seeking close coupling solutions where practical. Body mounts mean little to me, since I can't tell the difference in an assembled train; especially if the cars couple closely to each other. But that's just one man's opinion. I recently learned on another thread how emotional some folks can become over body mounts, so I can appreciate your "pain."
     
  6. NorsemanJack

    NorsemanJack TrainBoard Member

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    The Z scale 905 swap out does make a big improvement, and it's very quick and simple. I could drill new mounting holes slightly further back to make the cars couple even closer, but as of right now I can live with the 905 solution as is.
     
  7. Carl Lawson

    Carl Lawson TrainBoard Member

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    It’s the old toy train mindset vs the model railroad approach. Personally, I’m not a particular fan of body mounted couplers simply because they don’t couple well on curves, even broad curves by nmra standards. I’ve chosen to avoid cars longer than 60 scale feet and use only “shorty” passenger cars. It reduces the toy train look on curves. Running at scale or slower speeds also helps.

    To my eye, the longer passenger & 89’ flats just don’t look right on visible n-scale radius under 30”. Tighter radius can be used on hidden trackage.
     
  8. nd-rails

    nd-rails TrainBoard Member

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    I'm on Joes side. It is time 40 year old non-standards were left in the dust and as long as such rolling stock befits enhances and 'simplicity' in manufacture (therefore costs). Adherence to out of date criteria only continues to limit innovation.
    Forward men_____ :sneaky:
    d
     
  9. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    This is the old Rolling Stones song, "You can't always get what you want"....."but if you try sometimes, you get what you need" situation.

    I like Joe D'Amato's post. As someone who has grown from a small starter layout years ago, where I saw the issue with the long wheelbase cars, I had to grow my layout so I could run all my cars. I still saw issues with the longer passenger cars and so I went to a larger layout again, lucky to have the space to do that. But I never got the the bug do the body mounts until I joined an NTrak club and saw the cars running on the outer line with the 44 inch (give or take) radius corner modules. For the first time I saw the distance between the cars as an issue. I also saw an issue with backing up a long train with truck mounted couplers there too. That is when I started the movement to body mounted couplers, and then with the closer coupling of the cars. I am fortunate enough to have my retirement layout now that has no sharp curves on the mainline and can run any car or locomotive I have. Now I just need to retire and move to Show Low AZ and put CA in the rearview!
     
  10. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    EXACTLY! Lets get N scale out of the O-27 mentality. I don't run passenger on my layout, but the body mount and close coupling present so much better when the N scale layout is almost eye level. I'm at a turning point however as this layout is operations based. Do I stick with the tried and true Micro Trains 1015? Or go Z scale 905? Maybe with some tweeking the newer Ultimate couplers by MT?

    Really the only limitation on my end is my aging eyes.
     
  11. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    "......I am fortunate enough to have my retirement layout now that has no sharp curves on the mainline and can run any car or locomotive I have. Now I just need to retire and move to Show Low AZ and put CA in the rearview!

    The mountain awaits you my friend... (y)(y)(y):cool::cool:
     
  12. Carl Lawson

    Carl Lawson TrainBoard Member

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    What mountain?
     
  13. NorsemanJack

    NorsemanJack TrainBoard Member

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    I've never heard of these. Do you have a link?
     
  14. NorsemanJack

    NorsemanJack TrainBoard Member

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    He's likely referring to the White Mountains in Arizona (where Show Low is located). Beautiful country!
     
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  15. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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  16. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    Tried the True Scale couplers. Removed them after one show. There is a reason why the Mt coupler, the Accumate, the McHenry and the Bachmann coupler are oversized. That is because the tolerances in Nscale are small. Your track work better be perfect. These couplers will disengage vertically more so than the regular MT coupler for relatively slight dips in track. If you run NTrak you are aware that NTrak modules are notorious for the dreaded ski jump ends. But even on permanent layouts there is always the 800 pound gorilla who places his hand on the track and proceeds to lean on it. The cork roadbed might give a little but the foam roadbed will do more so. The roadbed will eventually return but the track will have a permanent dip in it and the True Scale couplers will find it. But if you are confident that your track work is perfect then go for it.
     
  17. NorsemanJack

    NorsemanJack TrainBoard Member

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    And also VERY wide radii curves. There is virtually no "side to side" movement on the TruScales that I tested (short shank). If you go with a longer shank, then you lose the prototype appearance including, in many cases, prototype car spacing. All else being equal, I would imagine that the Z scale 905 would be a superior choice in most applications where operations are the focus.
     
  18. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Good to know. The main complaint I had heard was the "stiff coupling". While I only plan to use these on my B&M mini modules, the instance of track level worrys me. My main is on road bed and all spurs and the siding are on the benchwork to simulate the prototype. While I designed the grade to be gradual, it sounds like on your experience, these are a little, as we New Englanders say "Persnicketdy"

    And maybe the best alternative for the modules. The 905s work well and since the B&M modules have only one broad radius servicing a facility. Plus the real problem again, my eyes. Even with the optivisor, I could barely assemble the TrueScale couplers.
     
  19. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett TrainBoard Member

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    Jack, where did you get the passenger cars diaphragms?

    Joe
     
  20. NorsemanJack

    NorsemanJack TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Joe. Are you referring to the diaphragms on the Kato engines? Those are just Kato spare parts for their Budd passenger cars. They cost a buck per pair, so pretty cheap. I trim the three mounting tabs down to nubs (for F units) or nub on the top and nothing on the side (E units). I've glued them on before, but recently discovered that Micro-scale Liquitape works great for making these simple "stick-ons." They can either be left on the units (with slight trimming of the Kato jewel box foam) or removed/replaced when storing/removing from the jewel boxes.

    [​IMG]

    I strongly prefer the look of having the diaphragms fill up most of the remaining space between close coupled units. I know many will advise that they are out of place later in the lives of most cab units, but I have ample video evidence that many roads left them on even into the early sixties. I have an Emery Gulash video that shows the El Capitan, with ABBA F3 power with complete diaphragms between locomotives. The bi-levels didn't hit the El Capitan until the very late 1950's, so I'm good!
     

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