KADEE« COUPLERS FOR LGB AND BACHMANN LOCOMOTIVES
Manufacturer: Kadee Quality Products, 673 Avenue C, White City, OR 97503. Price: 791 "G" Scale or 1791 One Scale locomotive and tender couplers $11.95 per set suggested list.
WE HAVE PRESENTED two stories in the past year explaining how to mount working mechanical and hook-loop couplers on LGB's 2019S Mogul. Both involved cutting, fitting, drilling, a modicum of skill, and time. On the other hand, if you use Kadee couplers on your trains, own a screwdriver, have fifteen minutes and barely enough skill to tie your shoelaces, you can install the new 791 or 1791 couplers on your locomotive and tender with professional results.
Kadee couplers, in case you are reading a model railroading magazine for the first time, are the "standard by choice" of every scale in our hobby...except the large scales. Virtually every hobbyist in every scale from Z through O replaces stock couplers with Kadees. For some reason, in large scale, no one manufacturer's coupler predominates. But a growing number of modelers is turning to Kadee products because of their consistently outstanding quality, excellent appearance, and smooth, reliable performance.
Kadees look very much the same as real knuckle couplers. The larger "G" scale size is the closest of all commercial couplers to being the right size for 1:22.5 or 1:20.3 scale versions of the most common D&RGW narrow gauge knuckle couplers. The smaller One Scale coupler is similarly accurate for 1:32 scale standard gauge rolling stock. It also happens to have more typical proportions for 1:24, 1:22.5, and 1:20.3 scale narrow gauge couplers because D&RGW couplers were larger than most. (The June/July 1992 and February/March 1993 issues of Outdoor Railroader have Data Sheets with drawings and dimensions in case you want to compare Kadee's proportions with those of other manufacturers or with actual D&RGW couplers.)
Kadees couple mechanically but uncouple magnetically. A curved trip pin drops from the knuckle toward the track. When it passes over an uncoupling magnet, it swings to one side and opens the knuckle. The magnetic attraction between the trip pins of facing couplers holds the cars together until you stop the train and reverse the direction. Then the couplers let go. The system is ingenious.
You may also uncouple Kadees mechanically by inserting a homemade two-prong device into a mating pair of knuckles and twisting. The procedure is less elegant but has many adherents among hobbyists in the smaller scales, particularly those objecting to the unprototypical trip pin. They usually snip off that piece.
Now you know the theory. In practice, Kadee large scale couplers work every bit as well as their small scale counterparts. And the manufacturer has taken all the frustration out of installing them. Adding the tender coupler involves removing the screw attaching the hook-loop, placing a pair of centering springs in the Kadee draft gear box, screwing the lid onto the box, and screwing the resulting assembly to the spot where the hook-loop used to be. No drills, no glue, no mess. Total time: Maybe five minutes.
The locomotive involves the same steps and one more: You first must detach the pilot from the locomotive, a job requiring you to remove two screws. The Kadee draft gear box fits right over the casting on the pilot. Neat. Total time: Ten minutes. The Bachmann conversion requires a little more effort but it is still easy.
Quality? Topnotch. Appearance? Excellent. Performance? Unsurpassed. Criticisms? No, just a statement. The new draft gear box on the locomotive sticks out farther than the old one because the coupler trip pin must clear the front of the pilot. That is the price you pay for magnetic operation. Kadee's couplers for LGB and Bachmann locomotives are first rate.-RR