Monday, 21 June 2010

Genvan Coupled Up

The finished Gen Van has been coupled-up with Kadees in NEM pockets.

Although I finished my DC Kits Gen Van (see earlier posts) with scale couplings at each end and a full array of brake pipes, with portrait photography in mind, now that I want to run it on a layout, I needed some working NEM-compatible coupling sockets. Fixing them to the bogies was essential to allow for reliable running around curves, but the kit's castings provided no suitable mounting points.

Using some scraps of plastic sheet and section, I simply made my own, making use of a set of Bachmann NEM pockets taken from a 'OO' wagon. I've fitted Kadees to my model but the system also works with the standard slim-line tension lock units too (or any other slot-in NEM type coupling). Other than touch-in painting, this was but a 30minute job and, after testing on my small shunting layout this morning, it works fine. Just ensure that the coupling is at the correct height; use a Kadee height gauge if fitting a set of these knuckle couplings.

The method illustrated below can be adapted to suit any similar kit-building situation, simply tailoring the dimensions to ensure that the couplings sit at the right height above the rails and protrudes far enough to clear the buffers...

Step 1: Gauge the centre of the bogie stretcher and fit a short length of 'L' shaped plastic angle (3.5 x 3.5mm) to the inside edge of the casting. Superglue or epoxy glue will do...

Step 2: While the glue sets, cut some strips of plastic sheet (I used 40thou' thick), approximately 15mm in length and fix the NEM pockets in place at one end. For a low profile appearance, trim the plastic sheet to follow the contours of the pocket. Note that the triangular-section mounting plug of the Bachmann NEM pockets has been removed before fixing. Choose your preferred couplings - Kadee No.18 in this instance - and slot into the pockets...

Step 3: Trial run fixing the NEM pockets to the plastic angle, using something like Tacky Wax or double sided tape for a temporary fixing. Check the height of the coupling against a gauge or other item of rolling stock and make any adjustments, such as adding shims or filing away any excess material. Check again until satisfied...
Step 4: Check also the length by which the couplings protrude, allowing for free movement on curves (especially reverse-curve pointwork) without buffer locking. When absolutely sure, remove the temporary adhesive and fix in place securely with epoxy or cyano. I used Plasti-Zap for a quick, sure bond but beware that this allows only a second or so for adjustment before setting hard.

Detail of the coupling mount: simple and effective.
No.20 Kadees were fitted to my Bachmann/Murphy '181', the Extra Long variety, to cope with the tight curves on my shunting layout. I've always refrained from fitting Kadees to my British-outline stock (except some modern freight stock and a few '66s') but have decided to take the plunge with my Irish stuff.


  1. Thanks George, that's very helpful

  2. No Problem! Hope it helps.