A follow up from my prior post;
In my last post about building a shake the box kit fellow blogger and modeler John Bruce added comments on his method of installing Kadee couplers on the old tried and true Athearn Blue Box kits. I communicated with John and asked that he post a 'how to' on his blog. The timing was right as he had an Athearn Blue Box box car kit ready to build. John's approach offers a simple way to overcome the dreaded Athearn Coupler Box clip failure that most modelers have experienced at least once or in my case several times. I was impressed with the simplicity and effectiveness of the alternatives John employs on his car builds. Check it out here; Athearn Bluebox Upgrade
For more on John's modeling activities check out his other blog posts. He's always got an interesting project going;
Today's other topic deals with the alternative of using draw bars instead of couplers in some applications. The recent painting of NYC F7A #1645 led to another project of getting the 1645 and 1644 to couple closely together. Years ago I used the Kadee close coupling kits for Bachmann F units but was never really happy with them. Along the way I came up with a very simple draw bar system to get my Bachmann units closely coupled. This same system can also be used with Athearn BB units.
The Kadee close coupling kit
Not that close are they?
The first units I tried the draw bar conversion on were a pair of Athearn BB New Haven F7As in 2012
After installing the draw bar for the 1644 and 1645 I turned my attention to an A-B-B-A set of PRR F7s and an A-B-A set of B&O F units.. Let's take a look at this super easy way to get the units looking more prototypical;
The 1645 and 1644 sitting at Bedford Station coupled by draw bar.
An A-B-A set of F7s in need of draw bars. The F7A to the left and the B unit have had the close coupling kit installed. It's a little closer than the standard Bachmann coupler boxes. But not that much.
With a Christmas delivery of an A and B unit to the P.R.R. fleet of my son I secured permission to use draw bars to couple these units together. Seeing these 1:1 scale units in the Green Frog Pennsylvania RR Heritage video sealed the deal for this project.
This consist is going to be tough to get back into their respective boxes! The four unit lash up looks great and runs great. It really looks good at the slow speed train crawl with about 25 to 35 cars behind it.
Here are the B&O units getting ready for their drawbars. The draw bars are made from old IHC /AHM / Rivarossi light weight 2 axle long shank horn hook couplers. I cut off everything and just use the shank. Note when doing a multi unit lash up I make sure I can mate two F7s together before proceeding with the B units.
The B&O A-B-A units close coupled and looking good. Another consist that's going to be hard to put away.
The obligatory meet on the Empire City viaduct. Another B&O B unit is now on the shopping list.
The bottom of the unpowered B unit shows the draw bar on one end and the pin on the other. Obviously the A unit to the left is equipped with a draw bar and the A unit t the right a pin. The masonite pad turns this car into a track cleaner which I really like.
Four roofing nails attached to the pad with adhesive. The slide thru the empty motor mount holes in the bottom of the frame. Note the nails are off center which coincides with the empty motor mount holes.
The PA-PB-PA units lead a passenger train around a curve coming out of Empire City Station