The great Kadee vs the rest debate

 
  a6et Minister for Railways

[edit] Split from :
Victorian VLCX - Auscisions, or OTM's - wheel wise

http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11376417-s25.htm  - Dthead (see rod what you asked for Smile )
[/edit]

A valid point and if the fine scale modellers that want everything exact are going to stay as a minority group as most want to run their models out of the box not have to have more expense in changing wheels that will run all right on most codes of rails even if they are what is called steam roller wheels. Couplers in most cases have to be changed though even if a model comes with some Kadee clone coupler, no two brands of these clone couplers like working with one another properly and also Kadee after all this time have got nearly all the faults and problems out of their couplers and they work excellently, something you cannot say about most of the Kadee clones.

I only ever change a wheel if it is giving major problems, like wheels are wobbling or something, anything else can usually be corrected with a bit of TLC etc. Coupler's though are another matter, provide either proper Kadee couplers of which ever sort either 5 or 58 etc or provide none at all so that the modeller can choose their own. These metal and plastic Kadee clones are just so much rubbish and most are fit for one thing only consigned to the rubbish bin.
David Peters
David

The way I see it is simple.  Over time I have gotten a bit more astute in what I buy, its now rare that I buy something sight unseen, & after it has hit the shelves.  I no longer pre-order, or do the EB thing at the moment, that may change when the supply reliability improves & I can gain a better degree of confidence in what is produced & how soon it comes, rather than How long before it comes.

In the end, I pay good money for the models I buy, & am generally happy with them especially when I unpack them & run them & nothing goes wrong, on that score I generally think I have gotten value for money, as I said, I want to see the model first, & accept what its like based on the production run therefore, such things as wheels & couplers are also accepted by me owing to my paying for the model, with those warts & any other ones as well.  I paid for it, & I cop it.

Realistically, I have not had to generally replace any wheels as a result of large scale problems, the exception of course is the old Pizza cutter types that came with Lima, Powerline & I think on some early Austrains branded items such as the AM cars.

As for the couplers, I still have a good amount of rolling stock items that have the original couplers from purchase around 10 years or more ago, that includes the Austrains S & K wagons, TOR, RU's, as well as other new models from TOR & Austrains.  However, I have to say out the original models I have had to replace some on the S, K & RU's, the newer ones have been a bit more reliable thankfully, until the latest run of 4 wheelers from Austrains, which have proven to be the worst out of all couplers that have come out of China, at least on a large scale basis. They are not that easy to replace either, owing to in some cases the coupler boxes being short, & on others, the amount of brake rigging that is in the way.  

These really are the only couplers that I am all but committed towards replacing them out of the box.  But, I still do a couple of tests on them first if they fail that, they come out when being weathered, & that happens prior to them being put on the layout.

However, if others choose to replace them as a general rule, again that is their prerogative, just like mine not to.  I would much prefer to see reliable couplers on models, but I also do not mind if they end up coming from the U.S or even China, if they can get their act together, after all Kadee had early problems & time healed those.

Some years back I read an article & review of McHenry couplers in a U.S magazine, they were given an excellent report & considered to be on par with Kadee types, a reasonable recommendation I would think.  Around 8 years ago, maybe less, I purchased a bulk pack of that brand of couplers, they came without the uncoupling tangs, which made them look much better & were a deal cheaper than those with tangs, both were good points I thought.

My reasoning was to set up blocks of 6 wagons in a fixed set, with only the outer ends of the 1st & 6th wagon to have a standard coupler, these would run on trains that would be shunted into sidings, such as mills & silo's. The wagons chosen were ones that had had failed Chinese couplers so they served a dual purpose.  This worked quite well for a while until one of the couplers failed & it did so at several areas of the layout where even the Chinese ones did not.  A check revealed the spring had sprung, the wagon is now in the repair box waiting a new coupler.

I am therefore faced with replacing that failed coupler with a Kadee, or another McHenry, of which I have a couple of unopened packs of still.  Before deciding, I will see how the other wagons fitted with them go, & if they continue ok, then I will put another one in that wagon, as a simple straight replacement, if others fail, then I will replace them on a repair basis with Kadee's.

I also thought at one time that if the importers were to offer models without couplers for the modeller to make their own choice would be a good idea, the thing is though at least these days anyway, would any of them actually charge less for the model without them, as to what they would charge with them? Given that a couple of them have been talking up the price rises in China, would we know if we were saving anyway? rhetorically speaking I would doubt it very much.  

So, I have come to a personal conclusion, I would rather buy the models with the couplers, rubbish or not, & then replace them as needed with the Kadee, (My preferred choice) then have to supply them in the beginning, & that really is no choice at all.

Sponsored advertisement

  comtrain Chief Commissioner

Location: Near Albury Wodonga
on couplers, I have said elsewhere, that I weed out my defective Auscision ones and remove all the other clones all together.   Don't think for a minute that I would not support an "uprising of modellers"  should one form to tell the manufacturers that clones are just not good enough Smile

If we could standardise on "scale head  whisker Kadees" I would be one step closer to my Model railway nirvana Very Happy To battle all!! Charge!!
Vive la révolution!
Cheers
Rod
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
Yes that is a good post a6et and I tinkered around for a long time with other makes of knuckle couplers about the only ones I haven't used are Sargeant ones but they al least do work properly. I have had all sorts of things happen with mix and match couplers both metal and plastic mainly the plastic one's though, they are hopeless on long  heavy trains, you usually will break a knuckle or two during the session, the metal ones are a little better when set up correctly but these do have a lot of malady's as well in them, so now I automatically change couplers to Kadee's and don't have hardly any problems.

One of the worst couplers were the metal Austrains one's though you have 3 NR's working on one train and suddenly the front loco takes off by itself, I just thought it was my loco doing it till several weeks later a friends large collection of NR's and other locos suddenly started to it while we were again running. It was not the track though as it never did it in the same place twice. A unit or units would simply break free from the trains at any time. The knuckles simply opened when the locomotives bunched up and uncoupled.

So we converted them all to Kadee regular size couplers and had no more trouble with any of them like that any more. I converted all mine to Kadee's as well and found I got the same thing excellent operation. So now everything I buy unless it comes with a genuine Kadee coupler gets changed to a Kadee and I have a few less worries now!
  comtrain Chief Commissioner

Location: Near Albury Wodonga
Gosh
continuing in my new found French vein (??)  De ja vue!!
I just remembered another coupler war that fizzled out 30 years ago.
US sourced stuff was fitted NMRA couplers, which were ugly things but they did hang on. In fact they were horrible to uncouple.
The yanks were fed up, and along came Kadee with their patented metal head coupler and they were saved.

But here in Australia we had the same 4 Wholesalers we have today who imported cheap crap from USA. LifeLike was the main one, which had non standard bogies clipped into models with an easy attachment push but invariably broke when you tried to remove them.  The bogies and the couplers were one moulding with the X2F simply pushed into a slot, again easy to install, but a pig to replace with Kadees. the loose fitting bogies did not have 3 point suspension and the wagon would look horrible as it rocked from side to side.  Triang was a much better purchase in these days even with their horrible triang couplings that persist to this day, I think?

Now Athearn "blue Box" arrived and with another 20 smaller companies the era of good US models arrived. The standards were RP25 wheels and X2F standard coupling boxes which took Kadee couplers straight out of the pack. Variations in height and length arrived from KD to cater for vehicles which were prototypically low or high, or long wagons that required extra spacing on model railway curves.

So the revolution was pushed by the modellers in the US and supported by the Clubs, and a new bunch of manufacturers who decided their customers knew what they wanted.

Here in Australia we had our before mentioned wholesalers who each pushed their own crap and would not get their stuff together.
At this time I was a member of two or three clubs in Victoria, the biggest being the AMRA.  We got little cheer from our clubs, each pushed a different way.
Lima under advice of their Australian wholesaler arrived with fairly good Australian prototype and crap dunny lid euro couplings that were so far away from what Aussie modellers were doing we all thought "what are these idiots doing?" Sad The quick and easy coupling conversion the Yanks had won was denied us and an ELX conversion would take me all night and cost me a new bogie, new couplings and shims of plastic. plastic rod to fill the bogie holes, screws, drills and taps, files, more glue supa glue and might as well repaint it whilst I was at it. Every Lima ELX had the same number and of course the pad paint left a mark which was covered by sanding it down and applying paint that was accurate rather than the coloured plastic that was more pink than red oxide.
For me Powerline was the biggest disappointment. They persist to this day using clip in bogies and dunny lid couplings. How long did it take for them to see the light? Recent models do come with the "option" of KD's although my hobby shop always has dunny lid versions in stock, and I give them a miss.
The new era of Chinese manufacturers and Australian entrepreneurs (Is that French ? Sad ) arrives and I thought everything is going to change, and that it did. Trainorama introduced us to beaut 3D bogie side frames on our Diesels and the others followed and on it went...

Are things so much better today?
Do modellers long deprived of great models really vote with their wallets and support these manufacturers, or are they like thirsty people in  a dessert, just looking for their drink of water?

So the first revolution was a fizzer and today we are still suffering with having to take what we are given. I remember running a 45 car train of SEM kit built Victorian 4 wheelers around my layout a couple of years ago. I had several derailments and un-couplings. The derailments were caused by faulty construction and axles on a couple were not parallel. I fixed them and the derailments stopped. The uncoupling was caused by rail joins that had moved in the heat and kd springs missing and I fixed those. The train then began to circulate very well.  I was doing this because I had 54 Auscision 4 wheelers coming and I wanted to prepare things for the day they arrived. You just know that 4 wheelers are going to find your problems for you.  On my blog you will see the Auscision stuff lined up on a 12 m section of track. Magnificent!!  But the wagons failed to run. Within 12 feet I had 3 un-couplings and multiple tries at re coupling and derailments. Finally I had thirty that would run. By this time I had run the SEM train once again and it circulated freely. I added the 30 Auscision and a couple of minor problems trying to find a KD that would grab the Auscision, but finally they all circulated. I rang my friendly shop keeper at Rail'n'thsiasts and ordered a couple of multi packs of scale head whisker couplings (50's) and a week later converted all the Auscision 4 wheelers to KD and they all ran extremely well.
I do feel that Auscision vehicles are too low to the rail, Auscision couplers appear too low for my old eyes and "God Forbid" I have a couple of transition vehicles to help the scale head couplers stay coupled particularly with mixed brand trains. I think Auscision admitted this but so far I have not heard of any offered fix?
So there is my Christmas Tale, boys and girls Wink  I hope you enjoyed it Wink
You could make it a happy New Year too, if you wanted to make standard KD couplings happen, and the frosting for me would be Scale head ones at that!! Very Happy

Rod Young
  a6et Minister for Railways

Yes that is a good post a6et and I tinkered around for a long time with other makes of knuckle couplers about the only ones I haven't used are Sargeant ones but they al least do work properly. I have had all sorts of things happen with mix and match couplers both metal and plastic mainly the plastic one's though, they are hopeless on long  heavy trains, you usually will break a knuckle or two during the session, the metal ones are a little better when set up correctly but these do have a lot of malady's as well in them, so now I automatically change couplers to Kadee's and don't have hardly any problems.

One of the worst couplers were the metal Austrains one's though you have 3 NR's working on one train and suddenly the front loco takes off by itself, I just thought it was my loco doing it till several weeks later a friends large collection of NR's and other locos suddenly started to it while we were again running. It was not the track though as it never did it in the same place twice. A unit or units would simply break free from the trains at any time. The knuckles simply opened when the locomotives bunched up and uncoupled.

So we converted them all to Kadee regular size couplers and had no more trouble with any of them like that any more. I converted all mine to Kadee's as well and found I got the same thing excellent operation. So now everything I buy unless it comes with a genuine Kadee coupler gets changed to a Kadee and I have a few less worries now!
David Peters
David, as I am not into the diesel era, more especially the modern one, cannot comment on the NR's but a question, regarding the models that had the problems, & that is when did they come out?  Reason I ask is that IIRC, the metal head type couplers from China came out with the TOR 32cl, & 42, I suspect the S class were the same as they were each from SDK at least the 32 was. Also the metal head couplers were introduced again IIRC with the TOR BCH/BWH, then Austrains used them with the MLE & variants, & other wagons also from SDK.

IIRC, they were actually designed by SDK on the instigation of TOR, at least that is what the former Shop manager of TOM's told me some time back.  I have only had a problem with those, (& if they are the same as used on the NR) on one end of my 42cl, no other model has had any issues with them though.

Looking at the new couplers from Austrains especially with their NSW 4 wheelers, they look identical to those used by TOR, & Austrains from SDK, at least the type of metal used is the same or similar as its a burnished like metal. As I understand it, the engineer at Austrains new factory, & the same as used by Eureka is the same fellow who was at SDK, so likely a cross platform type coupler was brought over.

Certainly for me the new ones are not as good as the older ones.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Gosh
continuing in my new found French vein (??)  De ja vue!!
SNIP

Lima under advice of their Australian wholesaler arrived with fairly good Australian prototype and crap dunny lid euro couplings that were so far away from what Aussie modellers were doing we all thought "what are these idiots doing?"

SNIP

Are things so much better today?
Do modellers long deprived of great models really vote with their wallets and support these manufacturers, or are they like thirsty people in  a dessert, just looking for their drink of water?

So the first revolution was a fizzer and today we are still suffering with having to take what we are given. I remember running a 45 car train of SEM kit built Victorian 4 wheelers around my layout a couple of years ago. I had several derailments and un-couplings. The derailments were caused by faulty construction and axles on a couple were not parallel. I fixed them and the derailments stopped. The uncoupling was caused by rail joins that had moved in the heat and kd springs missing and I fixed those. The train then began to circulate very well.  I was doing this because I had 54 Auscision 4 wheelers coming and I wanted to prepare things for the day they arrived. You just know that 4 wheelers are going to find your problems for you.  On my blog you will see the Auscision stuff lined up on a 12 m section of track. Magnificent!!  But the wagons failed to run. Within 12 feet I had 3 un-couplings and multiple tries at re coupling and derailments. Finally I had thirty that would run. By this time I had run the SEM train once again and it circulated freely. I added the 30 Auscision and a couple of minor problems trying to find a KD that would grab the Auscision, but finally they all circulated. I rang my friendly shop keeper at Rail'n'thsiasts and ordered a couple of multi packs of scale head whisker couplings (50's) and a week later converted all the Auscision 4 wheelers to KD and they all ran extremely well.
Rod Young
comtrain
Rod

A couple of comments with some of yours.

One thing that I do not like is having kadee couplers on the front of Steam Locomotives that did not have auto couplers in service, which applied for the majority of NSW steamers, for ease of modelling train operations knuckle types are really a no brainer on the tenders though.  What I have found a use for with the Euro Couplers, (your Dunny lids) is to remove the drop down hook from them, & place the remainder of the coupler on the tender of a steam locomotive that is leading on double headers, the ring part drops over the buffer beam hook & that allows both engines to work, nil problems.

As you have visited my layout, I think you may have also seen the modified S truck that I use as a cover truck for shunting at one location, a Kadee (or similar) one end & modified Euro on the other, but the ring is bent down more, this couples to the front of the loco on shunting duties where needed, again no problems,.

Wallets & support for the importers.  Well the answer is yes, otherwise no one would be having any problems as no one would be paying out the money for them, remember all it takes is one satisfied customer to make all happy as the happy one will spread the word.


4 wheelers & coupler head sizes.  Just like the real world of 4 wheelers, they ride terribly, watch any of them & they bounce up & down in line with the track, worse back then owing to the short rail lengths, as one wheel drops at the join with the other end up, repeated as the wagon passes with the rear dropping & front raised.  If the auto on one wagon was low or high, they could readily uncouple while on the move, had that happen to me on more than one occasion, & the worst offender was a 36cl with an auto on the tender, which rode a bit low & the lead S truck, marshalled for the cover/transition purpose rode high. 4 uncouples between Campbelltown & Picton & we did a reversal at Picton.

Here is where problems can occur with models especially when using the scale head couplers, they look absolutely nice, however if you have a bit of rough track (not that you have any) (Nor I) Laughing the scale head can provide problems with uncoupling, especially if they are both not at the exact & correct height, & if the wagon has some amount of imbalance regarding the weight of & in the wagon.

Sometimes, if the uncouplings are a problem & you have 2 items that have the scale heads on them, that can be the issue. Simple solution a scale head to standard, as the standard #5's provide enough extra meat to help in keeping them together.
  comtrain Chief Commissioner

Location: Near Albury Wodonga
Hey Col
I have heard of the reason why people worry over scale head KD's from a few people, and you know something?
Its exactly the same reason people did not convert from Dunny lids or X2F, 30 odd years ago Very Happy
The couplers would simply go hi and Lo and uncouple Wink
I don't believe it really became much of a concern then, and my experience is it has little effect on my running here. In every case plastic scale head Auscision couplers have failed because the jaw fails to close. They jam open. I must take a picture of a jammed one and blow it up Smile
Cheers
Rod
  John_Bushell Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
Rod,

Tell 'em to get a Kadee coupler gauge.  Anyone operating Kadees who does not use a height gauge is asking for trouble.

Best regards,
John
  a6et Minister for Railways

Hey Col
I have heard of the reason why people worry over scale head KD's from a few people, and you know something?
Its exactly the same reason people did not convert from Dunny lids or X2F, 30 odd years ago Very Happy
The couplers would simply go hi and Lo and uncouple Wink
I don't believe it really became much of a concern then, and my experience is it has little effect on my running here. In every case plastic scale head Auscision couplers have failed because the jaw fails to close. They jam open. I must take a picture of a jammed one and blow it up Smile
Cheers
Rod
comtrain
Are the Auscision types like the old plastic ones that had wire rather than the spring for the jaw?  As I do not have any Auscision models, I have no idea about them.

As for the scale head issue, I had the problem with a couple of them, based on the height of the coupler, both ok on one end of the wagon, but at the other end was too low, it met half way up on the adjoining coupler, blowed if I could work it out, replaced with a #5 & had no problems afterwards.  The problem of uncoupling was at a point of grade changing, two wagons, one end only out of all the fleet.

Never liked nor had any X2F except on an old cheapo model, now used for paint testing.

People go crook about the dunny lid types, but one thing about them is that they worked, I use them for a couple of purposes as I posted, & work very well indeed.

In the end, this is another one of those issues that is a modellers preference, & while I believe that Kadee's are better than the look alikes, I guess it comes down to cost, how much extra would the Kadee cost to add to a model, from what I understand Kadee are reluctant to sell in large quantities which is a reason there is no real volume discount offered, basically the same price that is occasionally offered by Walthers on the 2 pack prices.
  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
Ahhh...Ha!!! (a light bulb moment)....

I have always thought that the Austrains flat wagon (MLE etc) were fitted with semi-scale head Kadees. It therefore irked me with the number of issues I've been having with them jamming in the "open" position when descending a grade. I've lost count of the number of break-aways I've had when the slack has been taken up again, as the train flattens-out and/or commences to attack another gradient.

My fix has been to smother the knuckle in graphite and manually work the knuckle back and forth in an effort to smooth-out any little irregularities that might be making it stick open.

Now it appears that, from what you're saying, these may not be genuine Kadees at all. I didn't realise that any of the clones were being made in the "semi-scale" size, so this answers my question as to why I have been experiencing so many issues with these particular "Kadees".....cos they ain't REAL Kadees after all.

As a matter of interest, one of the first (only) things I do to all my items before placing (plonking) them on the track, is to cut-off the tang. I use bamboo BBQ skewers (cut in half and sharpened on the side of my bench grinder wheel) to facilitate my uncoupling duties.

I prefer the look of the semi-scale head couplers, but I do find I have far less "issues" with the full-size (#5 & similar) couplers.

Roachie
  The railway dog Train Controller

Location: Adelaide Hills
I just wish manufacturers & importers would concede that Kadee got it right & fit them. Obvious exceptions would be dead scale, 3 link types etc. For "layout quality" operation though the genuine Kadee's the way to go. If someone out there figures out a truly superior product then good luck to them but the way I see it the current mishmash of different types is there solely to provide product difference between manufacturers. This with equipment that by definition is supposed to be standardised.
  ontrackmodels Junior Train Controller

Location: Emu Plains, Australia
Which is why Railway Dog On Track Models come fitted with Genuine Kadee Couplers from our factory.

You can't beat the original and best design for ease of operation and reliability.

The On Track Models Team
  allan Chief Commissioner

Hmmm... A standard that few will argue about!
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
I for one would not argue about Kadee's being fitted as standard in fact I would jump for joy actually they have over 50 years of experience in making them so I think they have the jump on all the rest by a long way. I have found also that a mix and match of couplers on different makes is also a problem even if they look identical. Every thing from jaws staying open to sagging couplers. Kadee's though don't seem to have any of these problems though probably because of their experience and the fact that they have have a coupler for just about any coupler problem you could get. A friend had a whole train a short one though of different types and brands of rollingstock, with just about all the different types of knuckles made some plastic and others metal. He was tearing his hair out at the time trying to get them to run and not uncouple or breakaway. So I took them all home and and had a go at fixing them. Some of his problems were couplers not set to the right height in the first place, that was easily fixed but even on my layout at home they still uncoupled seemingly at will.  Weight might have been an issue so I checked them all, it was out a smidgen but not too much.

Then I had the bright idea of installing all Kadee couplers to the lot of them, got about a dozen packets of them and put all new Kadee 5's on the lot for him, tried them on my layout and had not a problem with them, took them back to were he was trying to run them in the first place and had it all up and running in five minutes. Only had one derailment and that was because one of the coupler tangs was a bit too low, a quick bend up with a pair of pliers and away they went no troubles at all.

One handy hint I was told though for more reliable running when using Kadee couplers is to bend the end of the uncoupling tang up a bit, that way if it meets an object that is a fraction too high it will go over it rather than have the tang hit the edge of it and either derail the train or part the train. It only has to be bent a fraction up though and it still should uncouple etc using a magnet type of uncoupler between the rails.

Yes a coupler height gauge is an essential tool if you want all your couplers set at the exact same height though, expensive a bit yes, but it will repay you more than what it is worth over time, it has saved a lot of my friends a lot of hair pulling. The newer ones are plastic though so these can be placed straight onto your track anywhere to check a rogue coupler.

Wobbling cars are easy to correct if they have screwed in bogies though, one end gets done up reasonably tight, but still able to pivot freely, the other end gets done up a lot more loosely to take up any irregularities in the track, you actually make a very crude 3 point suspension on the car but it does work.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Which is why Railway Dog On Track Models come fitted with Genuine Kadee Couplers from our factory.

You can't beat the original and best design for ease of operation and reliability.

The On Track Models Team
ontrackmodels
Perhaps, you may like to let us all in on the actual cost that is added to the models by using Kadee's, compared to the stock standard Chinese types??

I am not asking for any trade secrets or the like, but as I have said in other posts, I would prefer the genuine article, yet other importers keep making the comment about the genuine ones are too expensive, likewise there can be delays to the models waiting for them from the U.S.

I have packs of whisker scale heads as well as standards buying in bulk packs of 50 pair scale heads cost around $98.00 whilst the standard heads cost around $72.00 for 25 par, which means the old styles are more expensive than the scale heads.
  ontrackmodels Junior Train Controller

Location: Emu Plains, Australia
We once got quoted at the old factory the cost of removing the plastic ones and replacing the with Kadee's.

They gave a reduction of around USD $0.15 but that was 7 years ago.

With the cost of the Kadee's into China I'm not sure. But there is import duty on them and we were warned it was high.

We also pay import duty back into Australia for the finished product.

There is also a difference in unit costs between the #5's, #148's & 158's.

It's not a great deal, but when you're looking at 4,000 + models it becomes a bit expensive when you include import duty and GST.

Trying to keep the cost of a model down plays an important part of the cost considerations.

But with saying this, the unit costs varying between factories and the rising costs in China it's hard to make a definitive cost for you.  They just give you a finished price.

While the Kadee's are more expensive we weighted that up against their ease of operation and reliability compared with what was offered out of the factory.

The high AUD also helped in the cost consideration, but but with it being devalued about 15% over the last few months a couple of projects that were line ball are now no longer in contention.

We'll continue with the Kadee's though same as the Mashima Can motors we used in the 82 class due to their reputation for quality.

The On Track Models Team
  a6et Minister for Railways

We once got quoted at the old factory the cost of removing the plastic ones and replacing the with Kadee's.

They gave a reduction of around USD $0.15 but that was 7 years ago.

With the cost of the Kadee's into China I'm not sure. But there is import duty on them and we were warned it was high.

We also pay import duty back into Australia for the finished product.

There is also a difference in unit costs between the #5's, #148's & 158's.

It's not a great deal, but when you're looking at 4,000 + models it becomes a bit expensive when you include import duty and GST.

Trying to keep the cost of a model down plays an important part of the cost considerations.

But with saying this, the unit costs varying between factories and the rising costs in China it's hard to make a definitive cost for you.  They just give you a finished price.

While the Kadee's are more expensive we weighted that up against their ease of operation and reliability compared with what was offered out of the factory.

The high AUD also helped in the cost consideration, but but with it being devalued about 15% over the last few months a couple of projects that were line ball are now no longer in contention.

We'll continue with the Kadee's though same as the Mashima Can motors we used in the 82 class due to their reputation for quality.

The On Track Models Team
ontrackmodels
Many thanks for the reply & information

I knew that the Chinese factories did not allow much of a rebate if a client dropped the couplers altogether, but I was not sure about how much.  I guess at a rate of $US0.15 cents, per model or even if it was per coupler meaning $US0.30 cents that would equal app 50 cents a model at the current exchange rate its a decision that needs to be carefully weighed up by each individual importer, of course the unknown extra's with the import duty of the Kadee's into China, then having to pay it again here would also add up on a model.

Maybe in the minds of those who stay with the Chinese product, their thought may well be, as they do not get a real reduction to make the Kadee viable, it is just as well to supply the models with the cheap one, & allow the end user the choice themselves in keeping or replacing.

If that is the case, then perhaps those supplying the Chinese product should look at how they design the draft boxes on the models to ensure that they take a standard length coupler, such as the #5 type, at least that way the end user knows he can replace the Chinese version with the Kadee with no problems, be that the whisker scale or standard as its his choice.

Thanks again.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Ahhh...Ha!!! (a light bulb moment)....

I have always thought that the Austrains flat wagon (MLE etc) were fitted with semi-scale head Kadees. It therefore irked me with the number of issues I've been having with them jamming in the "open" position when descending a grade. I've lost count of the number of break-aways I've had when the slack has been taken up again, as the train flattens-out and/or commences to attack another gradient.

My fix has been to smother the knuckle in graphite and manually work the knuckle back and forth in an effort to smooth-out any little irregularities that might be making it stick open.

Now it appears that, from what you're saying, these may not be genuine Kadees at all. I didn't realise that any of the clones were being made in the "semi-scale" size, so this answers my question as to why I have been experiencing so many issues with these particular "Kadees".....cos they ain't REAL Kadees after all.

As a matter of interest, one of the first (only) things I do to all my items before placing (plonking) them on the track, is to cut-off the tang. I use bamboo BBQ skewers (cut in half and sharpened on the side of my bench grinder wheel) to facilitate my uncoupling duties.

I prefer the look of the semi-scale head couplers, but I do find I have far less "issues" with the full-size (#5 & similar) couplers.

Roachie
Roachie
Roger

Have a look closely at the MLE coupler & compare it to a Kadee preferably off the wagon.  The MLE type head is slightly smaller than the Kadee 5, but different to the scale.  The other thing with the Chinese one is that its made from a different metal, & has a different colour/hue to it.  I have not had one off the wagon for a while now, & they are all packed away so not able to do a recheck at the moment, but I tend to recollect also that the shape of the shaft around the screw hole was different as well.

Your skewer's & similar types are found in many locations & layouts. I use a simple mechanism that has a mini LED torch, with a shaped piece of piano wire tapped to the light for mine, easier to see what you are doing when the light is depressed, very expensive item as the lights used to cost $5.00 at the junk shops for a pack of 2.
  comtrain Chief Commissioner

Location: Near Albury Wodonga
We once got quoted at the old factory the cost of removing the plastic ones and replacing the with Kadee's.

They gave a reduction of around USD $0.15 but that was 7 years ago.

With the cost of the Kadee's into China I'm not sure. But there is import duty on them and we were warned it was high.

We also pay import duty back into Australia for the finished product.

There is also a difference in unit costs between the #5's, #148's & 158's.

It's not a great deal, but when you're looking at 4,000 + models it becomes a bit expensive when you include import duty and GST.

Trying to keep the cost of a model down plays an important part of the cost considerations.

But with saying this, the unit costs varying between factories and the rising costs in China it's hard to make a definitive cost for you.  They just give you a finished price.

While the Kadee's are more expensive we weighted that up against their ease of operation and reliability compared with what was offered out of the factory.

The high AUD also helped in the cost consideration, but but with it being devalued about 15% over the last few months a couple of projects that were line ball are now no longer in contention.

We'll continue with the Kadee's though same as the Mashima Can motors we used in the 82 class due to their reputation for quality.

The On Track Models Team
ontrackmodels
Thanks very much for adding your side to to our guessing competition Smile

I wonder if you thought about leaving the Chinese couplers on the wagons and adding kd's here in Australia for a subsidized small extra fee? In other words add two extra lines to your order forms.
Do you want KDs added to your order? scale head or normal ones?  I guess it would mean taking care to throw the packs into the parcels making a difficult job more so, worrying about people throwing the couplers out with the packings etc, but it would cut some of the duplicated taxes out I guess Wink
And from this thread a few of us would feel like very pampered customers
Cheers
Rod
  a6et Minister for Railways

Thanks very much for adding your side to to our guessing competition Smile

I wonder if you thought about leaving the Chinese couplers on the wagons and adding kd's here in Australia for a subsidized small extra fee? In other words add two extra lines to your order forms.
Do you want KDs added to your order? scale head or normal ones?  I guess it would mean taking care to throw the packs into the parcels making a difficult job more so, worrying about people throwing the couplers out with the packings etc, but it would cut some of the duplicated taxes out I guess Wink
And from this thread a few of us would feel like very pampered customers
Cheers
Rod
comtrain
Rod

Dare I suggest another way to go in this?  Primarilly I see much of the debate is coming from the more experienced modellers, rather than beginners, the latter ones are generally just happy with what arrives, be that wheels &/or couplers. Then their are others, like myself who prefer the Kadee coupler & replace defective Chinese ones as they fail, of course there are those who replace them without any running, as soon as the models arrive.

For those who are beginning & happy with what comes, the model arriving with the Kadee fitted is the ideal for them & usually they take a while to look at the alternatives, owing to failures. Of course there are also some who expect their models that are labelled & sold as RTR, to be just that & without any work associated with them except to rip the packaging open & put on track & go choo choo.

Having said that, I do like aspects of your idea, however it does create extra work for the packaging here in Oz & wherever the companies facilities are located at, owing to the amount of extra handling, if that was not a problem to them the easiest way to solve the problem would be to not put the Chinese couplers on the models in the very beginning & import the Kadee's directly from the U.S, & then add the required amount of couplers to each box prior to despatch for Mail Orders, or supply them loose at Exhibitions for purchasers there.

Of course it would mean advertising would have to show, assembly of couplers required, also to ensure coupler boxes will be ok
  ontrackmodels Junior Train Controller

Location: Emu Plains, Australia
Hi Col & Rod,

Great suggestion, however....

It means double handling here by us as we're trying to rush out orders as quick as we can.

Opening nearly every pack to place a set of couplers in there is time consuming and fraught with a little risk.

We'd have to think to ourselves did we place a set of couplers in there ?

Was it the right set ?

The other issue comes down to a lot of people just want to place their new wagons on the track and get them running with having to worry about changing couplers.

And of course then there's the warranty issue.

What happens if you loose the coupler screw, coupler pocket cover, or even a coupler ?

If wagons / packs are returned to whatever reason, you know like Australia Post crushing it, or the customer wants to change over a pack because they've picked the wrong one, we'd have to go back to the initial order and ascertain if we supplied couplers, are they present in the pack ?, or if they've been changed over where are the original ones ?.

It creates a headache which most manufacturers / suppliers don't need or want.

The On Track Models Team
  a6et Minister for Railways

Hi Col & Rod,

Great suggestion, however....

It means double handling here by us as we're trying to rush out orders as quick as we can.

Opening nearly every pack to place a set of couplers in there is time consuming and fraught with a little risk.

We'd have to think to ourselves did we place a set of couplers in there ?

Was it the right set ?

The other issue comes down to a lot of people just want to place their new wagons on the track and get them running with having to worry about changing couplers.

And of course then there's the warranty issue.

What happens if you loose the coupler screw, coupler pocket cover, or even a coupler ?

If wagons / packs are returned to whatever reason, you know like Australia Post crushing it, or the customer wants to change over a pack because they've picked the wrong one, we'd have to go back to the initial order and ascertain if we supplied couplers, are they present in the pack ?, or if they've been changed over where are the original ones ?.

It creates a headache which most manufacturers / suppliers don't need or want.

The On Track Models Team
ontrackmodels
Basically that is what I was saying, however trying to appease Rod at the same time.

The only way it could work, but again its the double handling at the local storage area, so almost an assembly line as well.  To pack them in a separate bag & tape to boxes would be easier, but as you say there is the issue with warranty with no coupler lid or some missing screws (models that is), what guarantee would apply with the factory to ensure all the models come with assembled & empty coupler boxes?

The other aspect I have found a couple of times when changing a coupler is that a loose (model) screw drops down & is a heck of a job to find it, so I try a replacement, & whole it does not happen greatly, it has when the small black factory screws from other models cannot be used & I have had to revert to the terrible oversized heads for the Kadee boxes.

I think that in trying to suit & satisfy every whim & fancy is too fraught with problems for it to be worthwhile. Go with quality in the beginning, & you do not have the cost to try & rectify in the future.
  ontrackmodels Junior Train Controller

Location: Emu Plains, Australia
Col,

The other issue is our agreement with Kadee when they supply the couplers.

They state we're not allowed to separately on-sell the couplers.

It depends on their interpretation of on-selling I guess.

But repackaging of the couplers alone here would be time consuming.

For all of the avoiding a second import duty we'd probably spend more on the packaging time here.

As you've said it's easier to supply them already done.

The On Track Models Team
  a6et Minister for Railways

Col,

The other issue is our agreement with Kadee when they supply the couplers.

They state we're not allowed to separately on-sell the couplers.

It depends on their interpretation of on-selling I guess.

But repackaging of the couplers alone here would be time consuming.

For all of the avoiding a second import duty we'd probably spend more on the packaging time here.

As you've said it's easier to supply them already done.

The On Track Models Team
ontrackmodels
Its something that many do not really understand, but its no worries for me.

Thanks for the info & I think the whole thread & relative questions regarding this sort of thing not just for yourself but others as well can be seen in the reality of how it does work.

As the importer, manufacturer you have to run with decisions based on the commercial viability & reality.
  The railway dog Train Controller

Location: Adelaide Hills
Much the best idea to just fit Kadees in the first place. If the factory imposes some sort of condition whereby they supply knockoffs then I reckon we have to wear it in the short term & fit the good gear ourselves if we want to.
Another less common issue, not really related to this thread I suppose, is non standard draft gear boxes. As an example, I'm wrapped in my Trainorama 32s but curse the non standard coupler fittings (been a while since I looked so I've forgotten what they are) which mean I'm stuck with the supplied couplers.

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