Victorian VLCX - Auscisions, or OTM's - wheel wise
http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11376417-s25.htm - Dthead (see rod what you asked for )
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.David
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.
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.