Sam The Answer Man (2009-2011)
Trainfest & The Holidays (December 2011)
We attended Trainfest Train Show in Milwaukee, WI this past month and in our opinion, it's one of the best shows put on anywhere. It's in a very clean newer building, plenty of convenient parking, very well organized and supported by their staff, and they promote this show a lot. Friday the 11th was a set up day and a special vendors day, Saturday was so busy we could hardly see out of our booth, and Sunday had a steady flow of people, including many who were not railroader's bringing their families to see the trains. The show had plenty of things for kids to see and do and they were loving it all. To see the emotions and big smiles on the kids' faces really makes it worth it. It's a great show and we highly recommend it to everyone from the highly experienced model railroader to the non-railroader looking for good clean entertainment for all ages. We didn't have any new products to introduce but we showed samples of our new O-Scale line of couplers, which, unfortunately, will not be ready for December release.
Well... did you have a nice Thanksgiving? We hope you did but now it's "Christmas time". Hopefully we've been getting ready for this and have moved into the serious part of the Holidays. Unfortunately, this is where there's a conflict in many peoples lives between the spiritual reflection of Jesus Christ's birth and the commercialism of Santa Claus. We get caught up in thinking we have to buy a gift for everyone we know, we have to satisfy our children's every wish, we have to attend all the Christmas parties, watch every football game, max out all of our credit cards, and buy and build the most elaborate Christmas tree imaginable and out do the neighbor's best outdoor decorations. Sadly, we then lose the true meaning of Christmas. Through the example of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must learn to love one another, help and care for each other, serve those in need, and spend quality time with those we love, especially our children. Spend enough time with them so they can see and feel your love and joy, your humbleness and gratitude towards them and the Lord. Teach them about Christ and the true meaning of giving, respecting and loving others, and sharing your time and talents with others. Kids can not learn these Christ-like qualities without seeing and feeling them in you first. Show them these things are important to you and meant to be in our lives all year long.
Have a peaceful, wonderful, and Merry Christmas... we will.
Scale Offset Couplers & Basic Tools (November 2011)
Unfortunately, we are still receiving inquires asking when we are going to make an "offset" series in our "scale head" coupler line. There are a number of reasons we are not going to make a scale head off set series of couplers. The two main reasons are, first because of the smaller head there simply is not enough room to make a dimensional difference when you raise or lower the shank on the back of the head. Standard head couplers allows .050" up and down shank location from a center set. Second, an offset scale head coupler is really ugly. Why have a nice looking scale coupler head and then ruin it with an offset shank. Scale head couplers were made for their scale size and a more prototypical look. All of our Scale head couplers conform to NMRA standards and fall under NMRA's Conformance Warrant 2000-49.
I get inquiries from modelers who are just getting started in this hobby about what tools they should acquire for model railroading. Most often I give them a short list of what I think would be the basics for the beginner. I tell them that a good set of small screw drivers, a hobby knife, and a set of small files are enough to get started with. I usually ask them what their experience and skills are then I'll cover drilling and tapping screw holes, trimming and filing slowly as a trial and error fitting procedure. But what I do recommend that they wait on acquiring other tools until they either find a particular need for them or develop certain skills and experience to use other tools and such. Many times a novice will go out and purchase a bunch of tools and end up rarely or never using them. This is more prominent now days than many years ago. Now days we have factory body mount coupler pockets that are on the most part at the correct coupler height, we have few kits to put together, a multitude of RTR or near RTR models that require very little work or none at all. Years ago the modeler would have "needed" basic modeling skills to put together most models that were then available, which were kits or needed at least a few parts installed.
One thing I do discourage is using a "Dremel Tool" to do basic modeling work. Dremel's can take too much material too quickly and ruin a model. Be patient and take the time to enjoy learning and developing your skills. Don't be afraid to try something new, have some bravado and challenge yourself. Don't be afraid to ask questions, don't be afraid to fail and make mistakes, errors helps us learn faster. Some of us have learned faster than others.
Another Holiday Season (October 2011)
Here we go again, we're moving into another Holiday Season, every year the same thing and for us it's Columbus Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. How do we look at these holidays? Do we see them just as days off work, Trick or Treat, turkey dinner and football, Santa Claus, and parties? Columbus Day we celebrate Columbus, thinking the world was round and to save costs, enterprisingly took the back way to find the East Indies and accidently found the Americas blocking his path. Halloween is a time of celebration and superstitions based on ancient Celtic practices, Catholic and Roman rituals, and other European folk traditions that over time blended into the holiday we know today. Thanksgiving comes from various celebrations of Native American and European traditions of giving thanks for a good harvest, safe passage sailing to America, and perhaps simply surviving the harshness faced by early settlers of Canada, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Florida of the 15 and 1600's. Christmas, of course, is the celebration of the Lord Jesus Christ's birth, His life, His love, and His service to all mankind. New Years is a celebration of ringing out the old and bringing in the new, or the way I look at it, it's leaving the past behind and beginning with a fresh new start.
This October, as you may already have noticed, Kadee has raised their prices and this is something we try to avoid as long as possible. Unfortunately, prices of raw material, labor costs, insurance, and taxes just keep going up. Thanks to our unstable economy, caused by greedy corporations, banks, government, and politicians we see little chance, if any, for improvement. However, here at Kadee we are still making our products right here in the U.S.A. and we try to keep our prices as low as possible for as long as possible. If you really look at our quality, dependability, longevity, and value, along with being made in the U.S.A. (for the last 65 years) you will find that dollar for dollar Kadee products are well worth the investment. Since our products are made right here in our own shop we have immediate quality control so we never have to deal with an across the border or overseas makers to get things right.
We thank all of you that have supported Kadee all these 65 years and wish that this holiday season brings you opportunities to help others, feel the Lord's love, and enjoy model railroading and Kadee products.
Older Couplers & New Models Conversions (September 2011)
Hopefully most of you have noticed that we have discontinued some of our older coupler designs, which includes the #4 coupler. We've done this because these older couplers are no longer as popular as they once were and also we now have better more modern designs that are easier to assemble and use. When we discontinue a product we usually, if remaining stocks allow, offer them at a special clearance price. We presently have our older #7 coupler on a clearance special (check our monthly flier and web site at kadee.com). The #7 coupler is a short underset coupler like the #24/34/44 couplers and can be used in many (not all) of the same places. Our HO conversion list has only one or two places where the #7 is recommended. However, with a bit of ingenuity it certainly can be used for many other conversions.
For those of you that are budget minded, on fixed incomes, or just cheap, here are some hints to be able to use the #7 couplers so you can take advantage of the savings. The #7 has to be used in it's own draft gear box and "can not" be used in the common coupler boxes or molded on coupler pockets. However, the #7 can be used as a free standing coupler in it's own box. Being it's an offset coupler does not limit it's uses as much as you think. As I mentioned above it can be used in many places as our other underset shank couplers, maybe not all places but certainly many of them. This includes the short #24, #34, #44, and even the medium #27, #37, and #47 (#147) couplers. You can even use the #7 as a centerset coupler but placing shims under the draft gear box until the coupler matches the centerset coupler height. So just because the #7 coupler is a short underset coupler does not limit it's uses. So don't be afraid to have a few of these on hand or if you have a limited budget use these as standard couplers.
Now a few comments about our HO coupler conversion listings. If you've noticed we do have an extensive conversion list. Also note it does not have every HO model listed because there is no way we could ever do that. The list only covers models we have in our collection or models belonging to someone else that was kind enough to send to us for coupler conversion which kept us from having to acquire the model ourselves. We do up date the list when we come across older models we have not seen before or newer models that may require some alteration to mount a coupler. Most new models are now coming with some version of a knuckle coupler and these usually are easily converted to a Kadee coupler simply by taking theirs out and dropping ours in. This type of conversion we rarely put into our conversion listings. So if you can not find your particular model in our lists it's because we have not seen that model before or it comes with knuckle couplers that are easily changed out to ours. These most often we'll recommend our medium shank #148 or #158 scale head couplers.
Custom Body Mounting Couplers (August 2011)
I thought I'd better offer a few helpful hints for custom body mounting couplers since there seems to be a number of modelers that are a bit apprehensive about it. The basics are having or making a level platform area under the end of your car and mounting the coupler on the centerline and as level as possible then checking for the correct coupler height.
Most less expensive cars that came with truck mounted couplers like box cars, reefers, gondolas, and flat cars will have a nice flat area near the end of the underside or floor of the body. So you may not need to build a platform.
Assemble a NO.5® or our #148 coupler and set it on the end of the floor as centered as possible and wrap a small rubber band around it and the end of the car. Place the car on the track with a coupler height gauge and check the coupler height. If you have one of our #206 HO coupler height gauges you can simply use the pointed end to check the height of the mounting surface without using the coupler. The pointed end is the correct height for body mounting centerset couplers. If the height is too low you may need to cut down the mounting platform or use and underset coupler that raises the coupler head. Most often you'll need to lower the coupler rather than raise it and this is a simple matter of using thin shims between the box and body of the car.
We recommend using a screw to attach the box to the car, glue is to be used "only as a last resort" for mounting couplers.
Tank cars, hopper cars, or other cars with open frame work may take a bit more ingenuity to custom body mount couplers. It may take gluing a piece of thick styrene shim stock on the center beam to strengthen the mounting platform.
Learn to drill and tap using a pin vice and pieces of scrap plastic. Learn to carefully file and trim plastic and soft metals. Use a power tool (like a Dremel) only sparingly, it's just too easy to mess up a good model with these. Find a source of help that you have confidence in and that has the patience to help you. Go to as many train shows as you can and ask questions when appropriate. Just remember that everyone started somewhere and went through their own learning curves to gain experience and develop their own bravado and ways of doing things, so don't be afraid to just try.
This hobby is meant for enjoyment and we want you to enjoy Kadee® products as much as possible.
NMRA National Train Show New Products (July 2011)
This year's NMRA National Train Show and Convention is in Sacramento, California with the convention starting on July 3rd and the train show beginning on the 8th and going through the 10th. This issue will be posted on our web site during this week but our printed version may not be received until after the show. Fortunately Sacramento is close enough for use to drive to which will save on airline and shipping costs for our materials. With the constant rising costs of everything we appreciate the chance to attend a show closer to home.
This year we will have a few new items to show like the "test shots" of our new generation Type "E" "O" Scale coupler which is a scaled down version of our new line of #1 and G Scale couplers. We'll have a short coupler #743, like the #806, medium centerset #740 (metal box) #745 (plastic box) like the #805 type, and now a medium underset #747 (raises the coupler head) and a medium overset #742 (lowers the head) and also a long centerset coupler #746. These are all scale metal couplers with a more detailed coupler head and a hidden knuckle spring.
We've had requests for us to make the over scale three rail couplers but that's a market we have never been in and may never get into since it's relatively easy to convert the three rail couplers to our scale size O Scale couplers even on most of the three rail models. Three rail couplers are so oversize they compare to #1 large scale couplers which are 1:32 scale ratio.
For you "Large Scale" modelers, if you have not already seen them, we'll have some of our new couplers to show. Also something that may interest you, we'll have a few of our new "G" Scale wheelsets along with a couple of trucks we are working on and testing.
Yes, you heard correctly we are working on trucks and wheels for Large Scale. Both the trucks and wheelsets will be all metal, the wheels will be cast so we can make rib back and smooth back wheels with the proper contour and even the casting marks (printing) on them. Neither the trucks or wheels are ready, we simply are showing what we are "working on and testing".
For HO we'll show our #451 extra swing coupler, whisker couplers, two piece HGC trucks, and code 88 wheelsets.
We'll have a few couplers to sell and freight cars at a small discount. We recently made a novelty product, it's a key chain using our #900 G scale coupler. It's molded in Kadee® Yellow with a Kadee® logo and our 65 year anniversary on it and they will retail for $4.00.
Bachmann Climax New Production Conversion (June 2011)
G Scale #916 or #1 Scale #1916 These fit right on the end of the Bachmann newer coupler shanks with the dove tail connection.
It is easier to install the #916/1916 onto the end of the Bachmann coupler shank if you remove the coupler pocket mounting assembly.
Remove the two small screws inside the top pocket and carefully push the step board in enough to slide the pocket assemble down and out of the end sill. Invert the pocket and remove the coupler pivoting screw, remove the retaining bracket and coupler, take care and note the silver wire coil centering spring and how it fits. Remove the screw holding the Bachmann coupler to the shank and remove the coupler. Carefully set the #916/1916 coupler in place and make sure it is set in correctly and firmly in place, replace the screw and tighten snuggly.
Reassemble the pocket assembly and slide it back in place onto the end sill. Before you put the screws back in make sure it is in the correct position, set the locomotive on the track and check it for the correct coupler height with the appropriate Kadee® coupler height gauge. Check how much the coupler may move up and down. We had to put a .020" shim (with a screw hole) under the couplers to reduce the coupler up and down movement. Also, check to see how close to actual center the Bachmann spring returns the coupler. If it's really off you might be able to bend the centering spring arms to adjust the center position. Once the coupler movement, height, and centering is OK replace the two screws and check the height again. We were only able to adjust the coupler height slightly.
Get Back To The Basics (May 2011)
There has to be a continuing growth of new modelers or modelers just getting back into the hobby because we are receiving more and more request for help in getting started and converting older models to Kadee® couplers. So I'm going to "get back to the basics" with coupler mounting. My comments and information applies to all scales when it comes to couplers. First is the basic understanding that to achieve top coupler performance all of your couplers need to be mounted at the same correct coupler height and as level as possible. We offer coupler height gauges for HOn3 up to G scale and the HO gauges are our #205 and newer #206. These are multi purpose gauges that can be used as track gauges, uncoupler (magnets) height gauge, trip pin gauge, and coupler height gauge, the #206 as well as the other scale gauges also have a body mounting height gauge. Coupler heights are measured from the top of the rail to the "center" of the coupler head. By using our coupler height gauges you don't need to do any actual measuring.
If you have coupler trip pins that hang up in your track work this means that the couplers are not mounted at the correct height or they may be slanted causing the head to droop. Before you try to adjust the trip pins make sure the couplers are at the correct height and level. The trip pins are set at the factory and rarely ever need adjustment when new. This is especially true in #1 and G scale since the trip pins are made of very stiff wire. When adjusting trip pins try to be careful not to bend the tip of the pin upward this takes away from the magnetic strength available to uncouple. Please note that the curved trip pins were never meant to look like "glad hands or air hoses" and the original trip pins were straight so the name carried over when we went to our Magne-Matic uncoupling in the late 1950s. Use our #237 trip pin pliers to adjust trip pins up to O scale the #1 and G scale pins are too large and heavy for the #237s. If you ever need to adjust the #1 and G scale trip pins use two pair of pliers to carefully bend the pin.
The center holes of our HO coupler boxes are designed for #2 screws and the side holes of the old #4 box and #5 box use a #0 screw. When you see a screw size like 2-56 this means the screw is a #2 screw with 56 threads per inch. Our S scale and On3 coupler boxes use #0 screws, our O scale boxes use #2 screws, and our body mounted #1 scale #820 and G scale #830 type boxes use up to #4 screw sizes.
Conversion Info (April 2011)
We are receiving many inquiries from modelers that have recently returned to model railroading or are just getting into the hobby. Many have dug up their old models or inherited pieces from family members and /or friends. Others have bought pre-owned models at swap meets, trade shows, or on sites like eBay. These might be Athearn, Tyco, Mantua, Life Like, Model Power, Bachmann, Varney, or any number of other older makes. These usually still have the "horn hook" or "hook and loop" couplers and they want to put Kadee® couplers on them since most new models they buy come with knuckle couplers. We normally can help them easily select a coupler based on the make of the model. But when they do not know the make of the model, it's usually a matter matching the type of coupler pocket on the unknown model to the coupler pocket of a known model. Then I show them how to use our coupler conversion chart on our web site. Once you are on our home page kadee.com, in the gray horizontal strip under the title there is a subject "conversions". Click on conversions and the first of four listings is the HO coupler conversion list, which simply lists the couplers we recommend for certain cars and locomotives. Since there are many conversions, especially for older models, that require modifying the coupler or model, in the second listing we provide actual drawings and instructions for many conversions that require more than simply changing the couplers or more than the coupler's instructions provide. The next two listing are the same but for G and #1 large scale models.
There are many visitors to our web site looking for conversion info that go to the coupler section and try to find a coupler to fit their model. This usually confuses them into frustration with the many couplers we have listed. We have the largest coupler selection in the industry and we've made all these couplers because of the many different models on the market and all their different types of coupler pockets and mountings. Through the years there have been model manufacturers that have made their coupler pockets and coupler heights to NMRA Standards where our couplers are a simple drop in. Yet there have been many (and still are many) that have given very little regard to correct coupler heights and standard draft gear boxes (coupler pockets).
Those of you looking for coupler conversion information please start with our web site "conversion" section and if that does not help, then feel free to e-mail me with the make and type of your model and I'll help as much as I can.
Kadee® Products & NEM 362 Couplers (March 2011)
Unfortunately, we are still receiving comments from modelers that are being told by a few dealers that they can not get certain Kadee® products. Not knowing where these dealers are acquiring Kadee® products, either from a wholesale distributor or directly from us, our only comment is that we are fully stocked on all of the products we make ourselves and rarely have any back orders. So a message to modelers everywhere is that if you can not find the Kadee® product you need at your favorite dealer or there's just no dealer near you, then you are more than welcome to order directly from us at anytime. We do charge full retail prices and S&H and we ship all over the world.
Speaking of all over the world, we have a very large market in Europe and we receive many inquiries about our NEM couplers. NEM is the European equivalent of the NMRA. They have certain standards for model manufacturers to follow to help make their models compatible with other makes of models. Many European models have a special snap in coupler pocket called the NEM 362. It is a open end rectangular box and the coupler has a split tail or dove tail shank with feet on the ends that when slid through the pocket snap out the back to hold the coupler in the pocket. To remove you simply squeeze the tail together and pull on the coupler. The pockets are mounted quite low compared to the U.S.A. type of knuckle coupler height. We have four different lengths of HO scale knuckle couples made to fit the NEM pockets. The shortest is #17, then #18, #19 and longest #20. These have a very large offset to raise the coupler head to the NMRA standard coupler height. The #18 is the most common so if you have a model with the NEM 362 pocket start with a #18 and couple it to another car and push them around your tightest curve to check if the corner buffers have enough clearance then if needed use a longer coupler or shorter where appropriate. We have seen NEM pockets mostly on HO and OO scale models but some are found on a few O scale models, which we do not make an O scale NEM coupler for.
Trucks (February 2011)
February is here and our great New Years resolutions are already starting to fade. But hopefully your model railroading expectations are only getting warmed up.
I'm writing this prior to leaving to go to the Amherst Train Show in West Springfield, MA and for us at least it is a major undertaking. We ship our show material a week or so before the show then try to pack the things we forgot to ship hoping not to set off the paranoia of the TSA allowing them a reason to twist and construe some model railroad item that "could be used as a weapon".
Recently I've had inquiries about changing trucks on older less expensive (cheap) freight cars and the main issue was the large mounting hole in the cars bolster. These were made for the various types of press in pins either a separate pin or a molded on split pin. Most current after market trucks are made with a small mounting hole for a #2 screw. This means to mount new trucks to these cars requires the large hole to be filled in and a new smaller screw hole drilled to mount the new truck. The large hole are of various sizes on different underframes and this usually means that the same method of filling the hole may not be best for all type of cars. The holes can be filled in with a number of fillers like Squadron Signal body filler, epoxy, or any filler that hardens enough to drill and tap a screw hole. Another method, where possible, is to glue a piece of styrene tube stock in the hole and perhaps a small tube in that so you can use the appropriate screw. I've even glued 2-56 hex nuts into the hole or if the type of the car allows glue a hex nut on the inside of the hole. I've filed the bolster down and glue a piece of .060" styrene stock over the hole and drilled and tapped it.
People ask us if we sell the mounting pins for these large holes and we do not and we really do not know where they can be acquired.
The trucks we sell that have couplers attached, like our #502 trucks, come with a large hole in the bolster and special bushings to help in mounting these to cars with the larger mounting holes. However, the bushings may not fit the different sizes of mounting holes.
Spiker & Large Scale Couplers (January 2011)
We at Kadee® hope you've all had a fabulous Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We also hope that you will continue to share the true Christmas Spirit throughout this coming year, it makes life so much more pleasant and peaceful.
Having acquired some new model railroading equipment from your loving and generous gift givers it's now time to add to the enjoyment of this great hobby. Hopefully some of your new stuff is from Kadee®, like couplers and uncouplers, trucks and wheelsets, RTR freight cars and logging car kits, or other great stuff.
I want to mention an on going issue that I think needs some attention. That is our Twin Rail Spiker that we produced many years ago. We receive requests for us to reintroduce and bring back the Spiker. We discontinued the Spiker long ago for many different reasons and we have no plans to put the Spiker back on the market. If we did we'd need some new tooling and the ending cost would simply be astronomical. There are many Spikers still in use and many being sold and traded so if you happen to acquire one we do have a "limited supply" of parts and we are still making the spikes.
We just released the #1 scale version of our new generation Type "E" coupler which is same as our G scale but in a smaller 1:32 scale. Slowly this new design is becoming more popular, however, we still have the older style couplers available. There is a chart on our web site that cross references the numbers of the old style and new design. Also there are a number of specialty coupler packages in the older style coupler that we may not change to the new generation. This is one of the reasons we have the new couplers available without draft gear boxes as couplers only so you can simply swap out the older coupler for the new. However, the older and the newer will work together just fine so the modelers can mix the two styles if they wish, without worries. The new Bachmann rolling stock with body mounted couplers will use the coupler only from our older #830, new #906, or the coupler only new #900. These fit into the Bachmann box without any modifications. If your so inclined you can also use our new #916 on the end of the coupler arm, the #916 and #1 scale #1916 are designed with the Bachmann dove tail connection found on many newer Bachmann models. USA Trains Ultimate Series have a nice platform made for the #830 and #906 couplers. Accucraft has a small coupler pocket that the coupler from our older #835/789 or newer #907 and coupler only #901 will fit. They have some new #1 scale (1:32) models with body mounted couplers that use our #1 scale older #820 or newer #1906 couplers. MTH #1 scale (1:32) models have a nice platform made for the #820 and #1906. We thank these four manufacturers for making it easy to put Kadee® couplers on at least some of their models and we hope other makers will eventually follow along.
We will be attending the Amherst Train Show in West Springfield at the end of the Month and we'll be at the NMRA National Train Show in Sacramento in July. At this time we do not know what other shows we may attend this year so if you attend either of these shows come by our booth and visit us.
Now let all have a Happy New Year and remember even if Christmas has past we should never forget to have a continuing Christmas spirit and always remember Christ.
HGC Trucks (December 2010)
"MERRY CHRISTMAS" everyone!! We hope that everyone everywhere will have the best CHRISTMAS ever. We pray that we all can understand that CHRISTMAS really means remembering the birth of Jesus Christ and what he has done for us all. I don't mean just those who are Christian but all mankind, regardless of their religion, culture, race, or any other differences, or whether your a model railroader or not.
We have had a number of comments and inquiries concerning our new two piece HGC trucks. From this I believe that I should make a few comments to help answer some of the inquiries. First we had several reasons for introducing this new design but the most important is these trucks roll a lot better than our older fully sprung trucks. Most of the time our fully sprung trucks need some fine tuning to get them to roll as good as other makes of trucks and the HGC trucks do not need any fine tuning, they just roll like crazy. Next is through the many years our fully sprung trucks have been on the market there have been only a few complaints but one of them is how the "thin wire springs do not look prototypical" and you can see through the side frame which is not like real trucks. The HGC design has much more prototypical looking springs in a solid side frame that you can't see through. One thing that some modelers may not understand is that these new trucks have a two piece design that allows the same equalizing performance that our fully sprung trucks have and we can mold more detail and printing into the side frames. There are some modelers that will not even try the new design trucks because they think these trucks are one solid piece like other makes of trucks. The special two piece design is split in the middle of the bolster and is like a puzzle piece held together by the centering bushing. Where appropriate, we have begun to install these new trucks on most of our freight cars. We have been getting comments of how great they look and how well they roll and perform. Then we received comments apparently from a few die hard traditionalists that do not like the new trucks on our freight cars. We have no problem with this and we understand their feelings. We have from the beginning made fully sprung trucks and there are modelers that have used them forever. Now we've come out with something new there's always an adjustment period the traditionalists go through before they accept a new product. It's really a matter of giving things a chance and not being afraid of trying something new. As a matter of relief for those who presently do not like our new trucks, our fully sprung trucks are still available for sale as separate products. To make sure everything is clear, we are "not" discontinuing the sale of fully sprung trucks and they will be available for a very long time. Any new style of trucks we make will be in the new design that will extend our truck line but not replace the older sprung truck design. As time allows we will be adding new styles of trucks to our line in the HGC two piece design.
Now we also have our new narrower code 88 (.088") semi scale wheels that look super in both styles of our trucks. They come in 33" and 36" with smooth back and rib back and I don't believe any other manufacturer offers rib back semi scale wheels. Their product numbers are 530, 531, 532, and 533 and retail at $8.50 for 33" and $10.50 for 36" for a package of 12 sets.
Again MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone. Please open your hearts and share your smiles, hugs, time, talents, and your model railroad hobby throughout this season and make this season endless.....**MERRY CHRISTMAS**....!!!
Thanksgiving (November 2010)
Happy Thanksgiving and an upcoming Merry Christmas to you all.
"Thanksgiving" is a holiday of gratitude, a time to give thanks for all that we have and have been given. Those of us that truly believe in God give a special humble thanks for all we have been given. I'm sure that the Pilgrims and Indians who are the originators of our Thanksgiving, gave a special thanks to divine intervention in their time of need. Another way to look at this, (that we all should look closer at,) is giving thanks for opportunities to give.
In this industry, we should be thankful for all the model railroaders and dealers that support the manufacturers, especially those of us that still make our products here in the U.S.A. We give you all a huge Thank You and Happy Thanksgiving!!
As we hope you've noticed, we are bringing out a few new products and upgrading others. We now have our #1 scale version of our Type E New Generation Couplers available. We know many of you have been waiting for this to happen. Also for you Bachmann large scale fans that have their new Baldwin 2-6-6-2 Articulated Saddle Tank steam locomotive with the long coupler arm on the front, we have made our new coupler with a short shank designed to fit on the end of the Bachmann coupler arm with the dove tail connection. Rather than figuring out a way to mount a standard coupler on this loco we made a coupler that simply replaces theirs. There are other applications for this coupler but the 2-6-6-2 needed it the most.
Our new "HGC" HO scale trucks are continually getting more popular and when time allows, we'll make a few more types. For those of you that still like our fully sprung trucks, don't worry these are still available. We are using our whisker couplers to replace some of our older designs that are challenging to assemble or expensive to make. Remember our new code 88 wheels are presently available in 33" and 36", smooth or rib back. We have a very short supply of our #118 shelf couplers left at the low clearance price and when the stock is cleared out, the new version will be released.
Also, remember that you can "pre-order" our freight cars as soon as they are announced, usually three months ahead of their release date. So watch our web site, monthly flyers, and e-mails.
Here's a helpful hint about some of our new snap together draft gear boxes. I get modelers calling or e-mailing asking what screw to use. All of these new boxes are designed to use a #2 size of screw such as a 2-56 screw. The most common lengths used are 1/4" and 3/8" depending on the type of car and material thickness. The same goes for our trucks, they are designed for #2 screws and most common are the 2-56. We sell various lengths of 0-48, 0-80, 1-72, and 2-56 screws including a 2-56 x 1/2" plastic screw that's easy to trim to desired lengths.
Be truly grateful for all that you have and be ready for opportunities to give so others in need can be grateful too. A smile, a kind word, a helpful hand, a thoughtful gesture, generous gifts, and warm hugs can mean the world to someone in need.
Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!!
2010 Holiday Season (October 2010)
Here we go again...the Holiday Season is sneaking up on us. That's right, school started last month (a parental holiday), Halloween is at the end of the month, Elections (your chance to vote for change, give the stagnate politicians a permanent holiday), Thanksgiving, Christmas, and then New Years, every year the same over and over again. So for you model railroaders the question is: What are you going to do to make this Holiday Season different enough to remember next season? If we really put forth the effort, with foresight, and follow through I'm sure we can all make this season worth remembering. How about introducing someone new to model railroading or at least let every known, gift giver know what you really want for Christmas. This year we are doing a Christmas car that's a bit different than what we've done in the past. It's done using our AAR 50 ton offset twin open hopper. One side is a "Nice" side and the other side is a "Naughty" side and it comes with a silver load rather than our typical black coal load. An interesting change to say the least, check out the details on our web site. We are also working on a number of coupler projects that use our whisker couplers to replace some of our older designed couplers that are very challenging to assemble. A relief to those with little dexterity and poor eye sight. We just introduced our new "semi scale code 88" wheelsets. These have the narrower code .088" width as compared to the standard code .110" width wheels. Of course they have the Kadee standard inside and outside contour detail and some have the rib back feature which no other make of code 88 wheels have. These wheels will operate on "most" track without any problems, so don't be afraid to try them. Since the release of our New Generation Type E "G" scale coupler line we have been working on the smaller #1 scale version so keep watching our web site for these, they're coming soon. You know of our new design truck line made from heavy gravity compound "HGC", we just released three styles of caboose trucks #580 standard AAR Bettendorf Type, #581 Bettendorf T-Section, and #582 Barber-Bettendorf Roller Bearing and hopefully as time allows we'll continually expand this line. We have a new narrow low profile #262 coupler draft gear box to go along with our Whisker® Couplers. Those of you that use or will be using our #309 electric uncoupler, we now have a small AC transformer #166 and a new style of "Quickie" Switch #163. We have a few other projects we're working on that may or may not be ready for Christmas so just keep watching our web site. Christmas is very important to us here at Kadee® Quality Products Co. and we promise never to be "politically correct" about our use of the word "Christmas" where appropriate. So as these holidays come closer expect to see us use "Merry Christmas" as often as possible because it has real meaning to us. If the rest of the world would understand the true meaning of Merry Christmas they would never be offended regardless of their beliefs or culture. So do everything you can to enjoy these coming holidays and spread the true meaning of Christmas wherever possible.
New Modelers (September 2010)
There seems to be an increasing number of new retirees that are either digging up the old model train hobby they had when younger or they are just beginning a new hobby where they may have always wanted to have a model railroad but never could. I get calls and e-mails from guys that have just dug up their old trains, inherited some from their father or grandfather or acquired a bunch of trains from ebay or an auction, or such. The guys that were in the hobby long ago now notice a great many changes in the hobby but also notice that their old Horn Hook couplers are now replaced with "knuckle" couplers on new models they buy. Now they have to change out the Horn Hooks with knuckle couplers. So when they contact us we go through the basics of coupler conversions with them and help them get a good start in the right direction. We make sure they understand the importance of having all of their couplers at same correct coupler height and to acquire one of our coupler height gauges for the appropriate scale. Then we have the "new" or "newly returned" modeler that, for whatever reason, are converting from one scale to another. Most commonly it's from HO to G (large) scale or from Lionel (Tin Plate or High Rail) to HO or G scale. Not many N scale guys at retirement age are converting to another scale. It seems (but we really don't know) that those who were in N scale converted to a larger scale long before retirement. I like the guys that convert to G scale from HO and are already familiar with using Kadee couplers. These are the ones that no longer have the eye sight or dexterity for HO scale and I can simply tell them that our "large scale" couplers work the same as our HO couplers except you don't have to squint so much. Some of these modelers will look through our web site trying to find a coupler that will fit their model and see so many products that they get overwhelmed and confused. We try to guide them to our coupler conversion pages where most of the work has already been done. We have two conversion lists HO and Large Scale (G and #1) and we have two pages that have drawings and instructions for conversions that require more than just a "drop in" conversion. Some of these conversions do require some modeling skills and a bit of bravado and courage. We do try and keep these where the "average modeler" can accomplish the conversion. The basic modeling skills may require trimming with a hobby knife, filing, drilling and tapping screw holes, scratch building coupler mounting platforms, and just figuring out how to do stuff. Once you know that all your couplers need to be at the same correct coupler height, have enough clearance to swing side to side through your tightest curves, be as stable and level as possible without drooping or flexing up and down too much, and when possible making the coupler mounting look as good as you can, you can then develop the skills and experience to accomplish these requirements without too much effort or worry. Just give yourself a chance and don't give up too soon. Tackling a complicated coupler conversion or any modeling project with confidence in yourself and your expectations is one of the many satisfying joys of model railroading.
We want you to enjoy model railroading because that's what it's all about. Just simply learn to enjoy this hobby regardless of what your experience or level of modeling skills happen to be.
NMRA National Train Show (August 2010)
After attending the NMRA National Train Show July 16-18 in Milwaukee, WI, I made a number of observations I'd like to comment on. First, the attendance was down to around 15,500, where in past NMRA Train Shows we've attended there were 20,000 to 24,000 in attendance. We noticed that Friday's attendance was better than Saturday or Sunday, mostly because of the convention attendees and NMRA members. We do thank those who did attend this Train Show. There seems to be a number of reasons for this lack of attendance, *the economy is "still" in shambles thanks to the lack of political backbone and their complete incompetence toward what the issues really are. This makes us look closer at our spending and confidence in what the future may bring, or not bring. *The next item is traveling costs, ridiculous airlines, hotel, rental car, gas, parking, food, and ticket prices leave little for purchasing bargains at the show. *This year's show being in Milwaukee initiated competition between attending the National Train Show and the annual regional "Trainfest" in November. Normally, Trainfest is as big if not bigger than the National Train Show and I think that Trainfest has a much better location for a large show. *The weather was nice enough for people to enjoy outdoor activities where in the fall and winter the weather brings people inside. *There were comments about the NMRA not promoting the event as well as they could have even in their own magazine let alone locally. Although we were not in a position to form an opinion but just the fact that others noticed the lack of enough promotion made us wonder if more could have been done. *Vendors and manufacturers face even more issues with attending the National Train Show. We, as well as other smaller businesses trying to simply make a living, have the same travel, food and, hotel expenses but one of our biggest issues is with shipping our booth material to the show. Many manufacturers ship their booth material in crates via some freight carrier but then the major gripe is with the movers that hold the crates and move them from the docks to the booths and back, the situation is we have no choice in the costs incurred. The NMRA seems to have most of their conventions in expensive down town locations and are obligated to use the local union contracted services that operates in a manner one step away from simple extortion. Perhaps they are not completely aware of the costs incurred by the vendors and the ridiculous expenses like several hundred dollars just to move one crate from the dock to our booth or the extra fee for after hours work charged us because of the next show in the building. In the past years we have not attended a few shows just because of these high costs.
We will be attending next years NMRA National in Sacramento because we can drive down with our booth set up and avoid many of the high costs of carrier fees and transportation.
In this industry, promoting products and showing new products at shows is extremely important and part of advertising and marketing. But it's getting harder and harder to justify the costs especially the costs of the NMRA Nationals. With the many small businesses and manufacturers struggling with the economy trying to make a living (let alone a profit) and the members, modelers, and general public being so much more economy minded, perhaps the NMRA should take a closer look at future venues and show some regard to the costs we have to deal with.
Discontinued Products (July 2010)
We have been changing and discontinuing a number of products over the last couple of years and recently have a few more to list. We have many products that date back to the early 1950 Ft.s that we still produce and market. Since we are adding many new couplers and other new products to our extensive line, a number of our older products have become either obsolete or are no longer profitable to Manufacturer. Yes, we are actually trying to make a profit by doing things better, faster, and easier, rather than moving to China, if you can imagine that. As we complete the 140 Whisker® series of couplers we will discontinue the 40 series couplers. There have been rumors and worries about us fazing out the NO.5® coupler. Please rest assured that will not happen for a very long time. Even with the increasing use of our #148 Whisker® coupler the NO.5® coupler is still the backbone of our coupler line. The following are a number of other products that are being changed or eliminated:
Presently we have the #118 coupler on a clearance sale because we are changing it to a Whisker® coupler. So if you want a good deal on these now is a good time to pick some up.
We will replace the #78 coupler with a new #178 Whisker® version.
Our older "Quickie Switches" #160-162 will be replaced by a new type as the #163.
The couplers used in our logging car kits and the #15 coupler will be replaced with a new box and Whisker® coupler.
Soon we'll have a new Whisker® Coupler for our trucks that have couplers attached. The current coupler used in our #15, logging cars, and on our trucks is actually the very old #4 coupler that predates the NO.5® coupler. It is a difficult coupler to produce and certainly assemble as many of you know. I receive many calls from modelers that need assistance assembling this old coupler, even with our #701 assembly jig it's a challenge to put together.
If you browse our web site, price list and ads you'll notice a number of products marked "while supplies last". This means the original product is being replaced, changed, or discontinued. We rarely announce release dates for many reasons so when we announce something, as the above products, we are not obligated to a particular date. This allows time to properly develop and test new products without rushing through too soon just to get it on the market.
Electric Uncoupling and Remote Uncoupling (June 2010)
As I mentioned last month I'm going to cover electric uncouplers and remote uncoupling.
We offer three (3) electric uncouplers, the #708 HOn3, #309 HO, and #810 for O scale. These are all Magne-Matic Delayed Uncoupling® magnets and the uncoupling method is the same as with the permanent magnets. The difference is you have control of the magnetic field with an electric switch or an on demand magnetic field. The problem with permanent magnetic uncouplers is the magnetic field is present all the time. Under certain circumstances this may cause unwanted uncoupling when you park or run over the uncoupler and have slack between the couplers just at the right time. There are a number of things that cause this to happen but the most common are when there is jerking and jostling in the train when it's over the uncoupler and when the cars in the back coast up faster than the forward cars. Many modelers will use permanent magnetic uncouplers on the siding and yards and use electric uncouplers on the main lines. There are modelers that will fine tune their operations for the smoothest running possible to eliminate unwanted uncoupling.
Another issue with electric uncoupler is the installation. The uncouplers consist of a coil of wire between a set of field plates. You have to cut a hole under your track so the uncoupler can set underneath. On the #708 and #810 the field plates come up through the track and parallel the rails, we redesigned the old HO #307 into the #309 which now sets under the ties and is completely hidden under the trackage. You can use either AC or DC, but DC is better because AC makes the uncoupler vibrate more and heat up faster.
There are various "remote" couplers on the market actuated through a DCC signal and most of them are limited to the use on locomotives. DCC requires power and signal to go through the track to be picked up by the wheels that means each car you wanted to use DCC remote uncoupling requires a conductive or electrical pick up truck and clean track.
We'll have some new items to show at our booth at the NMRA Train Show in Milwaukee in July and at the National Garden Railway Convention in Tacoma, WA in August.
Uncoupling (May 2010)
To go along with many current discussions about “uncoupling” I’m going to briefly cover a few important aspects of coupling and uncoupling.
Kadee® couplers are designed to couple and uncouple on a “straight” piece of track. If the couplers are off center even a little bit they usually will not uncouple. For hands off coupling the couplers need to be aligned straight with each other where the contour of the knuckles allows them to slip by each other, pushing the opposing coupler open until the lip of the knuckles pass and the knuckle spring closes the knuckles. Now the lips of the knuckles are indexed or locked together. The knuckle spring allows the knuckle to flex and compress during operations and yet holds them together. To uncouple you, again, need to be on a straight section of track long enough for your two longest models, then allow slack between the knuckles. The coupler will not open without enough slack for the lips to unhook or pass each other. Methods of uncoupling may vary from our tried and true magnetic uncoupling to the many home built and commercial manual uncoupling tools. Our Delayed Magne-Matic® Uncoupling System, has been around since the late 1950s and is still the primary method of uncoupling for many modelers. When you stop over one of our magnetic uncouplers and allow slack between the couplers the magnet will pull the trip pins of the couplers in opposite directions thus opening the couplers. As long as you are over the magnet the couplers will stay open (delayed position) now you can push the cars back together and the couplers will not lock up but keep each other opened as you push off the uncoupling magnet. As long as you keep pushing pressure on the open couplers they will not lock up. Now you can push the uncoupled car and spot it almost anywhere on your layout. When you pull away the couplers will snap back to center and be ready to be coupled again.
This Magne-Matic Delayed Uncoupling® is a complete hands off coupling and uncoupling system. For those who like the full experience of manual uncoupling and have the eye sight and dexterity needed there are many different manual uncoupling tools available (Kadee’s #241) or many modelers make their own from skewers and such. Again allowing slack insert the tool between the knuckles, without forcing, then with a gentle twist the couplers will pop open. This sometime takes a bit of practice to get the hang of it but once learned the uncoupling comes almost naturally.
Next month I cover electric uncouplers and a bit on remote uncoupling.
HO Coupler Conversions (April 2010)
I’m not spending as much time doing HO coupler conversions as I used to mostly because most newer models are now coming with molded on coupler pockets or separately attached draft gear boxes made for knuckle couplers. I do, however, receive just as many, if not more, coupler conversion inquiries as ever. So here’s a few hints for many of the newer models that come with some version of knuckle couplers in a somewhat standard draft gear box.
A bit of terminology first; draft gear box, coupler pocket, and coupler box all mean basically the same thing. It’s the box or pocket that the coupler fits into and can be a separate box or molded onto the underframe of the model, some are attached to the trucks, and on longer models there might be a swinging arm with the box on the end to allow long cars to negotiate tighter radius curves.
Knuckle coupler is a term used for the current type of model railroading couplers and these have a moving “knuckle” on the coupler head similar to the real ones. This is opposed to the older designs like the dummy coupler (a solid non functional knuckle coupler), “horn hook” (X2F), hook and loop, and link and pin couplings. When the important Kadee® patents ran out other manufacturers began to make their copy or version of the Kadee® designs and this has led to the demise or much reduced use of these older types of couplers. Now this is in many ways is rather fortunate, very few newer models need to be modified, as before, to fit a knuckle coupler and most often it’s a matter of removing the factory coupler and dropping in a Quality Kadee® Coupler. As this knuckle coupler change progressed some manufacturers have been making shallow coupler pockets to compensate for the thinner shanks used on their make of knuckle couplers. This became a problem with installing Kadee’s NO.5® type of bronze flat plate centering spring which is too tall for some of the shallow boxes. Fortunately, after sitting on the design since the 1980’s we finally brought out our version of a “Whisker®” knuckle coupler and these fit into most of the shallow boxes. There are some boxes that are still slightly too shallow for our whisker couplers but just with a little filing on the top of the shank they will fit just fine.
It’s been a long time coming where most manufacturers are now making a somewhat standard draft gear box for knuckle couplers. However, there are many that still do not take the time to get the coupler heights correct and use poor quality couplers which doesn’t make sense when you produce a high quality model and then give little regard to a quality coupler and mounting.
Trucks, Couplers & Screws (March 2010)
This month we are releasing the new trucks I mentioned last month.
The #561 Arch Bar rib back wheels, #562 50 ton A.S.F. A-3 Ride Control smooth back and #563 with rib back, #564 50 ton Bettendorf with smooth back and #565 with rib back, #566 is a new 70 ton Barber S2-B friction bearing truck. These new trucks have a split bolster that allows the side frames to float and equalize like our fully sprung trucks. They have the self centering feature we use on the trucks on our freight cars and other after market trucks. They are made of a very heavy plastic “HGC” so there is little weight difference between these and our metal sprung trucks. We are also releasing our #905 sill mounted G scale coupler to fit into our new Type E series of couplers. It is the #779 coupler with the new coupler head. For those of you that use our #1 scale couplers, we are in the process of making these new Type E couplers in 1:32 scale so be patient they’re coming. We have been receiving many inquiries about what size of screws to use on our couplers and trucks.
All of our freight car trucks are designed for a #2 screw and the 2-56 machine screw is the most popular, however, many manufacturers use a self tapping but still most are #2 size. Our #714 HOn3 and HO #711 3/4 size, #4, and #78 coupler boxes use a #0 screw like 0-48 and 0-80. All of our other HO coupler boxes will use a #2 size of screw in the center hole and 2-56 being the most common. Our #232 box which is the #5 coupler box has two small holes on the side of the box, called “lugs” or “ears” and use a #0 screw. Our S scale and On3 coupler boxes use a #0 size. Our O scale boxes use a #2 screw. #1 and G scale boxes will use #4 screws. The length of the screws you use will depend on the thickness of the material you are attaching the coupler or trucks to. In HO up to O scale 1/4” to 3/8” long are most common. The numbers used to describe screws like 2-56 means the screw is a number 2 and it has 56 threads per inch. We offer a selection of 0-48, 0-80, 1-72, and 2-56 screws, along with a plastic 2-56 x 1/2” screw (#256) so you can trim it to the length you need.
Amherst Train Show (February 2010)
We just returned from the annual Amherst Train Show in West Springfield, MA where we showed a number of new products. These were our new Kadee® Remote System for uncoupling and other functions, our previously released G-Scale Type E couplers, up graded #118 shelf coupler now with the Whisker® centering spring, new trucks with our new two piece floating bolster design like our ACL type #560 trucks, and our new counter display rack for our retail dealers.
We’ve had many demands for a Whisker® version for the #118 shelf coupler so we went ahead and followed through with it. Presently we have a “close out special” on the older version of the #118 that uses the separate #5 type of centering spring. When stocks of the older design runs down enough we’ll release the newer Whisker® version using the same product number of #118 Type SF coupler.
Our new Kadee® Remote System has endless possibilities. We’ve developed a number of G-Scale operations for this debut like uncoupling and switching on lights. Our plans are to eventually have this system available in other scales including HO. More information will be forth coming as we continually develop this system. One thing I’d like to emphasize is that this system is still completely manufactured in the USA, for that matter it’s all been developed and manufactured right here in southern Oregon.
We have expanded our new “HGC” two piece truck design. We first introduced this about a year ago with our cushioned underframe ACL box car that used a particular type of roller bearing truck with extended journal holders. These new trucks with a specially designed split bolster allows the truck to equalize just like our fully sprung trucks. Presently our ACL type of truck is the #560. Soon we’ll release four new styles with two having the option of smooth back or rib back wheelsets. The #561 Arch Bar rib back wheels, #562 50 ton A.S.F. A-3 Ride Control smooth back and #563 with rib back, #564 50 ton Bettendorf with smooth back and #565 with rib back, #566 is a new 70 ton Barber S2-B friction bearing truck that will be used on one of our up coming 50 foot PS-1 box cars.
For our retail dealers we now have a small counter top product display rack. It comes with and without product included. The rack with products included has a special discounted purchase price.
We will be showing more of the Kadee® Remote features and other products at the NMRA Nationals in July 2010 in Milwaukee, WI.
AAR Type E Couplers (January 2010)
What... a new year already? Has everyone practiced writing “2010” yet? Well Happy New Year everybody. We hope you are all playing with your new train stuff that you got (or got yourself) for Christmas. Now you need to purchase the model railroad accessories to go along with all that train stuff, like Kadee couplers, trucks, and things.
We are getting ready to attend the yearly Amherst Train Show in West Springfield, MA January 29-31. We’ll be in our same location as last year, space #39, against the wall in the BLC building next to our friends from ExactRail. Since last years economy wasn’t so hot, thanks to the corporate banking system and politicians (“that still don’t get it”), we had to cut down our our train show attendance and have only planned to attend the Amherst and NMRA National Shows so far this coming year. This show, as usual, is a “selling” show where most vendors will not only be showing their products but will be selling also and we’ll have a number of our popular products for sale at a discount. However, please note we will be quite limited to what we can bring because of the shipping costs and space limitations. We will also be showing some new products like our new generation “AAR Type E” large scale coupler line and something new to go along with it. So come by and see the new items.
Some modelers that do not know much about coupler history and all the different types of couplers have been asking what does AAR Type E mean? AAR stands for “American Association of Railroads” which is a group of railroad people that set the standards for prototype railroads to follow so they can operate with the same interchange compatibility with each other’s equipment. The Type E coupler is the most common coupler being used today. Knuckle coupler design began in the late 1800 and in 1887 the Janney coupler was accepted by the MCBA (pre AAR) as the standard knuckle coupler, originally designed by Eli Janney in 1873. In 1893 President Harrison signed the Saftey Appliance act making automatic couplers and air brakes mandatory on trains. From this point knuckle couplers were developed farther along as technology advanced until the AAR accepted the Type E coupler as the standard for general use. There are also other types of couplers in use like the Type F and H and there are variations of the Type E and F couplers with shelves on the top and bottoms of the coupler head for additional safety reasons. So the Type E coupler is simply the most common type of knuckle coupler in use today. Most Kadee couplers in all scales represent the type E coupler and we also have our HO #119 Type SE and #118 Type SF double shelf couplers available.
Christmas & Kadee® Whisker® Couplers (December 2009)
“Merry Christmas” everyone, yes it’s that time of year again, every 12 months no matter what, it comes again. Hopefully the world will take the time and reflect on the true nature of this season and what it really means. I’ll not talking about the pressures of decorating the house, shopping and having to get the kids every type of new gadget or new electronic gizzmo or whatever “fad” gift that’s being pushed on us by corporate marketers. I’m talking about the peace this time of year “should” bring to the world. In this peace we find love (above all) and kindness, forgiveness and sincere service to others, tolerance to those different than us and respect for others freedoms and rights, caring for those truly in need regardless of their race, color, religion, appearance, income, or social standing, even if it’s just a simple (painless) warm smile. Wouldn’t it truly be wonderful if the world could understand and accept this “peace” as a way of life rather than just for a short season at the end of the year? This is the spirit of Christmas, not “Xmas” but “CHRISTMAS”. This Christmas thing came to us because of the birth and life of the Lord Jesus Christ and not Santa Claus. His life teaches and projects all of the virtues I mentioned above and many more. Regardless your religious beliefs, or non beliefs, Christ is involved in Christmas whether you like it or not. Here at Kadee® we will always use the word “Christmas” in our advertising, on our yearly Christmas car, in our correspondence, and wherever else that’s appropriate. We are more interested in reverencing the name of Christ than in being politically correct or going with the popular flow. That’s our right, our freedom to do, and our responsibility. REGARDING KADEE® WHISKER® COUPLERS: Presently, we have our standard head Short Centerset #143, Short Overset (lowers the head) #145, Long Centerset #146, Medium Underset (raises head) #147, and the common Medium Centerset #148 (Whisker® version of our NO.5®), and our “Scale” Short Centerset, #153, Long Centerset #156, and Medium Centerset #158. These couplers have two very high tech wire Whisker® springs integrated into the shank of the coupler that makes it a one piece drop in coupler. Thus eliminating the separate centering spring. Also, we added a bit of thickness to the shank to compensate for the now missing centering spring and this reduces the droop found on certain other plastic couplers. These also fit most of the now common shallow boxes found on many new models that the NO.5® type of spring does not fit.
We wish “all the world” a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!
New Generation Couplers & The New Kadee Forum (November 2009)
Our new large scale couplers have been out for a short time now and so far we’ve received a few very positive reports on their looks and performance. They have not been reviewed by the large scale magazines yet, however, “Large Scale Online” has some comments and a short interview with me posted on their web site. They also have the new couplers available for sale on their online store.
This month we are introducing some complete large scale coupler packages (kits) with the new couplers and the most common draft gear boxes. Although we’ll sell the separate draft gear boxes upon request we won’t have them ready as packaged products until next month.
For you HO modelers, we are still working on more of the whisker® 140 series of offset couplers, be patient it’s a long process with tooling, testing, and other priorities. I’m getting requests asking what our next HO freight car is going to be and at this point we really don’t know. We delayed starting on another car until we finished up some other projects and hopefully soon we can begin our next car. We have a few types we’re looking at but we really have not decided yet.
We have our own “Forum” on our web site now. Go to our home page and on the right column click on “Kadee® Forum” to see it. This should develop into a closer relationship with many modelers that do not necessarily converse directly with Kadee®. We also want to hear what the modelers are talking about, what their wants and desires are, and to just provide a place where modelers can voice their opinions and get help from Kadee® or other forum members. We want the forum members to feel that they are a welcome part of the group and to learn as well as share their talents and experience. Take a look and feel free to join in. The Holiday Season is upon us and our HO scale 2009 Christmas car is presently available as product #6911 and retails at $38.95 each.
The weather is cooling down, the leaves are turning bright beautiful fall colors, Halloween’s here, Thanksgiving is coming, and Christmas is on the way, whether you believe in it or not. Regardless, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.
New Type “E” G-Scale Coupler (October 2009)
It’s time to let you know what we have been working on. As you can see it is a NEW series of “G” scale couplers with a much more prototypical appearance and features the following:
AAR Type “E” coupler contour with visible “Kadee®” casting marks to better replicate the prototype.
Operational features include Kadee’s proven Magne-Matic® Delayed Uncoupling.
Hidden Knuckle Spring. That’s right, the spring is recessed and covered out of sight inside the coupler head.
These new couplers will be packaged with the coupler “only” with no boxes and are designed to use our existing large scale draft gear boxes. So you can easily change out the older couplers without the need to purchase a complete coupler package. However, they will soon be available in standard packages with our most common boxes for truck or body mounting.
The pulling face inside of the moving knuckle has a flatter contour (draft) that reduces knuckle slide caused by a flexible mounting.
These patent pending couplers are completely compatible with our older style so you can run both styles together without concerns. Although our older style couplers are very strong these new couplers are even stronger.The new G-Scale couplers are available in an improved: (#900) #830 type body mounted shank. (#901) Centerset, (#902) Medium Offset (up), and (#903) Large Offset (up) shanks for our smaller types of draft gear boxes like the #831 type & #835 type. Along with these shanks there is an additional (#904) “Solid Shank” for custom mounting into a non centering steam locomotive pilot.Currently these couplers are available in black, we are considering producing rust colored couplers later on.
Now for the modelers that use the smaller #1 scale (1:32 ratio) couplers, do not worry because we will be bringing these out at a later date.
Don’t hold your breath but keep your eyes open, more will be coming.
New Products (September 2009)
If you’ve noticed on the home page of our web site (kadee.com) we have the blurb “SOMETHING NEW IS COMING THAT WILL MAKE YOU RETHINK...”
This is announcing that we have some new products approaching completion that we simply can not tell you much about until they are ready to be released.
In the past we rarely pre announced any new products until they were ready for release. What we have coming is close enough to being ready to at least tell you we have something new coming. It may or may not be HO scale or it may or may not be Large scale maybe something in between. We’ve had a number of people commenting, I should say guessing, on what it might be. A few came close but most seem to comment on what they “want” it to be but few, if any, outside of Kadee® know what it is. Any guesses?
We are now pre announcing what paint schemes we are going to release for our RTR freight cars. This is so you are able to reserve the cars ahead of time, save your money to purchase the future cars, and to help us with production quantities. Because our cars are very highly detailed, hand assembled, prototypically accurate cars, and made here (in the USA) in our own shop, the product time of these cars can be critical. With such high end cars pre announcing along with pre-orders gives us better control of our production quantities. This especially true with our new functional cushion underframe cars.
We have a long list of projects we want to do and they are listed according to priority. Some of the projects are on a continuum basis such as couplers, trucks, and cars. We have a new two piece design for our HO trucks that will be introducing more and more styles as time allows. We’ve used this design on our ACL and SCL box cars and they have proven very successful. Our #560 truck is the after market product number for the type of trucks we used on the ACL/SCL cars.
We are continuing our 140 series of whisker couplers. We presently have the #148, #147, #146, and soon two or three more will be ready. All future HO couplers will be whisker couplers.
Don’t hold you breath but keep your eyes open. We have many new products coming and more in the works.
Clone Couplers (August 2009)
Kadee® is aware that there have been some issues concerning the “other” knuckle couplers on the market. Whether they’re called “clones’, “imitations”, “copies”, “wannabes”, or such they all are using the basic Kadee® design for functional knuckle couplers developed back in the late 1940s. When some Kadee® patents expired several companies put their version of a functional knuckle coupler on the market. Each one trying to copy the Kadee® couplers currently being produced. Most Kadee® HO scale couplers are made of die cast metal and up until recently all the others were made of all plastic. Even the Kadee® plastic 20 and 30 series couplers still retained a metal knuckle. (The knuckle is the moving part of the coupler head.) This means that the Kadee® couplers are much stronger than any of the new comers.
Recently a manufacturer tried again to copy one of our couplers this time a metal copy of our NO.5® coupler including the phosphor bronze centering spring. Unfortunately, to the untrained eye or inexperienced modeler they appear to look like our NO.5® coupler. However, upon closer examination you’ll find that they are not anywhere close to being a NO.5® coupler, not that they ever claimed to be. If you look really close you’ll see very poor tooling and a rough painted finish where Kadee® coupler are not painted. When we tested these couplers we found that their performance was nothing compared to a NO.5® coupler and to us they are a poorly mass produced coupler with unreliable functioning. These couplers would never even come close to meeting Kadee’s performance standards. Why anyone would want to copy a design that originated in the late 1950s we don’t know unless they simply were incapable of coming up with an original design themselves or their intention is to fool enough modelers that their couplers were actually Kadee® NO.5® couplers remains to be seen, we can only guess.
To a manufacturer looking for a low cost OEM knuckle coupler these “copycats” made sense to meet their bottom line. However, many modelers complain to us and others about why would a manufacturer of high quality models put such cheap couplers on their models. Our only answer is that they care more about their bottom line than modelers needs and desires. However, it’s not our business to tell anybody how to run their business. We hear comments that Kadee® will not sell to manufacturers. “This is absolutely not true.” In the past and still presently we have been concerned about quality control as far as the manufacturers installing our couplers correctly. We presently sell directly to quite a number of manufacturers large and small. It’s simply a matter of them willing to pay a little higher price for a quality functioning coupler or not.
Kadee® has been in the coupler business since the 1940s and has fine tuned their coupler designs to be the strongest, most dependable fully functional couplers on the market. We also have the largest selection of HO couplers to help the modeler adapt a functional knuckle coupler to almost any HO model made with no or as little modification as possible. We can readily assure “Quality Control” because all of our products are made right here in our own shop, made in the U.S.A. means something to us. Each coupler is meticulously prepared, tested, and packaged by the hands of no less than 6 people prior to reaching the end user. Not only do we supply the largest selection of couplers we provide the customer support and coupler conversion information not found with any other manufacturer. See our web site at kadee.com. Kadee® developed the Magne-Matic® Delayed uncoupling system a very long time ago and we still offer the strongest and most reliable magnetic knuckle couplers in the industry. Once you have truly experienced Kadee® couplers you won’t even bother with the copycats again. Kadee® couplers are what the copycats often imitate but never duplicate. Accept no substitutes, Kadee’s just last and last and last and last.
One more thing, “don’t mistake these copycats for the genuine Kadee® couplers, there’s nothing like the original”.
Un-numbered Cars & Twin Rail Spiker (July 2009)
We just released two ERIE box cars for July and #4921 has a “printed road number” 86734 and the other #4923 has “no road number”. However it dose come with a “decal sheet of numbers” so the modeler can number the car with any number in the particular series. We did this because of requests from our survey and from modelers wanting more road numbers than what we normally release. The cars are from Pullman Standard lot #8175 and ERIE series 86500-86989 and with the decal sheet you can number the car to any number in the above series. If this idea catches on enough we’ll continue doing cars without printed numbers & with number decals included.
We continually receive calls and e-mails concerning our long ago discontinued “Twin Rail Spiker”. We discontinued it years ago for many different reasons but mostly because of production costs. The Spiker was then (and still is) very complicated and expensive to make. Even if we retooled and introduced the Spiker once again it would be priced in the “astronomical” range and simply be unaffordable for the average modeler.
To clear a few things up the following should help. “We no longer sell the “Twin Rail Spiker” it has been discontinued for many years. We do have a “limited” supply of parts to service the Spikers being used out there. “We are still making the spikes” but production costs are continually going up for these.
Since we do have parts people are asking if they can purchase enough parts to assemble a complete Spiker. We discourage this because we can not guarantee it’s proper assembly or operation. We have in the past assembled complete Spikers ourselves. However, the cost for this, if we ever do this again, is about $500 each.
If you spend the time and effort you can find used Spikers for sale and most are found on E-Bay, swap meets, and train shows. Prices usually match the condition of the Spiker. We seen them sell between $200-$400 depending on condition.
We do still have one person here that services Spikers but our labor rate is around $50 per hour plus parts if needed.
There are two different styles of the Spiker, the “older” styles has a spring tension adjusting knob on the top and the later type does not have the knob. When properly assembled and serviced and used properly, both designs work just fine. Without starting a trouble shooting section, the common problems are caused by improper assembly, not holding the Spiker correctly through the complete spiking process, dull cutter blade or cutter head, or trying to spike into much too hard of material. The proper lubricant to use on the Spiker is #2 wheel bearing grease & never “Dry Fire” the Spiker.
We have the Spiker’s instructions and owners manual on our web site so you can view or down load information about the Spiker.
Remember, the Spiker has been discontinued and we no longer sell it, we have a limited supply of parts, and we still are making the spikes.
Out Of Stock, Discontinued, & Back Ordered Products (June 2009)
There is a number of items I want to touch on this month concerning “out of stock”, “discontinued”, and “back ordered” products.
We get calls from customers that tell us they can not get a product from their retail dealer (hobby shop) because they say that item has been “back ordered” or is “discontinued”. Here at Kadee® we “rarely” have any products back ordered and if we do it’s only for a short time of a few days. We have been slowly discontinuing a few products that are slow sellers because these are mostly very old products that have little or no demand. Their disappearance from the market is hardly noticed. Our freight cars are limited runs and when we sell out they are listed as “out of stock”. Our standard regular products, like couplers and trucks and accessories, are always in stock. We recommend that the customer try to purchase our products though their local hobby shop, however, if they don’t have a local shop or the shop can not help them, or they simply wish to, they are most welcome to order directly from us. We do charge full retail and a minimum $5.00 handling fee plus shipping on all orders.
What might be happening is that the shop may order our products from a “wholesale distributor” and the distributor is out of stock or back ordered which we find to be very common. Also some shops may tell the customer they are back ordered because they are waiting to place a larger order later to save shipping costs or simply not to alter their normal way of placing orders. Perhaps, they simply forgot to order the customers requested product and are blaming others.
We do not and will not get involved in how others run their business, that’s simply their business. Our concern is letting the customers know that Kadee® has the products in stock and ready to ship. We understand in financial times like this, that changes possibly lead to lowering inventory, cutting labor, and overhead is the only way to stay in business. What we don’t understand is businesses not understanding that the customer is their business and if they don’t accommodate the customers needs and wants, and market and sell more products that their business will suffer.
However, we know many retail dealers and distributors that will bend over backwards and go way out of their way to help the customers get what they need and we commend and appreciate them. These are the ones that will embrace modernizing their business with marketing both directly over the counter and Internet and show a genuine concern for their customers and return sales. These are the ones that will stay in business.
Since the release of our Whisker® couplers we get people asking if we are going to discontinue our #5 couplers. The answer is the #5 is still the backbone of our coupler line and will be with us for a long time. However, as I’ve mentioned before, any new HO coupler we produce will have the whisker centering spring design. The Whisker® couplers are easier to install, will not need replacement centering springs over many years of use, and fits the majority of newer releases by manufacturers that created a shallower draft gear box.
Car Survey (May 2009)
This last month we posted a survey on our web site’s home page and have been receiving many responses, we thank those who have answered the questions. If you haven’t had the opportunity to participate in the survey we encourage you to do so. There are a couple of questions on the survey I’d like to ask here. We constantly receive request for multiple road numbers on our cars for each release. This mostly is because many modelers are renumbering our cars so they can have more than one of these cars on their layout without duplication of the numbers. We have been looking into the idea of offering our cars in certain road names with one car numbered along with a car in that same road name without numbers with a set of number decals so the modeler can number more cars without having to remove the original number. There have been modelers requesting “data only” cars and we’ve been considering adding this to our line. Next, since we’ve released our box car kits we’re thinking on using these exclusively as our undecorated line and discontinuing the RTR undecorated box cars. This makes sense because many modelers will disassemble our RTR undecorated cars so they can be painted and decaled. Also, in regards to undecorated cars the modelers may feel better about weathering these rather than “risking” weathering a factory new painted and printed RTR car.
Therefore, three of the basic questions we are asking are:
Would you like painted and printed cars without the road numbers?
Would you like undecorated Kits rather than RTR undecorated cars?
Would you like “data only” RTR cars?
There are a number of other items I’d like to address that we still get questions about and I’ll briefly touch on a few.
1) Kadee® no longer makes “N” scale products. Kadee® and Micro-Trains split into two separate companies in 1990. Kadee® makes HOn3 through Large scale products and MT makes Z and N scale products and a few HOn3 products.
2) Any new HO coupler we produce will be a Whisker® Coupler.
3) We are working on the “offset series” of the #148 Whisker® Coupler. We now have the medium centerset #148, the long centerset #146, and the medium underset shank #147 (raises the head) couplers. The “next one” will be the short centerset #143 coupler but we don’t have a projected date of completion as of now.
4) The DT&I 50 foot PS-1 was taken off the pre-announcement list without a scheduled date and are awaiting a new truck, so be patient.
5) Our current hours are 7 AM to 4:15 PM Monday to Thursday and 7 AM to 12 Noon on Fridays PST. Our e-mail, fax, and answering machine are available 24/7.
6) All of our products are made right here in White City, Oregon, U.S.A. and that will not change.
O, #1, & “G” Scales Review (April 2009)
With all the questions I’ve been getting I thought I’d better do a quick coupler review especially for “O”, #1, and “G” scales.
We are getting more and more requests for a larger selection of O scale couplers. Present we have only two basic types, the #805 type which includes the all metal #805, black plastic #804, brown plastic #801, and rust plastic #800, all of these are the same coupler but molded in different material and colors. The other type is the shorter black plastic #806. We’d love to introduce more O scale couplers to cover different conversion needs, especially with many new models coming to market. However, our work load is based on priorities and market demand and presently we are working a several projects that require all of our time. When these are done we’ll look at our project list (which is very long) and determine which is most important according to industry demand, tooling costs, and marketability. Hopefully an O scale coupler project will have moved up the list.
We get a lot of inquiries about “what’s the difference between #1 scale and “G” scale”. It’s simply the size, #1 scale is 1:32 scale ratio and “G” scale is larger at 1:24 to 1:22.5 scale ratio. A note: please understand the term “G scale” has been used more or less incorrectly to “generally” describe all “Large scale” modeling from 1:32 up to and beyond 1:20.3 actual scale models. It began around 1968 when LGB started to mass produce their large scale line for Garden Railroads. Thus the German term “Gartenbahn” where the “G” began to be used to describe not only the “scale” but even more incorrectly the “gauge”. I’m not going to open this can of worms any farther.
Briefly, we use three and four digit product numbers for our large scale coupler line. We use the four digit numbers for #1 scale couplers that can be interchanged into the same draft gear boxes that some of our “G” scale couplers and use the same installment instructions. As an example our “G” scale #831 and #1 scale #1831 use the same draft gear box and mounting instructions.
This, however, does not apply to all of our #1 scale couplers. The #1 scale coupler that use a three digit number do not fit into any of our G scale draft gear boxes. Examples include the #820 and #821 #1 scale couplers, the #820 is the scaled down #1 scale version of the popular G scale #830 coupler but nothing is interchangeable between the two. I’ll try not to confuse you any more than that.
We get requests for a #1 scale coupler to fit into the G scale #830 draft gear box which we feel is a good idea. This is moving up on our list of priorities so we’ll eventually get this on the market when we can.
Another issue is we do not have a large scale coupler that drops the coupler head. This is because in the past it was rarely needed, most often we needed to raise the coupler height rather than lower it. Because of new models on the market in 1:20.3 (Fn3) scale we may look at a coupler to lower the head a bit closer.
New Products & Accucraft AMS Conversion (March 2009)
This month we are announcing the first official release of our kit cars, yes I said “KIT”. These are our 40 and 50 foot PS-1 box cars in an unpainted undecorated kit form. Painting and decaling (decals not included) are left up to the modeler. The kits are #4100 a 40 foot box car, #4105 a 50 foot with 9 foot door, #4110 a 50 foot with double door, and #4115 a 50 foot with the H-40 cushion underframe. They assemble “without” glue or adhesives of any kind. Every part is either friction or press fit, hooks, or snaps in place just like our RTR cars. See our web site at kadee.com for more information.
Also, we are releasing our Whisker® #146 long centerset standard shank coupler in the continuing #148 series of couplers. Last month we released the medium underset #147 Whisker® coupler.
I recently finish a coupler conversion on an Accucraft AMS (American Model Supply) On30 box car from their 3000 series. Generally speaking, this is a very nice model with very nice detail work on the body. However, I thought the trucks could have be done better. There are two issues concerning the couplers. First their knuckle coupler is the absolutely worst I have ever seen. It’s a sort of an imitation of our #803 On3 coupler. It’s interesting that they’d even thought that any modeler could ever use such a bad coupler. The centering and knuckle springs are so stiff that you have to use a hammer and a pry bar to get them to couple up. The trip pin is at the HO coupler length for an On3 coupler and isn’t even ferrous metal to be magnetically uncoupled, although the spring stiffness prevents this anyway.
The best point of this is their coupler mounting platform. They were actually thinking ahead on this feature. They have provided two coupler mounting heights, one for the common HO coupler height and one for the On3 coupler height. There is a spacer block for our standard HO #5 coupler and by removing the spacer the platform is now near the correct On3 coupler mounting height for our #803. Since Bachmann made their popular On30 models with HO scale couplers and other factory and scratch built On30 models use the On3 size of couplers, AMS has accommodated both those who wish to or have to use HO scale couplers and those that wish to use the On3 couplers. So we recommend using our #5 coupler at the HO coupler height or our #803 black and #807 brown at the On3 coupler height. Fortunately, our #5 and #803/807 (and S scale #802) draft gear boxes use the same screw hole pattern so there is no needed alterations or drilling and tapping new holes. Also if the coupler heights are a bit off it’s rather easy to add shim washers (#208 and #209) between the truck and body to raise the coupler height or a thin shim under the draft gear box to lower the coupler. Use our #205 or #206 HO coupler height gauge or our #815 On30 coupler height gauge with a #803 On3 coupler.
2009 Amherst Train Show (February 2009)
Well, I had a great time at the Amherst Train show except for the flight on “Sardine Airlines”. I met several people that I’ve conversed with over the years, it was so good to finally place a face with a voice. I’m glad that most of them came on Sunday so we had some time to talk because if they came on Saturday they’d only have been another face in the crowd with no time to talk. If I were to judge today’s economy by what I seen at the train show I’d say there’s nothing wrong with it. These people came to buy and they did, in large amounts too. Perhaps, model railroaders aren’t affected by the economy, maybe they saved up just for the show, or since more and more people are staying home more than ever they invested in the home hobbies. I seen quite a number of wives (?) there, so that tells me the money spent wasn’t a hidden unknown stash. I also enjoyed seeing many ladies out on their own buying, looking, and talking railroading. What’s enjoyable is watching the wives and how they are or are not involved with their husbands. There are some that come right into the booth with their husbands and look at stuff and talk about railroading then there are those that just kind of hang around outside the booth sometimes holding the bag of goodies. These are the ones that I try to say something to knowing they are not model railroaders but are there supporting their husbands hobby or perhaps keeping better tabs on the family budget. Regardless, they deserve a friendly comment or a warm smile to lift their spirits to an enjoyable level and bless their hearts for being there.
Being this was the first time at the Amherst Show we really did not know how much product to bring, however, our sales were still rather impressive. We now have a better idea how much of what to bring next time.
They said that the attendance was down just a bit at 19,200 or so but the many venders we’d talked to said their sales were higher than last year. The Amherst staff had things well organized and everything seemed to run very well, at least from what we experienced. From what we experienced we, more than likely, will be there again next year.
Interestingly, it seems the major model railroading shows are increasing their attendance or holding at a high level. Which shows us that this hobby is still very strong and there, at least, is enough new modelers to keep this hobby going for a very long time. The major shows we’ve experience have set attendance records or sales records each year. So when possible plan ahead to attend these shows and support all the smaller shows you can, you make a difference when you do.
Take note, that we have a couple new products this month. We are releasing our first in a series of “offset” standard head whisker couplers the #147 medium shank underset (raises the head) whisker coupler. Next is our new #560 ACL type roller bearing truck with 33” wheels. This is the first in our new two piece truck design so keep watching we’ll be making more.
Happy New Year 2009 (January 2009)
Happy New Year everyone! I hope everybody got a lot of nice railroading stuff for “CHRISTMAS”. Not only got a lot of stuff but the stuff you really wanted and needed. Now you are spending some quality time with your family enjoying this hobby the way it should be, sharing your time and skills, building, fixing, operating, laughing with family and friends, and eating far too much. But most of all remembering what this season is all about then retaining that feeling throughout the entire year. Usually with every new year we take time to reflect on the past year then we make the inevitable new resolutions for the year to come. Hopefully, most are actually achievable practical goals like spending more time with your family, being kinder, helping others without being asked, saving more for the rainy days of life, sharing your time and skills, learning something new, overcoming your fears, and of course, building that layout, putting DCC into all your locos so you won’t “need” to buy more, helping someone new into the hobby, dusting off those unbuilt kits and sharing the building time with your children or grand children, trying out those new Kadee® whisker couplers and more good stuff like that. Have a Happy New Year and make those resolutions achievable goals so next year when you reflect back you can see what you’ve accomplished and really feel good about yourself and what you have accomplished. Now back to some model railroad information. We have a number of new product coming out this year. Some we can tell you about and some we can not. We are working on the “offset” series of the #148 whisker coupler and as they are completed they will be released individually. Many of you have noticed some packaging changes like our bulk coupler packages are now in envelopes rather than the blister packages. We have done this to reduce labor and material costs so we can keep the product prices down. Now with the recession in the economy getting to all of us we have to look at cost savings just like everyone else. So in the future we’ll be changing a number of things (except quality) to reduce costs so we don’t have to pass them along to the consumer. We’ll be attending the West Springfield, MA Amherst Train Show on Jan. 24th and 25th. This will be our first time there and if we have a good productive experience we may attend more often. We may have a number of products to sell at a reasonable discount too. Come by and see us, we’ll be in booth 39 next to Lionel in the Better Living Center building. - Once again Happy New Year to all.