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Modified Couplings for Airfix LMS Coaches


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I have been looking into various coupling devices to try and get rid of the standard coupling and have decided on a DIY version. Not proto-typical, but looks OK, very cheap and brings them a little closer. I am converting all of my loco's to 3-link, but the 3-link on the coaches bring them too close together and suffer with buffer lock. 

 

I devised a semi-permanent coupling using 0.45mm (Correction - 0.8mm) brass wire (blackened with "Brass Black") and attached to the old coupling mount under the bogie. I am still experimenting with what works and looks the best and have had a couple of laps of the layout with 2 coaches coupled to my Hornby Patriot with no issues. I also used some cheap corridor connectors from Ebay which helps with hiding them.

 

I couldn't get the buffers much closer otherwise they would lock. I am also trying to give the impression of connected vacuum hoses etc. Last picture shows my latest variant not yet road tested or blackened.  I also plan to have a coupling that can easily be separated between the 2nd and 3rd coaches as I cant lift more than two or three at once. Still working that idea, but will probably use a loop and hook in the middle of the brass wire. Once I have this rake sorted, I will then move on to my Bachmann coaches and 50' parcel vans and the Hornby coaches/vans. The Hornby coaches uses a different way of mounted the coupling hooks so will need to devise something a little different but along the same lines.

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Edited by ianLMS
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Looks like the old semi-permanent couplings that Bill Bedford used to do. Now can I remember who does them now? I can't find them on Eileens website, but I do know they are still available from somewhere..

 

They were castings that had representations of the screw, and vac and steam pipes. Fixed to one coach and had a pin on the other end that engaged with another coach just behind the buffer beam. Two types, corridor and non-corridor (with high vac pipes)

 

Andy G

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I congratulate Ian for thinking out of the box and creating a coupling system that works.

 

I was struck by Tony Wrights' method and I have used it quite often.  Looks like this:

 

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Here's the secret:

 

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Copper clad strip, bent wire and a dash of solder.

 

John

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I congratulate Ian for thinking out of the box and creating a coupling system that works.

 

I was struck by Tony Wrights' method and I have used it quite often. Looks like this:

 

P1010005-001.JPG

 

Here's the secret:

 

P1010004-001.JPG

 

Copper clad strip, bent wire and a dash of solder.

 

John

Thank you John. Might have to look into that option when i move onto my other coaches.

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Looks like the old semi-permanent couplings that Bill Bedford used to do. Now can I remember who does them now? I can't find them on Eileens website, but I do know they are still available from somewhere..

 

They were castings that had representations of the screw, and vac and steam pipes. Fixed to one coach and had a pin on the other end that engaged with another coach just behind the buffer beam. Two types, corridor and non-corridor (with high vac pipes)

 

Andy G

Stevenson Carriages is a good bet for these.

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Here are some more pics along the same lines. With a bit of thought and fettling, I am sure I can do better and make them neater, possibly even to look like hoses etc. 

 

1st Pic - Showing the underneath of the Airfix coach utilizing the existing coupling hook mount. Simple bent the wire around to make a loop, sat it over the lug and re-affixed the cover plate. no fancy modifications, no butchering and no soldering/glueing.

 

2nd Pic shows the original coupling and corridor connections.

 

3rd pic shows the new coupling device used between coaches 2 & 3 so I can part the rake and lift/handle 2 or 3 coaches at a time.

 

4th Pic shows the connected coaches on the layout.

 

5th pic shows the improved coupling which is higher and level with the buffers. Once the corridor connector is fitted it should hardly be noticeable. 

 

Last pic is the test - 4 coaches coaches coupled behind my Patriot. Final job will be to couple the brake 3rd on the end making up the rake. Shame I don't have space for 10-11 coach trains!!!

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I congratulate Ian for thinking out of the box and creating a coupling system that works.

 

I was struck by Tony Wrights' method and I have used it quite often.  Looks like this:

 

attachicon.gifP1010005-001.JPG

 

Here's the secret:

 

attachicon.gifP1010004-001.JPG

 

Copper clad strip, bent wire and a dash of solder.

 

John

The extra detail and weathering on these coaches, let alone the superb couplings really put my efforts to shame. Yet again, I need to up my game!!!

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The extra detail and weathering on these coaches, let alone the superb couplings really put my efforts to shame. Yet again, I need to up my game!!!

 

No shame. 

 

The important thing is that the distance between coaches has been reduced and your couplings don't look out of place.  Kadees don't so well for me since they have a lot of slop - one reason I looked for an alternative.

 

John

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Thanks John,

I am happy with version 2 so will go back to the first two coaches and tender coupling and revise them. I also plan on seeing if I can replicate the hoses a bit better, especially after seeing your pictures!

 

I looked at the cost of using Kadees and other alternatives, plus the fact they are still quite obvious and not that pleasing on the eye. Kadees for all my coaches would probably set me back £40-£50 and some. A length of 0.8mm brass wire is probably 50 pence. One length of brass wire did 5 coaches plus the tender connection. The corridor connectors were £4.00 for 12 off Ebay and do the job. May not look great, but IMHO they are better than the short rubberized original ones that were fitted and help conceal the coupling and make the gap a little closer.

 

The main advantage of Kadees etc would be for coupling and uncoupling purposes. However, I am not into shunting coaches. My rakes will be fixed and mostly used on through trains. I have a few Bachmann coaches which I will work on next for another train. I may swap the odd loco around to give me a bit of variety, but that's it.

 

I have some seated people coming and may put in coach lighting. Then I can take a look at improving the overall detail/appearance of the coaches. Should keep me occupied for a few years!!!

 

My new Hornby coaches (9 of them) will not be touched for a while (too scared to ruin £40+ coaches) and I will use them for trains stopping at the station and can couple/uncouple coaches/loco's as and when. Eventually they will get similar treatment. 

 

I do plan on shunting wagons between the marshalling yard and goods yard though and will adopt the 3-link/Instanter couplings because I like the appearance. Its not an exhibition layout so I don't need to worry about onlookers commenting on the giant hand wielding an un-coupling hook glued to a torch, heavy handed loco lifts, nor un-prototypical movements.

 

Ian

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Ian, I always put Kadees on the locos and the end on one coach in the rake.  At both ends on tanks but only at the tender on tender locos.  I agree, coach shunting is something that most people don't do, so why not permanent rakes?  I did put Kadees on my wagons and used a bamboo skewer as a shunting pole.  This is actually more realistic IMO since in the real world wagons were uncoupled by a shunter with a pole.  I don't think I've ever seen a magnet between the rails on the real thing.

 

One idiosyncrasy of mine is that if I look at a train, the first thing I do is check between the coaches.  If there is daylight and a stonking great gap, I walk away.

 

John

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Ian, I always put Kadees on the locos and the end on one coach in the rake.  At both ends on tanks but only at the tender on tender locos.  I agree, coach shunting is something that most people don't do, so why not permanent rakes?  I did put Kadees on my wagons and used a bamboo skewer as a shunting pole.  This is actually more realistic IMO since in the real world wagons were uncoupled by a shunter with a pole.  I don't think I've ever seen a magnet between the rails on the real thing.

 

One idiosyncrasy of mine is that if I look at a train, the first thing I do is check between the coaches.  If there is daylight and a stonking great gap, I walk away.

 

John

I do like to see close coupled coaches. Unfortunately, some of my curves are a little tighter than I wanted so if i get too close, they just lock up. Its early days in my coach improvement project, so a long way to go and lots more to be achieved. I also have wagons and the loco's to do so I need to pace myself, take it slowly and make small improvements which make a difference. 

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It is a balancing act between prototypical gap and our tight curves.  A matter of trial and error I think.  The acid test for me is propelling a rake through a crossover.  Your couplings should be rigid (no fore and aft slop)such that the buffers don't touch.  For corridor coaches this isn't that much of an issue because the gangway will keep them apart.

 

John

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It is a balancing act between prototypical gap and our tight curves.  A matter of trial and error I think.  The acid test for me is propelling a rake through a crossover.  Your couplings should be rigid (no fore and aft slop)such that the buffers don't touch.  For corridor coaches this isn't that much of an issue because the gangway will keep them apart.

 

John

I will try a bit more experimenting to see just how close I can get the buffers before catastrophe happens. The wire is solid, but there is a tiny bit of play where the loop sits on the lug under the bogie and a little where the two sets of coaches attach. If the domestic authority allows me time tonight, i will see what I can come up with. If not, may have to wait until the weekend.

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Tried to get the coaches closer, but had a couple of derailments to put them back to the first setting. I did however modify my first attempts to match the final version which lifts the connector up and out of the way. No further derailments or issues so am happy with the result.

 

I need to replace a couple of buffers and was hoping to find suitable LMS coach sprung buffers but am having difficulty matching the prototype with whats on offer. I have looked at Markits (not sprung), Gibson (no pic), Slaters (not LMS), Brassmasters (no pic) and Lanarkshire Models (not sprung) but struggling to get the right one. Any ideas if any of the above are a good enough match? If they are sprung, it might help with closing the gap a little more. 

 

http://www.lanarkshiremodels.com/lanarkshiremodelsandsupplieswebsite_099.htm

 

I could get the Lanarkshire models buffers or Markits and drill them out to fit the spring. Just not sure if the gain is worth the effort.

 

Thanks

Ian

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Edited by ianLMS
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I have had several Gibson Loco buffer packs and these are sprung, so the coach buffers might be as well.  You left out Comet but those I have are cast WM.  Sprung buffers do help with close coupling, but can be a faff to assemble.    I never bothered with sprung buffers.  Most recent RTR coaches have sprung buffers I think.

 

John

Edited by brossard
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I have had several Gibson Loco buffer packs and these are sprung, so the coach buffers might be as well.  You left out Comet but those I have are cast WM.  Sprung buffers do help with close coupling, but can be a faff to assemble.    I never bothered with sprung buffers.  Most recent RTR coaches have sprung buffers I think.

 

John

 

Thanks John - I have a few of the brand new Hornby coaches with sprung buffers but I intend to run them as they are for now. I have used the Gibson sprung loco buffers, so might give the one for coaches a go. I am sure they will look fairly similar to the LMS standard buffer. 16" head I assume is the right size.

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The new Hornby coaches are very good indeed.  I wasn't too happy with the anemic brake gear and replaced it with Comet on a few coaches.  I made two Pull Push trains from the new NC coaches. (Which are for sale BTW).

 

John

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Lanarkshire Models do drilled out LMS coach buffers ready to take MJT or Wizard heads and springs.

 

Dave Franks.

 I will order a set and see what they look like and how easy they are to work with compared to the Gibson and Markits ones. 4 for £4.75 plus the heads & springs might work out cost prohibitive, whereas £2.50 for 4 and cut the heads off and drill it myself might be ok. I am not upgrading the coaches significantly so don't need to go all out, just make them a little bit better!

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Does wizard do sprung LMS ones? Ah not as such, the LMS ones are the comet ones, but they do the LNWR spencer ones sprung, which are more or less the same https://www.wizardmodels.ltd/shop/carriage/lnwc025/.

 

Andy g

They look nice, similar heads to the Gibson ones. Body looks different to the protoype picture i have seen, but as the coaches have that many other compromises, i don't think it will be an issue. Cost is quite good as well. Just ordered a few to compare.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Here is a little update on my efforts, also covered on the "other" model railway forum "Your Model Railway Club". 

 

I purchased Bachmann, Alan Gibson, MJT and Lanarkshire Models Sprung buffers and I have to say that my preference is for the MJT. Here is a quick review:

 

MJT LMS sprung Buffers: White metal, fully pre-drilled (just needed a little opening out for the buffer to fully sit in), and easy to assemble/fit. Black buffer heads, tiny spring (impossible to find on the floor). Rivet detail on buffer body mounting plate.

Bachmann Sprung Buffers: Black metal, pre-assembled, super easy to fit but the buffer head shank was too thick (might work for loco's though), no buffer body mounting plate (made one from brass)

Alan Gibson Early LMS sprung buffers: Brass bodies, stainless heads, tiny spring - fiddly to put the round busher in the back, but nicely finished. No detail on buffer body base.

Lanarkshire models LMS buffers (pre-drilled): White metal, stainless heads, tiny spring. Good detail on body mounting plate, but pre-drilled sprung buffers still needed drilling out to accept the buffer head shank. If you don't get this straight, it causes alignment issues and stops the head from moving in and out nicely. Very nice un-sprung ones though.

 

As for glazing, I have both SE Finecast and Shawplan Laserglaze. SE Finecast are much simpler to fit but are only marginally better than the original glazing. Shawplan Laserglaze however is a bit more fiddly to fit, but looks much nicer. 

 

 

 

I have also tried different versions of home-made couplings and am very grateful to all for advice and options. I am now leaning towards screw link couplings, and vacuum/steam hoses connected via 1mm elastic cord. 

 

post-21193-0-95808900-1518532597_thumb.jpg - Screw link coupling between Bachmann Brake Third and the Railroad Patriot tender. Vacuum hose connected via 0.7mm cord, pushed though a small hole in the coach buffer beam. Coach has Shawplan glazing and Alan Gibson buffers. 

 

post-21193-0-55520500-1518532613_thumb.jpg - Screw link coupling between Bachmann Brake Third and Airfix non-corridor composite. Airfix coach has SE Finecast glazing and Alan Gibson buffers and has been polished with MER.

 

post-21193-0-10507800-1518532629_thumb.jpg - screw link coupling between Airfix and Bachmann composite corridor. Glazing is original, buffers are MJT. Hose connected via 0.7mm cord. 

 

post-21193-0-34480400-1518532646_thumb.jpg - side view showing Shawplan flush glazing but ruined due to my poor glueing skills (used Crystal Klear)

 

post-21193-0-79377400-1518532685_thumb.jpg - side veiw of Airfix coach showing SE Finecast glazing.

 

A question I asked on the other forum is about steam pipes. Were the connected in the summer months, or un-coupled/removed during the summer?

 

Thank you

Ian

Edited by ianLMS
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