The coupler pocket on the out-of-the-box Bachmann On30 freight car is very toylike. It can be improved to look "credible". The one on the left is the Bachmann version. The right is our modified.
We are trying to give the appearance of an add-on knuckle coupler retrofit draft gear box.
The coupler pocket on the Bachmann On30 cars is set to HO height. This caused consternation amongst the rivet counters. I leave them at the as-built height because the On30 manufacturers have made this the de-facto coupler setup. Modifying the cars to a different coupler setup is easy but the locomotives take major modifications and the caboose would require extensive mods. Since the PcalRwy would rather use time in better pursuits we only change the coupler style and modify the trucks for that minor height change.
The EZ-Mate couplers are the right size for most small narrow gauge lines. I change out the underslung whisker couplers. I use the spring center slung versions. This only requires a small truck modification.
A cut about 1/64" deep is "scribed" along the sides with a fine tooth model saw. An 1/8" piece of wood is used to gauge the height. I am using two 1/16". The wood strip should be wide enough to be supported by the model car frame.
Connect the side cuts with a cut across the front. It is easier if the blade is drawn opposite of the blade direction. It should also be 1/64" deep.
Make two vertical cuts inside the models two vertical members.
Use a small flat file with one edge blank to file the front. File down to the cut level. Place the blank edge against the horizontal cut.
File between the vertical model members. Try to achieve a look where the coupler pocket looks separate from the "wood" underframe.
Remove the fuzz from the saw operation. I use a light brushing of liquid styrene cement to eliminate all the fuzz. Check the coupler for free movement.
Paint the "coupler pocket" a contrasting color to visually separate it from the frame. I painted mine black.
This is our finished pocket. It isn't perfect but it is quick and easy and improves the appearance greatly.