Kadee Barber S-2 freight car trucks

Metal freight car trucks
Marc Horovitz
1:29 scale, gauge-1 trucks
Kadee Quality Products Co.
673 Avenue C
White City OR 97503
Price: $49.99/pair
Website: www.kadee.com

1:29 scale, gauge 1, Barber S-2, roller bearing, freight-car trucks; cast-metal side frames; metal wheels and axles; plastic brake detail; equalized

Pros: Mostly-metal construction; weight of trucks will lower the car’s center of gravity; high level of detail; brake detail included; nice, blackened finish; equalized for good tracking; smooth rolling; bearing ends rotate prototypically; car-mounting adaptors provided

Flanges a little over-deep
Marc Horovitz
Marc Horovitz
Kadee continues adding to their line of 1:29 scale, gauge 1, freight-car trucks, this time with Barber S-2 roller-bearing trucks (#973). Mechanically, these trucks are constructed in the same way as those reviewed in our December 2015 issue. The frames are made of die-cast metal, using Kadee’s unique two-part design, held together with a piece of molded plastic (which also forms the brake-rigging detail) that clips in place, holding everything securely.

The Barber S-2 truck, manufactured by the Standard Car Truck Company in Park Ridge, Illinois, was originally introduced in 1930. At that time it was equipped with standard friction bearings. As technology improved, the truck was later adapted to roller bearings. It is this later truck that Kadee’s model represents.

The sideframes of Kadee’s truck closely match drawings and photos of prototype Barber S-2 trucks I found online. The bolster, which is Kadee’s proprietary design, does not, but this is immaterial to all except the most finicky modeler, as it can’t be seen when in place on a freight car. Wheels are cast in a non-ferrous metal. They feature tapered treads, a nice cross-sectional profile, and over-deep flanges. Sideframes have dummy, cast-in springs; thus, the trucks are unsprung. However, thanks to their unusual design, they are equalized. Wheels are insulated at the axles for two-rail operation.

A prominent feature of any roller-bearing truck is that the axle ends are exposed on the outside of the truck and can be seen rotating as the truck moves. The feature has been faithfully reproduced in Kadee’s trucks. Detailed, molded-plastic end caps are pressed onto the actual ends. If the trucks are disassembled, these end caps will pop off, so don’t lose them. In normal operation, they’ll be held firmly in place.

These trucks, like the last ones we reviewed, perform excellently. They are smooth, free rolling, and their equalization helps them negotiate even fairly raggedy track. Our review samples were supplied with what appears to be a chemically blackened finish. The trucks can be mounted to a variety of commercially available rolling stock, including freight cars made by Bachmann, USA Train, Aristo-Craft, LGB, and Accucraft. This is accomplished through the use of a variety of plastic adaptors that are provided with each pair of trucks. These trucks look good, perform well, and can be used to upgrade just about any off-the-shelf freight car. 


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