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Micro-Trains: Early Kadee Production Trivia

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  • With a retail price of $3.00 each (i.e., with the exception of green and white printed stock number 20018 and black and white printed stock number 20093, which retailed for $3.25 each and may have been the first American manufactured N-Scale models to bear a slight upcharge to cover the cost of the additional pad printing strikes), the first five (or eight if the production variations are taken into account) Kadee® Micro-Trains® models released in November 1972 were 40 Foot Standard Steel Single Sliding Door Boxcar stock numbers 20000 (Unlettered with light brown or Tuscan paint), 20018 (Grand Trunk Western with road number 516798 and two color printing), 20058 (Rock Island with road number 27653), 20089 (Union Pacific with road number 124239 and white or yellow printing), and 20093 (Southern Pacific with road number 105043 and two color printing).
  • Careful planning and consideration, which resulted in the tooling of common roofs, roofwalks, and ends for its line of 20000 and 30000 series forty and fifty foot standard steel boxcars paid off handsomely for Kadee® Quality Products, as the firm was able to release in fairly rapid succession (i.e., spanning a little over two years, from November 1972 - January 1975) five different variations (i.e., single sliding door, double sliding door, plug door, double plug door, and combination plug and sliding door versions) of these extremely popular models.
  • An industry first in N-Scale, beginning with the earliest production products, quite a few of the pre-2000s Micro-Trains® models (i.e., boxcars with sliding doors, circa 1990s 20 and 40 foot containers, drop end gondola cars, and covered and open hopper cars), were fitted with operating doors, ends, or hatches.
  • Priced at $1.80 a pair, Kadee® N Gauge (i.e., not a typo, as early production Kadee® Quality Products blister cards actually had the word "gauge" rather than "scale" printed on them) stock number MT-1000 Bettendorf trucks had Delrin® frames and axles, cast metal wheels (which have the propensity to corrode over time), and mounted (i.e., meaning screwed to the Delrin® truck frames with steel screws) MT-5 Magne-Matic® knuckle couplers, which were introduced in 1968..
  • Never factory installed on any of the Kadee® Micro Trains® production rolling-stock, the aforementioned MT-1000 trucks with black Delrin® plastic axles and cast metal rib backed wheels (which were also marketed in blister carded packages of twelve assembled wheel-sets; as stock number MT-1057) were supplanted by the more commonly seen, screw-less truck frame with cast metal axles and Delrin® wheels that were introduced on 1972 release Kadee® "Blue Label" models.
  • Along with the currently manufactured faceted bushings and flat washers, early production blister carded MT-1000 trucks were packaged with sprue containing flat headed bolster pins, or, snap-in draft gear box covers (i.e., like the ones that were fitted to earlier production Rapido coupler equipped Bettendorf trucks) in later production runs.
  • Rather than the contemporary, rectangular shaped trip pins that most of us are familiar with, early production (i.e., circa 1972 - 1974) Magne-Matic® knuckle coupler equipped Kadee® Quality Products Micro-Trains® Bettendorf trucks were fitted with round trip pins that were fabricated out of wire.
  • Never factory installed on any production rolling-stock, though they were way ahead of their time in-so-far as factory assembled N-Scale body mounted draft gear was concerned, beginning in the late 1960s (as stock number MT-1040, which were initially priced at $1.50 each) and into the 1980s (as stock number 1024), Kadee® Quality Products marketed blister carded packages of chemically blackened, cast metal, forty foot boxcar under-frames with  Magne-Matic® knuckle couplers (stock number MT-5 for the MT-1040 under-frames and stock number 1025 for the 1024 under-frames) that were fastened to the chassis by a pair of screws.
  • Likely designed to simplify final product assembly, factory fitted with either Magne-Matic® knuckle or Rapido style couplers and a pair of mounting ears (as opposed to the customary king pin holes), the extremely fragile, Clip-On-Truck made a very short appearance in the marketplace from September 1974 to October 1975.