OK…A few mods(which I call easy) that can be done too these cars that make them look a bit better. One of the issues I didn’t like was the clear marker lights on the end of the cars as they should be red. This is an easy fix as you just slide the doors open and remove the clear plastic sprue it just clips in and can be removed with a small flat blade or and exacto knife. I then just dabbed some red paint on the back of the sprue and reinserted it. This makes for very pleasing results. Another option I did with latter cars was to just carefully use a red sharpie and color in the clear plastic without removing it (below picture shows the red sharpie results) however the red paint makes it more pronounced. I also used a black and a blue sharpie then colored in the MU ports, the end one that is still silver will be colored in white. These are a molded piece and can easily be removed.
The next thing I did was body mounted Kadee couplers. The G gauge #830’s (new # 906) work perfect. First you remove the truck (one screw in the center) then flip it over on the car. There are 2 screws that hold the factory mounted coupler arm too the truck, remove them and loosen the 2 screws on the outside below the springs. You don’t need to remove the outer screws just loosening them up will give you enough clearance too remove the coupler arm. I suppose I could have cut the arm but if I ever want too put them back like they were I opted too remove the whole arm.
I made a 2 piece platform from 1/4" pvc board (5mm thick actually) which I CA’ed together. I removed the 2 screws that hold the bottom of the end frame of the car and replaced them with #4 x3/4 screws with washers. The platform must sit on top of the screw hole escutcheons. I inserted the factory screws on the outside holes of the coupler box so they wouldn’t get lost. One screw in the center of the Kadee box will secure the coupler as the tang on the Kadee box lays flush and tight against the end of the car. “NOTE” I BASED MY MOD’S ON A 4.5 Radius OR 9’ DIAMETER MINIMUM CURVE anything less may not work. With the 1/2" thick (10mm) base in place this will put the coupler at the exact height of the Kadee height gauge with no other shims needed. I also removed the factory diaphragm (they are pinned with a pressed fit) and added USA trains PA1 rubber diaphragm that I cut down for just the center section.