Saturday, 16 May 2020


In my day job I'm officially a "SAFe Agilist". For those who don't work in IT, it essentially means delivering small but constant improvements in products.

And the great thing about finally having a workbench is that it can make me an agile modeller. I don't have the constant overhead of unpacking and packing whatever project I'm working on. I can even keep on hand things that I use all the time. So for the first time in years my soldering iron, or one of them at least, has a permanent place to sit so I can use it whenever it is needed.

So what am I actually working on? Well, to be honest initially I'm working on producing a few more jigs and useful storage boxes rather than models. The big focus is on tools to make couplings. I've tried in the past and learned I can only do it successfully if I use jigs for every stage

It has taken on some urgency because I've decided that my lockdown OO gauge Inglenook isn't going to use tension lock couplings. Well, actually it is, but as we know, real modellers like to think they aren't by making them themselves and giving them fancy names.

So my initial plan for the Inglenook is, or rather, was, to use a delayed action version of the Iain Rice "Imprecise" coupling. This uses the Palatine Models  AJ jigs to produce the basic hook, but misses out the stage of angling the "tail" outwards and inverts the hook 180 degrees so it becomes a much less obviously visual version of the Sprat & Winkle.

Incidentally, if ever you find Stephen King novels too dull and want a real fright I can highly recommend the instructions that come with the various AJ jigs and their various warnings that if you mess something up halfway through the process you will be condemned to coupling Hell AND NEVER PRODUCE A WORKING COUPLING.

These are NOT idle threats.

Fortunately, as the name implies, the Rice version is more forgiving, and he avoids the use of guitar wire which is good because frankly, I can never get a decent bend in it, even if I do use jigs.

One thing Iain's design lacks is a delay hook., although he suggests a solution. Now for an Inglenook layout, which is always going to stretch the observer's credibility, I think delayed uncoupling is a must.t reduce unrealistic shunting moves. Now that suggests one other credible solution. Well, two if my eyesight was good enough to use three-link couplings. The alternative is the Winterley which, in theory, operates without any need for fixed uncouplers. My initial unease was two-fold. First they are single-ended, and secondly, they are relatively obtrusive.

It struck me at some unearthly hour of the morning that, for now at least, the single-endedness isn't an issue. The only stock I'm thinking about fitting them to will be dedicated to the Inglenook and variations on it. I've no intention of converting any of the stock to EM. Then later on and fully awake I realized that the visual issues were possibly solvable.. So another experiment might be called for.

The good news is that the Imprecise couplings will do the job for my EM projects. If, at a later date, I convert over to AJs then good, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

No photo to go with this post? Nope, I've failed  miserably at taking close up shots of various bent bits of wire

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