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Brass hook couplings

Brass hook couplings

Afternoon everyone! How are we getting on? This week, I’ve been playing around, trying to find a better, homemade alternative for the basic, generic and arguably ugly and unrealistic tension-lock couplings. After doing some research and talking to fellow modellers, I decided to have a crack at creating some Brass Hook couplings, and I thought I’d share that experience with you!

This is a relatively easy process and the results can be very satisfying, with minimal cost, effort and time. Let’s start with the tools I used;

First I assessed the first 3 victims. A nice set of weathered Bachmann 16ton mineral wagons. I removed the tension locks (won’t be needing them again!) and filed away a little plastic lump that wasn’t needed to make a better surface for the copper strip to stick too.  

Next, I cut a (roughly) 2cm strip of copper strip and tinned both ends. I then bent, cut and tinned a section of brass wire, then soldered it to the copper strip so it looked like this. Size isn’t important at the moment, as long as it looks ‘right’ to you and you make them large enough to negotiate your curves. The exhibition layout I’ll be building has no curves so this isn’t an issue for me.

Then, I used Delux Materials Plastic Magic to secure it to the base of the wagon.

Finally, I created a hook for the other end of the wagon using the same method. If you have higher curves, I’d recommend making this hook longer to avoid derailments and buffer-lock.

The End Result: I think these look pretty neat and improve the overall look of the wagon. The advantages of these are that they are customisable, you can build them to your layouts specifications very easily. There’s also no gap when the wagons are being pushed, and on locos you will be able to add more detail to the buffer beam due to the lower profile. Also they are easier to couple/uncouple, but then again they cannot automatically couple up and are in a semi-permanent rake. 

In conclusion, I think these can make a huge improvement to your rolling stock and will look great once painted black and weathered in. A great project for you to undertake with minimal equipment while you’re stuck at home!

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