RJ Models Chopper Coupler Modification

The RJ Models Chopper Couplers as reviewed in NG&IRM Review 79 are nicely detailed Norwegian or ‘chopper’ type couplers as common on narrow gauge railways in many countries. They are appropriately sized with a head around the same size as a #5 Kadee, and use the standard Kadee coupler mounting box (included) so are easy to mount.

As assembled from the packet, they are difficult to use as the hooks snuggle down in their mating coupler’s slot, meaning a lot of fiddling with tweezers and a bit of frustration thrown in to disengage them. I have modified my couplers to make operation easier.

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Note the small loop of steel wire around the top of the hook.

Before removal from the casting sprue, drill a small hole in the end of each hook. I used a 0.6mm drill in a pedestal drill, smaller would be better. If you have already removed the hooks from the casting sprue, no problem, just be careful when drilling.

Next, assemble the couplers by following the instructions.

Once assembled, go to your kitchen and grab a ‘twist tie’, the sort with a fine steel wire in it. Strip the wire from the plastic or paper casing.

Thread the wire through the hole you drilled, and bend around to form a small loop around the top of the hook. Cut wire to length.

Fit coupler to rollingstock. You do need to be very consistent with coupler heights.

Now all you need is a small magnet on a stick or rod and you can enjoy using these scale couplers without frustration. I used a small rare earth magnet super-glued to a bamboo skewer.

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RJ Models are available from Bergs Hobbies in Sydney, Australia.
-Mark