Ref painting whisker couplers

Wayne Orion <goodheart05@...>

The corrugated card board should work great.  Here's an additional method that I
use.  I have a shirt cardboard, not corrugated, and have cut a matrix -- so many
rows, so many columns-- of slots just wide enough to accept the coupler shanks,
and with a section for whiskers.  I insert the couplers in the slots and then
airbrush the coupler bodies on the front of the cardboard with the desired
color.  Then flip the cardboard over and spray the shanks with lubricant.  I'm
careful to spray paint the bottom of the uncoupling arms with the body color and
then come back with a brush and grimy black paint and hand paint all of the arm
except the tip, which is left with the coupler body color to represent the
fitting at the bottom of the air line.  Since I batch process a number of
couplers this way I generally paint the front in patches, transitioning
the color from rust to black as I move from patch to patch so I end up with a
range of coupler colors for house cars, tankers, hoppers, .....  I don't worry
about segregating the patches, the over-spray from painting an adjacent patch is
more often enhancing then distracting.  This is a nice way to use up any small
quantities of paint left over from earlier projects-- only if the paint is still
fluid, you don't want to gunk up a coupler.  The final step before removing the
couplers from the cardboard is to go along with a puff bottle of dry lub and
puff a little into the interior of each coupler body, tapping the uncoupler arm
several times to spread the lub around.  When all are done, hold the cardboard
face-down over the trash can and tap it lightly so any excess lub falls out
there rather then on a model later on.

About the stamped metal centering springs on the regular couplers, maybe you
don't need to switch so many cars to whiskers.  I find the tension of the delay
spring arm (the arm with the little jink in it) is a little high for reliable
operation.  I bend that arm outward ever so slightly so that it barely touches
the rear retaining tab when at rest.  That minor adjustment seems to improve
uncoupling performance noticably and yet the return-to-center remains fine.

Happy rails-- Wayne

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