A couple of Saturdays ago I was manning the 009 society stand at the Alexandra Palace show. This is, by model railway standards, a BIG show, although a bit of a pain to get to by car. The big attraction of the show to me was the wealth of trade support, right through from Hornby, Bachmann and the largest model shops, down to the smaller suppliers and manufacturers. I went equipped with a shopping list and got most of what I needed! There were a number of good layouts too of course, although to my mind they catered mostly for mainstream modelling interests and especially BR-era steam, that is probably in line with the interests of readers of British Railway Modelling magazine which sponsors the show (I've often thought it should be called British Railways Modelling), although it would have been nice to see more variety of genres. Layout of the show for me was Rowlands Castle, set in Hampshire in 1944 it not only features well modelled and nicely running SR trains, it has superb scenery, and fascinating detailing with the troop build-up to D-Day overrunning the sleepy village.
There was some narrow gauge, including right next to the 009 society stand John Thorne's superbly detailed Purbeck.
Back on the 009 society stand, as well as a new display cabinet and a demo layout, there was space for a modelling demonstration. I continued making the coaches I started at EXPONG (I couldn't very well make 014 wagons could I?!), and also made up a number of Microtrains couplings (I use these for both 009 and 014). This generated quite a lot of interest, perhaps surprisingly for what is not the most exiting part of railway modelling!
So here is a picture of the jig I have made up to help with their assembly, from offcuts of plasticard. At the back one part of the coupler arm is held while the iron tail is fitted with pliers. In the middle there are slots to hold the draft boxes while the coupling arms are assembled into them (upside down). The "dirt" visible is in fact the graphite lubricant that is liberally added, the tiny spring is then inserted on the end of a scalpel blade as seen on the left. Finally the top of the draft box is clipped on (well, it becomes the bottom!). The tray at the front of the jig is useful for tipping out the parts on to!