Question: I model in N scale. I’m having problems uncoupling the cars. Is there a tool out there to assist with this task, or do you have a suggestion on how to make this easier? – William Semanko, Junction City, Kan.
Answer: Many N scalers like yourself uncouple their cars by inserting the point of a fine-pointed tool, like a wooden or bamboo kitchen skewer, between the knuckles and twisting. I’ve seen some people make custom tools for this purpose using a darning needle inserted in a wooden handle, sometimes with an LED light attached to illuminate between the cars. Others, like “N Scale Insight” columnist Jim Kelly, use plastic cocktail picks, like those you’d find skewering cherries or olives in a mixed drink (see above). Jim finds that the flattened point of such an implement provides more twisting torque than a round skewer – and you can’t beat the price. Rix Products makes a similarly shaped tool called the Rix Pick, available at hobby stores for only a few bucks. Rix also makes the Rix Sticker, a two- pronged magnetic wand made for HO scale magnetic uncouplers. I don’t know if it would fit between two close-coupled N scale cars, but if one of your friends has one, borrow and try it.