The challenge for the railway modeller (at least this one) is always the couplers. You want a balance between something that works well and maybe even uncouples remotely, and something very inconspicuous. And if you don’t use the industry standard coupler, you need something easy to build and fit to your models, and that is also reliable.
If you model American (or indeed a number of other parts of the world), MicroTrains (or McHenry, or E-Z-Mate or Kato even) buckeye couplers are just the ticket. They work pretty well and are easy to fit. They are a little oversized, but don’t look too bad from most angles – and if you are very fussy, you can convert all your models to Z-gauge versions of the buckeye. For the UK and Europe, though, with buffers and 3-link and screw couplings, things get more difficult. The standard Rapido N-gauge coupler works OK, but looks enormous in pictures. If you want to add your own couplers there’s DG and B&B, similar designs that are generally thought to work well – and you can get one of them ready made. People have used MicroTrains on British stock (and Dapol make buckeyes for NEM coupler pockets), but they don’t look right, except on EMU’s and more modern coaches.
I recall articles in the model press where 2mm and N-gauge modellers used 3-link couplers and a coupling pole to hook things up. Good move if your eyes can take it. I could just about cope with ‘O’ gauge! However, it has to be said that 3-links are very easy to fit to a model, and of course look right.
I was exploring the works for FS160 (European fine-scale ‘N’, with 9mm gauge and 1:160 models, but track standards as or similar to those of the UK’s 2mm). And I came across this cool magnetic coupler. It looks like a screw coupling, but is operated by a hand-held magnet above the stock to be uncoupled or coupled. I am very tempted to try this out – having a screw coupling on unfitted wagons seems a small price to pay for such a good appearance. Even if the coupler is tricky to use, it could have mileage on rakes of permanently coupled stock.
I think the photographs taken from the site are self-explanatory, but for the full story, use Google Translate on this link – and if you are rash enough to want to buy some, try here (I assume this site is live).