Category Archives: Projects

Photos from the 2017 Köln FREMO:87 Meeting

After a two-year hiatus, I was finally able to attend a FREMO meeting again. The meeting in Köln-Dellbrück Thielenbruch took place in early October 2017 and featured the largest FREMO:87 layout ever, measuring more than 200 linear meters across five branch lines.

It was the third meeting with my station Fessenheim (see second image below), which is still under construction at the time of this writing. I’ll add more information about the progress of this project at some point.

For now, I’ll share a handful of impressions following a single train across one of the DB branches between Hünenberg and Häfnerhaslach, which included a masterfully built model of the Bromskirchen valley bridge. All shots were taken with an iPhone 6.

Pt crossing bridge in ealy morning light Pt in Fessenheim (FSM) Pt crossing bridge Pt at railroad crossing Pt passing signal

A Completed and Weathered PROTO:87 PIKO Tds Hopper

A key requirement for becoming a successful PROTO:87 modeler is patience. Adding detail parts, often applying multiple paint jobs, decals, and lastly a weathered look, can take a very long time. Sometimes, as is the case with this car, it can take years.

I’ve mastered many of the steps to make improvements to a model, but I don’t have any weathering skills. That’s why I reached out to Enno, a German modeler with excellent weathering chops, to have him put some grime on my first finished car from a set of three PIKO DB Td(s) hoppers after a photo featured in Carstens Güterwagen, volume 2, page 61.

The other day, I got an email from him indicating that he had completed the car. He sent along a number of amazing images showcasing the first completed car in my collection. I’m glad the project is done and I couldn’t be happier with the weathering job even though one step didn’t survive it. The lesson learned here is that it’s better to have the base of the car weathered before adding fragile detail parts that may not make it through the procedure.

The car has Günter Weimann PROTO:87 wheels and spring-loaded buffers, Weinert original couplers and brake hoses, Fränkische Modellbahn-Spezialitäten UIC steps and grab irons, and custom decals from Andreas Nothaft’s Decalshop. Enjoy the pictures.

PIKO Tds 928

Photo and weathering: Jens Enno Born

PIKO Tds 928

Photo and weathering: Jens Enno Born

PIKO Tds 928

Photo and weathering: Jens Enno Born

PIKO Tds 928

Photo and weathering: Jens Enno Born

PIKO Tds 928

Photo and weathering: Jens Enno Born

You can find more of Enno’s wonderful work on his blog, drecksbude.blogspot.de, the tws-rustbucket.com forum, or the Drehscheibe Online Model Train forum.

Download the Fessenheim FREMO Module Plans

A faithful reader of this blog emailed me this week to ask about the module drawings for my Fessenheim project. I’m happy to report that I completed the drawings last year and that I sent them to a fellow FREMO member who is currently building them.

I’ve made a couple of adjustments to the original plans that included moving the trackwork further west so that the farm co-op building would fit on module #2 in its entirety; and modeling only the original part of the facility, cutting its size in half. Here’s an overview of the updated setup.

Updated overview of Fessenheim depot and siding

Updated overview of Fessenheim depot and siding

You can download the DXF file of the parts here.

The German manufacturer LaserSachen released a laser kit of the standard Bavarian depot building that’s in my project queue and will hopefully be completed some time this year.

Building a Penn Central X58 50′ Box Car (Part III)

It’s been a few weeks and I am happy to finally report on the progress of the Penn Central X58 project in this last installment.

Because I am painting inside a small apartment, I decided against using the solvent based Scale Coat Penn Central Green sold by the Penn Central Railroad Historical Society. Instead, I painted the car with the water based Floquil Polly Scale paints Penn Central Green for the car body and Flat Aluminum for the roof.

Rail Yard Models Penn Central X58 after paint job

Rail Yard Models Penn Central X58 after paint job (click to enlarge)

A few days later, I added a glossy finish using Badger Modelflex paint. The outcome was less than desirable as the glossy paint seemed to crystalize in some spots. In my next project, I am going to mix Model Master glossy paint with the Polly Scale green to save me a step and minimize the risk of messing up a nice paint job.

I let the glossy finish dry for a few days as recommended in the X58 instructions and then started to apply the decals.

The decaling was an easy albeit slow process because I was customizing the lettering based on a prototype photograph. After cutting the decals, I prepped the surface with Micro Set, slid the decals on it and let Solvaset work its magic. Excess fluid was sucked off using a cotton swab. The cotton swab did a great job in removing fluid but occasionally left tiny fibers behind. Next time, I will try a micro fiber cloth used for cleaning lenses instead.

Putting the decals on the X58 was a slow process

Putting the decals on the X58 was a slow process

Two evenings later, I was ready to decal the other side. I thought about a way to peek at the other side without turning the car over all the time. The solution was to make a copy of the decaled side. Make sure you cover the area around the car with blank sheets of paper to avoid wasting a lot of black ink.

Copying the decaled side for reference

Copying the decaled side for reference

The copy turned out to be just a tad smaller than the actual model but I found that when referencing lettering to other parts such as ladder steps it was still helpful to use and sped up the decaling process. Every now and then I did take a digital caliper to measure key proportions on the other side, though.

Using a copy of the decaled side of the car sped up the process

Using a copy of the decaled side of the car sped up the process

So here it is, the finished product complete with roof, brake hoses and extra weight.

Finished Rail Yard Models Penn Central X58 36 18 25

Finished Rail Yard Models Penn Central X58 36 18 25

For a first try at a craftsman kit, I am very happy with the result. Let me know what you think in the comments below. I hope you will join me when I report on the weathering after I return from the FREMO:87 meet in Glottertal, Germany.

Building a Penn Central X58 50′ Box Car (Part II)

I have taken the last few weeks off from modeling because I was finishing up some coursework. With my class completed, it’s time to turn my attention back to my Rail Yard Models Penn Central X58 project. Today, I am installing a pair of Kadee® Barber® S-2 70 ton trucks outfitted with PROTO:87 wheels, the end platforms, handbrake and the Sergent couplers.

The Kadee® trucks look good and even better with with the PROTO wheels. They have a working suspension, which is pretty cool even though the springs look a little too large. Check out the difference between the factory-installed RP25 wheels and the PROTO wheels. There is no way I am going back to RP25…

Barber® S-2 70 ton trucks with RP25 and PROTO:87 wheels.

Barber® S-2 70 ton trucks with RP25 and PROTO:87 wheels. (click to enlarge)

The hole in the Kadee® trucks is too small to fit over the pin under the X58. A #30 (3.3 mm) drill bit will widen the hole just enough. When installing the trucks, make sure that the screws aren’t too tight so that the trucks can still move freely under the car.

The hole in the trucks needs to be widened to fit under the X58.

The hole in the trucks needs to be widened to fit under the X58.

So far the X58 project went quite well – until it was time to install the end platforms. Bending the platforms just right was a problem and I messed up a few of them in the process. Gene Fusco from Rail Yard Models sent me updated instructions to better illustrate the shaping of the parts, which did help me in my final attempt.

During installation, I also had trouble fitting the parts over the alignment pins on the car. The urethane body is pretty soft and the pins got damaged in the process. Eventually, I decided to completely remove them and install the platforms using scale screw imitations instead.  I shaved off the remains of the pins using an X-acto knife and drilled holes with a #79 (0.37 mm) bit in their place. Then I mounted the platforms with the scale screws, which also makes them feel sturdier.

Preparing the X58 for the installation of the end platforms.

Preparing the X58 for the installation of the end platforms.

B end with with handbrake and end platform installed.

B end with with handbrake and end platform installed.

As a last step, I installed the draft gear with the Sergent couplers prepared a few weeks ago. Looks nice doesn’t it?

The Sergent couplers are installed and the car is ready to be painted.

The Sergent couplers are installed and the car is ready to be painted.

In part III, I am going paint and decal the car.