Earlier this month, FREMO:87 enthusiasts organized the first regional meeting in Southern Germany. The meeting in the quaint village of Zunsweier situated in the foothills of the Black Forest near Offenburg featured a layout with stations from Baden, Bavaria and Württemberg with a timetable set in era III. A workshop on supering the Brawa Omm52/E37 open hopper rounded out the program.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to fly in for this meeting so I am going to share a few photos taken by a friend of mine. It looks like the meeting was a success and will hopefully be repeated in 2013.
Zunsweier 2011 FREMO:87 layout
Signal at Fornsbach
A passenger train makes a stop in Gutach
Lumber from the local saw mill ready to be hauled away
I just returned from a very nice visit to Germany, where I stopped by the 2010 Glottertal FREMO:87 meet. Even though I didn’t run a single train during the operating sessions, it was great to be back, talk shop and catch up with friends and fellow modelers from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The modular Proto:87 community seems to be growing quite nicely in Europe and I hope that we US modelers can soon start our own Proto modular system.
An ETA 515 makes a quick stop in Seeburg (click to enlarge)
The layout was compact but offered a few interesting features including a short narrow gauge set-up that crossed the standard gauge line on a few dual gauge modules. A completely separate test layout with two fiddle yards allowed for running unfinished projects, locos and cars from other eras/continents including my just completed Penn Central X58.
My Penn Central X58 361825 on a test drive
The new coupling tool from Dutch Werps Modelbouw was in wide use and seemed to help speed up coupling and uncoupling – otherwise quite tedious tasks, which tend to slow down switching and lead to time-crunches during operating sessions.
The new coupling tool from Dutch Werps Modelbouw speeds up switching
I left the meet inspired to pick up the pace on my modeling projects including a few converted Proto:87 engines. My goal is to help prepare enough era 4 German rolling stock to allow for an operating session with more modern material by 2012.
Below are a few more scenes along the right of way taken with my new DSLR. Enjoy!
Taking a breather on the front porch – a popular scene on the FREMO:87 layout
VT 95 in the colorful fiddle yard Rambach
Missed photo op at a level crossing
A local freight train on the way to Gutach
Getting milled lumber ready for pick-up in Gutach
The local freight train arrives in Heiligenthal
93 1099 with an afternoon freight train on the way from Fornsbach to Iserlohn
A VT 95 and ETA 515 meet in Heiligenthal
It is customary that FREMO groups keep inventory of engines and cars. The main reason being that each piece of rolling stock needs to have a unique number. This is not only true to the prototype but also avoids confusion during operating sessions. When a member wants to register a newly acquired model, he emails the particular number to the list keeper.
The list keeper of the FREMO:87 group recently changed and the new admin suggested a few additional data sets including a quality score to added to the list.
Introducing a quality score
This quality score, which is assigned by the rolling stock owners themselves, is supposed to encourage the continued improvement of models and has three levels:
- Ready to run model with spring-loaded buffers, PROTO:87 wheels and original coupler
- Ready to run model with details such as wire grab handles or etched steps
- Ready to run model with etched axle holders, brake lines and cylinders or brass model kit
I think introducing a quality score is a great idea but I am not sure if three levels are enough to accurately represent the varying degrees of detailing.
My proposed scoring system
Instead, I am proposing a 10 point system in which a point is awarded for each addition.
- Spring-loaded buffers, basic PROTO:87 wheels, unique number and original couplers (the bare minimum)
- Brake hose
- Etched or wire grab handles
- Cast or echted steps
- Brake lines and cylinder
- Brake shoes with hanging gear
- Etched axle holders with cast bearings or scale bogie/truck
- Scale frame
- PROTO:87 wheels with prototypical wheel contour
Looking at my current PIKO Tds926 project it would score six out of ten once it is weathered. A fully assembled and weathered brass kit would most likely score ten out of ten.
I think my system has three distinct advantages:
- It makes less of a distinction between ready to run models that have been supered and complete brass kits.
- It focuses more on the effort of the modeler who spend a considerable amount of time and money on detailing their rolling stock.
- It is flexible and can be easily adapted because it doesn’t try to categorize models by attributes.
What do you think about my system? Do you have suggestions for improvement? I am looking forward to your comments.
A reader sent me an email a while ago asking about my Fessenheim project. It is modeled after Fessenheim, Germany, which is not to be confused with Fessenheim in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France.
View Larger Map
Fessenheim is a small town in the Nördlinger Ries on the former branch line of Nördlingen-Wemding (German railway route 884). The line was opened by the Bavarian State Railways in 1903 and ceased operations in 1995. The station at Fessenheim was located at kilometer number 10.3 of the line and only consisted of a small depot – the standard Bavarian agency building with ramp – and one siding to an agricultural supplies co-op, which is still in operation today. The tracks and the Fessenheim depot were removed in the early 2000s.
Fessenheim in April of 2009
A FREMO colleague recommended this station because it only requires one turnout. The model will be exactly to scale based on railroad maps and architectural drawings. There are a few drawbacks though – the agricultural supply facility likely didn’t see a lot of freight traffic, and the station, at over 4 meters in H0, is a bit long considering that it offers limited operational functionality.
Nevertheless, I am still excited about pushing ahead and working towards the completion of my first FREMO:87 modular station.
 Bahnstrecke Nördlingen–Wemding. (2009, February 22) In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:12 September 23, 2009, from http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bahnstrecke_N%C3%B6rdlingen%E2%80%93Wemding&oldid=57012146
In my May post about CAD software for the Mac, I promised to revisit the topic once I reviewed the 3D version of TurboCAD Mac. I have since purchased a copy of TurboCAD Mac Deluxe and used it to redesign the Benchwork for my FREMO project. The redesign was in part triggered by a comment from a FREMO colleague after he reviewed the 2D drawings.
The new drawings are using a construction method first used for the Black Forest FREMO:87 modules featured in the March 2009 issue of Continental Modeler. Instead of using cross beams to reinforce the module frame, this approach has a 6 mm board that is slid into a groove on all four sides to maximize stability. A beam is inserted in-between the center board and the track baseboard forming a sturdy double-t-beam – a measure to minimize track warping.
Exploded view of the Fessenheim module 1.
Getting used to the 3D workspace
Working with the Deluxe version took some getting used to, as I have never drawn in a 3D workspace before. At first, I used 2D outlines of the existing drawings and used the extrude tool to make solids out of them. One problem I kept running into as I was making adjustments to the outlines was that lines ended up on different z-levels. Keeping an eye on the coordinates in the bottom status bar and using the isometric view, I was able to get a grip on the issue over time.
After having spent a few hours with the software, I changed my MO and started building solid block primitives first. In subsequent steps, I made adjustments to the shapes by removing profiles from solids and adding solids together. This method increased my drawing speed considerably.
Along with the line, move and mirror tools, I found the following tools most helpful.
- Rotate about an axis – make sure the appropriate angle and axis is selected.
- Create a solid block primitive – enter length, width and height… Done.
- Extrude text or profile to create solid – make a solid based on a 2D outline.
- Remove profile from solid – the most important tool to make changes to existing solids.
- Add two solids together – merge two solid block primitives.
- Model to sheet – easily create a 2D drawing of a solid.
Most missed feature
One thing that slowed down my work considerably was the fact that the software only has keyboard shortcuts for three out of the eight possible views: Top, Right Side and Front. Most importantly, there is no shortcut to isometric view, which I needed often to re-orient myself in the workspace.
All in all, I was happy with the workflow and tools offered in the TurboCAD Mac Deluxe. And at $129, the software offers an affordable way to get started with 3D drafting.