MODEL TRAINS


Fine Art Models launched its operation with trains, as there was already an established market in this area, and at least four producers of collectible trains to mix it up with.  We chose 1:32 scale, better known as Gauge 1, as this was the original gauge of all electric trains dating back to 1870 (via German company, Bing, who produced wind-up toys).  This was also the smallest recognized museum scale, due, in large part, to the fact that it is the smallest scale one can build in without sacrificing detail (in other words, every detail found on the real locomotive could be modeled in Gauge 1). 


We made the decision to produce our models in South Korea, where many brass trains were already being produced.  While we had been told that doing business there would prove to be a challenge (and justifiably so - our first effort was a near disaster), we quickly learned that the only way to reach our goals, producing the finest models in the world, was to put together our own company with people who shared our vision.  And that’s exactly what we did.


Today we are considered “the” premiere builders of world-class train models.  Our German BR 50 was named Model of the Year in Germany, our Swiss Crocodile was named Model of the Year in Switzerland, and our Norfolk & Western Class A became the pinnacle model for us and for all train models. With the evolution of our patented sound system, digital control, operating reversing gear, level of detail and sheer size of this model, there has never been another train model produced at this level – until now. 


We are extremely proud to introduce our newest locomotive, the B6sb Switcher.   We have managed to take all of the detail and technology of our Class A and put it into this little switcher.  After all these years, we continue to push the envelope, and set benchmarks for others to reach. 


MODEL TRAIN DEVELOPMENT

Trains are, by far, the least labor intensive for us to develop.  In most cases, we have access to the actual plans for the locomotive we are modeling.  We take these drawings of the real prototype and feed them into our three-dimensional design program to give us our scale model version.  Once this drawing is complete, the model is broken down into components and then reduced again to individual parts. 

Sound Systems

Over the years we’ve used various sound systems.  With every locomotive, the sound continued to improve until we finally reached a plateau.  The next step for us was to create our own sound system. 

We used digital recordings of the real locomotive and consulted with engineers who used to drive these locomotives, asking them to identify the sounds we were missing. We wanted the sound of the brakes squealing that was proportional to the degree that the actual brakes were applied, so we incorporated another circuit board to interface with our sound chip.  We further decided to turn all engineer functions over to the person running the model.  Directional lighting can be turned on and off by remote, the bell can be rung as many times as the engineer chooses and the whistle can be “blown” as on the real locomotives (the engineers told us they could tell who was running the locomotive by their whistle, so we made sure we incorporated this as well).  Our Class A sound system is a result of all of these efforts.  We have every sound of the locomotive in our model (whether engineer controlled or programmed to operate randomly).

Reversing Gear Challenges

We decided to make the reversing gear on our Big Boy work when the model switched directions.  Unfortunately we had to use a solenoid because a servo would not work with our control system.  While this was a grand addition to our models, we weren’t happy because a solenoid is either “off” or “on” and we couldn’t slow it down to a scale speed when operating (we’re not sure anyone knew this but us and now you).  With the Class A, we went with our own digital control system and actually designed a special circuit board so a servo could be used and operated at scale speed.

Crane

While our marquee train models are the Big Boy, by its sheer size, and the Class A, for its size and technical features, we feel our greatest accomplishment to date is our Bucyrus Erie Crane.  Never have so many mechanical features been packaged into such a small space without compromising any aspect of the scale on the model (we invite you to see for yourself).

With our studio approach to building, we’re excited to see to see what’s in store.  And, we’ll have it all here in our development section for you to witness along the way  - both triumphs and tragedies.

Contact Us
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