H0 Vehicles off the leash.
April 4, 2009 2:46 AM   Subscribe

Chester Fesmire sure knows how to weather a truck in 1:87.

Chester Fesmire may be a master when it comes to building and weathering H0 scale vehicles and small dioramas, and he does not keep his methods secret. But go big and you get something like the Hamburg Miniatur Wunderland, which has made a debut on MeFi a year ago and has now released an official video. (YT)

In the vid you see many moving trucks. Those use the Faller Car System – a hidden track in the road guides the vehicles around.

But you would surely want more freedom for your vehicle, right? Put a tiny motor in it and make it remote controlled.

Standard big rig too big for ya?
Go smaller. (that car is about an inch long)
Not enough powered axles? Go 6x6. (YT with loud music)
Not enough lights? Go crazy. (YT in German, well worth watching)

What do you mean? 1:87 too big? Want 1:160? It exists.

(Many of the pages and vids are in German only – enjoy anyway)
posted by Laotic (19 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:08 AM on April 4, 2009

posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:09 AM on April 4, 2009

I love it. My specialty was 1/35 WWII stuff, I wish I still had my treasures with me.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:50 AM on April 4, 2009

This is cool, thanks.
posted by marxchivist at 3:50 AM on April 4, 2009

Pretty nice stuff, I would complain about the rubber tires not looking "rubbery" enough but it's in HO fer chrissake!

Related, I wonder if Shep Paine has ever been brought up here?
posted by Max Power at 6:35 AM on April 4, 2009

This stuff if amazing! I try and visit Minatur Wunderland whenever I'm in Hamburg (it's in a really cool part of the old harbor/customs area along the River Elbe).

As a kid into HO (and N, for a while) model railroading, I can remember the days when the model trains, tracks and switches were controlled by big servos, the train control limited to "blocks" of track where only one locomotive could be at a time, and tiny little incandescent light bulbs had to be used for any accessory/landscape lighting. Then came transistors and finally, unfortunately just as I was getting out of it, came "Digital Command Control" as they called it. The technology finally got to the point where it was small enough to be put into 1/87 sized locomotives.

But this stuff with wheeled vehicles (and the watercraft) is so utterly amazingly far beyond controlling the (relatively) simple forward/reverse movement of train wheels. Really cool!
posted by webhund at 6:52 AM on April 4, 2009

Check out the caption at the bottom of this page!
posted by joecacti at 8:20 AM on April 4, 2009

Nice work, especially considering the size.

Webhund - DCC is cool for sure, but you can still build and run a decent operating model railroad using switched blocks (aka "cab control") without investing the $500 + in a full DCC system.
posted by Artful Codger at 9:01 AM on April 4, 2009

My favorite part of the video:
Currently there are over 200,000 small inhabitants residing in the Wunderland, representing all possible real-life situations: thick people, thin people, animals on trips (?), very strong famous children (???), working population, entertaining fire-eater, very alive humans, and no longer so alive ones... Nearly all inhabitants of Miniatur Wunderland have a roof over their head.
posted by smackfu at 10:18 AM on April 4, 2009

Wonderful stuff from Mr. Fesmire, and beautifully photographed, too. I especially loved his "Duel" Peterbilt.

Glad to know there are a few other scale model cranks in the Blue. . . .
posted by rdone at 10:28 AM on April 4, 2009

Totally cool stuff, thanks!!
posted by lazaruslong at 10:47 AM on April 4, 2009

Max Power: I met Shep briefly once.
I worked for Squadron in the 70s.
This whole thing has almost gone underground now.
posted by Drasher at 11:34 AM on April 4, 2009

I'm embarrassed with how much I love this stuff. All the dreams and revelry that go into building models. Old WW II, tanks, Jet fighters etc. Seems like every part and angle holds and records a thought, a small dream and a feeling.


Millhauser has a good essay on it (full thing is in Harpers, but you need a subscription, which you'll have anyone if you like this sort of writing). (and I think in this novel).

I mean, really, imagine what a better world it would be if people shut off the damned computer and built more tiny models?
posted by Skygazer at 11:44 AM on April 4, 2009

I made models as a kid and I'm periodically struck by the urge to do it again. Mainly because I know I would be so much better at it now.

I don't anticipate ever wanting a sockpuppet account, but if I do "Chester Fesmire" will be strongly considered.
posted by werkzeuger at 12:14 PM on April 4, 2009

When I did some consulting for an optical plastics company, we had a "time machine." It was a chamber that cycled through high and low pressures, temperatures, light, and humidity, to cause accelerated aging. I wonder what that thing would have done to painted models.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:36 PM on April 4, 2009

Skygazer: Your links are interesting, but they omit what I suspect is one of the main attractions of miniatures, namely a genetic programming for the love and nurturing of smaller versions.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:43 PM on April 4, 2009

Wünderland: Best, narration, ever.

Oh, and smackfu, "very strong famous children" refers to Pippi longstocking, a Swedish character visible in the diorama.

(But Sweden as the "perpetuly snow-covered country?" What?)
posted by monocultured at 4:05 PM on April 4, 2009

I worked for Squadron in the 70s.
posted by Drasher at 2:34 PM

When I was a kid (back in the 1970's) the Squadron Shop in Ferndale(?) on John R Road was my idea of heaven. We used to beg our parents to take us there. I was so happy when I was old enough to ride my bike there.

Did you work in the store or for their mail order business?
posted by marxchivist at 9:24 PM on April 4, 2009

StickyCarpet: I suspect is one of the main attractions of miniatures, namely a genetic programming for the love and nurturing of smaller versions.

I'll buy that, but miniatures also bring back the awe and wonder that children have towards the things in the world around them. They make us smaller. (That's Steve Millhauser's main idea in the essay I think.)
posted by Skygazer at 9:39 PM on April 7, 2009

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