Welcome on Henk's website


find all about fiNe-scale modelling
in a scale of 1 : 160

 

Vierendeel bridge The subject

A new Fremo landscaping project

Clearing out old modules made space for a new project.

This allows the demonstration of state of the art techniques for an unusual project.

The project

The photo on top shows the subject and a series of photos of the item to be built can be found in the Gallery here: Gellik bridge. The subject is the Vierendeel bridge in Gellik that crosses the Albert Canal. This railway dates from 1856 and was part of the international railway from Aachen in Germany over Maastricht in the Netherlands to Hasselt in Belgium. It was operated by the Grand Central Belge railway company until this was taken over by the state railway. A bridge was built when the canal was created in the interbellum although the canal wasn't opened until after WW2. The original bridge was destroyed in WW2 and after the war replaced by the current Vierendeel bridge. This is the longest Vierendeel bridge in Belgium and by shear luck it still exists although the railway is out of operation since 1991. It survived the widening of the canal as there still exist plans to reopen the line. Actually the part from Maastricht to Lanaken some 2 km from Gellik was rebuilt with European subsidy to produce a new harbour facility on the canal. As we now write 2017, 2 years since start of this page, it is already closed down, too much burocracy to get licences for operating trains in 2 countries in the same time gap, another perfect example of waste of energy and money in the EU!
There exists a similar Vierendeel railway bridge in Monsin near Liege, but that one is largely surrounded by water as one side of it is situated on a dam in between the river Mose and a canal.

The plan

layout  

Using Google we can produce a view from above with the arrangement of the modules drawn in. The track radius is 500 m (3125mm in model) and the main bridge and its 2 sub bridges just fit on a module with a length of 1m25. The main bridge is in model some 70 cm long. This module will fit the current car with a few cm to spare thus transport as obstacle is tackled.

A quick impression of the arrangement was done in C4D to see where cutouts in the module sides are necessary in order to built the modules. When finished this group of modules will give a length of 5.6 m of scenic landscape for Fremo use. Maybe obviously but the canal is not modelled to its current width but to its original width to express the situation in the 50-60's. Some photographic evidence of how the canal looked was found from the Vierendeel bridge between Lier and Herentals which was of similar construction but 89.50 m long.

layout impression

Modules

A special Fremo 'Basteltreffen' was organised by Gerd over Easter 2015 and this saw the production of a series of modules on which these 5 were part. In total we succeeded in producing 10 modules for 3 projects. As it all concerned curved modules the basic parts that will carry the landscape were prepared in advance on a CNC milling machine. The rest was machined in concerted effort under supervision of Gerd in his workshop. He is professional cabinetmaker thus we learned quite a lot on how to join wood correctly.

a set of modules The two outer modules will be finished first, they received their painting here, RAL 8011, according to Fremo standard.

The first thing to do is getting the rough things out of the way such as finishing the sides with a layer of paint. This is rough work with a sanding machine and filler creating lots of dust and this is best done outdoor. Therefore I prefer to do this first before any landscape is in place.

track bases

At the same time the milling machine was put to work to produce curved track bases from 1.5 mm pcb. This comes from a large sheet that was procured by Hans on one of the Rheine meetings and now sees good use. It is thicker than I normally prefer to use but stock suffices for the entire project. As the modules concern 20 degrees curves only 4 parts of about 30 cm are necessary per module. This easily fits my machine making life a lot easier. The cutting takes quite some machining time but this is easily recovered when track laying commences. The alternative would be to mill a curved template for laying 2 mm sleepers along a curve, less work as you only need a single item but I didn't have enough sleepers to start with. Besides that, these sleepers don't need any gap filling, have the correct length of 16.25 mm and the plates are correct for Angleur-Athus plate work to NMBS drawing.

fitting foam The quick and easy part with flat modules with 20 mm XPS foam filling the gaps.

cutting foam Cutting and fitting pieces of foam for the higher levels.

fitting foam overview with pieces of foam cut oversized for the landscape to fill.

shaping up the foam shaped to fit cross sections with knife, saw and sanding paper.

landscaping covering up with a layer of modelling clay

gluing the  sleeper strips in place gluing the sleeper strips in place on the trackbed

ballasted track ballasted track and initial colouring around the track.

colouring sides air brushing some base colours along the track, note the track is covered up.

bridge module The central module shaped and setting out the roughly shaped base for the bridge. The landscape is filled in with paper and foam board to visualise the situation and to help decide how to built the exact model. The red string is roughly the underside of the sleeper base.

cross view bridge module This is a cross view showing the slanted angle between the Albert canal and the bridge.

view bridge module
A bit of progress. The water is a 3 mm sheet of ply supported by foam with the water as first approach painted a greenish black. The concrete bridge supports are shaped into final form including the 4 towers for defense purposes. These are made from 6 mm poplar ply and the towers are made using 1mm plastic sheet. The lot is airbrushed with Vallejo model air primer mixed to a concrete colour as base for later paintwork.


copyright: Henk Oversloot
updated: 3 dec 2017