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DB E 71 13 from Fine Models
by Friedhelm Weidelich
The prototype of the Fine Models gauge 1 model, the E 71 13 of the Deutsche Bundesbahn, built in 1921, was transferred from the Bundesbahn Bw Basel to Haltingen on 1.5.1958 and retired on 1.8.1958. It is unlikely that signs with "Bw Haltingen" were screwed on.
The brass model weighs 3.025 kg and comes in a cardboard box that opens at the front, where the loco is held in place by foam inserts on a board with track grooves. This eliminates the need for screwing, especially since the model does not come by mail, but is delivered by a driver.
There is a drawing in the box showing which screws and plugs need to be loosened to remove the car body. The instruction manual briefly describes the prototype and in German and English the F27 functions.
The brass model consists of a car body that rests on the two trucks. One Faulhaber motor each drives two wheel sets via the jackshaft and the sturdy coupling rods. As in the prototype, the trucks swing out sideways at the front, and vertically the leading axle can be raised 2 to 3 mm. The ball-bearing axles are sprung with about one millimeter of play, the leaf springs are without function. The locomotive can handle radii from 1,020 mm without clamping. To avoid wear, larger radii should be used.
The model is 362 mm long and rolls on 1.8 mm NEM wheel flanges with fillets at the transitions between the tapered running surfaces and the well rounded wheel flanges. The wheels are cleanly turned, completely painted in prototypical DB fashion and have stamped numbers.
The current pickup is done gently via axle sliders. The brass model is equipped with an ESU decoder Loksound XL V 5.0. When power is interrupted, the capacitors are sufficient for about 30 cm of travel at medium speed and a fairly smooth stop. The tractive effort is 620 g, which is 6.08 N. The loco can be pushed in both directions with varying resistance. The model rolls very smoothly, reaches the appropriate top speed after a few seconds and reduces speed just as smoothly. The handling is excellent, even compared to many other gauge 1 models. The brake hoses are attached at the ends, which could be a blessing for some and a shortcoming for others. Unfortunately, the rest hook for the couplers under the buffer pads was forgotten.
The driver's cabs can each be illuminated in the direction of travel. Efforts were made to reproduce the glare-free and, as in the prototype, dim lamp above the driver's table. Less well done are the scales and pointers of the round instruments and pressure gauges. The driver's cabs have a lasered wooden floor and a complete appearing further equipment up to printed warning signs. A downward hanging warning semaphore arm is installed in the left corner (as on many old electric locomotives) to indicate the function of the SiFa (safety travel circuit).
The four cab doors are protected against penetrating light on three sides. The doors to the illuminated contactor control can be opened. The lettering is mostly etched. The locomotive number signs are printed rather than etched to match the prototype. The not continuous black edges of the plates are not quite appropriate for the model price.
The air vents are attached and not pressed as on the competitor' s model, which is disappointing considering the price of €2,950.
The large lamps correspond to the prototype. The switchable red tail light only lights up on the right, which was the valid regulation at the time. The bulbs are simulated by round LEDs and can be made brighter via function key. However, in the default position they are almost too bright for my taste.
The roof pantographs are very filigree and correspond to the prototype except for the three insulators at each of the four corners. However, this base exists on other locomotive numbers. Since the locomotives were hardly photographed and documented in the 1950s, errors in detail are hardly unavoidable. The servos raise and lower the pantographs without jamming.
The locomotive sound by ESU comes with two anachronistic station announcements with electronic gong and clearly Swabian coloring (please leave out these announcements in general!), but otherwise convinces in every respect. Even when stationary, you can hear the (somewhat too loud) hum of a transformer over the high-quality Visaton speaker. That's always better than nothing. Then comes the pleasant surprise: With the distinct growl and creak of old electric locomotives, the model starts moving very slowly, as if the steel body is trembling. Then you hear the rods rattle a bit in sync with the movement, the switch steps remain discreet but audible. Again and again, the authentic compressor kicks in. The volume can be controlled with F24 and is never too high. It is a pleasure to drive this model.
The E 71 13 of the DB from Fine Models is no bargain for the now valid price of €2,950 (pre-order price was only €2,590), but it convinces mainly by the very good sound program, the XL decoder with sufficient energy reserves and the excellent running characteristics. The design of the ventilation slots is somewhat disappointing in this price range. All in all, this is a model for those who attach great importance to the best driving characteristics.
Currently, only the blue E 71 19 and the discussed E 71 13 are available. The other versions will arrive in October 2021. Most versions are sold out yet.
Pros and cons
+ excellent running characteristics
+ convincing sound
+ very fine pantographs
+ XL decoder with power storage
+ fine wheels
+ locomotive driver figure for pre-order
+ no surcharge for Fine Scale and 1Pur wheels
o locomotive can be pushed
- too stylized round instruments in the driver's cab
- rest hook missing
- ventilation openings not appropriate for the price
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