Tenderlok

Lettering (fonts) for German locomotives

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Posted (edited)

Dear trainheads,

I often notice that models of German locomotives, even ones from well-known manufacturers, are lettered with incorrect fonts – sometimes quite freely invented, sometimes close to the prototype. Either way, in my opinion, even the best-looking models are unpleasantly affected by such practice, while using correct prototypical lettering adds a great touch of realism to every model. So I thought I’d add my two cents to that topic:
German (state) railway vehicles were (and are) normally lettered with variants of the DIN 1451 standard font.
The narrow version is used for technical information like brake weight, length, but also for naming the home depot; locomotive numbers are set in normal type (DB and DR). DRG brass number plates from before WW II, however, used a font similar to old Prussian types, while so-called "Klein-Ziffern“, named after their inventor, were used for locomotive numbers from 1939 to 1947 (West Germany) or 1966 (GDR).
Free Windows fonts, DB logos and more information are available here:
http://www.heliweb.de/enkel/eisenbahn/
(click "Download" on the left side to go to the ttf files)

Have a try – it’s worth it! :wink:

Best regards,
Sven

Edited by Tenderlok
typo

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I know you do this to stimulate me ... but I'm too lazy to devote so much attention to details :tongue:

Jokes aside thanks for the information! :wink:

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, LEGO Train 12 Volts said:

I know you do this to stimulate me ...

There you have me... :wink:

Seriously: I see so many people building after German prototypes, and I'd be happy if the ttf's could be helpful for anyone.

Edited by Tenderlok

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20 minutes ago, JopieK said:

[...] For older signs, Futura is the way to go!

A modified Futura, to be precise - not only for station names, but also for kilometre markings alongside the rails. The ttf is also downloadable via the link in my original post.

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Thanks Sven!  That's very useful. Especially since I'm a few models behind in making stickers... 

Now I just need to find a way to get white letters printed on transparent stickers.

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1 hour ago, Duq said:

Now I just need to find a way to get white letters printed on transparent stickers.

Tried using a Dymo or Brother Labelwriter? I saw some guys having some good experiences with those as long as the resolution is high enough.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Duq said:

Now I just need to find a way to get white letters printed on transparent stickers.

Hi @Duq,

raised's proposal is exactly what I would recommend, too. I use a Dymo "LabelManager Wireless PnP" with D1 labelling tape "white on transparent".

Edited by Tenderlok

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I have a Dymo label writer, but how do I get that to use the DIN 1451 or Futura font?

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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, Duq said:

[...] but how do I get that to use the DIN 1451 or Futura font?

I don't know which model you have; most of Dymo's products should work with their labelling program (Dymo Label Software v.8.7) which can use all the fonts you have installed on your computer. This software is available on their website (click "support"): http://www.dymo.com/de-DE/labelmanager-wireless-pnp-label-maker#tab

Edited by Tenderlok

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This is a great thread! I had no idea how far the Dymo label markers had come. I thought you were just stuck with the generic, built-in font and that was that. Glad that they have finally caught up and allow for in-depth editing via a computer (on some models).

Will be getting some quotes and making a purchase soon I think.

Again, thanks for the heads up!

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14 hours ago, Duq said:

Maybe I should consider an upgrade. Dear Santa...

10 hours ago, Younge said:

Will be getting some quotes and making a purchase soon I think.

There seems to be some interest in the Dymo label printers, so I'll write a few more words... :wink:
I once bought the wireless version, but as the printer's battery seems to have quite a low capacity, it turned out that you have to charge it frequently (via USB). So you have to connect it to the computer anyway. Therefore, the non-wireless version should do just as well, but at only half the price.

Another drawback beside the low battery capacity is an inconsistent printing quality when making labels with very small letters (less than ca. 2 mm high). You'll sometimes have to print five or six labels to get one where all letters are printed correctly and without missing sections. Black-on-transparent labels seem to be less prone to that problem than white-on-transparent ones.
The transparent labels themselves are made of a comparably stiff plastic foil which seems quite durable and scratch-resistant. However, the material's stiffness might cause some trouble when you want to apply it to convex surfaces. The labels can be easily cut into the needed shape with a scalpel.

All in all, I'm quite pleased with the thing. Yes, there are others with higher resolution or perhaps more consistent printing quality, but they cost several times as much...

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12 hours ago, Tenderlok said:

There seems to be some interest in the Dymo label printers, so I'll write a few more words... :wink:
I once bought the wireless version, but as the printer's battery seems to have quite a low capacity, it turned out that you have to charge it frequently (via USB). So you have to connect it to the computer anyway. Therefore, the non-wireless version should do just as well, but at only half the price.

Another drawback beside the low battery capacity is an inconsistent printing quality when making labels with very small letters (less than ca. 2 mm high). You'll sometimes have to print five or six labels to get one where all letters are printed correctly and without missing sections. Black-on-transparent labels seem to be less prone to that problem than white-on-transparent ones.
The transparent labels themselves are made of a comparably stiff plastic foil which seems quite durable and scratch-resistant. However, the material's stiffness might cause some trouble when you want to apply it to convex surfaces. The labels can be easily cut into the needed shape with a scalpel.

All in all, I'm quite pleased with the thing. Yes, there are others with higher resolution or perhaps more consistent printing quality, but they cost several times as much...

Thanks for all of that information. I am planning on getting the cheapest model I can find that will use the D1 cartridges. I have done some research and I have found one for under $80 Australian. 

One thing I was curious about is with the software. I am assuming that it will allow you to save out files so that you can re-use them later? I would hate to think that once you had done all that trial-and-error in getting the right font, size, position, etc. that you would lose it if you needed to print the same stickers again later on.

Also, with that software, can you also print things other than fonts? i.e. graphics and logos.

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Hi @Younge,

of course you can save your labels and print them again later. The software uses its own file format ".label".

And yes, you can import graphics. For example, the logos on my passenger wagons were printed using png files:
640x313.jpg

Logo.jpg

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On 07/10/2017 at 12:08 AM, Tenderlok said:


640x313.jpg

Logo.jpg

Wow, those stickers look great! OK definitely getting a Dymo now that I have seen those beauties!

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