Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ohmi Railway, Ōmi-Hachiman to Hikone

The JNS Forum has some great rail videos for Japanese model rail enthusiasts.

These run for over an hour at times and provide great track side rail footage from Japan. I plan to add a number of these track side details to my layout. :)

Ohmi Railway, Ōmi-Hachiman to Hikone

Monday, April 14, 2014

Joe McDoakes: "So You Want a Model Railroad"

Joe McDoakes — So You Want a Model Railroad

I thought that this might be fun for some folks. :)

 From the WIKI:
"Joe McDoakes is the protagonist of a series of 63 black and white live action comedy one-reel short subjects released between 1942 and 1956. The Joe McDoakes shorts are also known as the Behind the Eight Ball series (for the large eight ball Joe appeared behind in the opening credits) or the So You Want... series (as most of the films were titled). The character's name comes from "Joe Doakes," which was then a popular American slang term for the average man."

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Plotting and planning April 2014

Since I have not MADE time to work on the hobby of late, I thought I would take a few moments out of the day to at least look at some reference photos - both on the internet and on my computer from previous search efforts. After the process today, I realized why people work on layouts for years and year and years. :) There are so many little details and nuggets you can get lost in if so inclined.  I'm totally "That Guy" when it comes to that. I want a viewer to be able to scan the landscape and see something new each time. While I won't be featuring GUNDAM robots, Godzilla or things of that nature save the few times I set them up for photo shoots :::grin:::, I will have multiple layers of both real and fantasy visuals throughout the layout. It should make for fun viewing.

Soyokaze Harbor

I found some fun harbor nuggets today. Giant whale statues and fish signs will be making appearances in the harbor portion of the layout for sure!

I also want to make sure i get some of the smaller details in like these yellow striped parking blocks.

Soyokaze Village

More small details will be found here for sure. Again, there are so many items to take into consideration throughout the whole of the layout, but people come up time and time again. I'll have to invest some time and money into getting a good amount of people on the layout. It's a tourist area and there will have to be many many people wandering and exploring.

Small items like these will also really help in selling the layout as realistic Japan and not some cartoon version.
While I'm not planning to have snow, I am planning on scratch-building many elements like these.

They will be very small, but I'm going to add items like these as well. They will be great additions.

Small signs, lights and wall details like these will be fun....and time intensive!


I noticed that I was veering away from Shizuka a bit. The cityscape is daunting and will be the biggest hit as far as population goes. I want the streets to be crowded and that will be either a major financial hit or a major investment of time to paint and detail people for the space. The beauty, however, is the fact that I'll have primary, secondary and tertiary people - some to be used front and center, some midground and some sloppy paint ups for the background and indoors where they won't be seen much. It's still a lot to think about.

I also want to "trick out" the buildings to make sure I get a proper, downtown feel to things. Lighting....:::sigh::::.....will come. I still have NO idea about wiring and the like and will have to learn. But decor detailing will be fun. Especially small, back ally bike racks, vending machines and scenes that will provide little "AH HA!" moments for folks. (...I hope) 

I've already started to break away from the KATO UNIPLATE square look for my layout and it's made a world of difference. I'd like to add more spaces that break away from squares. It really adds interest. Adding buildings to fit in the spaces will be fun as well.

 The addition of parking areas like this will be a fun and someone simple detail to take on. It should add a lot to the space.

The street markings will be something to focus on once I get the buildings sorted. They can be rather complex and I'd like to get them right. I'm sure "The Internet" will know some of the answers. :)

 I already have a small fleet of buses going as well. I'm not sure why, but I love buses! :) I was thinking about the moving bus system, but I think the tram moving while everything else remains still is already odd - I don't need to add another element that moves to the mix. So, I plan on adding scenes like this with bus transport playing a major role in the Soyokaze / Shizuka landscape.

 Lastly, I'd like to get some levels going in the Shizuka area. I'm looking at ways to take this on now. I'd love to have areas like this in the Shizuka landscape.

Maybe two or three higher areas where underground tunnel streets could slip through. Aain, it's just a matter of planning it out. I guess I'd have to raise the area up, which will affect the trackage for sure. I'm not sure I really want to take that on at this point. LOL   We'll see. I have a few days of layout work planned for the end of April/beginning of May, so I might get something together buy then. The whole of the layout is built directly on the deck of the benchwork, so I'd have to raise everything up. Any thoughts in this arena are more than welcome! :)

And with that, I head back to my Daddy Job.

Happy hobbying, All! 


Monday, March 24, 2014

Temple Hill - Outdoor and In Place

Nothing beats natural overcast lighting when shooting your models! :)  I love it! The light is so even and smooth. I lucked out with many of these shots as well - the trees in the back really matched up well.

It was really exciting to finally be able to pop this piece onto the table and see how it worked out. All in all, I'm pretty excited about the look. It will be amazing to get more sections done with foliage and ground cover.

But first, track fixing. I have to get the trains running properly. There are some snags for sure.  

Temple Hill Progress Shots

I'm Just tossing these up. GO GO GOing in life. :)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Temple Hill Progress

Well, I was rolling on Temple Hill for a minute, but forward progress has stopped for the time being. I might get going again this week.

I had the base down and, after fixing the damage done by using the wrong adhesive on the foam and having some of it eaten away :::grin::: , I got to work on the build up and hill creation.

I went with the sculpting plaster option. It seemed like the right stuff for this part of the project. I had used other plasters in the past, but this was a lot more fun to work with.

It basically ends up like oatmeal paste - rough and gritty, but easy to lay down and build up when mixed properly. Mixing more was easy as well. There wasn't much I needed to work out there.

After I got that set in place, I started sculpting stairs and ramps with clay. I had some left over from my shelf layout project and thought it might do the trick for the roadway ramp and ramps up the hillside to the various levels of temple hill. I'm sure there are other ways to do this, but I went with this before and it seemed to work out, so I went with the option again.

The hardest thing about this for me was getting the slope of the roadway correct and working out the scale of the steps in areas were people would be walking. I think I got close and whatever isn't working can be re-done and reset with the use of paint or scenic materials. (Yes, I've done that before as well!)

I painted the areas where dirt and foliage were going to be placed to get my base "dirt" color. I'll go over the whole of it with scenic material and the like, but I had to get rid of the pink color. This is standard stuff, but it's always one of those steps I see left out from time to time and I thought it was worth mentioning.

I've had some folks ping me who are "flying under the radar" in model rail circles. The stay silent and tinker with their projects and don't put themselves out there for fear of being snickered at by the more "professional" hobby folks.  I say, put yourself out there! I do it. I am FAR from pro and hack/slash my way through many projects and have fun doing it. The best part about doing is learning from what you've actually done - making note of what worked and did not work for future reference.

So, as I continue to stumble through, I have a lot of fun seeing things progress. The next big thing to get through is getting some layers going on my layout. Raised layers for certain areas. I just need to work out the base structure for it to achieve the look I want.

Kobe, Japan

Mobile Suit sightings in Soyokaze and Shizuka

I used to be WAY into anime. Now I dabble, but I still have many, many anime toys and figures from back in the day when I was buying for retail therapy. :::grin:::  I dropped a lot of coin on these items. I have boxes and boxes packed with care.

Well, I was looking over my Instagram follows and saw a few posts from a guy who goes by HEATH13. He did some great Godzilla shots with his N scale items. I thought it was time to do another Gundam shoot with mine.

The scale is close with the Gundam MS figures I had. I think they run around 1/144, which is pretty close. So I broke them out and took some quick shots between meetings and production time in the old home office and some of them turned out pretty good. When I really get things built out, I'll do another series of shots. Of course, I'll end up doing some one offs during meetings where my presence wasn't REALLY needed, I'm sure. :)

I'm not going to keep the anime presence on my layout - I still want to keep things "real" in feel. But, they'll pop up from time to time for photo shoots.


RX-77-2 and RGM-79 face off against a Zaku


The wrong scale, but still fun. The EZ-8s are still my faves.

The Guncannon is always a side liner, but I still think they are kinda cool. Especially some of the new designs.