Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Subway planning

I've been putting in more time planning of late - a subway area under the main deck of the layout.

I already have the train picked out. I've had it picked out for years now. I had originally given up on the subway section thinking that it was too much in too small a space. Then I was looking over my layout and thought, "Why can't I just hang another track from the bottom?" So...yup...gonna do it! :)

I have a a look that I want for the area itself. It's simple, modern and has a nice design element to it.

It will be a fun addition as long as I can keep my kids away from it. :)  The advantage of the layout bench work as it stands now is that the kids don't have access to it. However, if I go under the deck, they'll be able to get to it. I'm going to place a front of the scene so I can keep them away from it. It'll be covered with plexiglass, so you'll still be able to see in. Should work nicely. Even keep more dust out.

I want to detail things up a lot. One thing that's always bothered me is the distance between the train and the platforms. I need to work that out, but...you know..if I don't I'll still be ok. heh  I want lights, signage and all the small little details in the subway area including the grime found near the tracks. It'll give me a lot to work on, that's for sure.

Permil (M`s Craft / $34) has a subway platform, but i think I'm going to build my own. It does look nice, however. It might be a good start to planning - breaking down what they did and emulating it.


I'm also going to have a entrance to the subway as well, of course. I might go with the Tomytec version, but - again - I might just make my own. It's a rather simple design and I should be able to do something cool with it. However...I'll pick up this $7 item as a safety.   :)

I'll only be running one train, but I might go with double tracks anyway. Jury isn't out on that one yet. Honestly, that's one detail I may skimp on - going with a single track instead of double. Half the work, really. :)

There's a guy I follow on GOOGLE+ who's done a pretty cool tunnel. I like the look of it and will shoot for something like it. It's a cool construction and the overall feel is working really well, though I think he's still struggling with lighting. I thought it looked fantastic, but he's still tweaking.

So...the plan is in place. Now I just need to wait for funding for materials.   Hello FREELANCE! :)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Michael Wolf: Tokyo Compression

Another detail for Japan model railroaders to add - compressed and patient faces. Whew!

FROM: http://www.designboom.com/art/michael-wolf-tokyo-compression/

‘tokyo compression’ by michael wolf
all images © michael wolf

‘tokyo compression’ by german-born hong kong-based photographer michael wolf is a collection of images showcasing local commuters through the aperture of foggy subway car doors. at once a snapshot of the capital city’s density, urban infrastructure, and societal makeup, the voyeuristic series captures subjects ranging from sleepy indifference to dazed confusion.

More scenic photos and madness

I'm not going to bore you too much. Just more scenic photos. The game plan is to keep adding more and more foliage and the like to build things up to the level of some of my reference photos and favorite rail videos.

This 42 minute one has been downed and watched MANY times. :)

And so....onward! :)



Loving this little area. Can't wait to get people in the scene.

For posterity. :) I realized that I didn't have many photos with me AND the layout.

Progress. Again, needs more layers.

I think I might actually be to a spot where I can safely lock the Naze bridge down. Well...in a bit. :)
While I like how things are progressing on the scenic side of things, I'm still seeing too much space in the Village area. I might have to compress the buildings I already own - scrunching them up a bit more and adding other scenic elements...or...purchase a few more buildings. :)

I'm thinking the compression is the way to go. I have some scenic details that I'd like to see in the village area. It's close, but not quite what I'm going for. Both the Village area and Town area need another re-vamp and re-org. Close, but....no.

And, in other news....

I'm adding this to the ever growing list of details I'd like to add to my layout. It's a little wall area I found here in Oakland that I really enjoy. I think it will add some interest. 

I also still have my heart set on some pedestrian overpasses, a bridge spanning from Shizuka up to Soyokaze Hill and a skywalk walkway between two buildings. I just need to stop moving things around long enough to make some of these happen! :)

More sections complete

I don't have complete knowledge, but I have a desire to learn. :)

I've been reading and reading and reading and watching and watching and I finally bit the bullet and dove in on some scenery. I just had to jump on. I equate it to watching the merry-go-round spinning and wanting to jump on. At one point, you have to jump.

I've heard other modelers on MODEL RAIL RADIO talking about plans and ideas and the like for years and years without actual action. I didn't want to end up like that - talking about what I had planned and sitting in hibernation waiting to move ahead. So, I dove in and it's ok. Not great, but not horrid. :)

The first section I did was ok. A little vegetation and the like plopped into place. So, I took what I learned there and started in on the "farm" area. The idea behind it was that the while of the farm is not visible on the layout, but will be visible in the background I paint up. This allows for a little farm look without having a whole farm section.

The big thing I learned here was that FINE Woodland Scenics ites work better with the N scale items I have going on my layout. Medium and Coarse products are just too large - huge boulders in the landscape. The Fine products are the way to go in N overall.

I've used multiple reference photos to try and get a read on how things would look in general, then I've riffed off of that to move forward.

I played around with some items like flowers in the greenhouse. A purple flower of some sort being grown for some reason. :)

Things look rather barren at the moment, but people will add a lot to the scene in the near future.

The second spot I worked on was the station area. I filled in the area around the station and planned out the pathways people would use to get from the station to the rest of the area.

Again, I've been using reference photos to make sure I get a similar look and feel to the surrounding area. The addition of a little group of back houses really helped the scene. Something is going on back there. Some sort of utility shed situation.

I need to do another round of details, but I like the look so far. Again, people will add so much to the scene here.

Round one of details behind the rest stop. I'm not really sure what's going in here yet. A pond area with trees, perhaps. :::shrug:::  I want to add a bunch of rail details and clean all of the rail areas up as well. I plan to have workers working the trackage and milling about.

I have the Greenmax Rail Maintenance Car built and weathered. I like how it turned out, but may do another round of detailing.

"I'm telling you - I saw the Temple Ghost! You don't have to believe me, but it's true!"  :)

It's odd seeing less wood deck and more greenery and scenery. Odd in a good way. I keep thinking, "Wait...is this really coming together after all these years?!"  LOL    Of course, there's more to be done, but...HA! I'm actually doing this! FUN! :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Modelers Life Podcast

I - like many of you reading this now - listen to MODEL RAIL RADIO religiously. It's a fantastic podcast. There was a post on the MRR Facebook group recently saying that one of the regulars was starting a new podcast with another regular called A Modelers Life. I finally made time to listen today and have to say that Lionel Strang and Jim Rindt have done a fantastic job with the podcast - an interview style, in-depth look at people in the model railroad hobby.

From the iTunes page:

The first episode focused on Tom Barbalet - the creator of Model Rail Radio himself. The MRR format is grand and kinetic, but Modelers Life and it's single focus is a very cool look at one person and what makes them who they are. Lionel's interview style is simple and free flowing and very conversational which works well in this situation. I felt like I was sitting at a table talking over "an adult beverage" after a fine meal. :)

Lionel and Jim are very personable and have a playful nature that I loved.

The only (very minor) downside I had was the sound mix. Like many other podcasts with two speakers, they've broken the audio into one person per ear and that's a pet peeve of mine I plan on following up with Lionel on in the near future. However, that' a small item when you think about the potential there is for some fantastic interviews with dedicated modelers in the future.

WELL worth a listen even if you're just slightly interested in the hobby of model railroading or have an interest in what makes people tick. Check it out!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Soyokaze and Shizuka Helicopter Tour

I was looking at some of my shake-cam, iPhone video :::grin::: and a helicopter ride came to mind. That classic "shot from the copter" footage you used to get back in the 70s before image stabilization and other cool tech that stopped the bouncing.
So, I just tossed this together as another little fun nugget for the world I'm crafting.

As I put thing like this together, I'm realizing that the stuff I'm interested in is really the scenes and the world, not so much the model rail "craft", as it were. I like things to look good, to be clean and not sloppy, but I'm not so concerned with the prototype or things of that nature. I like playing and creating.

As a matter of fact, I'm currently working out a few more "Soyokaze Stories" based on some of the scenes and locations I have going currently. I'm not even sure people read them other than my Mother and I, but I still like writing them. hehehehe   I take that back - I think Vera S. has read a few. :)

Keep having fun - that's my bottom line.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Re-organization of Shizuka, plotting and people


After looking over some photos and videos, I started seeing little items and areas I could include in my Shizuka section of the layout. Some city areas that would be fun little details to work out. The hardest part will be the street markings, but that will come and I'll get them as close as I can to the real thing, but won't stress about it TOO much. :)

The first thing was the overall space of the section and arrangement of the buildings.  The old arrangement was close, but not 100%. I spent a little time shifting buildings and spacing around. I like the overall as it stands now, though a few more tweak rounds are bound to happen.

The little island section above (front / center) will have walkways leading to the left, right and through the center of the buildings above it. I've seen several walkways that are structured like this - through ally areas of buildings and the like with pedestrian and bike markings.  I think this will be a nice little detail after the people and bikes are placed along with bike parking and vending machines.

Walkways detail
I like the way things are coming together. Once I get things placed, I'll work on sidewalks and walkways and street markings. 

Working out traffic flow is another interesting nugget. Things get rather complex in Japan, so I was trying to add a little of that traffic complexity into the scene. Again, a lot will depend on street markings and signs to pull everything together. 

I moved a few items out of the Shizuka section. One of the moves involved the snack vending area with parking. Now I have a whole snack central going complete with restrooms. :)

The Soyokaze Village area  also got a bit of a re-org and switch around.

...as did the Village area.

In all the confusion of road building, I had completely forgotten the front gate! So, I moved it up a bit. I think it's working overall, but we won't be having large truck deliveries going into this section. Maybe they will have to use the other gate towards the back of the layout. :)

Temple parking is working. I just need to address parking lines and railings. 


People are going to play a large part in my layout. I'll be adding more and more and will eventually be buying nothing but people and adding scenes with people in here and there as time goes on. Even the people inside buildings tend to make a huge difference. Seeing people in doing things and being busy really makes me happy. They tend to add to things even when you are not 100% aware that they are there. Background folks being busy. 

While cleaning track, I found myself on the other side of the layout. Things are working from there as well, but there are some areas I'll need to address here and there to make sure things work from both sides...even thought there is really NO room to move around back there! LOL! I better not gain weight! 

I moved a building from the area at the bottom of this photo and it really needs something in that spot. Far too bare.

I'm moving the "farm" out of the Village proper and into this little section between tracks. Odd, but interesting.

This back section of the harbor will be built up with more industry. (I made the purchases yesterday!)

Things are GO GO GOing in Soyokaze!

Again, people are going to add a lot to these scenes. I have some more, but I'll need to do more work on sidewalks and walkways and scenery before adding them in.

The subjects of a SOYOKAZE STORY - soon to be written!

Trams and buses moving things along. I'm planning on removing the bus bases (left) and re-painting the bus markings on the Smooth-it road deck that is under it currently. It'll be far better and make more sense.

Can't wait to detail sections like this!

And, I cleaned the track today because we're having guests over tomorrow and they may want to see the tram run. I've run into this before - dirty track and visitors calling out for the tram to run, then smirking as it stutters across the tracks and needs pushing to get moving.

Every time I clean the track I think, "Man, I gotta buy that track cleaner car!" I think what I really need to buy is a step-stool. That would solve a lot of reach issues. It's now on the BUY list.

I really do love this MODEMO tram. More so now that I've disconnected it and just run the one section around. I plan to get a few more "country style trams" to run. Maybe around Christmas or my birthday. I really do love the look when the tram rolls through. 

More and more and more things come to mind every time I see the shots I take. Scenes, scenery, details, plans and more more more. It's a fun hobby in many ways. I can work on the actual item in my office, pieces upstairs in the house, plan and blog, write stories about scenes or simply use various videos and the like to research items I want to add.

Danny Choo is helping A LOT. He's...an interesting dude. He's involved in many aspects of Japanese culture and has gone from a simple blogger type to this media giant. He has many videos that are cool to see, like this underground bicycle parking area (soon to be built on my layout!)...

...and this great, detail filled video of him cycling though the streets of Japan. Details abound!

Yeah....I have more than enough to keep me busy. No need to add that hole in the wall for a Shinkansen high speed train....right?  ::::shifty eyes:::::