Friday, July 14, 2017

July 14th Update: "One small step..."

I've been making a little progress, but work has been madness of late.

I managed to get some elevations dialed in. I need to plan next steps.


Saturday, July 8, 2017

N•RAIL Layout - Rev 03 Overview

I had a request for seeing what the whole layout plan was. Since I didn't actually design it on the computer, I just ended up freehand drawing up the overall layout so people could have an idea of what it looks like.

The main layout setup is very similar to my old layout.
Click for larger view
The bottom corner of the layout space (where the station is) will be another mountain / hill area. The elevated areas will be the cool, hillside track I wanted to get in.

Images of the layout space

STATION - middle right side of layout drawing
STATION - middle right side of layout drawing

 Lots of fun switching!
FACTORY - top of photo

The tram track loop will be street running. I'll have to research how to make that happen. :)
The tram loop back through Soyokaze

The elevated track area

Track leading to bridge area

BRIDGE - Left side of layout drawing

SOYOKAZE HARBOR - top area of photo

So, after playing around with this setup some more, I'm really thinking I'm set on the layout overall.  I have many of the things I've watched on my new rev. The play-ability of the layout makes this layout so much more fun than what I had. I have some challenges coming up, but they will be a lot of fun to work through.

I plan to pin and tack all my raised areas, get he track steady and working properly, then I'm going to play with it a while to make sure I'm still digging the setup before doing anything else. That way I can change things if needed. 

Comments welcome! Let me know if I may have missed an opportunity or if I've created something that might be an issue in the future!  


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Slowing down. Breathing. Taking my time.

 I've been making a real effort to slow....slow...SLOW down in this remodel process. There are many times where I get excited and want to keep pushing forward on completing something, but then I take a step back and think, "Wait - you're not doing that. That's not the plan. You're taking your time and making sure things are working like you want them to BEFORE moving forward." 

It's been working.

Yesterday, I was working and when lunch came around I thought, "I'm going to run to Berkeley Ace Hardware and snag that Woodland Scenics grade kit!" Then I thought a moment and reminded myself of the plan and forced myself not to go. Later that day after work, I played around with some options and found out that I actually changed the plan to something I liked more which opened up a whole other set of things I got to check off my WANTS list! I was really happy about that.

So....I'm moving slowly and thinking things through as I go. Whew.

My progress thus far.....


The new SHIZUKA area will allow for the same number of buildings, I believe. It's also at an angle, so it will not have the same blocky fel as the other setup had. 

I went with a raised track idea instead of trying to bring the track down again and I'm loving the idea. It gets me my raised track, auto tunnels, and another hillside - and on my WANTS list. So basically, the track heads up higher in the harbor area, then stays up high around the back of the layout, then comes back down into the yard and station areas.

A new hillside area will be in the bare plywood area

New tunnel areas for roadways will be a ton of fun...and another WANT taken care of.  The road will go under the tracks, then up into the new hillside area.

A new, functional yard area. I have spots for three yard area tasks - the shipping area, Factory area, and another area TBD where another industry can go. And best yet, the freight and high speed trains will share the same track, so I'll be able to run my freight around finally!

Shipping spur - the black area in the photo below - will be like it was last time for the most part. I may tweak this a bit more to get a loading ramp in the space as well. I'll play with it.

Again, a big shout out to Tom Barbalet from the MODEL RAIL RADIO PODCAST. He chatted to me about what I might gain from changing up my layout and it was a huge help in making the decision. I'm VERY happy with what I've gained from starting over here. It's made me really happy.

It's fantastic having a community of model railroaders to talk to about these sorts of things. There were many people on the Model Rail Radio and N Scale Model Trains Facebook groups that gave great input after I made the choice.

Monday, June 26, 2017

PROGRESS! REV03:v01 is proving to be an improvement

I really enjoyed many elements of the old layout. It hit many of the scenic marks I was talking about years ago on Model Rail Radio when I still had pieces spread between home and my office 45 minutes away. When we moved and I was able to put everything in one spot - something I had talked about for years with dreamy eyes, I moved quickly and started getting everything into place. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to get things moving. 

At the time, I wasn't really into the train side of things. I wanted them to roll through and past my scenery, but they were definitely far down on my list of wants. That changed after I was able to run trains around. I suddenly wanted a bit more out of my layout on the train side. I thought through bandaid fixes, but I had already gone through a series of these sorts of quick fixes and thought about scrapping the works and just starting over. 

I talked this through with Tom Barbalet on a recent episode of MODEL RAIL RADIO. (roughly the 31 minute mark if interested, though the whole show is fantastic!) Tearing up my layout seemed like madness and folly. heh He really thought that I could manage the process and suggested that it might be a good way to go based on my long term wants.   

Now that I've taken a minute to rough in a new version after tearing things apart and boxing things up and I see how much better the overall flow is, I'm VERY happy with what's going on and I'm excited to have something that hits both my love of scenery and scenes and my new found love of trains and a small amount of operations.

OVERVIEW VIDEO (cut off at the end, sadly)

My old yard area was fine and worked well enough. But, there were still things I wanted that I wasn't getting - mainly being able to run freight around in a large loop like I was doing with my high speed rail. 

I kept the basic space for the yard the same, but I'm using the same track for both high speed and freight, which now allows me to park trains in spots and run others around on the same track. Lovely. 

The yard now:

The factory is in the same spot....

And, post tweak to get the freight area switched back into the main loop again.

I have a little shipping spur - again, in the same spot as it was previously. And, I've rigged power so I can "park" trains in both areas, allowing for some small switching puzzle fun as desired.

My old harbor area was fine for the most part - probably the most complete of the whole layout. But, I wanted a little more height between the dock and the water. It seemed rather...low. I also wanted to address the full freight loop.

Now I'll be able to run freight out to SOYOKAZE HARBOR (pink area below) on the outside line and run the other trains along the inside. Freight being loaded in the harbor can hang out while other trains pass with ease. The temple area that was between the harbor and Soyokaze village will stay in the same spot, but may be moved up a bit higher so I can increase the overall size of some of the hills and mountains on the layout as well.

The bridge tracks area in the image above will also be raised up higher, ticking off another WANT - raised tracks in certain areas of the layout, Something like this...

I'm currently looking at RE-RE-RE-RE-planning Shizuka yet again and working out how the tram will run. It's shaping up. I'm planning on having it loop through the older section of Soyokaze, then back to Shizuka and through the KATO Uniplates. I may even attempt some street running as it passes through the Old Town. :::: ticks off yet another want ::::: 

The big thing now will be finding locations for the buildings I currently have in my possession. :::grin::  This will actually be a good thing, I believe.  I'm going to be able to fill in some of the spots that were used for tracks previously and make more sense of the surrounding area from a city planning and transportation perspective.

What I'm not thrilled about doing to removing the scenery in certain areas. I've already drawn first blood doing so recently! heheheh   It turns out scrapers are sharp on the edges....go figure....   The glue I was using on some of the elements REALLY did the trick - that stuff is stuck and wasn't going ANYWHERE without a fight!
Overall, I'm happy with the progress. I'll actually have some evenings free in the next few weeks to do some major work, so I'm making an effort to get some more planned out between now and then.

Comments welcome!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Working on REV 03 of my layout! it REV 06? Hmmm.....

 REV 03 is starting to move forward! I think I might have an idea that will work well for both my HIGH SPEED and FREIGHT trains! Very exciting. Now....I just need to make sure the power works out. hhhehe

As the video below says, The idea is that the freight will roll through to the harbor area on the far left and the high speed will cut in on the inside.

The video

I like the idea of extending this area a bit and putting the big station in here. It can be "parked" at the station with the freight going out and around it. Very exciting. I hope it works!!!  heheheh 

Comments welcome!!!!!!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Farwell to an era

Time to call it. It's the end of an era.

I poured a glass of whiskey, topped it off after a few sips, then.....dove in. It has begun.