Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sankei Paper Kit Pt. 01

I finally pulled the trigger on a SANKEI paper kit I've been eying for a long while. The thing that stopped me was the fact that I've built other Sankei kits in the past and they have been rather challenging. They are cheaper than plastic kits, but they are also far less forgiving. But, I loved the look of this particular building, so I figured I'd give it a go and see if my skills have gotten better since the last time I tried one of these kits.

The kit itself was about $22. For the level of detail it has, I'd say the kit would be about $30 or $40 if it was a built-in-the-box, buy and place style kit.

The laser cut kit comes in a flat packet which is great for Japanese retailers. These kits are really easy to store. When I broke the paper and instructions out of the pack, I almost put it all back, made popcorn and watched a movie instead. It's a bit daunting. There is just one page of instructions, but there are combined steps that made my mind swim a bit. :)

I started by organizing the sheets. They are clearly labeled A, B, C, etc , so sorting them out made sense.  Once I had the sheets out like this, the instructions made more sense and it was easier to see what went where. After I built the first wall and saw how it went together, I started to understand what was happening.

Rule one with these kits - a super sharp, new blade! :)
I've heard this from a few of my pals in Asia. It's a disaster if you try using a dull blade.

Once the white glue is down and the paper is together, I used a little weight to keep the walls straight. The glue needs to be put on sparingly. Even a little too much can make the paper a bit too wet and cause more curls. It didn't take much weight to keep it down.

The idea behind the layers is to create a little depth to the models so it doesn't look too flat. There are also notches and tab and slot areas that keep the walls and floors together. Rather cool designs. The depth created with this sort of layering really helps sell it as a real wall and structure.

Of course, I wasn't going to be happy with an empty building. I had to add a little inside to sell it as more than a giant, empty building.  It doesn't take much to sell it as a functioning space.

Parts of the cards made great internal details. 

 The basic idea behind the building really made sense. The hardest part was getting the glue on in the right amount, then making sure things were lined up properly BEFORE putting things together. I did several dry run pairings to make sure the slots were lined up and set right before adding glue. This was a lifesaver several times. With the white glue and the tooth of the card stock, once these things go together they lock in quickly. You can see the tab style at the top layer of the building. Little details like the bricks on the outside of the building really make things pop. I just wish I got them set a bit straighter!!!! Like I said, once they are together, they lock in quickly. I'm used to being able to slide things a bit more before they set.

This is the level of detail we're talking about. There was a brown wall topped with a green wall allowing some of the brown to show for depth. Then, each small external wall detail was a separate element to be glued on. Even with trying to keep the glue level down, I still had some drips I had to address before they dried.

Phase one - COMPLETE!   I still have more details to add like a small rooftop structure, railings and the like. I needed to stop at one point. Total build time was 2.5 hours or so to this point. A lot of fun, but I was telling my wife that I'm not sure I've cursed this much building something in a long, long while. Glad the kids were not around! LOL! Some of the lining up of walls and the like were....a real challenge. 

Would I buy another Sankei paper kit? Yes! I love the details and the fact that there is so much attention needed to build the kit. If you keep your hands clean, you get a nice clean building at the end. These kits require a bit of zen deep breathing while you're working them. 

I'm not really in the market for more buildings at the moment. I need to sort out more space in Shizuka to make sure I have a good, crowded look without it being TOO walled in. However Sankei have many cool little detail parts they sell as well which really help to sell the overall look of the layout.  This kit has a lot of details included as well like vending machines and the like. Nice that they give this away with the main kit - it's a nice feature.

Looking forward to finishing.

All these little detail parts are included in the kit!
HOBBY SEARCH carries a wide variety of Sankei products in HO, N and even Z.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Those who can't do, blog

Those who can't do, blog. :)

And, they barely do that. I started this post a few weeks ago and uploaded images, then more things came up and I dropped it yet again. I managed to get 20 minutes of painting in last night and it was grand. LOL  It's been a crazy couple of weeks with work and home items jumping me at every turn. So, I sit and glance at my layout on meetings and think about what my next steps will be when time frees up a bit. (Might even be MONDAY! WHOOT! PTO!)

Things were moving rather well there for a while. Yes, it's not a race, but it was nice to see some of the larger items come together. Some of the little scenes and things are nice to glance over.

Once more people are introduced, I'll be really happy. However, I want to do several more layers before even thinking about the people on 70% of my layout.  I'm looking at sidewalk production and more Shizuka shifting around to accommodate some ideas I have brewing.

Soyokaze Hill (below) and the area around it will be a lot of fun to detail out. I want to add a lot of scenery details and people strolling around doing various tasks. 

Small details like this rooftop will be hidden throughout the layout.

Soyokaze Harbor will be fun to detail as well. I want to paint the track and have lots of action with vehicles and people all over the scene. Street details will be another interesting challenge layout wide - making sure I have the right signs in place for the right areas.

More more more! I love these scenes! :)

My daughter is a sweetheart. She loves the train because I love the train. I don't push it on her at all, but she'll come and play with the layout I have for her under my layout and will move trains and cars and buildings around like some giant. It's cute. I don't know if she'll want to help in the same way some of the other MODEL RAIL RADIO kids are helping their parents, but the fact that she'll let me hold her and point out what I'm doing on the layout - rapt attention and real listening going on - is a huge thing for me. No one else in my family can do that for me for very long without their eyes going glassy and rolling up into their skulls! hehehehe  :::sigh::::

I'm spending some time thinking through the Soyokaze Town area. It's the thing I'm least happy with at the moment. I think - as I've said before - that I need to look at more reference material to sort out the layout of the town. I like the station area (below). I think that's working for the most part save the addition of more details and people.

The work I put in on the lower part of Soyokaze Hill makes me happy. :)

Devil's in the details. TomyTec and Tomix make the detailing a bit easier! :)

I've finally managed to chill out on my bus obsession. At least for now. :)  I need more standard autos and specially, Japanese items like three wheelers now. I have a little tax money that I've gotten for something special, but I'm not sure if I'll get more people and autos for later or try to make my subway section a reality. I'm leaning towards the subway.....


The subway is a bit of a head scratcher.  I want to have it run under the current layout through some sort of suspended architecture that I don't need to destroy my current progress to install. I thought about just cutting another piece of plywood (like I used for the deck) and just mounting it under the current setup using some sort of hardware bolted under the current framing. But, then I thought that having 2x4-like runners under it would be a bit less clunky.

QUESTION for the readers:  Is there something I'm overlooking here that already exists that I can make use of? Or, an example of this sort of second deck I can pull from? Comments more than welcome! I'm not a builder, I'm a lover...of structures and scenes. :)   There are no motors or wires under the layout, so I have space to play around under there.

Well...that's my time for today! Back to the grinder! :)

Cheers, All!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Satoshi Araki

Someone on the MODEL RAIL RADIO group posted a link showing the work of Satoshi Araki and it totally blew me away. The miniature work is so fine and so detailed that it makes my mind swim knowing how many hours are involved in each detail.

I love the size and scope of many of these little modules, too. Many are small footprint, freestanding box frames that would fit on a shelf of table with ease. Really amazing stuff.

There are more photos of his artwork here:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

China Steam 2012

A fun little Narrow Gauge line in China. Not sure why, but I really like it. :)
I can see doing a little side layout with this sort of setup in the future. Such potential for scenery and detail!

"Narrow gauge railways in Central China (Chongqing and Sichuan provinces. To the best of my knowledge the Jianghe line is now closed. Part 2 is here:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Firewood Osaka Station Building

Rios Tam passed this cool link along to me - the Firewood Osaka Station Station Building. It's basically a complex, GREENMAX kitbash with some great details and elements. It has a nice feel to it - large and busy. While it may not be a "proto-style" building, it shows a lot of work and creativity.

From the site:
It was produced by inspired by the works of the master's of GM kit.
The large station, big station building! ...
GM kit on the theme, we used the one overpass eight medium-sized station ×, and six Kuruma-jo Station ×.

If you use CHROME, you can use the translation feature to read more.


August 27th ramblings

Progress has slowed in Shizuka and Soyokaze of late. Work and family commitments have taken over a bit of the hobby time.Well...a sizable amount, really. :::grin::: However, I slink along here and there - adding bits and bobs to scenes.

As I play around with this, it's becoming very clear that people will really start making this layout pop more. The areas that feature people and interactions are far more interesting and alive. I'm working out a plan of action when it comes to the people side that will most likely involve using TOMYTEC and KATO (among other brands) for "hero" people featured and going with a self painted group for the mid and background people. This worked really well for my buildings when I used the self painted people for the inside and more name brand people for the folks up front and center in my scenes.

This truck needs a driver! LOL Just noticed.

You can see the difference in a scene that looks like it should have people, but that doesn't have them placed as of yet. Same with sidewalks - I really need to look into sidewalk options and get some of them in now that I have the City headed in the right direction.

There are going to be a TON of people walking this bridge in the future.

The scenes are coming together with a deepth that is really working in many places.

I still get blown away looking at everything together. I need to listen to the MODEL RAIL RADIO episode I first appeared on the hear about everything I wanted to start doing - I hit many of the marks I set for myself back in 2011! I'm pretty proud of that. It's good to keep in mind when I start getting down about not having hobby time! HAHA


Direct MP3 link

~ • ~ ~ • ~ ~ • ~ ~ • ~ ~ • ~ ~ • ~

In other news...

I made a stop at BERKELEY ACE HARDWARE today and saw these cool little kits. 1/144 tanks and rail equipment items. Now, I'm not really into German or Nazi war machines :::grin::: but, I do like sci fi and heavy equipment items like this. I was thinking that if the German markings were left off and a more WARHAMMER-like paint scheme were done, these might be fun little photo op items to slap on the tracks and take photos of. DRAGON does a really nice job with details. Maybe on day.

~ • ~ ~ • ~ ~ • ~ ~ • ~ ~ • ~ ~ • ~

I was also thinking about Christmas time and the train tradition. N scale around the tree just isn't grand when you have a 4 year old and 1.5 year old in the house. However, something in a larger gauge might work out nicely. Add a little snow, a Christmas tree or three and a house with people singing out front and you have yourself a nice little roundy-round the tree item. ((Especially if you add another $60 of track into the mix.))   :)    Now, to get a few hundred acquired before December.....

Oh...and I'm TOTALLY serious about that. :)    I think it would be a fun little item to break out and run around during the holidays. We could even have a "Haunted Railway" during Halloween with a little planning and bashing.

Something along these lines.....

We'll see what the future holds. It might be a CHRISTMAS 2015 item. Most likely a better fit seeing the kids will be closer to 5 and 3 by then.

~ • ~ ~ • ~ ~ • ~ ~ • ~ ~ • ~ ~ • ~

I might be putting together a little shelf scene for my sister-in-law similar to my Soyokaze River shelf I put together. I need to talk to her about details and what she'd like to see. It would be a blast to be able to build shelves for folks, get paid for the materials, take photos when they were done and just pass them along. I would get the fun of building, I wouldn't have to pay and I wouldn't run out of shelf or wall space! :)

All in all, there's one thing for sure. I love model railroading. :)