Friday, January 23, 2015

Greenmax No.2134 Station (Railroad) Office (1/150 N scale)

I did a whole post here and Blogger screwed it up and lost everything.
I'm sick and now angry at Blogger, so I'm just posting photos now. Man...that really sucks. :(

Anyway....this was me building a helipad out of this Greenmax building. :::sigh:::   So upsetting. Well, less reading for you. :)

The Mystery Man

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Subway Planning Sketch and reference shots

Just a view of how I like to plan projects.

I love working from reference photos, then taking elements of said photos and doing a sort of visual-kit-bashing of the elements I like. Sketching and note taking is always part of the planning - usually on paper and not on the computer. I think this stems from my creative roots and agency creative side - it's always the way I plan things work wise.

Reference photos. 

These shots really get the creative juices flowing. I just need to make sure I'm not blending too many styles and elements or else I can get walled into the "analysis paralysis" trap of being in planning mode forever!

After trying the duct curved roof, I may do a small curved area roof in one part and straight, flat roofing everywhere else.

Stairs, and escalator and elevator - a must. I'm also thinking about an underground restaurant and club - my wife's presence on the layout may get another location. Her name is Shana and I have a place on the layout for her called "Shananigans" - a restaurant and bar. :)

I don't want to get too much going on, but I feel a bit of freedom thinking about the fact that I can just work the front of the subway area and leave the back section rather plain due to the planned view blocks I'm going to have. Focus the details and various elements up front where people are actually going to see them. Pretty huge - about 65% of the subway section will not be seen.

It should be a fun little area!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Panama Canal Mules

I was looking at some small railway ideas for a buddy of mine and I ran across the image above in image search. I thought it would make a fun switching layout idea - moving items from trains coming in to boats in the classic rail marine style, but with a little twist.

When I looked this image up, I found out that it was a track for a mule from the Panama Canal. They use them on the locks to take ships through. Looking at the whole of it, I'm not sure it would make sense as a layout, but the turntable was fun and it's interesting to see the little locos in action.

Just a little find. More fun rail action. :)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Shizuka Subway Update

After yesterday's MODEL RAIL RADIO SHOW 100 Super Meetup, I had to get some hobby time in today. Last night I had to crash after a day of model rail mania, so today I got up good and early to get some subway time in. I got the track together, but also found out that working with the aluminum duct material is not going to be as easy as I thought it was going to be.

NRAIL Subwau Update from Malcolm Johnson on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sankei MP03-48 Secondhand Bookstore 1/150 N scale

I'm continuing with the Santa-san Sankei gift kits. This time it's the Secondhand Bookstore kit.

For this round, I wanted to try out the Elmers Glue Stick that Ted DiIorio mentioned on the Facebook group. It seemed odd - a simple glue stick, but he swore by it and said that he had success with it, so I wanted to give it a go.

I remembered my glue weight this time. Key for putting these paper kits together. :)

I went with the standard Elmers white glue and toothpick and the results were the same - ok, but the walls had to be weighted and I had to wait until they dried a bit before moving on.

Next came the glue stick. I rubbed some on both items I wanted to glue and stuck them together and the results were grand. It was a firm fit with little spill over and a bond that was rather solid, but one with a little wiggle room to re-position if need be. I even made a mistake and I was able to remove the piece without damaging the wall it was mounted on. I was really happy about the glue stick. Sadly, I've already placed my order for another type of glue - Deluxe Materials - Roket Card Glue, but it's still a good thing. I'm looking forward to trying it out as well.

As for the kit, it's grand like all the other Sankei kits I've put together. The cuts are clean, instructions are pretty easy to follow and the process is definitely fun. There's something that is a lot of fun about building these kits. It's not a "box of sticks" kit, but it's also not something like a snap-tight kit either. Just challenging enough to make it interesting. 

I tossed in a small "scene" inside the shop just so it looks like something is going on inside.

The process is usually the same for all these kits. Build the walls, then stick the walls together. Here you can see the walls ready for assembly. And here is where I thought about using another type of glue - Duco Cement. I've used this as my go-to cement for a while now and it's grand. ((Just don't use it on pink foam! :) )) So, I thought I'd try using it for the walls and floors this round. It wasn't great for putting wall to wall in the wall building, but it worked really well for putting all the final parts together.

The big issue - as usual with these Sankei kits - was getting things to line up properly. In this case, it was the floors fitting into the slats in the walls. Without glue, it was an easy fit to find, but with glue on, the small slat was difficult to line up. I tried to squeeze a bit harder and...squish! The wall caved! LOL

You can see the small bend where the wall bent. I was able to fix it, however.
The Duco worked well overall. The fit was good and the bond was quick. Nothing slipped or bent or bulged. It was one of my most successful wall builds, really.

I used another one of Santa-san's Sankei gifts for the back. A small AC unit that was a lovely little addition.

This was the cleanest build for me so far. I really think it was the "right glue for the right task" that came into play. Walls went together well without bowing, parts went on without having to glob on glue and the Duco option had everything setting quickly. I was really happy with this effort.

In place, it works well with the other buildings around it.

I was looking over the sheet that came with the kit and remembered that I had left the last bit of detail in my office when I was building it. On night two, I took the final Sankei panel and the building back upstairs and finished the building off with some signage.

Ah...much better. :)

Now that I'm spending a little more time with these kits and a little more time during the building of them, they are more enjoyable. Using the right tools is helping as well. No more sloppy glue splattered buildings for me! 

This weekend I'm going to try another kit - this one has much more detail and little flourishes. We'll see how it goes.

As always, comments and questions are welcome!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Jan 2015 Video - Progress Report

A little video progress report for the layout. There are not a whole lot of new items here, but I take the time to let the camera cruise over the layout and I go over some of the items planned for it.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sankei Diorama Series Storehouse of Good Old 1/150

Santa-san hooked me up with a LOT of paper kits on his last trip to Japan, so I thought I'd dive in and start on while listening to the off show Model Rail Radio UK chat last Saturday, Jan 10th, 2015.  I stuck with my old fall back for this kits - Elmer's Glue.

I went with the most simple of the building kits I had to start with.

These Sankei kits are fabulous. The instructions are clear and the kits are super clean. I dove in and started in on the main building.It's a rather simple tab system that they have with clearly marked A, B, C etc sort of piece markings. Again, easy to follow.

My biggest issue is still with the lack of speed for these. You need to wait for the glue to set before moving on or you get wonky walls. The tabs work well for keeping things in place, but the set time is slow with Elmer's Glue, so you need to slow it way down.

The kit comes with several little additional detail parts as well which makes it a value. Always nice to have these sorts of details to use around the layout space.

It was rather handy using the tweezers to keep this together while drying! :)
The roof tiles are a lighter card stock.

All in all, another solid and good looking model.


All in all, this was another great kit. This one is super simple and clean. I think it will work nicely in the transition section, though it might make more sense to use it over in the farm area as farm storage. I'll toss in some "dirt" under it and some green around to work it into the scene. I'm also going to do some light weathering. I'm going to practice on card scraps I have before applying weathering onto the building itself.

But, I still had things that were bugging me about it. I was on the MRR call in through Skype and I started talking with the Gents on the call about the kits, then it dawned on me. The two things I didn't like about these card kits were:
• When you put the parts together, they don't set right away. This can cause separation between parts that doesn't look right in the final product - especially at wall to wall areas and seams. 
• Waiting for things to set is just....slow. 

When I mentioned this on the chat, the Gents suggested a glue called Roket Card Glue. By the looks of it, this will solve several issues I'm having. I love the Testors glue that basically melts the plastic to make one solid piece. This Roket Card Glue seems like it acts in a similar manor - sticking the sections together in a solid and quick way. I'll just have to make sure I take my time and make sure parts fit correctly BEFORE applying glue! :)

I ordered a few tubes. We'll see how it goes. 

Someone posted to the MRR Facebook page that they have had some luck with simple, Elmer's Glue Stick. I'm going to give that a try while waiting for the Roket Card Glue to arrive. I'll post my findings for those playing at home. ;)

I do like these paper kits. They have a lot of nice detail and the price point is rather good. Once I get the glue side down, things should move along really well. I can't wait! :)