Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Building Kitbash Overview

I had started a building kitbash a while back and had liked the progress at first, but then it started going off the rails and I figured that I'd just end up ditching the project and starting in on another later or just doing some checkbook modeling to complete Shizuka's skyline. 

However, my friend Rios Tam said that he liked the design and suggested that I keep going with it. I sat with it a while, but was inspired to complete the project. 

The main issue I was having with the building was the disjointed nature of the building. The design was ok, but there were too many things going on with it. The base was a Pringles chip can, there was a cap placed on from another container, then I purchased some colored plastic to make windows with. I used some Woodland Scenics puffy tape that I used with their Smooth-It material to make some interesting rings around it. It was...ok. Not great. 

So, I wanted to unify the whole of it. I masked off the windows and re-sprayed the whole of the building and I liked it MUCH better. It didn't look so....patchwork.

I sat with the building again and thought about the details and styles I could apply. After looking through some of my reference photos, I started in again.

The building needed an entry, some flash, and some other items to break things up and make it a little more "real world". I popped a base into play, got some stairs in there and some signage and it was looking much better.

I was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel at this point. Sadly, some of these closeups revealed a lot of issues with the the build out - things that I needed to deal with and things that I need to avoid taking photos of. hehehe  What it needed now was color.

Drag - I used Gorilla Glue for the first time on the overhang and didn't know it puffed up while drying.

I detailed out a few other areas like the rooftop and the base to get a little more of that Real World feel to the project. I think it made a huge difference for me.  A great use of spare parts and pieces I kept instead of tossing out.

So, I'm pleased with the build out overall.

I've learned a lot overall. That alone makes this a major success for me. Pushing through instead of quitting was grand as well. It's really the changing point for this project. I'm looking forward to future projects of this nature to see if I can up my game yet again. This building turned out FAR better than my other efforts.

I believe I spent about 6 hours on this in total over a span of about three or four months off and on. 


Monday, November 16, 2015

Name that Town

 Well, the time has come to name the new section. Referring to it as "The New Section" all the time is starting to be a bit of a bore. It needs a name and now that things are taking a bit of shape, I think it's a bit easier to do it.

My first thought was to seek out a name that focused on the industrial nature of the space now. However, the space didn't ALWAYS have a factory plopped into the middle of it, so that didn't make sense.

The key words I thought of for the space were:
valley • tree • trees • circle

I started feeding them into Google Translate to see what came up. Some of the first passes had promise.

tree valley - Ki no tani
sunlight - Nikkō
sunlight valley - Nikkō no tani

However, I then realized that I wasn't using capitals to make it a proper name. Once I changed that, some other options came into play.

Tree Valley - Tsurībarē
Sunlight Valley - Nikkō barē
Valley Circle - Barēsākuru
Tree Ring - Tsurīringu

The circle and ring aspects came from the circular nature of the space.

So, after I came up with some basic ideas, I shot them past some friends who actually speak Japanese. This opened up a rather interesting dialog about the nature of Japanese words and structure.

Part of the conversation:

S: Okay, but ringed by trees and tree-ring are different which of the two do you want to convey

Malco:  Ringed by trees- more literal
The image I sent will be filled with trees when I'm done

M: Ah, I see This looks like "kinomura" tree village "Kinohara" tree and feild "Ennomori" or "morinoen" circle in woods "Kokage" small shade "Konohara" "kohara " small field "Koennohara" small circle field Etc....

It sent me for a bit of a loop and I had to make the choice to focus on a more "Americanized" view of the situation.

I'm not Japanese. I don't speak Japanese. I don't even READ Japanese. And, while I hope to pursue it one day, I'm not going to be 100% authentic with any of the layout section I have, so getting "close enough" was going to work for me.

I really appreciate the efforts made by my friends Michal and Steven - things got really interesting for sure! In the end, there could only be one winner. So, the name of the new section will be.....

Kiwamura - Tree Ring Village


Factory and...stuff


I managed to pour a lot of Woodland Scenics' Smooth-It product. A lot. The whole factory section was rough to manage, but I'm happy with the way it came out overall. Someone asked me why I was pouring Smooth-it over the already flat surface of the pink foam - saying that it was just adding weight to the whole of things. 

I basically have a love for the product and like the texture better than the pink foam. There's a "street" quality to it that I don't see in the foam. :::shrug:::  I dunno. I just like it. :)

I poured in other areas as well to get a more fluid feel to the street areas and some other areas in the section.


Painted the whole of it up for round one of grey. I'll be going back in and detailing areas as well once things get a little more locked down. 
While things continue to shape up in the new section, they are tending to get a bit more messy before shaping up. Again, I got a little over eager with things being packed into the space, so instead of a lot of track work and operations potential, I have a mix of SUPER light operations with a lot of scenic elements I wanted to incorporate. Fun for sure, but I'm stopping the forward progress for a moment while I make sure the track arrangement will work for me for the longer term. 

I'm happy with the factory, though there are spaces where things could be a little tighter. So, I ordered a few more factory nuggets to fill the space a bit and make it look a little more busy.

The factory itself and it's operations are fantasy. There's even an element of science fiction that will come into play eventually when I get into making my kaiju monster element. I like a little realism with this project, but I'm not interested enough to research and execute a more real world option for the factory. I don't want this to turn into a job in and of itself! :)

I think these tank additions will fill the space nicely. Once I get some arrangement in place that I like, I'll lock things down and start all the pipe work. The factory kit from Tomytec comes with TONS and TONS of pipe, so I'll have a bunch of it filling spaces and moving off and up the hill as well, masked at key parts to help with making the connections look realistic.

I also snagged a few of Tomytec's "Factory People", so that will add a lot of life to the factory area as well.

And in the FILLING SPACE department, an OOPS. I was getting a bit greedy with buildings and things and ordered a Kato longhouse kit that I've been eyeing for a long while. While I love it, I think it's taking up a bit more space than I planned on. It's going to be a fun addition,'s a lot of space. :)

The kit is a fun build and I'm still compiling my notes on paper kits vs. plastic kits. While I love the paper kits and the skill building they provide, I have to say that it is nice not having to worry about smashing parts as much! These pieces are sturdy and hold up when pressure is applied. There is much more room for error as well which is a plus for me right now. I'm smashing hobby time in here and there where I can, so snails pace paper kit builds are just not where my head is at right now. 

The Kato kit is simple, but still has some elements of difficulty associated with it. Mainly, keeping the walls and roof together when putting it all together. I painted up parts of the inside as well, even though you only see them from certain low angles.

Some blue and purple overall folks really helped to complete the scene. :)

A little touch of red brick to break things up a bit.

In place, it's working out.

I've also added a little shipping facility to the mix. I wanted to give the trains here something else to do as well. Why not have a few small shipments going out from town as well?

And lastly, I started playing around with some of the other detail items in the town. Parking for the commute first comers is directly in front with overflow parking out under the tracks. (Not pictured) Realistically, it doesn't look like many of these stations have a ton of parking in some cases, but I always like to think it through a bit.

I'm playing around with builds spacing and street flow now. I'm going to be keeping things a bit tighter in this space, so I may end up moving things over from Shizuka to fill in once my final city buildings come in in December.

I ordered a few high rise buildings that will add to the Shizuka-scape, so when those arrive, I might be pushing some of the smaller buildings out and over to the new section. It should work well. 

I really enjoy a lot of these smaller thinking sessions - planning out the flow of the city and how it's working. I'm enjoying the new section a lot. Once it's a bit more established, I'll most likely jump back over to the other sections so they don't get neglected.

But first....naming the new section! :)


Sunday, November 15, 2015

October Progress

Again....a month after I started the post...I return to finish it. :)

I'm making some major moves on the layout extension. I'm trying to get things to the point where I can start detailing and get things looking like something more than foam and plaster.

The first step was getting the tunnel worked out. I started with plastering over the cardboard structure I created for the section. Then I painted it over with a base coat of brown.

I then started to apply foliage. I was going to hand craft trees, but I went with the lichen route instead.

I was pretty happy with the result. I think it needs another pass, but it's working so far and giving me the look I wanted.

I went in and gave a base brown coat to areas around the tracks.

I'm not sure about the water areas yet. Once spot will be near the front of the layout while the other is in the back by the bridge section. That section will be the hardest one to get to. I don't have my access spot like I had on the other part of the layout, so I'll be forced to do some creative leaning or producing a stand along modular section I can drop into the space - a far easier option!

I've since made progress on other aspects of the layout - now all disjointed and out of chronological order since I've been bouncing around.

No matter. It just means I've been spending time with the kids and actually DOING hobby stuff rather than just writing about it, right? heheheh

Some other shots from around the layout.

More soon. Very soon.