Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Shelf Layout setback

Sadness on the shelf layout front. The Woodland Scenics water cracked on me. I'm not sure why - I applied it like I applied it on earlier rounds, but this time it cracked on me. It would have been awesome if I was working on a winter scene. It really looks like ice. So, I'm going to try to mask things with the Water Effects. 

I am rather curious as to why this happened. It worked like a charm before. If anyone has run into this before, let me know.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Shelf Layout Update: Aug 23, 2013

I have a few things to report in on for my shelf layout. Overall, I'm happy with how things are progressing.

I started out with painting the water area of the layout. I found some reference material online and matched the color of the water. The water I found was rather green and this paint up matched. I found that getting a good base paint to start with is key when using the Woodland Scenics Water Product.

I painted the insides of a few buildings while I had the paint out. I had some severe light leak going on some of the buildings, so I painted the insides with a black acrylic to cut down on it. It worked rather well. 

I placed a strip on styrene on the front and back of the shelf to block the water, but neglected to let it dry first. ((See: Bush league blunder due to trying to rush through something)) I KNEW it was going to fail, but went forward anyway. And...low and behold...a water leak. :)  Shocker. So, I waited for it to dry and re-poured another layer to offset the 50% water loss in the first pass. Worked out fine.

I made sure that my bridge structure was in the water area before pouring. This is key with this water. You're not going to get things into it once it's set. Again, I love how it turned out.

The next steps will be the Water Effects product to really flesh things out on the shore and at the bridge support. I'll also set down the clay for the small street that runs through this tiny section of Soyokaze. Initial tests have been promising. :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Homasote top

I was looking into homasote for the top of the two tables and table bridge. I'll be using KATO track and it seems like a good idea to have some sound dampening between the track and plywood deck. I hope to be able to snag a 4x8 sheet at home depot and have it cut the same way as I had the ply cut. (Mostly so I could fit it into my Yaris! :)  )  However, it looks like it may be a hard item to find and even if the Home Depot does have it in stock, they may not want to cut it.

Another option is Homabed, but it looks like it's more of a track fit item. I wanted to cover the entire surface. We'll see. 

I'm going to roll over there to check it out either way. What better way to spend a lunchtime!

Monday, August 19, 2013


Wow...I did it. I actually purchased lumber and built something that I can have train shite on! hehehehe   It was a process for sure, but it was filled with many grand moments.

The first thing was what to buy to build everything up from. I'm NOT a builder. I know nothing about wood and the like. So, it was interesting. However, the staff at HOME DEPOT was rather helpful and I ended up purchasing some stuff after the fifth visit to their store. :)

I went with a rather standard plywood with Birch as the box frame. My son Drake and I got don to sorting things out and he was a huge help. Just something about having him there and helping really made a difference. I wasn't alone. :)

It was a really slow start (which I really hated) and I thought that it was going to burn out and fizzle away, but it was just the opposite. Once I got rolling, it was fun and interesting and it really came together. Came together in a way that I wasn't sure was possible, really. Things found a flow and a work style that made the project a load of fun.

I measured twice and cut once, popping a basic box and legs together rather quickly. Something from my father MUST have shined through me because it was popped up in no time. I got the supports in and - all in all - it's a rather solid framing.

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The second table went up quickly as well and the 1x5 in the center was a happy after thought. It will have a small bridge and farm and farm land on it and will act as a sort of visual break from the city and country scenes.

I MAY slap on a third piece for the harbor area. It would live under the existing second deck so that the whole of it would be below the land level of Soyokaze. It was something that bothered me in my original, multi-module setup - having the water level be SO close to land level. So, if I drop it below deck, it will be low enough to make me happy.

So, my bench is as follows:
• 5x3 (Shizuka / city area)
• 4x3(Soyokaze /village area)
• and 1x5 (bridge and country)

The table stands at 48 inches tall and is rather stable.

I plan on staining the whole of it to make it look a little more finished. I hope that's a good idea! LOL. And once that's done I'll start tossing things on to see how everything lines up on the track and position side of things.

All in all, I'm super happy with the way everything worked out and I'm super happy that I managed to push though to get this done. I even managed to play a little FIDDLER ON THE ROOF when I was working on things with my son. My Father and I listened to this over and over when he was building my old HO on a door layout when I was 10 years old. It was a little hard to hold it together when it started (my Father passed away a few years ago now), but it was fantastic working on the benchwork with my son as it played! :)

I started out HATING the process. Really disliking it all. But, by the end I was having a blast! 

Now...on to staining and popping some KATO track down!


Friday, August 9, 2013

Trolly and bridge weathering

The Akihiro Morohoshi inspired weathering of my trolly and bridge for the shelf scene is coming along nicely! I'm pretty happy with it.

The bridge was rather straight forward. It was a bright, plastic, candy looking red and I wanted to take it WAY down. This is the first pass and I plan to hit it again after getting a few more elements into the scene and setting it in place.

I really like the look of the trolly in general. The style is rather classic. However, it was also very flat and plastic in nature and it wasn't working with the overall vision for the scene. So, I have to weather it up a bit for starters. I wanted it to look worn and used, but not post-apocalyptic. :)  Just some wear and tear on the body.

I went in with Mr. Morohoshi's style in mind and went to it, hitting the body with a few passes of a red and brown acrylic wash. I had to make sure I was hitting everything equally so it all looked like it was part of the same weathering process.

The last pass gave me the look I was going for - worn and older. It should play well once the lighting and weathering of the buildings and other elements are dropped into the scene. But, looking at it still gave me a feeling that there was something missing. Then it hit me - PEOPLE! D'uh! :)

I popped the body off and took a look around for my people. They were still packed away from the move. I found my "B Team" figures I reserve for the insides of buildings and the like and picked out some trolly riders. 

I misjudged the overall height of the trolley wall originally (...and, I was being a bit lazy and rushing things, I think...) and I thought that placing the figures standing isntead of my original plan to cut them down would actually work after looking at it. However, when I tossed the body on to check, I was completely mistaken, of course.

Post shopping, they were a far better fit. :) I didn't bother adding much more detail to the inside of the trolly based on what was actually going to be seen in the scene. I've learned from my detailing of building the insides of buildings that a lot of time can be spent adding detail that is just never seen, so I've been trying to plan ahead on that front.

Ah! MUCH better! :)

I can't wait to get the other scene elements looking like this! It's going to be a nice addition to the house. My sister-in-law wants me to work on one for her house next. Of course, I'll have to purchase a whole new set of buildings, a trolly and the like for her shelf. :::grin:::  

I'm really using this shelf as a testbed for the full layout. I plan to get into the little details and weathering - even down to the building tiles being varied a bit like the real tiles are. It's a small thing, but it adds A LOT to the scene. Again, Akihiro Morohoshi inspired. 

You can see the random orange tiles on this roof

 As always, comments are welcome.


Shelf scene progress: Aug 9th

Well, I'm making some progress on my little shelf scene. 

I finally got my fiber optic filament, so I'm able to lock down the lighting and then I'll be able to glue the foam down. That will make everything seem far more permanent. The filament is fun stuff and is working like a charm. I need to run it out to the buildings in the scene and some of the other areas were little ambient light boxes will be. It should add a lot to the scene. 

I'm pretty happy with the overall placement of the foam and how things are going to work. I have my DAS clay ready to go for the street, I have a rough plan in my head about the bridges and other styrene objects I'm going to create, so now it's just a matter of execution - taking my time and making things happen when I can. 

I do plan on taking some proper time off in the near future as well, so I'll set aside a few hours for Malco Time along with everything else we usually have going on. 

The overall look and feel I'd like is something along the lines of my hero Akihiro Morohoshi's work. I love the overall feel - realistic and "used", but not worn out. Weathered with a little flair to it. Details and life abounds in his work. I love it. 

I'll post progress shots as progress is made on the project. As always, comments are welcome!


Double purchase

Oops - I purchased two markets! heheheh  It was bound to happen at some point. Making purchases in a frenzy to get things done and I doubled up on a purchase through two separate vendors.

I got the TomyTec market and was really looking forward t making space for it as a Shizuka to Soyokaze transition area element. (City to Village). As I was cleaning and organizing yesterday, I put the market in the box and went to get more items to pack. I found myself holding the market again and stared at it blankly for a few moments before realizing what it was that happened. hehehe

So, I was bummed at first - I couldn't have two of the same market in that tight a space. I gave thought to bashing the buildings together to make one, large market.

But, then it dawned on me that the building would make a fantastic base to a larger building.  A lobby section with a larger building section on top of it. I think that will work perfectly. I'm going to add some external details to make it look a bit different as well.

It should be a fun project! I'll add it to the list of projects. heh