Friday, January 3, 2014

January Update

Well, this was supposed to be an "End of Year" update. Shows you where I am with things.  :)

Submarine Launch Progress

I've made some more progress on the Sub Launch. I added some additional details and I sprayed it with a soft blue color that seems perfect for a seaside building. Now I need to roll back in and do another layer of details and detailed painting and weathering of objects before I toss some people into the mix. I'm really happy with the results and with the re-use of items I already owned to create something new from scratch. Not bad for a first scratch build styrene building.


I have gone back and forth with Shizuka and the Unitram/Unitrack arrangement. While awesome in many respects, it's proving to be a little more limiting now that I'm actually on the main layout. It was fantastic for my office space on my little table and provided many hours of fun (especially during long, painful meetings on the phone at work!)  But, after looking at actual areas of Japan and how things are laid out, I'm starting to rethink the Unitrack and plates.

I thought that I might do away with the building plates and go with something a little more custom for the building areas. I'd keep the tram track and try to blend the two. I'm going to do a little test of this to see just how it might work together. I'd like to have more angles and variation in the street and building arrangement and the Unitram plates just don't allow for it.

The actual street arrangements in Japan have many interesting items like this. Not so square and blocky.

The subject of people has come up a few times as well. I'll need a lot of people, but I figure that between birthdays, Christmas' and work bonus situations, I can slowly add more and more to the scene. :)  I want the Shizuka and Soyokaze areas to really look lived in and populated. I'll also need to implement Rios Tam's system for keeping the whole of it clean. I'm already running into dust issues.

I broke away from the plates for the Shizuka Station area and I find it to be much more kinetic and interesting.

Soyokaze Harbor Area

I wasn't super happy with the harbor area. The two tracks rolling in just didn't seem right from a operation standpoint. Now, I'm in no way a proto-modeler with attention to real world flows being top-of-mind. I like buildings and scenes and people and don't really set things up to match real world situations. However, I do keep half a mind on how things would work in my little reality. Streets need to go somewhere. Sidewalks and paths can't lead off cliffs or into tracks. So, when I saw the two tracks side by side with a small space between the temple hillside and the actual track, I was not happy about the look. "How would vehicles get in there to DO anything?"

I had a long strip of water running down the left side, so I thought I could pull that back to utilize the back area for more track and another place where "things could happen" instead of just boats floating about. So, I rearranged some buildings and stopped the water area a bit sooner.

Shorter water area on the left allows for more land in the back (brown in top left of layout)

Then I did some switching around of switches and the like and came up with something I like a lot more. I have two lines of track now - one servicing the back of the harbor area and the other running parallel to the temple hillside. Now I have a lot of space to play with loading and unloading, fishing scenes and some other harbor goings on. I still need to sort out execution, but I have the base down. Again, most of my efforts to date have been small shelf scenes and modules, so I need to sort out how to do things like...well...building the groundwork for a layout. I'm sure I'll be referencing Marty McGuirk's N SCALE RAILROADING book often!

The farm at the bottom if the photo was just plopped there. The sub launch building will occupy that space.


I rearranged Soyokaze when I tackled the harbor. I pulled the station from the back of the space and moved it into the scene more. I also pulled the bridge and reset the track to make an overpass situation that I really enjoy. I'll play with the heights of the main square as well, chopping the foam so that the main village area is lower than the station area for the most part. A small hill section will lead up to the track at the back section to create a little more interest and the foam where the trestle is set will also be cut away. It will be a nice little valley area.


Overall, I'm a bit happier with the arrangement. It's a bit more broken up and the areas are more defined.

I hope that you all had a wonderful new year and that you managed to get some hobby time in - even if it's just dreaming about what you are planning to tackle in 2014.