Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Taking a look back at my layout

While I have a TON of "real world" things to be thankful for this week, I also have some fun, train related items to be very thankful for. To finally have all my various N scale cities in one location is really an amazing thing for me. I was talking about it for ages and now it's a reality.

The start of the whole of it was a simple Kato Unitram set. I still remember when it came in and I got to set it up. I had two drawers in my bedroom and the set fit on top perfectly.

July 3, 2010 - the first time running the Unitram

I ended up going a bit crazy in the purchasing department. Have a bit of a "go for it" ok from my wife was great, but I started purchasing items without planning it out first and ended up running out of space rapidly.

I ended up splitting my set up, taking the Unitram stuff off to work and keeping my older style Soyokaze stuff at home on my dressers. This worked well - I got to have a trail presence at work which helped when the calls got boring. It was great being able to break up the work day by running trams around at work.

The Soyokaze set at home was fun as well.  We lived in San Francisco in a small, two bedroom apartment and space was tight. I used a hard packed white foam for the base and sculpted it by pressing it and compressing it down into roadway ramps and the like - all on a plywood base I could move upstairs and down to work on.

After the buildings were set in place, I was able to drill through the wood and use the Tomytec sand alone lighting pack to light the buildings. Worked like a charm. A few layers of paint and Woodland Scenics scenery materials and things were looking good.

I used the same plywood base trick for my harbor area. This allowed me to move it around easily if I wanted to be downstairs to hang with my wife while I worked.

The two sections went together and provided a rather seamless experience.

The train station area was done in the same way.


This was the fun little Unitram layout I moved to work. A ton of fun that kept evolving with each passing day. I'd move stuff around from time to time as a break from work. 
Feb 9th, 2012 - Work layout

I'd bring buildings home, detail them and people the insides, then I'd bring he completed building back to work and place them on the layout.  It worked well, but there would be times where I'd have time to work on things suddenly, but I wouldn't have the building home to work on.

Shortly after all of this was coming together, I discovered MODEL RAIL RADIO - a fantastic, interactive model railroad podcast. The show runner - Tom Barbalet - was super friendly and made the experience of being on a live recorded podcast a breeze.

Here's the link to the first show I was on. (Around the 2 hour 49 min mark)

And now....this....

I've managed to have a lot of fun in this hobby. For that, I'm eternally thankful.



  1. I just want to say, it is larger and larger! Haha

  2. Happy Thanksgiving from Jennifer and Jamie!

  3. Nice to see the progression Malco. I enjoyed our visit earlier this year. I must agree about how Tom makes everyone feel at ease - A great podcast.

    1. Hey there! Yes - great visit. I'm happy that it worked out and that things went relatively smoothly. It was fun having visitors to the layout. It doesn't happen often.
      Tom is amazing. And his recall is fantastic. I've been on calls where he can remember what we spoke about on previous shows and what needs to be caught up on and I'm always blown away. With the amount of audio edit work he does, he probably hears the conversations many times in one sitting so they are burned into his brain! hehehehe

      Happy Holidays!