Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Soyokaze Harbor in place

A shot of the harbor module in place.

Soyokaze Harbor overlook, stairs and ramp

I thought it might be a nice touch to add in a little overlook into the Soyokaze Harbor scene. Maybe something that is officially not for use, but that everyone uses anyway. There are always those places here in the States, so I'm making the assumption that human nature drives people to go to places they are not supposed to go to in Japan as well. :)

I started by doing a simple measurement of the space I needed to cover. Then I did some really basic designing of the look of the bridge itself.

I kept the style simple, unlike the other bridge I built recently. It's a simple platform with raised side walls. I used the I-beam styrene parts I had left over from my other bridge project.

I painted and weathered the overlook a bit, keeping it a simple brown. I might have some moss or moss-like painting on the bridge, too. I just need to find some reference material in the massive list of images I've gathered about Japan, it's coasts and it's structures. I think this will be a fun little addition once the details get placed. I plan to have a little kissing couple on the overlook. Ah, the romance! :)

I built stairs and a ramp for the main building as well. I had to drop the dock area down to make it work with the water level, so I needed to build stairs and a ramp so people could access the area. I think I may re-do the stairs - making them larger so they are easier to access.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Soyokaze Harbor: Base Painting

I set down a base layer of brown on the Soyokaze Harbor project. It will be interesting to see how the foam core holds up! :)


Danny Choo has another great series up on his website and it's perfect for Soyokaze reference images! Danny Choo does a lot of traveling through Japan and takes many fantastic photos along the way. His PLACES TO VISIT IN JAPAN page has a photo essay on KAWAGOE, JAPAN and it has the exact look and feel that I want for Soyokaze.

KAWAGOE - http://www.dannychoo.com/post/en/1498/Kawagoe.html

It looks like I may need to invest in many more people, however. The place looks packed! :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Soyokaze Harbor: Water Painting 02

Woodland Scenics Water Effects being added

I took a pass at the Woodland Scenics Water Effects for the harbor module and the same thing happened that happened with the pond. The water effects went on well and looked great wet and white, but when it dried clear, it was under-wealming.  The cool, white look that was there was gone and it lost it's cool factor.

I spoke to my wife about the issue and she asked if I could mix white into the Water Effects to get the look that I wanted. Brilliant idea and it worked like a charm, however it was a bit too white and it was rather striking against the green that I had set up for the water color. 

Mint green foam mix
In an effort to calm it down, I tried a few things. I re-applied the Water Effects to see if that would tame the white, but it had no effect. I was thinking through the issue and it really was just a matter of taming the stark white that was there, so I mixed up a mint green looking batch of paint, mixed that into the Water Effects, then went over the top of the white layer with this new, moss green Water Effects mixture. It really toned down the white and gave the "foam" a nice, sea spray look that I really like. 

Engines churning as the crews speak together - boat to boat

This was a great process lesson for several reasons. If I had done some tests first like I did with the pond project, I would have seen that the white was "too white" and could have avoided having to work out the taming of it. If I had taken more time in general, the results would have been better, I think. The rush comes from the time (or lack there of) that I have for the hobby. I see a chance and run in to take hold of it before it's gone. As it stands, I'll try to get a little more balance between seeing a chance and moving too fast.

So, it looks like the Woodland Scenics Water Effects is a good product when tweaked a bit. I'm growing to like it more and more.

Now...to paint the base layer of ground on the module! :)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Soyokaze Harbor: Progress Report

• Note: Click images to enlarge them. 

I've managed to make some progress on the Soyokaze Harbor Fish Market area and I'm happy with the results so far. As I thought, the rough sketches that I was making while on vacation in Maryland - away from the modules and a way to measure the spaces I had - were WAY off. I was trying to be conservative, but my drawings were still packing way too much into the space I had allowed myself.

Once I was home and the Tomytec market arrived, I was able to measure and plan the space out.

My first approach was to set the mood of the module and to figure out what the work structure behind it was. I didn't want to just toss things together without thinking through how it worked.  I came up the idea of Soyokaze being more than a tourist spot for photography. It's a place where you can also get fish that was fresh off the boat that morning. Additional fish deliveries are sent into several restaurants in Shizuka.

The basic setup is really simple now.  The "ocean" in on the left of the module. The dock runs out into it from the main dock area of the Market.  At the front of the module (bottom of the image) the road will lead into the scene. One road will run to the market with a gate and another will run to the right and up to the two buildings at the top of the image. There in a span between hills in the back where another small footbridge will lead off, but will most likely be blocked off with danger signs. :) A sea wall will face the ocean area.

I want the whole of the scene to be busy and full of action. The people on the boats are talking back and forth already and I love the look it gives.  It's like things are really interacting in the scene.

There will be many trucks, bikes and workers as well.

I used a black foam core piece for the base with additional foam core and foam pieces to build up the landscape. Standard tacky glue was used.

I painted up the ocean based on reference photos of Japan and the fishing areas there. I went with a green for the ocean base color. I mixed in some blues here and there including the area under the wood dock that extends into the water.

I used Woodland Scenics Realistic Water again and it was much easier to handle this round now that I know how it flows and moves. I poured into the center of the space and pulled it out to the edges and it conformed to the foam core perfectly. 

I think it's a great start to the harbor. I'm really pleased with how it's turning out so far.

Next step is the addition of the Woodland Scenincs Water Effects and setting in the boats. The water effects are going to be tough. They really need to be built up to work correctly. I think I may leave more of the water without effects this round. I'll start small and work up.

Comments and suggestions are welcome, as always.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

AC Studio Flickr Set

Oh....my....GAWD!  :)

AC Studio's diorama in N Scale work is fantastic. It's exactly what I'm aiming for as far as my own work goes. Rich detail and fantastic scene work abound in this series or photos.


He also gives a fantastic breakdown of how he gets the layout built up from the base up. Well worth a look for any modeler, really - it's a great, step-by-step look at his process that was very helpful.

The scene work is grand. Rich in details and action, his work is full, yet doesn't feel cramped. There is a lot of great thinking behind it. The use of height helps as well, building up rather than building wide.

As I stated before, I had planned on having a fishing area with boats for a while, but seeing this layout has filled me with SO MANY ideas that I'm very excited about starting the process. I'm also planning to use some of these techniques on my main Soyokaze module as well!

Great work!  

Friday, July 13, 2012

Soyokaze Harbor

I'm working on Soyokaze Harbor planning.

I've been sitting on these small ships for a long while now and thought that I'd snag a Tomytec fishing building and build out a small harbor scene.

 Well, it turns out did the same thing already, so I'm trying to make it look a little different.
(Though it's hard because I LOVE what they did! :)   )  

This will give me a smaller project to work through and complete this summer.

I'm starting with a sketch, but once the harbor fishery shows up from Japan, I'm going to lay it out physically on foam core. I think I might build the module on foam core as well - building it up and giving it depth, then overlaying plaster gauze for the terrain.

Key points I would like to have are:
• Fishing area with trucks and workers
• Small area with homes and streets
• A track running through the scene in the background
• Water
• MAYBE some sound effects of a harbor
• LIGHTS! I have a small light kit and I plan to light the buildings! WHOOT!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Point of Rocks Station

Are you looking for some reference shots of American East Coast train stations? Take a look at the Point of Rocks shoot I have up on my FLICKR account.


Some nice brick, ivy, and weathering along with some cool train track maintenance machinery and track-side details. Large photos for zoom and pan goodness!

Enjoy and let me know if they helped you!


BRIO Train Table


"Wooden Train Dining Table Redefines Playing With Your Food"


Wow! These are a LOT of fun!

These track dining tables are amazing. The tiles lay into the table allowing for multiple designs and styles. They come in 4 seat and 6 seat styles and the train track pattern fits the seating for each. Push standard BRIO trains around or use the battery versions and have them tool around the table on their own power.

Very cleaver and a fantastic addition to a rail fan's home for sure. The tables look like they are around $3000 to $4000 dollars, so they are not cheap. Between the standard cost and the shipping, you'd have to have a love of trains AND a lot of disposable income. 

They even offer an over-sized table that is perfect for a boardroom. THAT would be a nice little addition to an office. It would sure make meetings a lot more fun...and a lot less productive. ;)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Engine House Hobbies - Maryland


Engine House Hobbies
1-A East Diamond Ave
Gaithersburg, MD 20877  

Phone: 301-590-0816

While back visiting here in Maryland, I made the rounds doing some light trainspotting and hobby shop exploring. Today's stop took me to ENGINE HOUSE HOBBIES and I was glad it did.

When I planned the trip, I didn't see that the shop was primarily O scale. I walked in hoping to pick up a little something in N scale and was a little disappointed to see 90% O scale and a lot of it. But, after the initial disappointment, I took the inventory in and had a lot of fun.

The shop is small, but packed with merch to sell. A huge selection of O scale buildings, engines and accessories to choose from. I was on my way out when (sorry, never asked his name) the guy behind the counter asked if there was anything he could help me with.

I told him that I was an N scaler was just enjoying the browse. Next thing you know, he was asking me about my setup and how I liked it in San Francisco. We talked SF hobby shops, my N scale Japan module and then talked about the shop. He was great to talk to - super friendly and positive. A fellow shopper suggested that he hook me up with an O scale starter set to take home with me. We had a good laugh about it.

The store is right next to the tracks, so every time the CSX trail rolled by, the whole shop stopped to stare out the window. I asked about the trains that went by and the guy behind the counter new all about them, their time frames and where they were headed off to. Super helpful.

The shop also has a large, O scale layout in the center of it which was a lot of fun to explore. While the layout takes up potential floor merchandise space, it also fuels ideas and desire to buy.

Super friendly staff - this guy was great to talk to!

The wall behind the counter is filled with mounted track packed with engines and rolling stock. If you're looking to buy some O scale in this area, this is the place to visit. It was a friendly shop PACKED with O scale goodness! I would love to get some O scale going later in life.

Check out ENGINE HOUSE HOBBIES. It has a fantastic feel and a friendly staff with a GREAT view of the tracks! :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cool Find - BROOKLYN: 3 AM

BROOKLYN: 3 AM, built by Prof Klyzlr, from Sydney is a REALLY amazing layout. Klyzlr is a frequent guest on MODEL RAIL RADIO and he has a LOT to say about the hobby. :)

Brooklyn: 3AM is just what it sounds like - a layout based on a small area of Brooklyn at 3am. Klyzlr went the extra mile every step of the way adding lights, sounds and a "wet look" that really rounds the scene out beautifully.

His process is shown in great detail here: http://n-rail.blogspot.com/2011/08/model-rail-radio.html

The level of detail is fantastic. The scene is packed with detail. It's a sight to behold and something to aspire to for me. I love what he's done with the layout. I'd love to see this in person one day. I'm sure the photos don't do it complete justice.

I like the fact that it's not a "complete" layout, too. I don't have the space for what I want to do at the moment, but have been working on my module here and there. I plan to work the module as much as I can with a focus on this level of detail. (( Or...something like it. :)  ))

 The use of "set pieces" like the trucks, graffiti, and Warehouse Rave really lock the scene in place. Again, something I aspire to on my module. Soyokaze Lake, Soyokaze Bridge and the Temple Area are all ripe for detail and exploration.

Nice work, Prof! :)