Thursday, November 29, 2012

Soyokaze: Landscape work

I've managed to jump start my hobby time again. For a while there, I was caught up in feeling like I didn't want to work on the hobby items I had going due to a general lack of space. I wasn't going to be able to put everything together, so why bother working on it?

Then the Mission Statement for these projects popped back into my head: This is all practice for the future when I have the space for everything to be put together. The items I build out may even be placed directly in the layout space once I have it. So, stop bitching and moaning and get some fun in! :)

And...that I did! I'm having fun in the hobby again and that's nice. It's something I enjoy and something that keeps me off the computer. Well, when I'm not updating my blog space. :::grin:::

On deck recently was some landscape work on the Soyokaze section. For those playing at home, I completed some work on the Temple side last time - working out the bridge, lake and work station areas along with the addition of some simple lighting in several of the buildings.  So, I jumped over to the Station side to blend in the station area with the main base a bit. I dig how it's turning out.

I started by slapping down a healthy layer of glue. I used full strength instead of my 50/50 water glue mix because I wanted it thicker so I could deal with some gravel issues I had last time.

I smoothed the glue out with my cheap "glue brush" and started laying the gravel down. Once I had the gravel in on several layers, I went back in with my 50/50 mix to lock it down a bit. Once the paths were in place, I did the same process on the hillside areas.

I like keeping things a bit free-form when I'm working on the landscaping side of things. It takes on a more natural appearance and I like the look of it. One thing I'd like to address on the Future Layout® ::grin:: is the foliage types so i can try to make them more like what you'd really see in Japan. As it stands now, it's OK, but not 100%. Japanese style plants, bushes and trees can be had for a price, of course.

I used the same action plan on my truck shed area. This little scene is a personal favorite of mine and I had the idea for the green around the driveway and behind the shed in  my head for a long time. Every time I'd see the favorite shed scene, I'd grind my teeth thinking, "I really need to lay down the grass around that area. It'd look SO much better!" And, go figure - I like it a lot more now that the green is down. Heh

The basic deal was to fill in the spaces between the drive and the sidewalk areas. I set the glue in and put in the green and let myself get a little sloppy figuring that I'd just brush in the slop later. Worked out well because I kept the glue stage clean and tidy.

I let the grass and gravel get a little messy when I dropped it in, then I went in and cleaned it up afterwards.
Before the final round of cleaning up. WAY better.

I love the final look of this area. I can't wait to create more little interaction scenes like this. I love 'em!

The completed hillside path and station area blend. Not bad. The gravel wraps around the the buildings in the background.

So, it looks like I'll have another month of hobby time before the arrival of my new little one sends me off the rails again. I'm sure things will go back to a crawl at that point, but it will be worth it! :) I'll see if I can get some basic coverage down between now and then so that, if time allows (yeah, right! ::giggle::) I'll be able to work on smaller scene areas. We'll see how that goes.

Soyokaze Harbor: Outside Shots

Man! I love shooting my N Scale stuff outside in natural light! It really adds a natural look to the scene and the background greenery helps to sell it as well. The Soyokaze Station shots I took outside looked good, but I think the sundown light with the orange cast really made this layout section pop.

Comments welcome.

More shots can be found here:

Signage was fun. Simple prints of real signs and some signs that came with the Tomytec sets.

Keeping things busy.

I want to have a lot of these sorts of details - conversations and interactions.

My scratch built fish cart there next to the fence. It turned out pretty good. I'll need to take additional photos soon.

Seawall and landscape details

Sankei Paper Kits

I recently revisited the world of the paper model with some products by Sankei. I said I wasn't going to do it again after the last time I tried them out - a disaster - but, I've grown as a modeler and I thought that I would give it another go to see if I could do a bit better now that I've had some crafting and skill building time in. And, I have to say, the experience was better.

Sankei's kits are really nice and they are high quality. The hardest part is the building. It's not a matter of an inferior product. It's the skill of the builder that determines the outcome. The kits are far cheaper than plastic models, too. A pre-built building that cost $45 in plastic can be had for $15 in a Sankei kit and the Sankei kit will often have more detail to it than the plastic building. It's weight makes it easier to ship as well, so your overseas shipping costs will be lower, too.

But, again, it comes down to the skills and the patience of the builder. I'm better, but I still have some detail and finish work to work out in my skill sets. :)

I really enjoyed the "zen" nature of the process. I've put things together from kits and have even tried my hand at some kitbashing and scratch building using styrene, but the paper products really need a tender hand when you're putting them together. It's worth it for sure - the results are grand and a fine addition to the scene, but you really need to remember to breathe and relax when you're working on them.

Sankei Paper Models on HOBBY SEARCH

The kits come flat with the instructions built into the packaging.

Building in Z scale. Still a LOT of detail

The finished products look fantastic...when time and effort is put into the building process.

I got three kits this round. 

Bus Stop Kit -    I failed at this one the first round! :)

and this complex Rickshaw Kit -

I had the most fear about the rickshaw. The wheels had small spokes and there were small details I thought my big, bear hands would mangle for sure, but it really worked out well.

The handy instructions built right into the product packaging. Very handy with easy to follow steps.

FAR better than the first time I tried my hand at these paper models!

You can see that there is a lot of detail in this tiny, nscale model including textures and small carvings in this case.

I even purchased the Bus Stop kit I failed at the first go around to see if it was easier this time. FAR better results!

The Bus Stop kit before adding the sheet metal siding paper covers

So, the experience was worthwhile and I can see getting additional kits in the future - especially for items like these to add to the scene. Of course, these will only work well for people doing Asia modeling for the most part. Definitely worth a look.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

More inspiration

I found this layout and it gives me more inspiration for a future setup. I love the levels and the various scenics within the layout. There's a great depth to everything as a whole. Some really nice work.

On that front, we're looking at homes and apartments now for next years move. While a larger apartment may give some additional space, it's going to be the home rental that would really give me the room I need to do anything on the complete layout with Soyokaze and Shizuka in one set. I still have hopes. :) We saw a house the yesterday with a garage and I tried not to get too excited by the idea. Prices are so off right now that we're actually looking at getting more space for less cash per month. In a word: Awesome.  We'll see.

For now, the bug is creeping back in, so I think I might start doing some hobby stuff soon before the arrival of a new baby puts things back to null in January! hehehehe

Hobby Well, All!