Thursday, June 27, 2013

Japanese Rail Blog

Oh my goodness. ::::drool::::

I just found this rail blog from Japan and I can't stop going through it!

Really some amazing work! The level of detail and the building construction is really grand and right on par with what I'm looking at doing on my Shizuka city layout. Like, spot on. I love the fact that there is a blend of Japanese and German models on the layout, but the kitbashing and modifications make them all flow seamlessly together into one, fantastic environment.

And the streets....and parking....the trains.....the backgrounds....EVERYTHING!  So good!

I'm furiously snatching down the photos to use as reference. REFERENCE, mind you, not to copy. I want to have my own style for sure, but I want to have the photos around to keep my brainstorming moving. There are so many fantastic ideas in here.

I'm loving the levels going on here. Buildings and streets flow, but there are times where the street dips down under or pops up higher and it helps to break up the scene nicely. And, the whole of the layout occupies very little space, but the density of the whole of it is so thick and rich that there is a TON to look at.

There are many production photos on the site as well with some step-by-step construction details that I'm sure many kitbashers would love to take a look over. 


July 2nd Update:
I've talked with Ichiro and he has passed along some additional links!

Ichiro's YouTube Channel

Recent Work

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wunderland Firefighters

More amazing work from MiWuLaTV (Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg TV ). This time, little dramas about their firefighters there.

As usual, the level of detail in both the scene work and video quality are second to none. Amazing stuff. When I think about everything that has gone into these scenes, my mind spins. The lighting, detail, action and the MASSIVE amount of computerization to make everything work is just stunning. The behind the scenes interviews with the people in charge of running the show are wondrous as well. Seeing the panels and programming behind all the little scenes and offerings there in Miniatur Wunderland is truly fascinating.

Scene 01 - Germany

Scene 02 - USA

Monday, June 24, 2013

Random Thoughts and Ideas

Well, the move happened and things are rolling along. I have a small space to work with and I'm excited about starting in on the layout, but the reality is that it's not going to happen any time soon. The house needs attention - boxes and IKEA building taking priority over the layout. However, I've been thinking about my options.

My current thinking is that I'll either work with two doors for a total of $40 or a super plywood base for about $45. I'm leaning towards the ply because I could cut the large sheet into three pieces and have some interesting layout options.

When going over this plan with my wife, she said, "What are you going to use for legs?"  to which I said, "Yeeeeah....I have to work that out."  I'm not someone with a lot of electrical or building experience. I'm more of the artsy type, leaning towards the overall layout look rather than the support structure under it. So, sawing and drilling and the like isn't super high on my "can't wait" list. I'd rather get things set and have someone do the benchwork for me. I really don't have a problem with that at all! :)

I know. "But, if you do it yourself, you'll be able to learn how to do it."  Yeah. But, I really don't have a desire to learn about that side of things. I'm coming from a piece of plywood laying atop a dresser which I was perfectly fine with.

Then there's the layout space itself. The room is being pushed up in parts by a tree root and the cement is not level in the slightest. So, I need to address that aspect of things as well. All in all, I have a lot to do on paper before I can get started on building, but I'm fine with that as well. I don't want to rush things and I know that people spend months or YEARS building benchwork before getting started. rush. We'll see.

I'm just happy that I have options. Options are always good! :)

I did get myself my harbor buildings for Father's Day. We were moving during Father's Day and I was forgotten about a bit. My two older kids got me a nice present, but I spent the day building IKEA furniture alone in our new house. (violins play softly....)  heh   So, I got home and bought myself all the additional Soyokaze Harbor buildings and boats that I wanted. I thought it was warranted. :) I'm all set there once I get everything built for it to live on.

I'm also thinking about building up foam on top of the benchwork deck. I think this will work well for what I have planned. I just need to find the foam and research the best way to bond it to itself and the deck. 

Onward! I have a lot of research to cover! :)


Monday, June 10, 2013

Soyokaze: End of an Era

I was listening to an old MODEL RAIL RADIO podcast I was on back in September of 2011 and I had to smile. On the show, I talked about wanting a harbor and other changes and additions and I got a lot of them done. Done, of course, being a relative thing.

The whole time I was building Soyokaze out, I was thinking through a process for a future layout. This was a testbed, really. A small, 5' playground. I was trying out various techniques and layouts so that when I get my "real layout space", I could be ready to roll on it. And, it looks like that day is finally here!

We recently purchased a little homestead in the East Bay and will be moving shortly. It's a very exciting space with neighbors that say hello when you see them OUTSIDE their homes. Kids on the dead end street. A playground a mere block and a half away. More space all around including a location all for me, my office, my collectables and my train passions! My wife is almost as excited about space for me as I am. :) She knows I love these little items and that it makes me happy.

So, with the BRIGHT AND SHINY FUTURE® finally here, I'm saying so long to Soyokaze in this iteration. I was very proud of what I was able to do with the limited space and time I had to work with and I'm already having fun planning what the combined Soyokaze and Shizuka arrangement will be.

I know it's going to be a long haul and that time will need to be spent on planning and base benchwork building before anything even begins to be set down, but part of the fun is just planning and knowing that I have space to play in!


More Soyokaze photos can be found here:

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Oakland operation

(Thought OAKLAND and wrote ALAMEDA - corrected :) )

Really just a side note, but I think it would be really cool to work out something for operations in Oakland California. There is so much there. Shipping, trains and trucks. Containers from all over the word being shipped out via truck and train. It just seems awesome. What a great layout op.

Focus could be on "AREA A" with trains running and trucks being loaded and ships being unloaded.

I don't know - seems like an operations score.

Of course, it won't be me - I'm dealing with Japan. :)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Bay Area Layout Tour Videos

I was just listening to MODEL RAIL RADIO show #74 and there were several folks mentioned that were visited during the BAY AREA LAYOUT TOUR SEPTEMBER 2012. I've taken the links from the tour videos and have placed them in one place should you want to take a look at some of the FANTASTIC layouts we got to see that day.

Seth Neumann
See photos from Seth's here:


Rick Fortin
See photos from Rick's here:


David Parks
See photos from David's here: 

Ted Stephens (pre-move layout)
See photos from Ted's here: