Saturday, April 19, 2014

N-RAIL Easter Update 2014

Hi there, All!

I did something crazy to get some hobby time in today. My wife and I switch days getting up with the kids. A few yesterday it was my turn and my youngest was up at 5am. Ouch. However, my wife and I were up late watching American Hustle last night (fun film) and were up rather late.

"Oh man, it's my morning tomorrow," she said with a sigh.
"I'll get up again if you watch the kids later so I can get some hobby time in."
"I'll take that deal!"  

So, this morning (...after my 6am wake up and coffee #2...) I sat down for a little hobby time. :) I spent a little time re-re-re-watching some of the Japan by rail videos I've been pouring over of late, but thought that time out in the layout / office room might be a better use of my time.

:)  So, forgive me if there are more typos than there usually are.

Soyokaze Village

First thing was sorting out Soyokaze Village. After seeing the videos and seeing some sights I really loved, I decided to switch up the layout yet again, this time removing the hill in Soyokaze Village. It wasn't working for me overall and it had to go.

 The drag was that I had plaster gauzed it down a bit. Nothing that a blade couldn't handle.  The removal was quick and painless and I'm much happier with the results, though I'll switch things and adjust for a few more passes, I'm sure. Things are close to what I want, but not 100%.

>> Arrangement not final <<

I also have to allow for roads and walks, but I have tons of reference photos and Google Map grabs to help me with laying that out. I'm thinking about laying the whole of this section on "cement" - using SMOOTH IT. We'll see.

Soyokaze Township 

Things are pretty much the same in town.
I did remove one of the buildings I had here. With the additional space freed up in the village, a displaced building got to return to the area. It freed up some space and made for a better arrangement in town. I'm loving the view from the wall side of the layout. It's fun looking over the buildings towards Shizuka. Some nice depth there.

I'll be adding some roadways and walkways over the tracks here and there. I saw a lot of them in the rail videos and they make for nice little detail spots. Again, MANY reference grabs were taken from the videos themselves.

Naze hashi

(Why Bridge)   :)

I put this bridge in a while back before I placed plaster and foam over the edge of the layout for a roadway. Once that change was done, I didn't know why the bridge was there anymore. 
Hence, Why Bridge was born! :)

 It dawned on me today while watching those videos. There are little bridges all over the place. And, why? Most of them are...going over something. So, I am going to add more water here and have a great scene with more fishing, kids playing, and some cool water plants and foliage that shoud be a great addition to the overall scene. I'm also going to build another custom bridge, this time taking more time in the design and construction phases. I loved how the Red Walk turned out (pictured below and here   ) , but I thought I could have done a little more with it. Some of the bridges I saw inspired me and I think a bridge for cars and buses with a pedestrian walkway built in will be both a challenge and a nice looking addition once it's complete. 

Placeholder auto / pedestrian bridge

The Rest

 Other areas that are coming along on the layout.

Soyokaze Harbor is looking like I'd like so far. Like the rest of the layout, it needs more of everything - people, details, etc. However, that will come once I get more of a lock on base scenery. 

This area still needs a lot of work. I'm not quite sure what to place where the helicopter is currently other than road. I plan to scrub the videos to get some ideas. There are a lot of track side details I could pull from there. 

 Small scenes like these will populate the whole of the layout. There will be lots to see. buy a TON OF PEOPLE!   :::grin:::

Is this really happening?

I still find myself blinking dumbly when I look at this little layout of mine. I do find myself smiling a wide smile from time to time and remembering back to my start - a few purchases from Hobby Search in Japan and a child-like excitement watching the tram run round a small circle on my dresser. Being on a business call and looking at more stashed n-scale items on a small folding desk in the corner of my office.

It's really grand having everything together in one spot finally. I count my lucky stars every time I see what I have going today.

When I told my wife about finally figuring out the bridge thing (her half listening as we wrangled dinner and kids side by side) she said, "Do you ever feel super powerful coming up with those choices? "I SAY....THERE IS NOW WATER THERE!"  LOL! It was funny, but it's also true. You have so much power and create these little worlds to lord over. It's a fun hobby for sure!

Soyokaze Harbor / Soyokaze Temple / Soyokaze Village / Soyokaze (Township) / Shizuka

Harbor side of Temple Hill

MUCH better and far less crowded without the hill

More images on FLICKR.

Cheers, thanks for reading and Happy Easter if you're into the whole religion thing...or the candy thing. :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ohmi Railway, Ōmi-Hachiman to Hikone

The JNS Forum has some great rail videos for Japanese model rail enthusiasts.

These run for over an hour at times and provide great track side rail footage from Japan. I plan to add a number of these track side details to my layout. :)

Ohmi Railway, Ōmi-Hachiman to Hikone

Monday, April 14, 2014

Joe McDoakes: "So You Want a Model Railroad"

Joe McDoakes — So You Want a Model Railroad

I thought that this might be fun for some folks. :)

 From the WIKI:
"Joe McDoakes is the protagonist of a series of 63 black and white live action comedy one-reel short subjects released between 1942 and 1956. The Joe McDoakes shorts are also known as the Behind the Eight Ball series (for the large eight ball Joe appeared behind in the opening credits) or the So You Want... series (as most of the films were titled). The character's name comes from "Joe Doakes," which was then a popular American slang term for the average man."

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Plotting and planning April 2014

Since I have not MADE time to work on the hobby of late, I thought I would take a few moments out of the day to at least look at some reference photos - both on the internet and on my computer from previous search efforts. After the process today, I realized why people work on layouts for years and year and years. :) There are so many little details and nuggets you can get lost in if so inclined.  I'm totally "That Guy" when it comes to that. I want a viewer to be able to scan the landscape and see something new each time. While I won't be featuring GUNDAM robots, Godzilla or things of that nature save the few times I set them up for photo shoots :::grin:::, I will have multiple layers of both real and fantasy visuals throughout the layout. It should make for fun viewing.

Soyokaze Harbor

I found some fun harbor nuggets today. Giant whale statues and fish signs will be making appearances in the harbor portion of the layout for sure!

I also want to make sure i get some of the smaller details in like these yellow striped parking blocks.

Soyokaze Village

More small details will be found here for sure. Again, there are so many items to take into consideration throughout the whole of the layout, but people come up time and time again. I'll have to invest some time and money into getting a good amount of people on the layout. It's a tourist area and there will have to be many many people wandering and exploring.

Small items like these will also really help in selling the layout as realistic Japan and not some cartoon version.
While I'm not planning to have snow, I am planning on scratch-building many elements like these.

They will be very small, but I'm going to add items like these as well. They will be great additions.

Small signs, lights and wall details like these will be fun....and time intensive!


I noticed that I was veering away from Shizuka a bit. The cityscape is daunting and will be the biggest hit as far as population goes. I want the streets to be crowded and that will be either a major financial hit or a major investment of time to paint and detail people for the space. The beauty, however, is the fact that I'll have primary, secondary and tertiary people - some to be used front and center, some midground and some sloppy paint ups for the background and indoors where they won't be seen much. It's still a lot to think about.

I also want to "trick out" the buildings to make sure I get a proper, downtown feel to things. Lighting....:::sigh::::.....will come. I still have NO idea about wiring and the like and will have to learn. But decor detailing will be fun. Especially small, back ally bike racks, vending machines and scenes that will provide little "AH HA!" moments for folks. (...I hope) 

I've already started to break away from the KATO UNIPLATE square look for my layout and it's made a world of difference. I'd like to add more spaces that break away from squares. It really adds interest. Adding buildings to fit in the spaces will be fun as well.

 The addition of parking areas like this will be a fun and someone simple detail to take on. It should add a lot to the space.

The street markings will be something to focus on once I get the buildings sorted. They can be rather complex and I'd like to get them right. I'm sure "The Internet" will know some of the answers. :)

 I already have a small fleet of buses going as well. I'm not sure why, but I love buses! :) I was thinking about the moving bus system, but I think the tram moving while everything else remains still is already odd - I don't need to add another element that moves to the mix. So, I plan on adding scenes like this with bus transport playing a major role in the Soyokaze / Shizuka landscape.

 Lastly, I'd like to get some levels going in the Shizuka area. I'm looking at ways to take this on now. I'd love to have areas like this in the Shizuka landscape.

Maybe two or three higher areas where underground tunnel streets could slip through. Aain, it's just a matter of planning it out. I guess I'd have to raise the area up, which will affect the trackage for sure. I'm not sure I really want to take that on at this point. LOL   We'll see. I have a few days of layout work planned for the end of April/beginning of May, so I might get something together buy then. The whole of the layout is built directly on the deck of the benchwork, so I'd have to raise everything up. Any thoughts in this arena are more than welcome! :)

And with that, I head back to my Daddy Job.

Happy hobbying, All!