Thursday, May 29, 2014

Various shots and news

Soyokaze River Village

Greetings from Soyokaze!    :)

I've been going round and round on having this switching area (pictured below) on the layout. It's actually all dead rail and would just be there for show - running off the edge of the layout edge. I just thought it would be fun and interesting. However, it takes up a little more space than I thought, so it might not be a good idea at this point.

But...I like it. :)  Especially if it was integrated and scenic elements were added into the area. I think it would be fun. We'll see.

This hillside area will be another fun little detail section. It sits towards the back of the layout in the "Shopping Area" and will be housing, a hospital, parking and various scenic elements. Again, a nice scene section I'll be able to work on in the house, then port outside.

There is a bit of exciting news as well. We are going to have some visitors come to the States from Australia and my layout may be on the tour. I'm using that as a push to get some work done on the layout. Nothing works better than a deadline when you're trying to get things done. So, it's a win win even if my layout doesn't make the cut for the tour due to location or timing. I'll still have some of the items on my list done, so it's all good! :)

Friday, May 23, 2014

May Progress - additional items

More news from Soyokaze and Shizuka


I did a little lite weathering on my Modemo tram. It was hard to dive in on it, but I'm happy that I did. Light gray areas are now wondrously weathered and "used" feeling, the body has some wear marks, but doesn't look like it's ready for retirement (Thanks, James Lincoln - good advise on that from a Model Rail Radio Show. "Don't make it look like the railroad wouldn't be running it anymore because it's so beat up!" :)  ) and it looks like it's been out in the elements a bit instead of pulled from a box and placed. Ahhhh. 

The images don't really do it justice. I really need to break out the proper camera for some better photos.


I also hit my little rail train and box cars. Much better.

Naze hashi なぜ橋 details

I finally got around to doing the last bit of barrier work on the bridge. I went with using the road barriers from KATO turned upside down and I'm happy with the way it turned out.

Roz From Oz - what do you think?   :)

Soyokaze Station 02 details are in, but I need to take another "clean up" pass at it. I was working a bit too fast and would like to address some of the sloppy lines and the like. know...better than out of the box, in my most humble of opinions. :)

More KATO barrier use

In place

One thing I really need to think about are sidewalks. I need to put some thought into that for sure. You can purchase them - sure. Or, I could make them out of styrene sheets, but I'd rather come up with a cost effective, Home Depot-like solution. Like some sort of strip roll of some product that could be cut down and applied that looks like sidewalk. Any feedback there would be appreciated.


May Progress - Cities

Just a quick update - mostly to avoid dealing with issues at work. :)


Shizuka is shaping up. I have space for some nice scenic elements now along with a few more scratched built buildings if I choose to take that task on. I might just do some more checkbook modeling and kitbash some structures instead of doing it from scratch. We'll see.

The light space to the front of the photo above will have a little roundabout style garden space. Something like this photo.

I'd like to see the crosswalks and garden style intersection spot carried out like this. It'll make a nice addition, as I've said before.

I've noticed that Shizuka is looking a little sparse, so I think additional buildings and the like will be called for. While I want the area to have space for walkways, back alley details and the like, I want it to also have the prototypical dense quality Japan cities have.

The back side of Shizuka where I had some shopping areas is getting worked out. I dropped in a large hillside area to raise the area up. A walking bridge may be added at a later date spanning the area over the tracks and into the city. The area will be fenced or walled appropriately and will have road details and various other nuggets. This can be worked on in a modular way as well, so I can bring the whole section inside to work on and then place it afterwards in the same way the temple area was handled.
Several apartments are located on the hill along with the hospital and parking area.

I swapped in double tracks between the hill and the city. (above image) Some of this will be replaced with Kato Unitrack shortly.


Soyokaze is starting to really look the part. I'm happy with the progress.
Following up with what I created for the area lore, Soyokaze and Shizuka are very easy to get to via rail, bus and taxi (for those with the cash to spend on a taxi all that way!) I've added another station area - mostly because I WAY over-purchased when it came to station pads, so I wanted to use at least ONE of them somewhere! hehehe  (Let me know if you need one - I'll sell it cheap. :::grin:::)

I've done some more rearranging as well - shuffling buildings this way and that and planning for this weekends road paving. At least, that's the intent. We'll see if that happens.

All in all things are looking good and the arrangement will allow for a lot of good detail, action and fun scene additions. 


There really isn't much to report with these areas. The Village will have a solid, concrete slab looking base and I plan to do at least one if not two more rounds of rearrange and swap sessions after it's poured. I found that I might have enough space to have both a series of small access roadways through the village and for the small street market items I had on my previous layout area. I was rather happy about that. I like the idea of a little street festival in the village. Fresh food smells and gifts being sold to visitors. Another great scene op.

The harbor area is waiting for some additional street level details, but other than that, I have no new plans for the near future other than more figures and scene work. I think it's the most complete of the areas, really, so it can wait a while longer. :)

However I did get one element I'm excited about doing before long. I picked up that whale for a scenic element in the harbor and I think it's going to make a great addition once it's mounted, weathered and placed. It will add to the lore of Soyokaze fishing being "Whale Friendly".

Prototype :)


I finally got around to setting up a little roundy-round for my 3yr old with my spare track. She is very excited about the process and has fun racing the little BANDAI tram around FAR too fast. :)  We are planning to paint it pink and purple as per her specs. Photos to follow, of course.

She also gets to paint the base board, figure out where her roads will be and decide where her building areas will be located - all of which she wants to do today when we speak about it. "Why can't we finish it today?"  I'm sure there are many hobby folks out there in the world saying the same thing right now - "Why can't this just be done so I can start playing?!"  I'm going to try to speed up certain portions of the process for her, but I am aiming on having her do some of the work, too, while I work with her. :)

Halloween may be a ways off, but I thought that this DEPARTMENT 56 item might make a PERFECT decoration for the house. Saving has begun - the sucker is expensive!, too.

Carry on, Hobby Folks!

Friday, May 16, 2014

May 2014 Video Update Tour

I have a little video tour update up and I like the progress I'm making on the layout. It's fun to see it come together like it has with all the little items being done here and there.

I still have a long way to go, of course, but it's a fun and relaxing process - as it should be. I've waited a long while to have something like this going and I appreciate the whole of the process, not just getting it done. It can be a little overwhelming at times, but that's when you need to slow it down and remember that it's for fun...and it's not a race.

I also appreciate my wife understanding that the hobby isn't just a silly thing I like doing. She may not understand the why behind what I'm doing, but she knows I like it and that it makes me happy, so she supports me in my endeavors. Very cool Lady. :)

On deck:
• BACKDROP BACKGROUND! Man, I hate seeing that wood paneling in these shots! :)
• Lighting
• A skirt for around the edge of the layout
• Lock down track and scene locations (I'm still thinking about alternate track routes here and there)
• Lay in roadways and building base areas

As usual, comments are welcome.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Cool track area - Chicago

MAN! I love the cross junction in the northwest corner of the Loop in Chicago! LOL! I wish I knew more about it when I was back there - I would have looked for it and taken it in a while. I think I might have seen it, but I wasn't aware of just how much I enjoyed it at the time.

I can watch this video over and over. It's so cool seeing trains roll through this area!

Terry G. was kind enough to pass this FLICKR gallery over as well. It shows some work being done to this track area's a LOT of work in there!

It's funny - I've always been a structure-centric guy, but seeing things like this makes me long for something like it on my layout. I've always liked switches and complex track action like this, but going with KATO Unitrack limited the options. (Especially with a budget factored in) 

I'm almost thinking one more series of switching options might make my layout a little more interesting from a running perspective. Make it a kind of a figure eight situation, running through another switch to loop the tam back around in another direction.

Or even branching off again in the harbor area. That might be interesting as well. I'll have to think it through a bit more before committing. :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Naze hashi なぜ橋

While I think the bridges could use another small round of detailing, I'm pretty happy with the way they've turned out. I added some people, cars, lights, railings, a bench and other details that really pulled things together.

Comments welcome, as usual. :)

I painted up the trestle - I like it much better than the black.

The last round of bridge details really made a huge difference.

Seeing the bridges in place makes me happy as well. While more blending and the like needs to be done, this first round of building worked out well. Once I get the water and other scenic elements in place, it's really going to make the bridge area pop. 

 Things are coming along. There are areas and scenes that I'm enjoying immensely! :)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Interesting Kato Uniplate solution

I was browsing around and stumbled onto this image from a blogger in Japan (( )) 

They had a fun way to "break up" the somewhat squared off Unitram road plates.  I really like the idea!

I think I might have to take something like this on for Shizuka. I'm going to have to look at the arrangement to see if my space would allow for something like this.