Friday, June 20, 2014

Soyokaze Roads and Village Center

NOTE: Another post that I forgot to post a while back. 

I took a few shots of the Smooth-It areas post sanding and painting. I'm really happy with how they turned out for the most part, though I wish I had mixed a few areas a bit better to avoid the air bubble potholes! But, I'm liking it.

Once I go back in with more details like street markings and the like, I believe it will really pop. The small street marking work I did on the Soyokaze Hill section really added a lot to the scene. The hardest part about that is getting the Kanji right - making sure I'm putting the right thing in the right place. ("One Way Street" being on a one way section and things like that.) I did find a site that will help A LOT! It breaks down street markings and provides a very detailed list of what things mean. I think it will get me close enough as things go.

I did four sections in total - Soyokaze Village, Soyokaze Town section, the road to the Harbor section and the roadway leading to Naze hashi なぜ橋 .

Soyokaze Village - Still not 100% locked down as far as building placement, but it's getting close. Once I get things locked down, (...and keep smacking myself when I say I should get two or three more buildings for the area. "NO, MALCOLM! NO MORE BUILDINGS! get a few more freelance jobs...then we can talk about a small HOBBY SEARCH order....AFTER you get paid!" heh ) I'll be able to add the details like the small gutter systems that run along the front of many buildings in villages like this in Japan.

Town section - Again, while not set in stone yet, it's getting close!

Village section leading to town

Front road section
This rough section will be worked on to show a series of switches - all dead rail and not operating, but super detailed - weathering and signage galore!  :)  I always liked the look. 

Harbor road section - This will be a fun section to detail as well. Gravel, security fences and signs along with the large whale mount I plan on mimicking. :)

PROGRESS! Slow and steady. :)
The roads being down will allow me to do some more detailing, which is nice. I've planned a bit, but I suspect that something will be amiss somewhere along the line. We'll see.

Another good reason NOT to buy additional buildings for the Soyokaze Village section is leaving room for some detail elements. I've moved the little vendors out of the Village proper. They'll be over on the edge of the area with some little streamers and things to make the area look festive.

The Village needs a lot of people, for one, but also a lot of detail elements. I've started a collection of some shots with nice detail elements that I'd like to include in my scenes.

I even plan to model something like this  torii out of clay or wood!

I want to do one for the Village area - more simple, and one that's a little more grand for the temple area. I want to make sure it matches the style and time period, however, so I'll need to do some homework.

I even have deer that I'm going to have wandering through Soyokaze Village. :)

Happy hobbying! :)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Nagoro: Valley of the Dolls


A woman in a remote part of Japan makes life-sized dolls and poses them around the remote village she lives in. 37 residents. Over 300 dolls. :::shiver:::   :) 

"Ayano Tsukimi (64) is living in Nagoro, a village in eastern Iya on Shikoku, one of the four main islands of Japan. Not many people are still living there. For those who die or move away, Ayano Tsukimi is making lifesized dolls in their liking and puts them in places that were important to them. The dolls are scattered around the whole valley.
She is married, but her husband and daughter are living away from her in Osaka. She's living alone with her 83 year old father in the house of her family."


Valley of Dolls from Fritz Schumann on Vimeo.

Seven Stars Cruise Train

Info and quotes from:

I'm adding this to my "bucket list". To be honest, I didn't have a bucket list until I saw this train. Now, I have the list and one item - travel to Japan and ride the SEVEN STARS train. Whew!

This is just an amazing looking train. In my vision for the experience, I'm sitting in one of the suites aboard, watching the sights slip by and sipping a fine, Japanese whiskey of the $40 a glass variety. :)  If I start saving now....

Deluxe Suite for 4 days and 3 nights....$12270.85. Yikers.
I can get a "regular" suite for a mere $6872.61, so I might have to "settle" for that. :)

There's a rather complex procedure for actually getting on board as well. They reserve the standard suites for non-Japan based passengers, which is interesting. And, if they are overbooked, there is a lottery to choose who gets to ride.

 Needless to say, unless I win a lottery here in the states or come into HUGE money, I will not be riding, but I'll have dreams about it. heheheh  I'd rather spend the money on a rail pass and a few mid-range hotels and see more of Japan.'s still amazing.


 Name Origin:
A representation of the 7 prefectures of Kyushu (Fukuoka, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Nagasaki, Oita, Saga).         

A representation of the 7 main tourist elements in Kyushu. These are: nature, cuisine, hot springs, history and culture, power spots, local hospitality and sightseeing trains (aka Design & Story trains).          
A representation of the 7 carriages on the train.

The train is a work of art, really. Just beautiful. The craftsmanship behind it's look and feel is mind blowing.


It really is a rolling piece of art. I can't imagine what it would be like to be rolling along in this beauty for days. Eating...sleeping....and just feeling like you're in a movie or another era with a massive smile on your face.

I'd have to keep the phone and camera in the suite for prolonged periods of time so I could stop taking photos and actually sit and take things in. I'd wat to document everything!

Funny how I found out about this. HOBBY SEARCH sends little email notices about their offerings. I usually dump the anime and hobby magazine emails because I'm not in the market, however today i took a look at the hobby mag email and saw a few train magazines that looked interesting.  One had the SEVEN STARS featured.

I simply let myself get lost in the search for the name of the train and found it rather quickly. More photos followed and I was lost in the spectacle at once. Every inch of the train is amazing.  



And food? Oh, they have food and a fine place to eat it!

"Radiant sunshine, towering mountains, and glittering oceans. Kyushu is blessed in its nature and is truly a treasure house of gourmet food. The dining car "Jupiter" will offer passengers cuisine made from seasonal ingredients throughout the year. There will also be occasions when the passengers alight from the train for their meals. We will guide you to popular eating-places at the towns where the train stops. Exclusive meals are offered, and passengers will meet some special hosts. Enjoying the local air and flavours will make this cruise train journey even more special."

Heaven. :)


 "Kyushu is the gateway to Asia.
There has been active exchange with the mainland here since ancient times. Now many foreign tourists visit Kyushu each year, aided by the full opening of the Kyushu Shinkansen network in 2011. These tourists number around a million people a year.
Also, around 30 million people visit Kyushu annually from within Japan. These people make their way here via air, sea and land."

It looks like there is a nice section covered when you travel and that you'll sleep on-board and a few nights in a nice Japanese inn, so you get the best of both worlds as far as your experience goes - both train and land based accommodations.

The 4 day / 3 night course is as follows:

"This course is a four-day trip around Kyushu. It travels through the five prefectures of Fukuoka, Oita, Miyazaki, Kagoshima and Kumamoto. The contents of the trip are a concentration of the attractions of Kyushu, including walks around popular areas such as Yufuin, southern scenery such as the expanses of the sea and sky, and the natural scenery of the Aso area, which is an unusual sight even if considered from a global perspective. This course also includes a night staying at a Kirishima hot spring resort, where passengers can thoroughly enjoy the famous hot springs. Here you can enjoy a different relaxation experience to that on the train."

Again, more info can be found at the TOUR DESK

All in all, it would be a fun trip if you have enough cash. I'd love to be able to walk through and take some photos. Take deep breaths and take in the ambiance. I'm SURE this is not allowed, but even outside shots would be grand.

One day. :) 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Soyokaze Hill Progress Shots

Ha! I stared a post about Soyokaze Hill, but never finished it. So, since I already had these shots up in Blogger, I figured I'd just post them.