Thursday, July 31, 2014

Soyokaze and Shizuka Helicopter Tour

I was looking at some of my shake-cam, iPhone video :::grin::: and a helicopter ride came to mind. That classic "shot from the copter" footage you used to get back in the 70s before image stabilization and other cool tech that stopped the bouncing.
So, I just tossed this together as another little fun nugget for the world I'm crafting.

As I put thing like this together, I'm realizing that the stuff I'm interested in is really the scenes and the world, not so much the model rail "craft", as it were. I like things to look good, to be clean and not sloppy, but I'm not so concerned with the prototype or things of that nature. I like playing and creating.

As a matter of fact, I'm currently working out a few more "Soyokaze Stories" based on some of the scenes and locations I have going currently. I'm not even sure people read them other than my Mother and I, but I still like writing them. hehehehe   I take that back - I think Vera S. has read a few. :)

Keep having fun - that's my bottom line.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Re-organization of Shizuka, plotting and people


After looking over some photos and videos, I started seeing little items and areas I could include in my Shizuka section of the layout. Some city areas that would be fun little details to work out. The hardest part will be the street markings, but that will come and I'll get them as close as I can to the real thing, but won't stress about it TOO much. :)

The first thing was the overall space of the section and arrangement of the buildings.  The old arrangement was close, but not 100%. I spent a little time shifting buildings and spacing around. I like the overall as it stands now, though a few more tweak rounds are bound to happen.

The little island section above (front / center) will have walkways leading to the left, right and through the center of the buildings above it. I've seen several walkways that are structured like this - through ally areas of buildings and the like with pedestrian and bike markings.  I think this will be a nice little detail after the people and bikes are placed along with bike parking and vending machines.

Walkways detail
I like the way things are coming together. Once I get things placed, I'll work on sidewalks and walkways and street markings. 

Working out traffic flow is another interesting nugget. Things get rather complex in Japan, so I was trying to add a little of that traffic complexity into the scene. Again, a lot will depend on street markings and signs to pull everything together. 

I moved a few items out of the Shizuka section. One of the moves involved the snack vending area with parking. Now I have a whole snack central going complete with restrooms. :)

The Soyokaze Village area  also got a bit of a re-org and switch around. did the Village area.

In all the confusion of road building, I had completely forgotten the front gate! So, I moved it up a bit. I think it's working overall, but we won't be having large truck deliveries going into this section. Maybe they will have to use the other gate towards the back of the layout. :)

Temple parking is working. I just need to address parking lines and railings. 


People are going to play a large part in my layout. I'll be adding more and more and will eventually be buying nothing but people and adding scenes with people in here and there as time goes on. Even the people inside buildings tend to make a huge difference. Seeing people in doing things and being busy really makes me happy. They tend to add to things even when you are not 100% aware that they are there. Background folks being busy. 

While cleaning track, I found myself on the other side of the layout. Things are working from there as well, but there are some areas I'll need to address here and there to make sure things work from both sides...even thought there is really NO room to move around back there! LOL! I better not gain weight! 

I moved a building from the area at the bottom of this photo and it really needs something in that spot. Far too bare.

I'm moving the "farm" out of the Village proper and into this little section between tracks. Odd, but interesting.

This back section of the harbor will be built up with more industry. (I made the purchases yesterday!)

Things are GO GO GOing in Soyokaze!

Again, people are going to add a lot to these scenes. I have some more, but I'll need to do more work on sidewalks and walkways and scenery before adding them in.

The subjects of a SOYOKAZE STORY - soon to be written!

Trams and buses moving things along. I'm planning on removing the bus bases (left) and re-painting the bus markings on the Smooth-it road deck that is under it currently. It'll be far better and make more sense.

Can't wait to detail sections like this!

And, I cleaned the track today because we're having guests over tomorrow and they may want to see the tram run. I've run into this before - dirty track and visitors calling out for the tram to run, then smirking as it stutters across the tracks and needs pushing to get moving.

Every time I clean the track I think, "Man, I gotta buy that track cleaner car!" I think what I really need to buy is a step-stool. That would solve a lot of reach issues. It's now on the BUY list.

I really do love this MODEMO tram. More so now that I've disconnected it and just run the one section around. I plan to get a few more "country style trams" to run. Maybe around Christmas or my birthday. I really do love the look when the tram rolls through. 

More and more and more things come to mind every time I see the shots I take. Scenes, scenery, details, plans and more more more. It's a fun hobby in many ways. I can work on the actual item in my office, pieces upstairs in the house, plan and blog, write stories about scenes or simply use various videos and the like to research items I want to add.

Danny Choo is helping A LOT. He' interesting dude. He's involved in many aspects of Japanese culture and has gone from a simple blogger type to this media giant. He has many videos that are cool to see, like this underground bicycle parking area (soon to be built on my layout!)...

...and this great, detail filled video of him cycling though the streets of Japan. Details abound!

Yeah....I have more than enough to keep me busy. No need to add that hole in the wall for a Shinkansen high speed train....right?  ::::shifty eyes:::::


Thursday, July 24, 2014

July NRAIL Update

Hello Rail Folks!  More random thoughts and ramblings here. :::grin:::

Firstly, I'm not sure if I mentioned it previously, but we were going to have some visitors from Australia for a little California layout tour. I was really excited about the visit - these folks are grand modelers with a real passion for the hobby. I was looking forward to another series of Layout Tour videos, too. The last set are still being used as introduction videos for people's layouts.

June 2013 Layout Tour Videos

Sadly...very of the party passed away. While I didn't know her directly, I feel like I got to know her through the wonders of MODEL RAIL RADIO. I had the pleasure of hearing about their updates and going on along with photos and dialogues. I was even able to speak with them through the show. Again, one of the value adds of the internet and technology - being able to meet people from around the world who happen to share common interests.

Perhaps in time, the visit will be rescheduled. I think doing something like that and having dinner and drinks in her honor would be fantastic.


I was looking over my Soyokaze River shots and finally figured out what bothered me about them. No background, just a blank space that was obviously a wall.

So, my next little project will be a test flight for painting a backdrop element to fit behind my Soyokaze River shelf. I'll be testing materials and will see if the style I have planned will work with the N scale items in the foreground. If things work out, I'll use the same process for my layout. I want to paint the background, keeping it a little loose and artistic instead of using photos. I'm excited to see if I still have my old painting chops from back in my art days of The Academy Of Art - not that I was ever really all that great. :)


I snagged a pack of "daylight" bulbs from Home Depot as a test for Lighting Round 01 and...WOW...what a difference! I knew that things were going to be way different, but I didn't understand how different.

Firstly, away with the yellow tint of the light which is HUGE. You can see the difference between the daylight on the left and old yellows on the right.

The daylight bulbs made a difference in the iPhone shot images as well, obviously. While it's still not shooting outside, it's look much clearer, cleaner and brighter. 

The Harbor area is the furthest away from the light, but it's still looking better than it did.

Lights blast on the top left and the screen door window in the top right :)

I'm giving thought to just mounting something like these above the layout with some diffusion paper between them and the layout. I'd like to see what the result was - especially if I can swap out the paper for paper with a blue tint to get a more night time feel or orange for early morning.

My daughters have been playing tag team parent wake up and early to bed early to long as we leave the house good and messy before we go, so my hobby time is limited these days due to general drowsiness. However, I do manage to sneak time in around the edges. I'm going back and adding details to buildings here and there and giving more thought to my Shizuka side of things - planning out streets and walkways a bit more. Always entertaining on boring, company calls. :)

I'm also looking things over and doing some more shifting and additions to Soyokaze Village and the Harbor area. I'm happy for the most part, but they still need a little tweaking before I start really locking things down. 

And, as always, if hobby time is being eaten by chores, I still have MODEL RAIL RADIO to get my hobby fix. I keep going back through the catalog and playing MRRs from a few years back while I wait for new episodes to be released. So much information in there!

I hope you're finding time for your hobby!