Friday, January 29, 2016

Kiwamura removal

Kiwamura removal process. Not as painful as I thought it would be.

First, all the track off and packed up.

Once the track was up and out, I started in on removing the scenic elements. Sad removing my hillside and tunnel. :( office work space is revealed.

I now need to tackle packing up the last half of the pack up. I'll knock this out over the weekend and will have a working office by Monday if things work out the way I want.

I'm still playing around with the layout re-build ideas. I'm not 100% sure about how that's going to go yet. I did see a great setup that I liked a lot. I think it will play a large part in my planning process. Video below.

The video is from "Sammy Oh Sheng Teck" - the channel can be found here:

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Farewell, Kiwamura

MAN! It's REALLY hard tearing apart a layout section that has been worked on for a while.

With luck, the re-build of the section will be awesome. I keep saying, "I'll be able to run BULLET TRAINS! I need to focus!"


Farewell, Kiwamura! I'll see you again soon!

Another Model Rail Radio appearance

 It's always nice to get on to MODEL RAIL RADIO. Even nicer when I listen back to the episode and I don't sound like a complete idiot when I'm talking! heheheh

The whole show is fantastic, but my particular part in this show is around the 21 minute mark.

Model Rail Radio #115: Let's Blue Sky This Thing [January 9, 2016]

MODEL RAIL RADIO is a fantastic resource for model rail information and conversation. They have several ways you can participate and I highly recommend that you do.

You can find all sorts of tips and tricks on the Facebook page:

You can say howdy and post blogs and resources via their mailing list:

But the best way to participate is actually making a Skype call and joining in that way, saying hello, introducing yourself and what you enjoy in the hobby, and getting involved in the fun!

There's a HOW TO on the Model Rail Radio page:

The process is pretty simple. You can even dial in and just listen if you're too shy to participate. :)
Recording dates are posted on the website.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Forward progress

Well, I'm moving forward, but it's hard making this layout change take hold in my mind. I have this nagging thought that keeps popping into place.  

"But, you had a lot of it done already - this is a huge step backwards. You SURE you wanna do this?"

It's hard. :)

But, it's moving forward. Mr. Contractor showed up and started the initial door work - AKA, PHASE ONE - so I had to move some of my buildings off and away from Shizuka to avoid catastrophe striking. So, mentally, I've started. Buildings were taken away, boxed, and stored. Cars and poles and figures were moved off and away. It has begun!

I think what I'll do, since I have my office blown up anyway, is just camp where I am for a week or so, break down the Kiwamura side of things once the doors are in place, get the back office sorted, then move right into the back space when I end up rebuilding my office. Seems to make more sense than moving back, then moving again shortly after.

It's just going to be a wild mess for a while while I tear things apart and put them back together. I have to keep my eye on the goal - having all the layout in one room.

Some folks might be visiting from Australia in the summer months, so I'd like to have things somewhat together by then. Benchwork and track at least. And, I love the fact that when I mentioned the cost playing a factor in all this, my wife said, "It's not going to be THAT much money, right? We can make it work. It's not that big a deal." So cool that she's so supportive!

I think the most difficult part is going to be the dismantling of Kiwamura. It was just starting to come together. Again, it's going to be far more functional in the new location. That's going to be exciting. I just need to avoid analysis paralysis when it comes to the track and the overall setup. While I do want things to be done properly and cleanly, I don't want fear to freeze me up.


Monday, January 18, 2016

More layout change ideas (video)

Crazy little sketch :)

Another quick iPhone video with some additional thoughts on the layout change up. As I work through the details, I see various ways where I can incorporate some of the things I want to get in place without a large output of cash. I also want to make sure I'm taking the time I need to really get things working properly.

The action plan as it stands now is:

• Replace the doors on my office - This should be happening this week...contractor and rain willing. :)

• Tear out the track on Kiwamura - This is going to be really difficult. :(  I'm not looking forward to this series of steps because it's a bit of a step backwards.

• Pack up all the Kiwamura section items (buildings, etc)

• Remove Kiwamura scenery - Trying to save as much as I can to use it elsewhere later.

• Disassemble Kiwamura and stack out wood- REALLY tough one.  

• Move all office elements to back office area and re-set office space

• Start in on new benchwork

If I can get in some work days (I have a birthday coming up and that would be an idea gift! :) ) I can get the first few items done and my office set up in the back area. That would be a fantastic start. I think having the new doors and more organized work space will be fantastic - a huge plus for moving the layout and changing it up.

Still not sure if I'll have the subway section. I'm not sure I want to get into a helix situation. Maybe a very long level change of some type - not sure. I'm not stuck to the idea of a subway of I can get some of the other items in place. Running some Shinkansen around would be fun!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Quickie iPhone zoom in and out of my layout space

I actually made it onto Model Rail Radio yesterday after some interesting technical difficulties. It was inspiring as always - I always love chatting with the show's host Tom Barbalet and the other folks who call in to the show.

Tom suggested more YouTube videos showing various aspects of my scene work. I love creating small scenes and stories in my layout. People chatting, interacting, and living in the space. I get a bit nutty sometimes when doing so - adding details that are almost impossible to see if you don't know that they are there. But, that's the fun part for me. These little spots where you can walk up to the layout and get an overall view of an area, but then you see smaller and smaller details as you get closer and lean in. That's my favorite part of the hobby.

So, the video below shows what that experience is like. I do it all the time and have forgotten about this particular aspect. It's nice to look at the layout with fresh eyes in this way. I'm starting to see things in a new way.

Again, this is a quick little video to show the near and far aspects of my N scale layout.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Major layout change idea

I got into a discussion with my wife about my office and layout. I mentioned that I could have put my office in the back area instead of out front, then I would have had the layout all in one place. She said that it wasn't too late and asked why I didn't think about it a while to see if it would work for me or not.

In theory, it makes sense. The whole of the layout would be together in a space where I could see the whole of it in front of me instead of having one half in one room and the other half in the other. While thinking about that, I'm making an effort not to think about the work that would be involved with a move like this. :::grin:::  Just what the potential of the outcome could be.

So, I could see it being something along these lines....  (...but not this layout)

I'd keep the Soyokaze Harbor, Temple, Village and Town areas the same. They'd be somewhere in the area of the left side of the photo above. Soyokaze Hill would also remain in the same area, but Kiwamura (the newer section of my layout with the factory) would be where Shizuka is now. (The top area of the image above) Kiwamura's town and factory would be along the top and top right areas if it were the image above and Shizuka would be in the bottom right area. 

The Main Line of the layout would run through Soyokaze, Kiwamura and Shizuka. I'd do the things I wanted to do track wise while the change was happening so that the Main Line would run through like it does now, but I'd have another line with wider curves so I could run a Shinkansen high-speed train around as well. 

Thinking big. :)

I'd make an effort to get separation between the shipping and factory area - they are both side by side at the moment, and I'd also get some sort of yard in in the shipping section as well. Basically making it a bit larger with a few additional switches. 

However, I wouldn't want the shipping and factory trains rolling through the center of Shizuka, so I'd make an effort to have them roll to the back of the area - something where passenger trams could go through Shizuka, but other shipping and larger passenger service would go around.  

There's also some wiggle room in the back area of the Soyokaze area at the moment. I have a 14" space between the layout and wall that could be utilized for a raised bullet train viaduct track. 

And...what about the subway? I'm actually thinking of doing without it. I did think about a helix situation or a moderate grade running down into a subway situation, but....I'm really not sure about that. 

The idea would be to use the existing wood I have with the exception of snagging some leg pieces to make the whole thing higher to match the existing height I have on Soyokaze and Shizuka at the moment. 

I'd also have to pick up more track pieces - the most expensive part of this venture, I believe. 

I still like this idea - I find it interesting. 

 It might be a good solution for the shipping items.

KATO also has some switch and extension options for the uniplates I'm using in Shizuka. I can also get pieces that go from the plates down to the Kato double track, so there are a ton of options to play with.

I made a REALLY quick and dirty overview video for the idea with my phone. :) 

So....more plotting and planning will be done. Part of me wants to dive in right away, but that's how all this started years ago and I want to spend more time thinking it through this round. The track purchase alone is going to take a while to sort out.

I think all forward movement will wait on doing anything on Kiwamura, but I still may add some details to Soyokaze Harbor and Village.

As always, comments are welcome!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Small Diorama from HMS2

I'm really enjoying this little videos from HMS2 - a YouTube channel with many clean and interesting HOW TO videos up. I'm really digging them.


The shopping street video below is super clean, super simple and informative, and very easy to follow. There are some nice techniques in there that can be used by many different hobby folks. It also shows that if you want a diorama, but don't have a ton of room, you can still create something that's detailed and fun without a huge footprint.

Grand stuff!

Diorama - A shopping street in front of a train station ミニチュア昭和の駅前商店街作り

Monday, January 4, 2016

Historical View Installations

I wanted to put up some process shots from my recent viewing installation builds I completed back in December. These were fun little projects inspired by something I saw on Rios Tam's blog - a cool little display area he built for one of the gashapon submarine toys he had. I thought it was a fun way to display items like this, so I thought I'd give it a go myself.

I just used styrene - my go to material of choice for these things - and designed up some display areas for some of the 1/144 scale items I had purchased.

First up was an area for a Japanese Zero I purchased.

I kept things super simple.

A touch of paint and some signs later and things were looking pretty OK. I was going to weather up the plane because it was looking really new, but then I saw the image below and thought that it might be ok if it were a newer plane.

I'm SURE this says something unrelated to a Japanese airplane.....  :)
I used the same process on the submarine viewing area. I had two, so I built it large enough to fit both.

I wanted things to have some sweeping curves to make it look like the ocean a bit. A little design fun. I went with the blue again here. The two displays are located close to each other and I like the splash of color they add to the layout.


This was a fun little project. It allowed me to include these cool items on the layout without having to do more water scenes or build an airport! hehehe   It's a fun little nugget.

Friday, January 1, 2016

NRAIL New Years Eve Overview

The last overview video of 2015. A great little benchmark video for future comparisons.

I love looking back on these a month or two after I shoot them to see what sort of progress has been made.

Happy New Year, All!