Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Aug 22nd 2016 - Devil in the Details

I've been rolling with the detailing phases and it's working out wonderfully. I'm digging the additional foliage and I've been making a few attempts and street markings, though I've rushed them and I'm not happy with what I've done there. The street markings are just going to require more time and effort. That's ok. 

I've started covering up bare deck areas - painting them or covering them with foliage and scenic elements. A huge help.

I had a layer of paint down in this center Shizuka section, but I went in with a second coat and it's much better.

More painting in the back area.

I purchased a plastic kit from a Chinese company recently - Outland Models on eBay. I was a little weary at first due to the low price - around $9, I believe - and the fact that they said that it didn't come with instructions. However, I took the leap and gave it a go.

The kit was simple. The plastic they used was super sturdy and felt like it was quality stuff. It arrived quickly in a little bubble pack. All grand.

The building went together with no glue - very sturdy and tight. I was very pleased with the overall construction and it was very simple to sort out what went where. No worries there. I did my usual fluffing up of the interior adding a few bits and bobs to make it look like something was happening inside.

I added a few splashes of color on the outside. I wasn't looking at this as a foreground building. I see it as more of a mid-ground or background filler building. But, the color was nice.

I have lots of room to add additional details like the poster items I've been tossing into the mix.

I placed the building on the layout when the paint dried and did a literal double take when I placed it next to this Kato building. "HEY! hehehehe  It's the SAME BUILDING!"  I had a good laugh. I guess the folks I got it from used the Kato building as a mold or scanned it. Rather humorous.

Some small differences, but...yeah...it's the same damn building. :)
I masked off the top and did some painting there as well.

I was going to do a bunch of weathering on the building, but I thought better of it after driving through my neighborhood and checking out some buildings. My wife was driving and I was taking in some details and thought, "You know...these buildings are pretty dern clean, really. Not a lot of grime." They really were clean. And any details that were on there would have been invisible in N scale. I think the roof could use some grime, but I think I'll go easy on the dirt on the buildings in Shizuka. Now...the factory area will be a different thing all together! :)

 The new lights are working out well. I dig the overall feel they give off. It's working for me. I can tweak images via Photoshop or Instagram, so it's really about the "glow" in general for me.

I switched the building I built in memory of my Father over into a more prominent spot.

I added yet ANOTHER bus to my bus lineup. This time an offering from TOMYTEC that features characters from the Anime LUPIN! Fun stuff! 

I also added the TOMYTEC Bus Terminal Roundabout which is a fen little detail. I'm going to use it close to the Kiwamura Station area, so I'll have to work at blending it into the area properly. It plays well with the KATO Uniplates due to the height of the base, but I'll need to build up the area so buses could roll up where I'm setting it. The ramp they provide is...not acceptable. :)

And lastly, I made a purchase of a few other items - people, some motorcycles, and some additional cars and trucks.  I also got a building and boxcar to try out the project I had in mind of the spot I saw back in Maryland where they had boxcars up on a building used as storage.

However....the buidling I got was a bit small to do this with. :::sigh:::  I didn't even think to check. I was rolling through my order process too quickly.

So, I may do this with a building I already have, I might try to kitbash up something using the building as a base and rolling some additional structure elements off to the other side of where the stairs are now, or may work with it as storage just off to the side. I think I need to work out a building that this boxcar can sit on top of - I dig it too much! hehehe I think the kitbash will be the most fun. And I'll have something really unique when I'm done.

I'm still making an effort to fit my modeling in around the edges of my schedule making use of lunchtime and the few minutes I have before walking up from my office. It's working so far and better than not doing any hobby time at all! (This might explain away any typos that may be present in these blog posts as well! hehehehe)

Thanks for reading! 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Odd dream. Nightmare, really.

So, I had this really odd dream last night. 

The dream had me going away on a business trip to meet some Japanese business folks. I was told that they requested that I bring my train layout with me to show them. ((DREAM LOGIC: Sure, I'll just bring it with me...))

I get there and it's set up in the main guy's MASSIVE home where we are staying. Trains are run around and there was some nods of approval and smiles. 

THEN...one of the business guys takes this knife and cuts the top of one of my hillsides odd and lifts it up to examine it. Like...saws the top of the whole hill off! 

I'm shocked, but the interpreter states that he just wanted to see what it was made of and it can be glued back without harm. Not true....but...ok...don't want the meeting to go south. 

I go out with a group of friends and after dinner I'm getting some items out of my bag and as soon as everything is out of the bag on a table, all my friends run off, hop in the car, and drive away. 

A homeless man asks for money and I absently give him some as I try to figure out what just happened. 

Then I realize that I gave the guy all the cash I had on hand and now I can't get a cab home. ((DREAM LOGIC: Credit card?))

I go to get coffee so I can get cash back and end up getting a giant Starbucks COFFEE TO GO pack and a bunch of cups and start passing out coffee to the homeless folks in this area I'm stranded in. 

When I finally get back to this Japanese guy's how, I find that he and his group have taken appart MY ENTIRE LAYOUT and organized it into track pieces, buildings, autos, buses. 

They even took apart this giant town square I built with all of these tiny tiles and organized the tiles by color. 

Everything else was gone - out in a dumpster. Bare benchwork was left. 

"Ah...you're back. He wanted to improve your layout. You got many things wrong and there was much room for improvement."

Yeah...more like a nightmare. 

And, yes, I bet my being stressed about job items has a HUGE part to play in this, huh? hehehe


Monday, August 15, 2016

August 14th Update: Planning, and Modules, and Scenery. Oh My!

Sneaking in time around the edges of my real life items seems to be working out nicely. :) I've been making use of time before work, time at lunch, and I've even been heading down to the layout space or working upstairs after the kids go to sleep - sometimes that's rather difficult, however, just due to it being hard to ramp up into something at 9pm.

That being said...I got some stuff done.

More Work on the Background Modules Section

Like it says on the tin, I got more work done on my background modules, knocking out the last in the series about 90%. 
Again, these are pink foam pieces that drop into the back area of the layout. They are at a slight angle to increase what you see from the front of the layout, so I've been building up bases for some of the buildings to sit on.

I used styrene for the roadway ramps leading up to the buildings.

A round of painting and Woodland Scenics foam later and things were looking pretty ok.

Styrene sidewalks need to be weathered and dulled a bit, but you get the idea. :)

And then the details, wherein lay the devil, of course. :::grin:::  These are the things I love. This is a good start, but I want to do another round of detailing and the like on this modules in the near future.

The folks in the yellow suits are back. What are they doing, exactly? They seem to be in a few different places....

Bus area with a few passengers

A friendly wave and some repair work on the roof

And, in it's place at the back of the layout....

More Details and Scenic Work

I finally got around to addressing the front area of the layout. As I pointed out in my latest update video, it's one of the first areas I saw walking into the layout space, so seeing bare foam board and the like was sad. :) I started in on my MORE GREEN! plan and got the main pad area of the Shizuka Historical Park in place.

Note the whiskey - the benefit of working at night instead of during the day! :)

The additional greenery in the front along with the improved Historical Section is making a huge difference to me. I'm much happier with how it's looking overall.

Some ground work being done outside the park.

First round of scenic materials at the back of the layout space

I'm loving the green!  Things are starting to resemble some of my reference photos.



Other Items in Play

I got more work done on my styrene crossing. I just tossed some scenic materials at it. It needs another round of weathering and scenics.

I'll be addressing more of the yard area in the near future. I'm doing a test right now - two layers of paint seems to be covering the wood grain nicely. I'll be doing a mixture of painting and ballast in the yard. 

I have to say, actually RUNNING my trains has been fun. When the tracks are clean, the trains and trams are running rather well. The other day, the girls came down while I was getting some Sunday hobby time in and they loved seeing the trains running around. My five year old was THRILLED to actually run one of the trains herself. The smile on her face was fantastic. (( No photos of it - I was too busy actually being there in the moment! ))


Things are actually starting to look like...a real space. A place you could actually go an visit. Yes, that's a happy thing for me. :::grin:::  I'm living out a dream that I've had for years and years. From happy thoughts to the layout my Father built for me when I was ten years old, to  purchasing the Kato Unitram set and running it on two dressers in my small place in San Francisco, to making more purchases and splitting out the layout between a space at my office and the spot at home, to finally having everything all together in one space and functioning....it's amazing and I count my lucky stars every time I see it.