Friday, March 24, 2017

March Hobby Weekend - Heaven!

My wife took the kids on a little three day weekend journey, so I toughed it out at home....with my layout! I'm a rather active participant in the Family Life and have both regular work and freelance work going, so a whole weekend to focus on hobby stuff is like...well...a unicorn. :) I had Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday to get stuff done and get some relaxation in.

I have my TO DO list going for my layout which makes it a little easier to focus, but after I took them to the airport and came back home on Friday, I was a bit of a muddy mess. I had so much time and tons to do and I think it was a bit overwhelming. It was obvious that I needed to gain a little focus. So, I hopped up and went to see KING KONG. (Fun film, by the way) When I got home, I was able to grab a bite to eat and dive in - clear and focused.

Shizuka Ramp

The first task on my list was continuing to doll up the front part of Shizuka. There was an area right in front that was really bugging me every time I saw it. I had already dropped in a bit of pink foam to form a flat area to work in, but now it was time to build the actual ramp for the front road area that, up to now, was this awkward drop off. 

I just ended up building out the area with some styrene. I built up the ramp and walls, cutting them into the area and bending them to fit with an elevation hat seemed to make sense.  I blocked off the parking area with another bit of styrene and it seemed to make sense flow-wise. much better!!!  No more road to nowhere.

Power to the People!

I snagged those people from the Chinese company and they were as expected - fine looking overall with an overall 50% ok paint job. I've been going back in and hitting them with paint markers to fix the paint that was missing and tame the paint that was too loud. Working out well. A perfect TV viewing activity.

Said people are being used to people my new sidewalks. I have two sidewalk styles going, but I'm only really happy with my styrene passes. First, the styrene....

I really like how they turned out. They seem like they are the right height and I like the texture. 

My other attempt was cardstock, but it's just a bit too thick for my liking. So, I won't be using this batch anymore. I am going to keep this section - just saying it's a higher sidewalk block.


 I also got some other people in place around the layout. The "Peopleing" has begun!

Station folks propped up with vehicles while the glue sets. :)



Dad's Spot Entry Fix

I spent a little time adding to the place I built in memory of my Dad. I boosted it up a bit with styrene so the loading area in the back can be accessed from the street back there. Then, I built in some stairs and a ramp for access.

Still needs some details and paint touch ups

Road Out of Kiwamura

I had this little back section that I filled out with pink foam and I saw that there was an opportunity to build out a little scene that I've been looking at for a while now.

The scene was not exactly the same, but the idea was there - a little road section heading down. 

So, the process was somewhat simple. Basically, I carved the pink foam and made the road out of styrene. Pretty happy with the way it's turning out. Still needs some work. 

Road Paint Ups Started

It...has...begun....   :)

I finally started my roadway painting. I'm trying to get things rolling on the roads and come up with processes for detailing and getting items like lines and postings in place so they don't look like they've been drawn with a large crayon.

The roadways in Soyokaze could use some detailing and weathering, but I think the basic coloring is good for the area.

I mixed up some paint up and started to move some buildings around. And...of of the rooftop signs fell RIGHT into the middle of things....

Direct hit. :::sigh:::
I hit this ramp area with some paint finally.

I filled in large pockets of blank uniplate areas with foam core, then painted the back deck area and spots between. I now has a spot for a crossing and more small areas for additional buildings.

I then set to work on defining the road areas between Kiwamura and Shizuka. They are coming along.

I also touched up this area and got rid of some of the large hump I had between the two section areas.


New little Sankei paper kit building
It was nice being able to really focus for three days. By Saturday night, I was a well oiled machine that was rolling through things like mad while still having fun.  Keeping the fun in the equation was the key. I didn't want this to turn into a panic fire drill. I had my music going, good lines on what I was doing and what I wanted to do next, and even came up with projects that I could take on at night upstairs in the house (Like the Sankei kit above)  so that I could get my movie viewing in as well! 

It's all a blur now. Like a happy dream. But my week was far better for it, that's for sure. 

I plan to take a few more Staycations in the future. Time off of work where I can get some good hobby time in during daylight hours. 



Video - Bits and Bobs

Just some progress shots and a video.

I put another Greenmax kit together - still love them. This particular kit comes with two buildings and parts so you can make variants. Between the variant parts and different paint schemes, I think they look different enough to play well on my layout.

I still don't have an airbrush, but I like the grain the brushes put into the paint.

I still need to put people in these. Make them look alive with life inside.

I'm pretty happy with the results.

And, in place....

As a horror fan, I needed to have another horror scene on the layout. :)

I'm going to cut the plexi base back on the scene below to make it look a bit more organic. Curve the edges. Ditch the straight edges. I think it will help take away the distracting plastic there.

Thanks for watching!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

People and tracks and planning - OH MY!

And music for today's post - PINK MARTINI and SAORI YUKI :)

 I have several irons in the fire, as usual. It's looking like I might have a generous amount of hobby time next weekend, so I'm making sure I have a solid game plan in place so I don't find myself staring at the layout blankly for an hour like I did last weekend. heh


I'm still milling over trying to get my freight line and high speed rail line merged so I can run a long freight train around in a full loop. There are a few options, but I'm not sure my current structure will be able to support it. I can see if working if I was doing the wiring myself - soldering power to tracks, but I'm going with the standard KATO power setup and...that's limiting.

So, gave thought to making something happen in the switching area of the yard throat. (center towards the top) I'd place a left switch in the area and connect to the spot right in front of the EVA 500 in the shot below. (purple train) I can see this working.

I also gave thought to a double crossover in the center of the image below. I think that would work well, but I'd have to do a lot of track re-configuring.

Option three is running something off the high speed rail area on the right side of the image below, through where my shipping area is currently, then connecting up to the freight area there. I'd need to relocate the shipping spot and loose some other items I have grown to love, so I'm not sure this really is an option at all.

I've been playing around with moving things around on the freight side and it's still fun. And, honestly, I have friends who simply plop various trains onto the layout and run them as the desire strikes, so I COULD just build a freight train on the high speed line, run it around, then switch it back from time to time. If I buy more high speed trains, I'll be doing that anyway. I only have two spots for trains to "park" at the moment anyway, so...with three trains now, I'll have to start doing this anyway.

Food for thought.

•• PEOPLE ••

I finally purchased two bunches of these cheap, Chinese figures after coming to the realization that I'll be able to do some painting touch-ups to make them look less uniform as needed. I've done it recently and it is simple and quick. It's a nice option instead of having to paint the WHOLE figure from scratch and the results are fine - especially since most of them will be used for crowds or mid-ground and background areas anyway.

$13 for 100 figures. 1/150

I finally spent a moment placing some people on plastic for the back station area. This was a good option for the space. I didn't have to remove the whole platform to work on it. I just dropped the completed plastic groups onto the platform once I was done. Worked like a charm! And, it's looking WAY better with some people on the platform. It was SO barren before. I might end up removing the overhead or adding lighting so I can see the figures a bit better, but that's off in the future.


Ah....better. :)

The plastic bases were also handy for re-positioning the figures so that they looked right when I shot them. I was able to slip them around into position and get them looking like I wanted them to with ease. In theory, I'll also be able to snatch them if need be for use elsewhere if I want to have more people in a scene I'm shooting. I doubt this will happen too often, however. They are really difficult to get to back there! hehehe


On a fun note, I stumbled onto this and I think it will feature somewhere on my layout. A Gundam display. I think it will make a fun scene for sure.

I'd have people taking photos, the guard chain, and items like that in the scene. I have a TON of 1/144 scale Gundam figures that I'll be able to swap in and out of the scene. It's going to make a fun addition.


Sadly, my Kaiju monster project stalled and fizzled. I purchased the clay and did a little build while on vacation a month or so ago, but eye was eyeballing the size and I wasn't thinking through the whole of the process, so what I was left with was a monster design that I found interesting, but that was far too large for what I had in mind for the layout. I wanted something subtle and small and ended up with something that was far too large to be subtle. So, I've tabled that project for now.

I still have sidewalks on the brain for Shizuka. I'm using the Kato Unitram plates for 75% of the city area and they include sidewalks, but I still have several areas that need sidewalks. I purchased some heavy card stock that I'm going to experiment with, but I may save that and purchase some 1.5mm styrene sheets instead. I'll have to play around with the stock to see if it will work. It's relatively cheap, but I'm not 100% on the height.

I also noticed that there are areas in the area of Shizuka that isn't plastic plates that I have VERY tight street areas between the buildings. I might have to address this and give some breathing room to the areas. I'll have some small streets there for sure. It's prototypical. However, when the sidewalks area added, some of them will be so tight that I'd have trouble driving my Toyota Yaris down them without scraping the sides! hehehehe

I still need to take measurements for the area I want to build a parking area for - the bare plywood spot to the right side of the image on the left. Initially, I was going to purchase another KATO parking lot - I have one and it's a fun little kit. However, as with my little truck rental spot, it seemed silly to purchase something that's basically a large, flat space to park cars. hehehe

So, I'm just going to wing it - especially since it's in the back...behind buildings and barely visible. LOTS of room to make mistakes and still have it come out great.

KATO's Park and Parking combo kit.

I also plan on including little parking areas a viewer can find here and there. They have these little parking areas that are adorable. hehehe  Like this one I found on Jeffrey Friedl's blog.

Again, a relatively easy scratch-build, I would imagine.

I also plan on a few vending machine areas as well.Tucked away in little spots on the layout.


I'm already off to a good start on vending machines thanks to SANTA SAN and his Sankei gift pack I was sent a few years back! :) I have two more packs of these to build yet.

I think that's all for now. Of course, there are MANY other items I'm making an effort to sort out, but these are top of mind at the moment. 

Happy modeling, All!