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  1. Hi guys, I'm finally feeling the urge to take the plunge and delve into making my very first permanent N scale layout from scratch starting from the bench work construction of a dedicated table to fully furnishing it with scenery. It'll be something I'll want to make taking inspiration from a few other Japanese layouts by members in the Japanese Railway Society and possibly some here. I'd like to make it a layout I can proudly display at convention centers and train shows (who wouldn't), without being sanguine for my first project. The name I have so far christened it with (桜木の湯線) is after the area I'm in as well as mentioning my love of cherry blossoms and hot springs. I'd like it to be a mostly steam JGR/JNR era fictional layout. There may be no catenary, but I'll have many EL that I like (EF13, EF65) running on it as well! The first stage in my mind is configuring the final track layout before the first shovelful of sod is turned. I'm using an app called "TrainDesign" to make a relatively complex track arrangement (hopefully not too advanced for my first layout) with KATO N Unitrack to fit within the confinement of space (a single table 1462 mm x 906 mm) I'm willing to spend in my apartment. Does anyone have experience using this, or would they recommend another program? The train table is something I'd really like to make the most of by having it be sturdy, portable and also presentable while still remaining practical and minimal in its embellishments. To give it a "Japanese" flavor, I'd like to stain and lacquer the wood finish of the fascia of the table and add ropes at the narrow ends for carrying it. A layout depicted below ("Yama no yu sen") built by Stephen Gomersall is said to have done such. Note the pedestrian bridge. I'm looking into more details about this layout for more inspiration. Any suggestions or advice? I thank you all for any help you can offer so I put my best foot forward! The layout will also strongly take inspiration from this depot model of a fictional Japanese roundhouse called "Kamanashi Kikanku" built by Phil Hendry. I hope to acquire the same or similar kits from which the roundhouse and turntable were built (Fleischmann). If anyone knows a good locale to purchase them, many thanks! I will soon shown the decided general track plan and rough sketches of the table I'll want to build for sociable critique before moving to the next stage; buying materials. Aside from the roundhouse mentioned above, I intend to have an engine house as well, merely since I'd like there to be plenty of space devoted to showing off my locomotives awaiting their next turn of duty. I have the three bay engine house kit that resembles the classic stone one in Hitoyoshi, one of my favorite landmarks on the line. I would however like to alter the color of the brickwork of the kit by making them a lighter shade (like the VoR shed below) to match the cedar woodwork of the table. If anyone has experience with kits such as what techniques or paints can be used to achieve this, much appreciated. Update (Nov 2, 2023): Here's the current track plan design courtesy of Doug Coster who rendered this for me in 3D. I'm pretty satisfied with it.
  2. While looking at the data files of SCARM, i discovered that it uses a simple text based format. Interestingly the library format is very similar, so it's possible to create new libraries and add new tracks to existing ones using a simple text editor. (like notepad) I would like to upgrade the Tomix library in SCARM, but i don't have much information about all the existing track types available, so i would like to ask everyone who is willing to help to gather all the missing pieces for the Tomix track types. What is needed: -name of the track (like S140) -catalog number (1021) -geometry of the track (length or angle and radius) -both geometries for compound tracks (like double track pieces) The new library will be posted here and also submitted to the SCARM team for review.
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