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disturbman - In progress thread


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At first, everything was simple. I was going to build a small loop, a layout intended for my B-trains. A first layout dedicated to my learning of the secret arcanes of railroad modeling.


But, I got eager. I wanted more than just a plain boring loop. I got back to one of my old pet project. A modular layout with mountain and everything. But the dimensions were too narrow. It was impossible to have two loops (the one for the Party and the othe one for my bigger personal project) and a scenicked city on the same small board.


I moved on, changed my first design and ended up with a linear module set on the fringes of a much bigger layout. This module was going to be a suburban terminus serving a small city center.


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And now I'm wondering, should I stay with the "double decker" design I choosed for the whole layout or stay calm and small? We will see. That's not really relevant here and my thoughts are centered on other questions:


- Should my tracks in the back of the module or in front? The back option seems to give more space to model the city whereas the front option put the train in the action... More mockups, I will need to do more mockups to choose between those two options.


- Should I make my station a terminus or not? What buildings am I going to use? Should I scratchbuild a station...


As you can see, I'm still going through the design process and will not start work untill everything is all set in my mind. In any case, my goal remains the same. I will try to build a runable module for my layout. I don't think I will be able to complete my project during this Party. I have too much building to find, buy and built for it to be doable in solely two months but I do intend to have at least the tracks lay down, the station ready as well as some other buildings.

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This week work could be summarized like this.


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A wall, and that's not metaphorical, with two piece of paper hanging from it. One is the plan I posted last week. I'm going to put in action. The only remaining question being: where could I have a storing track? How could it connect to my terminus and the two existing (not yet but on the paper) tracks.


The other one show the instructions to build a Greenmax kit. I had it in storage since a few months and this party is exactly the time to take it out and give it a try. Learning from my past "mistakes" I decided to try a darker paint job than before for the wooden walls. For that I mixed a light brown with a touch of balck. The result is interresting. To the eyes in normal light (meaning inside light) the color is very dark, allmost black, but if you put on it the right amount of light then it will look like it's brown.


I also tried some new techniques: the Q-tip technique to paint (I just made some try outs, I didn't use the technique on the model yet) and the very painfull and tedious job of masking parts of the model. I can't say I enjoied it but it was a necessary step and saddly (for me) I do need to put it one more time in action.


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I also took a picture of my baseboard. I made a mock up of how the track plan is going to look like. I still need some more tracks. They are in the mail but I didn't pay attention when I placed my order and I need another point. Here, like serenityFan, I'm using Tomix's finetrack and micropoint. I was a bit anxious about this point. I know that the smaller they get and the less reliable they are. Hopefully I tested it and my trains, at least my hand propeled B-train, don't derail at full speed. So I'm quite safe and decided to oder more but not enough. I will in any case order the missing ones with some sankei paper structures. I'm also awaiting some buffers for my termini.


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I've been quite busy these days. Creativity come to me like an unintended muse and I diverted my energy into some writing projects. I was also pumped by my personal life which is a bit in shambles right now... or maybe I playing the drama queen here.


Anyway, I still managed to have some work done these last three days. Compared to the time I worked it seems like I didn't do anything but that's simply not true. I'm quite please with myself and do think that I can't do better. If you remember last week I did a paint job on a Greenmax kit. For that I tried masking parts so I don't get too much overboard. Man, those japanese wooden houses are a pain to paint in N scale. Too much little details. And thus masking got me thinking. I really liked how the paint was looking on them. All week long I kept this image in mind. Until monday, when I decided that I was going to cut again some tape and paint over it to have some nice material effect... Funnily enough, just after I made this decision, I came here and saw SerenityFan last work... Two great mind had met.


I embark upon my great journey with my beard and all the animals on my ar... Nope that's not this story. First I started to cut pieces of masking tape to the correct dimensions. But it didn't work. My cutting was too imperfect and the paint was killing the tape and its glue. And I had also failed the color. It was not right, too dark.


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So I tried again. This time I decided to paint a whole tape length. A piece ~20cm long and I was going to tape it on a surface I knew it will adhere forcefully and not bulge when I applied the paint. I stick it then on my cutting mat, poor thing, and made my paint mix (a deluge of ivory and a shade of black) that I Q-tiped on the tape. I didn't want to use brushes, the result will have been to messy.


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And finally I proceed to cut little piece of tape after little piece untill I got this:


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I still need to paint the rocky part on the front of the kit.


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The result looks much better to the eye than to the lens, I will try to take a day light picture tomorow.

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No, nothing on the house today. The subject is far more important. For this update I'll focus on my trackplan. Why? Because I think I nailed it. I mean, not physically speaking. I'm not that far and, anyway, I will not use nails to hold the track on my baseboard.


So, what happen? It happen that Monday I received a pack of track with among it a bunch of points that was needed to get further with the trackplan. And I might say, I'm quite happy with my toeing around. At first I had doubt, because I was not running the trains in the correct direction. I was making them run right-handed... until yesterday. Then I discovered that I should and could make them run left-hand. And everything was magically solved.


Let me explain.


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On the left side of the board, the tracks will connect with upcomming modules.

On the right side, they will end in a suburban (I hope) terminus station. I still need the buffers.


The upper track is a sidding or a garage if you prefer. Trains will seldomly been stored there after unloading their pax at the station.

The midle track, aka Track One, is the incoming track. Trains will arrive from the left and go to the station, stop before they exiting track number one by the first pair of points or by the siding.

The lower track, aka Track Two, is the outgoing track. Trains go out the station, take the points and exit the modules.I will also have the possibility to make them manoeuver so they reenter the station on track number two to upload passenger. I'm seeing this as a limited service, used maybe by an IC or a special train. Most of the trains will enter the station on track one and get out directly on track two.

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Had to sew the crotch of one of my favorite pants. Hard work it was but after one failed attempt and many holes in my fingers I manage to do it.


That's all folks...





... And that's quite untrue. I also received my buffers. I install them and like magic... my layout plan doesn't fit anymore in the allowed space. I'm looking for a way to deal with this issue but I still haven't find my answer. I might revised my plan for this party. I don't know what I will do, maybe go back to a loop design or reduce dramatically the size of the module I'm working on and split the actual work on two different module. That's a big step backwards and my head runs in mindless loops.

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Thanks to Bernard, the crisis have been averted.


If I can't have the station and the siding together on one module I will then separate the two scenes on two different modules. It took me some time to adjust to the idea. And time to think about it too. But now, I think I got the hang of it.


My module/diorama will feature a 4 track terminal station. Two on each side of the board. Each pair of track will be independant from one another. I still don't know where the new pair of tracks is going to end but I'm thinking that maybe they will be link to the other one. The trains will be then start in one pair, run on the layout and then finish their run on the other pair of track. That's an idea, we will see what is going to happen. But, for the moment, I've to focus on my module.


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As you can see. I used some cardboard to make a rudimentary mock up of the platforms. In fact, as I see it, the platforms will be extended to the end of each pair of tracks so they can be linked together. Like in normal everyday life terminal station.


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Takamatsu-Eki, an inspiration for this project. I'm not the author of this picture.


The platforms will be (partly ?) enclosed behind a station building that I've yet to scratchbuild or kitbash. The main idea is to use readily available kits to form the station building(s). For that purpose I buy a Walthers factory kit in the Hobby Shop that is two street corners away from where I live.


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I know, it's not a japanese model but an exemple of industrial north american architecture. None the less I do think this building can have is place on a japanese layout if it gets the correct treatment to blend it into it. Like using it together with other, more japanese looking, buildings and by adding japense stickers to it. There is some exemple of such brick architecture in Japan.


Anyway this building should sit more or less where the house in the first picture is. I've yet to mesure the kit to know what I've to or could do with it.

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It took me sometime but I'm back. I know now that this project won't be finished in time to meet the Party's deadline. That's not a problem, I don't really care. I'm having too much fun.


It's been allmost a month now since my last update and nothing much really happened. Well, that's not true but you don't need to know all my life. Anyway, I finally found some supplies. Not what I envisioned but still. I got 2mm and 3mm thick cork sheets, some blue foam (but too small for making it my project board) and some polystirol (a white plastic)...


After much thinking I decided that I will make my platforms core out of laminated cork sheets. The first idea was to use only polystirol but I was not sure it will be sturdy enough. Instead, I will be covering the cork with polystirol... I hope it's even remotely feasible because I don't have any fallback plan for the moment.


I started by layering my whole board with 2mm thick cork, embedding the track into it... and that's all for the moment.


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I don't have yet any pictures to show but I can tell you that work is progressing smoothly on the layout. I recently received a batch of Sankei's products and I've been busy puting them together. They are great kits and they require a tad more work and praecision than plastic models. For the moment I build two out of the three. I'll be taking pictures once I'm done with them... and when I will have a sufficientl good light. No much chance so far, days are quite rainy and dark.


I've also been gluing down cork. I'm up my chin in Carpentar's glue. I love it but it's... well... gluey. After that I'll be puting together the platforms: four cork layer and one of white polystirol (to be painted).


And if I'm lucky I'll be receiving the remaining tracks before this party ends. Meaning that I would finally be drilling some holes, gluing and balasting tracks.

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... or the update of the angry man.


This night my fellow fluffy ball companion decided to see if my corked baseboard was strong enough to resist his scratching test... It didn't but the damage is limited to a few puncture points. Right now, I hate his guts and I've too find away to protect my work from him...

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I'm a bit late, didn't have time before to make it and then I had to replenish my camera's batteries.


It's been a while now since I didn't post some pictures here and the ones I'm going to post today don't show many things. My layout is still bare and for some of you it will look like nothing happened here... This first impression is wrong, at least in my opinion, and I did an amazing work here. I'm much further ahead now that I was at the beggining of this Party and I cleared steps I was afraid of. I was never so close to glue tracks down. After so many years of just running trains on the floor I think that's quite an achievement.  :cool:


Update 7:

At the time I didn't have any pictures to show but now I have so we are in for a little flashback. This simple picture features my baseboard with cork glued on top. Since Update 7 some work where done here too. I installed a motor in a turnout and I drilled two holes for the wiring. You can also see where my cat started to destroy all this hardwork. One failure, I thought I will have a ready to run module by now but I had problem to solder the electrical wires to the rail joints. I have to try again and drill some more holes.


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Sankei's Special:

During the last week I was bys building some "paper kits". The process involved carpenter's white glue, a small brush and a good amount of patience. Like I said somewhere else I was taken by surprise by the complexity of those kits compared to regular plastic ones but the results are great. I love them and will be using more.


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Cork's Special:

Corkwas those last days really my friend and I cut and I glued down more than my share of this material. Like you know I did a cork coating on my baseboard but I also started to build the structure on which my platforms will sit. This is made by laminating 6 layer of 2mm thick cork that I first cut into 20 by 100mm. Robotic but nice to process. I really like working with very thin layers of cork and some carpenter's glue... I think I'm kill one bottle in the last weeks of work.


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This is, more or less, how it ends for me:

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