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nah00

Mitakihara Diary

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nah00

So this is something I've always wanted to and my recent bout of frustration led to me to want to do something positive so I decided to more fully share my layout, Mitakihara. I called this thread Mitakihara Diary because I have a lot of 'in progress' pictures that I want to go back to and post from the layout's humble dining room table beginnings to where it is now. As for now though I'll post some pictures of the layout as it is now and revisit this thread with some of the early photos and updates on the layout.

 

 

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First thing you see when viewing the layout is Kazemino, a seaside town home to a station and a container yard. Also of note is my 'unique' way of storing rolling stock. An EF81 rolls through in this shot.

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The end of the yard has an engine depot and truck loading facility. I'm still working on ways to improve the truck dock and I kind of regret the placement of the engine depot as it is hard to get to but if I use it as a car shop instead it makes sense. Also in view is the Mitsurugi refinery and the as-yet-unnamed small town next to it.

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A better view of the unnamed town. I used to have a grain elevator here for some reason and it saw very little use (turns out industrial switching isn't as fun as I thought). About the same time I was wondering what to do with these tracks I realized I had a bunch of DMUs and EMUs that didn't have a smallish station to go to and that adding one would give the up-and-over track more use (visible in the background). Overall I'm very happy with the change but need to add a bridge since currently the residents are stranded. Believe it or not keeping track of the switches without a panel isn't too tough.

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Better view of Mitsurugi refinery. Evidently this refinery produces LPG, gasoline and chlorine... The silver gas tank behind the three smokestacks isn't something you missed from the diorama collection, I messed up the legs on one (glued the X-supports in upside-down) so it required some disassembly that also made it need a new paint job. Also the wall sections will eventually glued down and the wall itself is made out of a piece of finish cut to sections.

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Going to the other side, one my favorite scenes I've made so far, the greenhouse and orchard.

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The focus in this one is weird but I like it, the container yard at Mitakihara. Part of me wishes I had flipped the layout at some point and had the station on this end but I would like to update to Kato's wireless controller for at least this loop so I can walk around and do the uncoupling and some work in the yard.

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From the previous photo you can see the yard also has a track for steam engine service. This is just kind of fanciful on my part, I imagine the actual facilities for servicing the surviving steam locomotives in Japan are decidedly more modern. Nice action shot though.

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Mitakihara town proper with the temple in the center and the up and over to the refnery and town.

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Mitakihara Station with tunnel in the background. Painting the inside black made a HUGE difference on how good the tunnels looked.

 

Edited by nah00
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nah00

...cont'd

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Another view of Mitakihara town. Honestly I thought I was going to use the bus system a lot more than I did. For whatever reason mine seems to go through batteries like crazy. Also the track needs a thorough cleaning before you use it, any dust is essentially ice to it. I know if I had an RX7 I wouldn't park it that close to a high voltage line...

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Yes the elevated line is REALLY close to the edge here. I do want to put a backdrop on this side of the layout at some point but also don't want to cut off easy access to the container yard so I may some kind of tongue and groove system so I can take it off or keep it reasonably short.

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Mikasa Airbase with it's siding. Inspired by Yokota this is obviously a bit different. I do want to make a garage for the fire engines and the empty spot is for the Tomytec control tower (when I get around to building it...).

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Mitakihara Station from the tunnel side. Being able to fit 8 cars would be nice but even 'only' 6 makes it look busy, particularly here with an ET127 passing on the left and the 201 series Shikisai, 583 series and 485 series Irodori all stopped at the platforms.

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Now for a part I'm kind of ambivalent about. This freight depot and LPG dealer served by rail. Definitely a carryover from modelling North American prototypes and I doubt that many (if any) such small industries are served like this today. One thing I plan to do is to take out the black fuel-oil tanks and silver refueling stand to give this scene a bit more room to breathe. I've also thought of replacing the freight house with a sawmill (there's an old Pola kit that is about the same size) as before I had the Diorama Collection woodshop/lumberyard here.

 

That's it for now, doing this helped work through some of the negativity I've felt lately. Look forward to updates both from the past in building where it is now to things I do going forward.

 

Edited by nah00
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Grant_T

This looks like a lot of fun. I would love a space like this.

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Keith

Thank you for sharing your layout, there is a lot of inspiration in it.

 

keith

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JR 500系

Wow this looks amazing! Thank you for sharing this!

 

I quite liked how the surrounding hills around the air base looked, and the view of that station before the tunnel is pretty interesting too! 

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nah00

Thank you guys! The hills around the air base help serve as a scene divider and the station did turn out better than I thought. At first I was worried about clearance with the turnouts (they start in the tunnel) but the portals I used have enough space on both sides the let anything through. 

 

Technically it's a very simple layout, it's the two loops around Mitakihara and then a longer loop around the perimeter of the layout. Total size is approximately 10 foot by 8 foot.

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marknewton
On 1/28/2020 at 1:40 PM, nah00 said:

IMG_1187.thumb.JPG.4b04ed0f3775ae7645818f28575c7c61.JPG

A better view of the unnamed town. I used to have a grain elevator here for some reason and it saw very little use (turns out industrial switching isn't as fun as I thought). About the same time I was wondering what to do with these tracks I realized I had a bunch of DMUs and EMUs that didn't have a smallish station to go to and that adding one would give the up-and-over track more use (visible in the background). Overall I'm very happy with the change but need to add a bridge since currently the residents are stranded.


Nah, your whole layout is impressive, but I particularly like this view of the unnamed town. I'll be interested in seeing how you develop it.

 

All the best,

 

Mark.

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cteno4

Nah,

 

donut is great fun! Being in the center with the trains running around you! It’s nice, it’s got personality, it’s looks like you are enjoying yourself with it! Love the high tension towers, they really are nice vertical visual pieces. We have 3 on JRM 3.0, but your red and white are much nicer than the Tomytec silver so I’m going to paint ours when we start to get 3.0 going again.

 

You got a great playground to play on! Kudos!

 

cheers

 

jeff

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nah00

Some changes to the small industrial area. Rationalized some of the trackwork to make a small passing siding and took out the steam locomotive service facility:

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These ones show the changes better, was able to eliminate one switch (the track running around the container yard didn't make much sense to me and could be better used for scenery/making the terminal bigger) and made the entrance to the small industrial area off of the passing siding so I can drop off WaMus and TaKis and then pick up empties and also allows me to shuffle the KoKis in the yard better. Also added a feeder to the elevated track at the pier on the left of the photo, Kato made it pretty easy to wire up elevated tracks, just need some piping to cover up the wire:

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A shot showing the revamped trackwork in the industrial area, pardon the mess, it's still not sorted out properly yet. Much less crowded though with just the two industries though, feels more natural. Also I like the uncluttered look of the track along the back, it's not as 'busy' as it was before:

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Now a trip to the past, the first iteration of the layout, the tabletop:

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At this point I was amazed by power routing switches and the idea of being able to have more than one train on the track:

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Oh the horror, KoKi 200s carrying 12 ft JNR containers!

 

And then of course I got the up and over set and this is when I discovered to prevent your brand new E7 from smacking into the curved viaduct pieces you had to use those shorter straights they gave you:

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nah00
On 1/29/2020 at 2:48 PM, cteno4 said:

Nah,

 

donut is great fun! Being in the center with the trains running around you! It’s nice, it’s got personality, it’s looks like you are enjoying yourself with it! Love the high tension towers, they really are nice vertical visual pieces. We have 3 on JRM 3.0, but your red and white are much nicer than the Tomytec silver so I’m going to paint ours when we start to get 3.0 going again.

 

You got a great playground to play on! Kudos!

 

cheers

 

jeff

 

Despite the fact that they're spread apart their size does make them an effective scenic divider and the red and white draws the eye more so you don't see the looping train. Also they're a lot easier to put together than the Kato/Heljan kits which are a nightmare to assemble. 

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cteno4

Yep, I’m very in favor of scenic dividers that are not large walls, keyboards, backdrops, etc. amazing what can be done with something as simple as towers like this. I find Ttrak Skyboards have this problem of becoming this large and cacophonous strip that takes the eye away from the modules and ends up fighting with the scenes overall. I’ve noticed that even with a lot of very different modules all mashed up together, if each scene does just a little to contain their scene with some elements that are part of their scene the minds eye forgives a lot of the rapid scene changes.

 

jeff

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nah00

Same, I've never been a fan of the 'board down the middle of the layout' type divider, especially when it's in the middle of a hill. To me it's easier to trick the eye by making the hill slightly steeper than in real life than having reality end at the corner of a board. I noticed the same thing with Ttrak, generally the modules that don't have a background and are self contained or 2 or 3 in a row aren't too distracting when placed together. 

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valkyriepm
On 2/24/2020 at 10:37 PM, nah00 said:

A shot showing the revamped trackwork in the industrial area, pardon the mess, it's still not sorted out properly yet. Much less crowded though with just the two industries though, feels more natural. Also I like the uncluttered look of the track along the back, it's not as 'busy' as it was before:

mita3.thumb.jpg.1f2c89b4eb5f03580ec35253453993e0.jpg

 

Great development! Since I see you added the Walthers LPG facility and I´ve been studying the same kind of facilities for my future layout, here´s a link to a nice area for LPG storage and distribution in case you plan to further add buildings or structures: https://www.google.com/maps/@35.0618009,136.8748537,3a,60y,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sKHX53t6BYiz3ZVvm83GFLg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192 

Keep up the good work!

 

Martin

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nah00
40 minutes ago, valkyriepm said:

 

Great development! Since I see you added the Walthers LPG facility and I´ve been studying the same kind of facilities for my future layout, here´s a link to a nice area for LPG storage and distribution in case you plan to further add buildings or structures: https://www.google.com/maps/@35.0618009,136.8748537,3a,60y,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sKHX53t6BYiz3ZVvm83GFLg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192 

Keep up the good work!

 

Martin

 

Thank you very much, this is exactly the type of picture I was looking for as I wanted to start work on some of the loading docks/storage sheds but didn't have many reference photos (I have a shot from one in Hokkaido but it's hard to see much). Glad to see that they're pretty simple buildings, should be able to make them out of parts of Greenmax passenger platforms and styrene from my pile of odds and ends. 

 

I doubt many of these (if any of them) are still rail-served in Japan but we'll just call it a creative anachronism. 

Edited by nah00
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nah00
Posted (edited)

Been a while since I did some work on my layout, combination of things over the last few months. Anyway, I was on vacation this week and with no where to go decided it was time for something I was dreading:

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I greatly suggest just getting the big can of Krylon for something like this. The tiny Tamiya cans are nice but you'll spend a fortune doing a project like this. I knew painted catenary with painted insulators made a difference but didn't expect it to be so big:

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I didn't paint insulators on the rest yet, figure if I do 8-10 each time I'm running trains I'll be done inside of a month. Also decided the foam blob in the corner needed to look like something:

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I used Scenic Express' 'Alpine Blend' for the hill. I'm trying to model fall but felt like it was orange, yellow and red overkill: there's still quite a bit of green until the first killing frost. The bits of base coat that show through (especially along the bottom of the hill) is a completely unintentional effect and looks better than I thought it would, steep hills tend to have bare spots. And at the same time the railroad crossing in front of it finally got the road and concrete painted:

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Need to do a little street sweeping but overall happy with how it turned out, now I have a slightly more picturesque spot to take photos from:

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At some point I plan to paint the track/ballast a little appropriate of a color but now I'm happy with the way things look. Also painted insulators on the three poles in the corner, surprised how much of a difference it made. More advice here, instead of using 'good' paint for something like insulators just grab a 99 cent bottle from the craft store. Thinned with a little water it's perfectly adequate and one bottle goes a long way.

 

More updates soon, hope to start finishing the LNG dealership.

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nah00

Well painting 8-10 pieces of catenary every time I ran trains turned into 'why don't I just finish this this week?' Definitely is a little hard on the eyes to paint them all but visually makes a big difference.

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Trying to be artsy but I think I need a better camera:

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One thing I did notice while painting though is that an attempt to get 'perfect' results on painting the insulators is pretty inefficient. This is where the three foot rule really comes into play: you're not going to be able to see that you got a little bit of paint past the insulator and certainly the average person looking at it won't notice. Also painting these is rough on a paintbrush so use a thin one but not one of your better ones.

Edited by nah00
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Nick_Burman
On 2/25/2020 at 2:37 AM, nah00 said:

A shot showing the revamped trackwork in the industrial area, pardon the mess, it's still not sorted out properly yet. Much less crowded though with just the two industries though, feels more natural. Also I like the uncluttered look of the track along the back, it's not as 'busy' as it was before:

mita3.thumb.jpg.1f2c89b4eb5f03580ec35253453993e0.jpg

 

 

 

Nitpick... I would relocate the LPG dealer to its own track. Base from what I've seen I doubt that the Japanese would allow a locomotive to run through a LPG unloading track to access another industry - too high a risk in their assessment. Ans it would make switching easier.

 

Cheers NB

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