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Converting Our UK Layout to Japanese - Yamanouchi Oshika


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You may have noticed a number of pictures in the 'Your Layouts' gallery section showing our fairly large N Gauge layout with a mixture of stock - so far Japanese, Dutch, Chinese and UK. As hinted at in the captions, this layout is due for a significant scenic upgrade to shift the geography several thousand miles east; from the UK to Japan.


The main reason for this change is the evolution in interests, as well as a change in club membership resulting in the original British fleet of well over 100 different trains (not just locomotives) being whittled down to single figures - with even more reductions on the horizon. As you all know, for me this has been a wholesale shift to Japanese models - certainly enough to keep this large model fully stocked.


The track plan is generic enough to keep unchanged, as are certain aspects of the scenery - the industrial estate will probably have minimal change. However the town will be dramatically reworked, as will the station area.


As the pictures show, we have a double-track main line section, as well as two terminus platforms and a branch bay. We also have a couple of small carriage sidings, a loco stabling point and small goods yard - plenty of operational interest, all fed from a 11 road fiddle yard, three of which are by-directional. The branch has its own dedicated two road yard.


The dimensions of the layout are 16' x 3', designed to be carried in the back of two estate cars.


We have our work cut out as it is due for exhibition in February, afterwhich it will be available on the curcuit.


Currently the layout goes by its UK name - Cottleston park, however this is being changed to something more oriental, short list of names are:










All these are towns or villages in the Fuji area, although we are not being too strict on the location for this model; unlike our Tokyo-inspired new layout project which will still go ahead, but now to a slightly longer timetable.


The object of this thread is to follow the progress as we redesign the town and produce a new Japanese layout within 3 months!

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Claude - 3 Months! How many members will be working on the project? (lucky guys.) This is going to be interesting to see develop just for the added fact that the whole layout has to be transportable. You must be going through a lot of design plans. I look forward to the posts on this project.  :thumbsup:

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Claude - 3 Months! How many members will be working on the project? (lucky guys.) This is going to be interesting to see develop just for the added fact that the whole layout has to be transportable. You must be going through a lot of design plans. I look forward to the posts on this project.  :thumbsup:


It's not too bad as the layout is essentially complete in its UK form. It has been exhibited and is in full working order. All we need to to is redesign the scenery, add Japanese buildings and possibly a tram line - still a pretty daunting task. There will be probably be around 6 of us at the club that will work on here...

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Thought I would add a few pictures to this thread from last nights running session. Next week we start work on stripping the old townscape away. The eagle eyed amongst you will note my newly delivered Micro Ace 215 set has been given a work out...thanks again to Domino!


I have also taken the opportunity in attached a draft of some publicity material for the layout. This has since been modified by our club's publicity maestro.


My next shopping list now consists of a selection of catenery posts and a Green Max urban station building to start with.








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Love that station terminal! I want to join your club. (a little far to commute though :grin)

Peco flex track is my favorite track to work with. I envy you Claude because it is so easy for you to get that track.

I was able to get the last 4 pieces of Peco flex track at my LHS to do my Tram line otherwise it's almost impossible to get that track in most hobby stores or you have to order a large amount from online...yikes.  :confused3:

(those 4 pieces with the 4 other pieces I already had just made it to finish the line.  :happy4:


I agree with Vincent, keep documenting the progress of the new layout.

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I like that shop... :grin


Further to the request for more pictures, I took a few last month just to provide an outline of what we have. These are effectively the 'before' snaps, showing how it is at the time of posting.





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At last, work started last night on the town area.


Job one was to remove the old buildings. This was fairly straight-forward as most of this area is removable for access to the return loop to the fiddle yard.


The station building will be situated towards the back, above the walling behind the branch platform. This will be one of the Greenmax concrete type buildings, currently making its way over from Japan.


  • The first image shows the town as it was...
  • Then with the lifting sections removed.
  • You will note that the track climbs to the fiddleyard, a hangover from a much earlier version of the layout.
  • A view from the town
  • Showing the gradient
  • With the new base for the town


We still have to properly decide how the new town will look, although it has been more or less agreed that there will be a tram line  :grin







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Whilst all this work was going on, I was putting my series 100 Grand Hikari Shinkansen through its paces. A very impressive model, and really just an excuse for some gratuitous Bullet pictures...  :cheesy  :grin





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Claude - Will you be re-using any of the buildings or even kitbashing any of them?

What tram do you plan to use on the new line?

Thanks for the photos!

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Claude - Will you be re-using any of the buildings or even kitbashing any of them?

What tram do you plan to use on the new line?

Thanks for the photos!

No most of the buildings in the town will not be kept, some are nearly 30 years old, others are a bit tatty...


The idea of the tram has faded a little since I did some measuring; also to achieve a good result we may need to take a little more time than we actually have. No matter, the tram plan is being held over until our next project which will commence pretty much as soon as this one is exhibited in February.

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A little more work has taken place, as well as some new arrivals from the Warley show last weekend. For those that don't know, the Warley exhibition is one of the largest shows in the UK with 30-odd layouts of all gauges plus tons of trade. The highlight for me was Katami Mitsu - one of only a couple of Japanese exhibition layouts on the UK circuit, and Japan Model Railways; over from Germany...


A number of purchases were made, including a very nice Tomix Kiha 40 railcar (picture 1), and a Kato DF50 (the latter for no other reason than I rather like them, and I need another diesel locomotive suitable for passenger trains as I already have two DD51s).


Any number of road vehicles have been obtained, as well as a few buildings - exhibit B will be located on Yamanouchi Oshika for the moment until it will be moved to Torii Ito (see other thread).


In terms of location, I have decided to shelve my plans for the Chuo line layout (which was a personal project) and site Yamanouchi Oshika on the Chuo main line, thus fulfilling my Chuo fix and giving the layout a sense of place. It allows me to continue with my hunting of suitable Chuo line stock... :grin. It also means that I am turning my attention for a personal project to something a little different and altogether smaller. More of that anon...


Anyways, back to progress, which has been a little slow. Picture 3 shows a rough plan being sketched out on the board for the townscape. The Green Max station building will be situated to the left of this picture and will not be on this section. You may be able to make out the planned tram lines, which will more likely than not now disappear. The car you can just about make out is one of the new Tomytec MPV set - this one being the Toyota Estima (Previa).


Picture 4 is a closer shot of the Estima, which also comes with examples of the Honda Odyssey (Shuttle) (5), Nissan Elgrand (6) and the Toyota Alphard (7).


In terms of the night's running; I had two units that will very much be at home on Torii Ito - the Tokaido E217 and E231...









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Thanks for the comment!


Since my last posting, further consideration was given to the proposal for a tram line on Yamanouchi Oshika.


Initially this was just on the new scenic board, although based on a suggestion from one of our club members, the system is starting to take shape....


To start with, the main line station tram stop has been sited. In this view, the main station building will be located where the bare area is between the road and the arches. There will also be a carpark and bus terminal. The tram stop is on top of the wall in the background - where the track has been positioned (pictures 1 & 2)


The tram line then continues over the little side road, and terminates at the tram depot which will be situated on the embankment (pictures 3 & 4).


Now I need to find a suitable two-road shed for the tram depot as well as other out buildings.


The tram line will be operational and will make use of the Tomytec Portrams as well as a couple of Modermo offerings. Perhaps the new Kato tram may also get a look in...


Tonight's train was a short freight in the hands of another Warley aquisition - a DF50...very nice. The holes on the front are where the hand rails will go when I get round to fitting them...(picture 5).






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Thanks Scott...


They are created using a number of techniques. Bushes are in the main from two sources; standard Lichen covered with flock powder, and Woodland Scenics coarse foliage material. Trees are also either from Woodland Scenics or part of a range available in the UK called Graham Avis - there are also a couple of examples of unknown origin.


Grass is a mixture of various flock powders from a large number of sources; Woodland Scenics, Noch, PECO, Gaugemaster to name but a few. The tussocky bits are mainly from Gaugemaster 'long grass' - a material very similar to what you find on a grass mat - applied through a tool called the 'Grass Master'. This is a Noch contraption, which essentially creates static and charges the grass particles. This enables them to 'stand up' when applied to a tacky surface.


One of the tricks I try to apply when scenicing is to apply a darker base level, and gradually apply several more layers each of a slightly lighter tone - gives it a little more depth...

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Claude - On your turnouts and I'm assuming they're Peco, what switch machines are you using?

Hi Bernard,


Yes, all turnouts on the layout are PECO. Those that are powered - the ones in the fiddle yard are manual - use SEEP motors. These are simple to install and pretty reliable, although for optimum performance you need a CPU (Capacitor Discharge Unit) which provides that little extra power to the motors. It is recommended that one CDU is wired to up to 6 motors...

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A couple more pictures of progress for the town of Yamanouchi Oshika. These were taken by another club member, as I forgot my camera!


I think we are more or less complete with the building purchase....now time to do the scenery...


It looks a little bare at present, however once the roads and pavements, as well as tram track, trees etc. are complete, it should look okay.




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This is shaping up very nicely, and I'm excited to see how it progresses. However, I worry that your main street may be a little wide?

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The main street is wide because of the tram line, there will also be a small feeder road for the shops on the right of the main road...so in effect there will be two roads plus tram...


The tram line itself will be a single track point-to-point run. More details of this anon...


In terms of operation, the main line will be electrified, along with one of the bay platforms, the freight reception yard and one line in the loco stabiling point. Essentially what we are looking at is the two other platforms and the centre road being diesel; the centre road will be used to stable units between duties. DMUs from a number of secondary routes will terminate here (Kiha 40, 48 & 110 sets are currently on the roster), and the freight yard will be predominantly used for the transfer of wagons from the main line to the secondary network...


Broadly speaking the main line will be operated using my Chuo line selection - goods services in the hands of the EF64 and EH200. The reverse curve on the gradient will be the ideal foil for the E351 Super Azusa; the Asuza Kaiji and Chuo Liner sets complete the specific line up, with forays from the 185 and 215 sets - both of which operated on the Chuo line. A Narita express may well show itself as well  :grin


Local electric services are in the hands of a rather old, but still very nice, Modemo class 313, plus a class 115 (yet to get this though). The main departure will be the provision of a diesel loco-hauled passenger train - using a set of Suro 81 carriages. Two DD51s and a DF50 are rostered for this service. 


Diesel freight are operated by DD51 locos, with a special guest appearance from a DF200. A small fleet of DE10s will perform shunting and trip operations.


So, as we can see there is plenty of scope for interesting operations...

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