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Tony Galiani

Chihiro Horikawa

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Tony Galiani

I am going to put some pressure on myself by posting about my new project.  By putting this out on the forum I will feel obligated to follow through with it!

 

My layout work has been in limbo lately - Chihiro Tetsudo is currently in storage in my attic after two attacks by Catzilla.  I had designed it to be extended but, with my house needing some significant work, my music life getting busier than I expected and unretiring back to work, my model railway time has fallen away.  Determined to get back to modelling, I have started another project in my Chihiro series - assuming a second layout makes this a series ....

 

The corona virus has stopped my travel plans as well as much of my music activity.  (As I type this I am supposed to be in Bonaire, not at home.)  I am still working and while I dislike working from home I am grateful to my university which has kept everyone on the payroll.  Tomorrow, I will start my summer work project using aerial GIS imagery of the campus - not ideal but a useful first step.  I have a relatively short commute but I am going to dedicate the time I am not driving to work to my layout.

 

I have been struggling to find a small track plan I could develop.  Recently, I came across a small Inglenook design that seems ideal for a small (roughly 3 foot by 1 foot) board I had available.  The problem, at least to me, is how to handle the off stage area for most micro layouts.  This design is brilliant in that it is that the fiddle yard or off stage area is another Inglenook thus eliminating the need for cassettes or transverser or sector plate.  The simplicity of the design makes it easy to set build which is essential for me.

 

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In this image, the lower portion will be scenicked with a small station area on the right and a factory or container terminal on the left.  Though I am still playing with the set up and may reverse that.  This area is reached by a bridge over a canal then the staging area is at the top of the picture.  I immediately got carried away and started thinking about changes that would complicate things.  Rather than a staging area, I could use Carl Arendt's idea and make that a separate station.  Thus each station could serve as the fiddle yard for the opposite side.  Or I could do two separate scenes:  Japan on one side and possibly a German theme on the other.  But sanity returned!  For now, I will keep it simple and complete the scenicked section and canal and leave the fiddle yard as is.

 

I had glued down the foam over the weekend and last night, I painted it tan to get rid of the pink color.  I have been cleaning the recycled track and hope to start gluing it down today or tomorrow.

 

To be continued (I hope) ...

 

BTW, I am thinking I would like to use small trams and catenary for this project.  If anyone has suggestions for smooth running tram cars, I would welcome them.  I currently have a Kato Pocket Tram but that does not run very slowly.  I also have an Aru Nine electric freight motor to build.  I would like to get some trams from a variety of eras - new and old.  Currently, I am research the Tomytec models but open to ideas.

 

Thanks,

Tony Galiani

 

Ps - One last note:  I want to name the layout Chihiro Canal.  According to Word Hippo, the translation for canal is Horikawa (though it did mention Unga as an alternative).  If anyone knows this to be an incorrect translation but for now the layout is Chihiro Horikowa.

 

 

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cteno4

Toni,

 

looks like fun! You’ll need to figure out the Catzilla defense force! Maybe a 1/144 scale type 66 mazer canon outfitted with a static gun! 
 

most all the modemo trams run smoothly, are reliable, and nice looking. Tomytec are good, not quite as fine of details as Modemo, but very close. Their mechs are smooth but run faster than modemos.

 

cheers,

 

jeff

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Tony Galiani
Posted (edited)

A bit more progress today.  The fiddle yard track has been finalized, cleaned and tested and is ready to be pinned down.  The canal has been given a test coat of paint to see how it will look.  I am trying to replicate the greenish hue of the water from a picture I found on the interweb of the canal in the Bikan Historical Quarter of Kurashiki.

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The water needs to be a bit lighter (though it appears darker in the photo than it does on the layout).

 

I have finalized the track plan for the station area as well.  I plan to work on the canal area and bridge next then, when I have that area done, I will pin down the track on this portion of the layout.

649541585_CHstationview0331.thumb.JPG.f22a27625876dc98974c8124cc44d24d.JPG

 

I ended up ordering one Tomytec tram to add to the project.  While I have my eye on a couple of Modemo trams (per Jeff's suggestion) I wanted something less expensive so that I could try some weathering on it.  And with cataract surgery scheduled for this summer, I did not want to spend too much in case I have to move to a larger scale!

 

Cheers,

Tony Galiani

 

Edited by disturbman
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cteno4

Toni, good plan. The Tomytec are quite good and perfect for fiddling with like this and a bit cheaper than modemos. They are a bit easier to tear apart if you want to do more fiddling. You can diy lighting in them if you want.

 

lurk ebay as I’ve found a number of used modemo trams on ebay in great condition and very inexpensive. Only issue I had for one a torn up pantograph (sorry panda giraffes as my friend’s 2.5yr calls them) past repair but with some searching I was able to replace with an almost identical green max pantograph.

 

jeff

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Tony Galiani

Nick - thanks for posting that site.  I have thoughts on doing a 1950-1960's era layout after watching Up On Poppy Hill.  I would like to replicate the scene where Umi and Shun are walking over the bridge on Poppy Hill and a tram on the single track line below comes out of the tunnel and runs below them.

 

Cheers,

Tony Galiani

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Tony Galiani
Posted (edited)

Progress has been slower than I hoped.  I am working from home and struggling to get into a good routine but have started to make this work.  I also ran into some challenges with the canal scene but have got that back on track (so to speak).

 

My original coat of paint over the wood base seemed too dark to me and showed up some scars in the wood.  So I used plaster compound for the canal as well as the canal sides.  I also added a path along one side.  I could not get the plaster sides of the canal to be as smooth as I wanted but, in going back to the web sites I was using for canal examples, I realized that the canal walls would actually look better if the rock work was a bit rough.  So a happy accident there.

 

Looking at the pictures (which were taken on sunny days) I decided to use a lighter green for the water.  Then today, I added dark grey washes to the walls and started adding the "water".  I decided to use Alan Downes' method which is described on Chris Nevard's Model Railways web site.  This consists of using several coats of PVA glue which is white glue here in the USA.

 

This photo shows the first layer right after the initial application.  Unusually for me, I did a small test piece first and was reassured that the PVA will eventually dry clear.  The site recommends three to four layers so I have a ways to go.

 

1601473013_CHcanalfirstwaterlayer.thumb.JPG.379a0649a08bfcfc81bda2982a5c7bb1.JPG

 

 Cheers,

Tony Galiani

Edited by disturbman
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Tony Galiani
Posted (edited)

Challenging weekend - false starts on the layout, lost cat, sick dogs - so progress slowed but I did get a bit of work done with a bit more today.

 

I put down the last (?) layer of PVA "water" and tried adding a bit of foliage along the water line.  Inspired by Nick Burman's post, and finding a Kato rural station platform kit, I tried to fit that into the scene section of the layout.  However, the track geometry would not work with the Kato platform and I am too far along to do a major revision.  So I put the kit aside for future use.

 

I completed the hole to connect the wiring to the track though I made a bit of a hash of it and it ended up larger than I planned.  But it works.  I then put in the support beams to span the canal and put down the fiddle yard track and did a test run with my Kato Pocket Tram.  It ran so I will call that success.  I also did a start for a test wall to separate the fiddle yard from the canal and the rest of the layout but not that pleased with the concept.  I plan to mock up an embankment and trees there to see how that works.

 

926756674_CHfiddleyardtrack0406.thumb.JPG.7b5a81130d95cfdb77a7f4c1c623a6dc.JPG

 

I have to say I would suggest doing a small layout as a learning experience.  My first project, Chihiro Tetsudo, came put pretty well but I had used Kato Unitrack and did not attempt to model water or any subtle vegetation such as the very small clumps of foliage along the water line.  So I am learning a lot - adding tiny bits of foliage is a challenge (I ended up placing PVA with a scalpel blade to get that in place) and that double sided tape (to hold down the track in the fiddle yard is not forgiving and harder to use than I expected).  But still, I am seeing progress so pretty pleased with that.

 

Cheers,

Tony Galiani

 

 

Edited by disturbman
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Tony Galiani

Progress continues but I am learning a few things along the way.

I am not as organized as I thought.  My scenic materials were carefully stowed in five boxes - but each box had multiple items so some trees were in one box, more in the second and so on.  Now I have five open boxes on the floor of my work area .... as well as various open boxes of other items in there as well.

And I am not as patient as I need to be.  After my success in ballasting the first section of track I went ahead a bit too quickly on the next sections.  The results are not bad - but not as nice as they could have been and I will need to do some remedial work.

And sometimes, luck is better than planning.  I had tried various ideas to separate the fiddle yard area but nothing seemed to work for me.  When I went to to the first ballast section, I just moved the trees I put there as a trial, just pushing them into a clump.  This looks better than anything I had tried so far and may be the solution I need.  Time will tell.

Cheers,

Tony Galiani

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Tony Galiani
Posted (edited)

Slow progress continues.  After one false start, I completed ballasting the station area.  My initial results with the seed sower were so good, that I went ahead quickly for the station area.  While the ballast went into place easily enough, I forgot to add something to the glue mix to make it disperse and I also used an old mister which did not work very well.  The ballast was passable but there were some clumps and bare areas.

 

On Sunday, I redid the area with a new mister and properly prepared glue mix.  I decided to make it look as if the area had been recently reballasted and to have a contrast with the "older" ballast on the line.  I think it worked out pretty well.  And much to my pleasant surprise and after a quick cleaning of the rails, the track actually worked!  My Kato DD-13 was able to run on all the tracks so I am happy about that.

 

I also have been adding some vegetation along the canal water line to replicate the photos I have been working from.  The first effort was okay but maybe a bit too much.  I got better on the second section) by the rail bridge and was able to put on thinner level of grass.

 

Today I hope to add more vegetation along the water line and to start on the station platform.  I have some 5mm thick foam board I plan to cut to shape so hopefully that will work.

 

247203358_CHstationballast.thumb.JPG.40cd826559660b1146b631aa4d1513c1.JPG

 

Cheers,

Tony Galiani

Edited by disturbman
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Tony Galiani

More slow progress.  This past weekend I made a station platform from foamcore board, painted and installed it.  I also finished adding vegetation along the canal banks and walls - a handy method to hide the poor joints.  (My prototype pictures showed some growth along the banks but not as much as I ended up using.)  I also added some additional ballast in some spots and did some foliage in the area between the platform and the container yard.  That will probably change somewhat as some of the green foliage is too bright so will take that up and replace it with something more subdued.

 

I have a rough plan but the project changes as I try things and find I like some things and not others.  For example, I had found a picture of a scene with trees by a canal lined in a row, but

it did not look right when I mocked it up, so still trying to work out the scene for the side of the canal by the fiddleyard.

 

1829123232_CHstationwithplatform.thumb.JPG.dcfaac5bc47c6c101d7cbabb37a922ba.JPG

 

I have a few structures in progress so hope to get them done in the next few days and then figure out how to complete the area near the station platform.

 

Cheers,

Tony Galiani

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Morcs

Longer sidings would have made it great for an inglenook shunting puzzle! It's not too late for an extension 🙂

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MichiK

It seems to me that the sidings are already long enough for a 3-2-2 Inglenook...

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Tony Galiani

Here is my thinking behind the track plan.

I hadn't really planned to operate it as a shunting puzzle - the layout came about as I wanted something to work on that would 1) fit on my workbench and 2) allow me to gain some experience with items I had not done before which in this case is a water scene (and if I don't lose my nerve) some catenary.

 

At the moment, my house needs some serious renovation, which has been delayed by the current crisis, so my plans to update my first project, Chihiro Tetsudo and extend it are on hold.  So I came up with the idea to build a test track / mini layout that will sit on my workbench.  I plan to use run some trams in/out of the station and occasionally shunt a Koki or other freight car in into the siding.  Also, when I get frustrated working on something, I can take a break and run trains for a bit.

 

I am planning to work on my weathering, detailing and installing MT couplers on some of my locos and stock and having the layout right in front of me for testing will be ideal.  At least, that is my story for now!  We will see if I stick to it.

 

Cheers,

Tony Galiani

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Tony Galiani

By the way, I have learned a bit working on this.  The PVA as water idea is okay but it really needs some sort of gloss coat to make it look better.  I have Modge Podge but the directions indicate that it take some time to finally set and also needs sealant - this makes me hesitate to use it.  I know there are other options for a glossier finish - I am thinking I will visit my local hobby shop to see what else might work once the restrictions lift.

 

And maybe I should try and plan a little bit better.  I developed a basic plan but as I put items on the layout, they don't always work - I have tried a couple of different arrangements for the station area to find one that sort of works. 

 

But it is coming together so we shall see.  More scenery work today and I need to figure out how to get people on and off the station platform.  As the ADA Director (Disability Access) for my work, I need to make sure the platform is wheelchair accessible!  I am thinking a ramp on the side if I can figure out how to make one.

 

Cheers,

Tony Galiani

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Cat

Mock-ups are the way to go for seeing how things actually fit.  We've been doing our planning with initial rough sketches, then laying down track and footprints for key buildings for a reality check.  Just seeing it laid out will spur half-forgotten ideas and new brainstorms.  After fiddling and checking out some what-if possibilities, then we make a more detailed draft sketch from the mock-up.

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cteno4

Hugh, mod podge is basically a hearty craft clear acrylic medium and sets up pretty quickly. It’s mainly used as a sealant coat for decoupage and also an adhesive for it as well. It’s designed to be an all in one product. Basically the same thing as clear artist’s acrylic medium, just a craft version to sort of be all in one and perfect for a lot of train scenery stuff.

 

Gloss mod podge should give you a nice sloshy finish. I think they have an ultra gloss as well.

 

there are high end acrylic polymer varnishes you can use that are sealant coats for acrylic paintings, but I think that may be overkill and usually art supplies are a lot more expensive than crafting supplies. Mainly the art stuff is meant to be stable for a century or more and craft stuff decades. I fear with time the thick PVA base may be more at risk of cracking or contracting. Sealant coat may help that as well, but again expect the mod podge would do the trick.

 

another option (but can be pricy) to the PVA is gel medium. It’s very thick acrylic medium that you can craft into waves and such with a palette knife and brush. It’s got more body than PVA so you don’t have to layer as much to build it up, but can take a while to cure.

 

jeff

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marknewton

To make this creek I painted the plywood surface with artists acrylic paint, stippled it with Mod Podge once it dried, than put a coat of of high-gloss acrylic varnish on top of the Mod Podge when it cured.

 

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Cheers,

 

Mark.

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Tony Galiani

Thanks for the ideas on mock ups and Modge Podge.  This is all very helpful.  Going forward, I am not sure I will use the PVA base again.  I had originally planned to apply a finish directly over the wood board but it had some scars that I thought would show up.  Probably should have used some sort of wood filler and gone from there.  But live and learn.

 

I have a couple of future projects under consideration so will likely use a different method for that.  And I think I am going to do some small test pieces going forward as well.  I have put down some of the ground cover near the station and it is okay but not quite the look I was aiming for.  I think some test runs on pieces of scrap will be useful in the long run.

 

BTW - I really like the look of Mark's creek - the setting really has the right "feel" to it.

 

Cheers,

Tony Galiani

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cteno4

That is a great job mark, just enough surface texture with the stippling (word you don’t see much anymore!) with mod podge and the high gloss finish gives that nice sunny day water sheen. Just looked and mod podge even sells an ultra gloss spray on now.

 

I’ve only played with using PVA on a test but for water myself. I kept seeing it in Japanese articles, but usually for very small bits. Seemed to work and be easy for a small patch of water. I did worry about it a little as I noticed a few months later the piece of cardboard I did it on had warped up some making me think the PVA had contracted some. May not have been an issue if I had put it on some plywood. 

 

always good to do little tests of scenery stuff first as I’ve found the first few times I do many I’m either doing something slightly wrong or find a small modification that makes it work much better for me. A few I find I just don’t like so I go look for a different technique. I try to keep the tests and write what I did on the back so I can use them as little sample bits later and to see effects of changes in the method or materials. As I’ve gotten older I need to do this more as the tests and playing with things has piled up in my head over the years and I can get confused exactly what I did 10 years ago that made something just right!

 

but the scientist in me loves to experiment and the creative side is always looking for new ideas so they play well together.

 

jeff

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Tony Galiani

More, albeit slow, progress this week.  I have placed the last bit of paved area on the layout and included an accessible ramp to the tram platform.  I continued to struggle with the design elements but then I remembered my October trip to Japan and that I met a musician friend by the police box at Nishi-Kasai station in Tokyo.  So I decided to place the Sankai police box at my station and will also place a Sankai toilet building there as well.  In looking at police boxes on the internet, I see a lot have unusual shapes or designs.  The one at Nishi-Kasai is a pyramid.  So I am planning to enhance the police box with some add-on designs (which will just happen to cover some of the flaws in my construction as well).  I also need to place the appropriate signage which came with the kit.

 

I have planned to use a Tomytec cafe in the area at the base of the ramp but forgot to cut out the space for it.  As I was gluing down the pavement, I kept thinking I had forgotten something ... and only remembered when it was to late.  So I will now place a couple more Sankai kits there.

 

Still a lot to do - walls for the station and ramp, catenary posts, some sort of platform shelter, street marking and other items.  I think the canal needs some sort of gloss coat but I have been hesitant to use Modge Podge as I don't have anything to seal it with.  But, as I typed this, I remembered I have some Johnson's clear acrylic finish - I think I will test it on a scrap piece with PVA to see if that is a potential solution.

 

To be continued ....

Tony Galiani

 

1792513322_CHstationview0430.thumb.JPG.7da56e8e0bd12b7aa94c283e83b5db89.JPG

 

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Tony Galiani

My progress has been slow.  I think that as I get to the more detailed part of the project, I have been hesitant for fear of messing things up.  However, I am trying to use this as a learning experience and not be too hard on myself if the results are as good as I might hope.

 

I finally sorted out the canal.  I realized I had put aside a bottle of Pledge floor sealant - formerly know as Kleer and quite popular with modellers as an acrylic clear coat.  Three layers sealed the canal and, while not quite as nice as I hoped, the light reflecting off the "water" is close to the effect I was going for.

I also installed some walls as well as marked out the parking area and put safety markings on the platforms.  My first attempt at a little garden has been completed as well as a bit of rough turf near the station platforms.

Still need to finish the buildings, more scenery, add the catenary and add signage and lights.  But I am back making steady progress so hopefully much closer to completion in the next few weeks.

 

Cheers,

Tony Galiani61377129_CHstationview0601.thumb.JPG.c83a54ad806b8c40446505b55fe5e475.JPG

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Tony Galiani

More progress - close to a reasonable level of completion.  My goal has been to get this done before cataract surgery as I am not sure how much that will affect my modelling - at least initially during the recovery phase.  So I will do a final push to complete the details before July.

 

I am pleased with the results so far and have two main steps left.

1 - complete the buildings (you can see one of the Sankei kits does not have its roof yet) and station shelter; and

2 - finish adding the scenery (there are three small areas left) and then add details.

Some of the comments I received when I posted about Chihiro Tetsudo were to add more signage, people and other details.  I have vehicles, figures and more signage to add and will be doing that this week.

 After that I need to work on the rolling stock.  I have some Tomytec trams to set up.  Longer term, I would like to try painting and weathering some of the stock but not sure if I can develop enough confidence to do that but we shall see.

 

Cheers,

Tony Galiani1999846820_CHstationview06222.thumb.JPG.4a517f2d7ff01837cf0a0235b69daabb.JPG

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Tony Galiani

One thing I forgot to note in my previous post was the Koban or police box.  When I did a bit of research on these, I learned that they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and decor.  One I spotted was covered in polka dots!  My Koban is a Sankei kit and, as it was the first one I ever did, it had some flaws.  I was able to remedy most of them but still had some stains from sloppy glue application.  So I added some abstract designs to add some flavor to the building and they conveniently covered most of the flaws.  Still a bit more detail to be added but it looks better than it did after I initially completed it.

Cheers,

Tony Galiani

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Tony Galiani

Just about done so likely my last post on this topic unless there are questions.

I have completed the buildings and catenary as well as the  last bits of scenery.  I have added signs and additional details (figures, etc.) though this view may not show them all that well.  Still some more detailing  to do but nothing major - more signs, vehicles and figures.  Then (maybe) on to weathering some of the rolling stock.  And just in time since I have cataract surgery scheduled next week.  I expect to continue modelling after a short recovery period but am not sure what to expect - still N scale or will I look into HO or even a larger scale?  (I am extremely nearsighted right now which make modelling small bits pretty easy - hopefully my new vision will still allow that but we shall see .... )979449509_CHview0705.thumb.JPG.09545acb6589b801c66219c921eadc51.JPG

Cheers,

Tony Galiani

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