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Yamahama - A newbie constructs a somewhat ambitious n-scale layout


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1 hour ago, MeTheSwede said:

The weeds and bushes next to the engine shed are getting a bit out of control, but the tourists seem to like to see railways a bit overgrown

Always nice to see a little set aside for the wee birds and mice to frolic 😊

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9 minutes ago, Tom C said:

Always nice to see a little set aside for the wee birds and mice to frolic 😊


I haven't seen any birds there yet, although there are a couple of birds in another location that maybe someone will spot...


I guess possibly rock pigeons, but I'm not at all familiar with Japanese birds. ☺️

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I thought I should share a few construction notes for the benefit of those readers who haven't yet attempted doing anything like this. This post turned a bit longer than I had planed, but I hope someone will find it helpful. As usual this comes with the caveat that I'm a newbie who don't really know what I'm doing.


Nothing was particulary difficult to make nor required any special skills and no part of the process was particulary time consuming. I used cab view videos on Youtube to learn what things "should look like". Most work was spread out over 1-2 hour sessions and after each session there was quite visible progress which I need for motivation.


The first step was painting the tracks with a redish brown. For this I used a cheap airbrush I bought on Amazon for 50 euros. It's a bit crappy and I'm a bit crappy, but it got the job done. A normal paintbrush could also have gotten the job done, but that would have required more work for a decent result.




The paint needs to get off the top of the tracks and for this I used a special tool, namely one of my fingers. For some parts of the track I waited a bit too long and the paint dried and then I needed to use a stronger tool, i.e. a finger nail. 😊


I removed the paint from a few of the concreate sleepers by weting them with some water and then simply rubbing the paint off them, and then adding some very diluted paint on them, to create the impression of some recently replaced ones.


Then I installed the catenary poles. These are from Tomix. I've weather them with a wash (heavily diluted acrylic paint) a mix of black and rust brown with a drop of alcohole to reduce surface tension. Since the wash struggles a bit with attaching itself evenly to the plastic, this time I first spray painted the plastic a bit with the same grey spray can paint I use for my roads.


After that is was time to start ballasting.




I did multiple layers of ballasting this time. This was my first ballast spread (using a tea spoon from the kitchen) before gluing anything into place. The screw holes in the trackbed are clearly visible in this photo. I simply put some wood glue in the holes to cover them up and put some fine sand dust on top of the glue. Next time I think I'll simply put the glue there before the track painting.


Later on I also put some of the dust on the trackbed between the sleepers which is good for getting the trackbed and ballast to end up the same colours. Obviously gluing everything down very well (and vaccuming) before driving trains is important.


The reason I didn't do all the ballasting at once is that the "point motors" and concreate cable channels should be a bit half buried in the ballast. For concreate cable channels I remembered a tutorial by the youtuber marklinofsweden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMMhUKn0soM&t=374s . Gluing them straight and level on top of the uneven ballast was a bit tricky. Luckily they are often not very straight in the real world either.




The "point motors" come with the Tomix turnouts and are made of very black plastics, so I quickly put on some diluted rust brownish paint on them and after it had dried I drybrushed some white on them to highlight the details. In all it probably took no more than 5 minutes to do 8 of them (not including waiting for them to dry).


The yellow risk protection fences are from Tsugawa set. They were also a but too plasticy and shining yellow and thus got a quick wash of "dirty paint". As with everything else they're glued down with simple white wood glue. The ballast is glued down with the same woodglue diluted with lots of water.


Dropping ballast glue and ballast in the wrong place (i.e at the points) is very easy to too. Luckily glue in the wrong place can be flushed away with some water. Getting ballast out of the way was a bit more of a problem at times (the obstrucing piece could be too small to spot) but it was solved with brushing and if needed watering to unglue stuff.




The special signal emitter (here seen from behind) is another little set from Tsugawa. On the track you can see three ATS transponders (part of the signalling system that automatically breaks trains) and the track side sign which tells the engine driver to blow the train's whistle are both from a Tomix set discussed in this thread: 



There are also a couple of other minor stuff I've added from that set, as well as a little shunting signal from a Tsugawa set.


The last thing I did was getting the regular signals done. These are from an unpainted Greenmax set. I painted 8 signals showing green and 2 showing read (enough for the whole layout) thinking I should replace green ones with red as needed for a photo op where red makes most sense, but it turned out my mobile phone camera was too bad at picking up the green paint anyway so didn't had to bother with changing. 😆


So at the moment the signals aren't fixed in place. I simply put some water on the ballast, let it soften up for a few minutes to allow a hole to be fairly easily poked in the ballast, and inserted the signaling pole with a bit of blue tack in the hole to help it stay upright.

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You might have wondered whether the train otakus were really out to see the 313 series or the Nanki Wide View. That wasn't the case. What really drew them to this place was...







A Remu 5000 and a Wamu 580000 refrigerated car. You don't see them on the railways anymore, except here where the museum railway operates them.




Apparently one of the otakus got so exited that he fell backwards while operating his tripod camera!




Another view.


You guys don't have to report that leaning signal. The railway company has already taken care of it.




The train transportation of fresh fish from Yamahama to the Nagoya fish market turned unexpectedly successfull as the traditional mode of transportation became a selling point in itself for the fish. Train otakus who used to mostly live on microwaved kombini food now buys fresh fish and learns to prepare it themselves (more or less succesfully) or visits one of the train themed restaurants where you can watch model trains after finishing your meal made on fish from Yamahama.


Nowadays some deliveries to Osaka are made too.

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The first report of the new year from Yamahama is from the port area which has seen an increase in activity lately.




It's good to see that more and more small fishing boats are based at Yamahama. This means more fish to haul on trains!




The public fish market looks a bit messy and unorganised. Maybe I should have shot pictures at some other hour. Still, there is quite a bit of activity.




A tug boat has anchored near the concrete pier.


I discovered an advantage of just having blue paper as water. It's easy to temporarilly expand the ocean when taking pictures. 😄




This guy in suit making a phone call looks a bit lost.




Visitors who want to get a souvenir can pick something up at the little store. I think they have both some model ships and some model trains.




That's all for today!

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14 hours ago, cteno4 said:

I really love the Tomytec seaport, it’s probably my favorite set of their buildings.




First I wasn't sure about the boathouse, but I really like it in this paint scheme.

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1 hour ago, cteno4 said:

the paint schemes changed a bit between the first and second release.

'Good lord' Jeff, is there possably anything you don't know ???? You never cease to amaze me 😲  Keep it up 👍👍

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lol, no I just like the harbor scene a lot and have been playing with the whole Tomytec building line (and embarrassingly have most all of them) since they came out.



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Mostly but a few I think were straight re-releases. It may be depending on how much time passes between runs.



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My trains aren't operated that much, but today I played the Inglenook shunting puzzle in the unfinished yard at the port. However, I wanted something harder than the standard 5-3-3 Inglenook so this is a 6-4-4 Inglenook.




The white dice are there to remind me of the maximum capacity of the sidings and head shunt. Out of the 11 cars parked on the sidings, waybills are picked at random for 6 of them and ordered randomly as seen in the top of the photo.  This is the train I'm about to construct and it turns out there's only a 1 in 332640 chance to get the same outcome twice in a row.


I use the red dice in the corner to keep track of the number of "moves" (i.e. how many times I've reversed direction at the head shunt) and as you can see I've been going at it for quite a while at this point. But a careful inspection of the situation also reveals that there's not much left now.

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Various railway related work has been going on in Yamahama since the beginning of the year. A lot of ballast has been spread at the main station and various types of electrical boxes that I don't remember seeing before has started to pop up. Here's one that apparently controls a couple of signals.







For some reason a bigger type was needed next to the engine shed.







Another electrical box and signal is seen at the northern end of the main yard. This point caused me all kinds of headaches until I finally identified the problem. Now it works like a charm.


This place probably won't remain pristinely ballasted like this for long. Weeds have a tendency to go get rooted during the summer.







The southern yard throat has also seen a signal installed for track 4, along with accompaning equipment.


I remember spending quite some time with finding the right sticker to put on the gate at the end of the platform and then even on a pretty close up photo like this I could't even tell it's there if I didn't know about it. 😅  Oh well, atleast it seems to work. I haven't seen any lost passengers walking over the tracks.







Finally a photo showing the view from the signal box.





Is it possible to tell that I like the look of ballast?  😆


Next time, we'll take a look at what's happening on the island platform while passengers wait for the limited express train bound for Nagoya.


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I promised some scenes from the island platform.





Looks like some train otakus has gathered to look at those railcars operated by the museum railway. Let's listen in to what's on their mind!









Man in green:  - That Tamu500 car is sooo pretty!

Man in yellow: - Certainly prettier than my wife, but not as pretty as a well-tended wamu.

Man in purple: - If I get married it's going to be with a Wamu 80000!

Man in green: - I though you were going to marry Miho-chan from Girls und Panzer?

Man in purple: - Her too!



Seated woman thinking: No wonder the birth rate of this country is going down the drain....







Man with newspaper: "Russia invades Ukraine." Shit! I Guess it's time to stock up on toilet paper again.


The middle aged man in brown is Hiroshi Satou. Today it's time for one of those dreaded visits to his mother in law, or as he likes to refer to her when talking to his best mate at work: "The Scare Crow". Usually Satou is able to find some urgent business to attend to at the accounting firm whenever his wife brings up visiting her mother, but this time she was sneaky and only brought up the topic of The Scare Crow after she had made sure he wasn't going to work during the weekend. Well, atleast it seems like they're going to get seats near this beauty in purple who looks a bit like Rino Sashihara. That might make the trip almost bearable.



Edited by MeTheSwede
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It's been many months since I posted in this thread now. During the spring I spent very much time consuming news from Ukraine. Then I started spending time with another hobby and every time I looked at the layout I started to think that I really need to do this BIG thing, or that BIG thing and I never got around to doing anything, because everything looked so darn daunting.


In an attempt to get back on track I've now decided to start doing very SMALL things, starting by adding some more figures to the layout. I'll do something insignificant, take a photo and make a post here, to hopefully get my motivation back. So expect some very small layout building updates in this thread to be upcoming. I've never been doing New Year's resolutions, but maybe this counts as one? 😅

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That’s very human Swede, happens to me all the time with many different things in life. Yours is a very good solution. 

also use to see this in work when projects got very busy with many folks and I use to call it “priority paralysis”. Folks would either jump from task to task quickly, not doing anything useful on each before jumping or just sit there frozen trying to figure out which task to start work on. Usually just helping them pick a task and get something done on one started to get them moving and soon it was easier for them to prioritize the tasks and getting them done.





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I read something last year saying you need to spend 15min in your layout room doing something whenever you enter and this will help to get motivation back as well as progress things. I now have my work bench overcrowded with small projects to complete and tools, etc laid out, so that whenever I enter my garage , this bench is the first thing I see. 15mins initially,  now ends up being over an hour or 2 hours at present. I keep adding new projects as older projects are completed. 

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I find it has become much harder just because the cost of shipping new items from Japan has changed so much for the worse.  Hard to keep little things on hand. If you just starting out well it would that much harder.  In an age of DHL shipping I've seen new Tomytec items arrive at DM Toys in record time.

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I can find it hard to get started on new train projects as so many small ones partway done. Need to either start just finishing them off or boxing them up so at least out of sight to paralyze me!


I have plenty of stuff to work on with a small hobby shop’s worth of stuff built up over the many years! Just time and attention needed…



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The day before yesterday I looked through and sorted all my unopened and partially opened boxes with stuff I've bought over the past two years. As expected I have enough stuff to keep myself busy for a couple of more years. 😅 


It would be very nice to be able to have a dedicated work bench, but my place is too small for that. My "work bench" has to double as dining table, gaming table and rest place for cats, so everything has to come off it in between modeling sessions.

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