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First city layout recommendations


chickendrop

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chickendrop
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I've assembled a bunch of TomyTec and KATO buildings (approximately 21). It's now time to construct some city streets for them to live on, with the goal of street level city photos. I'd like to keep it somewhere in the 30" x 30" range. I didn't plan on adding a train line at first, but I was reminded that it wouldn't look much like Tokyo without a train line, so I decided to add a tram instead.

 

I don't need a complete tram line because I don't intend to run it. With that said, should I buy one of the KATO Unitram street kits, or should I build my own? I've been reading up on this set.

 

https://www.modeltrainstuff.com/kato-n-40803-v53-unitram-street-track-to-concrete-tie-expansion-set/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwkZiFBhD9ARIsAGxFX8Ay9ZHURmvkmJrGY4BeAGGbecPzAC8JuWAvmha1I41boPAm2hnUZjYaAgYDEALw_wcB

 

Suggestions?

Edited by chickendrop
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bill937ca

Kato Unitram is a space hog, you can only do squares or rectangles because of the configuration of the track center on the curves.  I prefer Tomix Wide Tram. Much flexibility in choosing your track layout, including a single track line or you could just use plain stock track and wind it between buildings like the Setagaya tram line.

 

 

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gavino200
1 hour ago, chickendrop said:

I've assembled a bunch of TomyTec and KATO buildings (approximately 21).

 

Make sure if you use a glue, it's something that you can open "atraumaticaly" later. You may think you won't want to open them again later, but you likely will. Future self will not be happy if he wants to improve the structure and you've superglued it shut!!!

 

 

 

1 hour ago, chickendrop said:

 

 or should I build my own? 

 

 

Build your own. Foam board, styrene, paint and tape. It will be more difficult, but you'll be able to create what you want, and I bet it'll be more satisfying. Besides, you're not in any hurry, are you?

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You really need to look in the mirror. Meaning really contemplate what your end goal will be.  For example you started of with a static scene.

Your friend gave you the LED's and now it is in the first stages of coming alive. With the LED's you will need to control them. That is the 

second stage of animation. With the streets comes vehicles. Either a bus system or tram. SO, you really should look at what you are going to do

based on your nature.

 

Looking at the V53, it is a pass through so you are looking at this

 

 

Having the movement is animating things.

 

Having 21 building you already know the cost factor involved. The cost factor of mistakes in direction is doubled in time and money.

 

You have amassed the first half of the cost with the buildings. If it were me I would get the V60 (US left hand) or the V50 right hand)

tram kit. With that you can see what it looks like s it will give you a template to work with if you are going to build your own. The buildings gives the 

back drop the trains brings it alive.

 

This is what I am doing as we speak. I was able to get all the V50-V54 40-820 and 821. These kits (Unitram stuff) is hard to get and

it took a month or two to get everything. I think the tram system gives the layout experience in a small footprint which is why I decided to

build one myself.

 

In any case I would suggest getting something that moves a bus or tram and go from there. 

 

After getting all the Unitram kits you learn to see the panels.

 

The 40-821 is the center part of the V53 

 

 

40-821.jpg

 

Like I said having that many building is a plus.

 

Inobu

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chickendrop
1 hour ago, gavino200 said:

 

Make sure if you use a glue, it's something that you can open "atraumaticaly" later. You may think you won't want to open them again later, but you likely will. Future self will not be happy if he wants to improve the structure and you've superglued it shut!!!

 

 

 

 

Build your own. Foam board, styrene, paint and tape. It will be more difficult, but you'll be able to create what you want, and I bet it'll be more satisfying. Besides, you're not in any hurry, are you?

Luckily I didn't glue any of the structures to the bases, so I can lightproof them as necessary!

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chickendrop
53 minutes ago, inobu said:

You really need to look in the mirror. Meaning really contemplate what your end goal will be.  For example you started of with a static scene.

Your friend gave you the LED's and now it is in the first stages of coming alive. With the LED's you will need to control them. That is the 

second stage of animation. With the streets comes vehicles. Either a bus system or tram. SO, you really should look at what you are going to do

based on your nature.

 

Looking at the V53, it is a pass through so you are looking at this

 

 

Having the movement is animating things.

 

Having 21 building you already know the cost factor involved. The cost factor of mistakes in direction is doubled in time and money.

 

You have amassed the first half of the cost with the buildings. If it were me I would get the V60 (US left hand) or the V50 right hand)

tram kit. With that you can see what it looks like s it will give you a template to work with if you are going to build your own. The buildings gives the 

back drop the trains brings it alive.

 

This is what I am doing as we speak. I was able to get all the V50-V54 40-820 and 821. These kits (Unitram stuff) is hard to get and

it took a month or two to get everything. I think the tram system gives the layout experience in a small footprint which is why I decided to

build one myself.

 

In any case I would suggest getting something that moves a bus or tram and go from there. 

 

After getting all the Unitram kits you learn to see the panels.

 

The 40-821 is the center part of the V53 

 

 

40-821.jpg

 

Like I said having that many building is a plus.

 

Inobu

I think the 40-821 is the direction I should go. I only plan to use this for static photoshoots. I have no intention of powering trains, so it really doesn't make a ton of sense to add tracks/trams/trains. I'll add cars, buses, vendor carts, and pedestrians. Is there an expansion kit to lengthen one of the main roads just in case I decide to add more buildings in the future? Thank you for the advice!

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3 minutes ago, chickendrop said:

I think the 40-821 is the direction I should go. I only plan to use this for static photoshoots. I have no intention of powering trains, so it really doesn't make a ton of sense to add tracks/trams/trains. I'll add cars, buses, vendor carts, and pedestrians. Is there an expansion kit to lengthen one of the main roads just in case I decide to add more buildings in the future? Thank you for the advice!

Yes for photoshoot it does not matter.

 

40-820 will add a city block single side. 40-804 can be added in the center of a block extending both sides of the street.

 

This is a section that comes in the 40-804 (V54) The part on the right is called a street plate.

image.png.8b6ead1da4d9cbd5ad3d1592fdd7ac05.png

When the pieces are connected it is called a track plate below.

 

image.png.00653075bbb162e7b8f23c37fa8938fe.png

It takes a while to adjust your eyes to see the individual parts that make up the assemblies.

Once you do you will be able to call out the parts you need.

 

Inobu

 

 

 

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I think you want to get the V51 as it has a number of parts. It is hard to get and expensive because of its rarity.

 

It will serve you better in the long run.

 

Also grab this while it there.

 

https://www.modeltrainstuff.com/Tomix-TomyTec-N-287865-Type-8900-Unpowered-Streetcar-Tokyo-Metropolitan-Bureau-of-Transportation/

 

Its not powered so its cheaper.

 

After thinking about your use I would still put down some tram track even in an obscure area. You are building a photo set so anything can be

a potential backdrop or focal point.

 

Inobu

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cteno4

I’m with Gavin you might play with making your own roads as the Kato roads and unitram are pretty restrictive and end up sort of forcing your city to the road. Unitram setups tend not to come out having that dense Japanese scene look. Many times in smaller spaces you have to compress a model scene to give it the right look you are going for. I would grab some gray chipboard and play with your roads some to see what looks best for the scene you want to set. Let your scene set the roads and tram line.you can build regular track into street very easily if the track is straight. You can also easily print out your roads using any drawing program. This lets you design your roadways and markings quickly and just lay them in to see how they look and revise. You can get fancy and even put in a lot of road details, pavement texture, oil and tire streaks, etc. 

 

You can also lay steel wire under your road surface to run tomytec bus systems. Only issue with this is its hard to have only the bus moving on a very busy road with lots of cars and trucks not moving, something that can clash in a diorama like this. 
 

I would play a lot with some printed streets (and can even print in street track) and your buildings to figure out best sizes, shapes, lanes, etc.
 

cheers

 

jeff

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kami_illy
Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, cteno4 said:

You can also easily print out your roads using any drawing program.

 

I second that. Building your own streets gives you a lot more possibilities to achieve the look that you have in mind. You could also -just to play around and find out- print some scenes from google maps that you like. Like some back alleys or local streets and arrange your buildings on that print out. This way you could try out different spacial scenarios. 

The scenes in my layout (planning & building) would have been impossible to create with road plates or premade scenery sets. 

 

On the other hand it is much easier to use the road / tram systems of Kato/Tomix/... but you might be limited to things like 90° corners and rather open and wide streets. 

Edited by kami_illy
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7 hours ago, kami_illy said:

On the other hand it is much easier to use the road / tram systems of Kato/Tomix/... but you might be limited to things like 90° corners and rather open and wide streets. 

The point on using the Unitram kit is it's quick and easier like you said but it gives you a base or template to build on. If you don't like the 90 degree corners, as I don't really care for them the Unitram pieces has is uniformity in the plates that you can build on. That's what is important. 

 

Its really depends on how much time, money or skill level ones has to invest.

 

Inobu

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chickendrop

I ordered the KATO 40-821. I'll try it out, and if it doesn't work for me I'll return it and eventually build my own layout. I have two young kids, so my time is very limited. Thanks for all of the great advice!

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tossedman

I used roads printed on paper along with Kato Unitram tracks for one of our T-Trak modules. Was pretty easy and turned out OK. Once you figure out how to print the roads you could easily customize them to any way you want. You can easily leave out the tram tracks if you want and do narrow side streets as well.

 

Cheers eh,

 

Todd

 

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