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Suzumedani - My First Layout


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For the past six or so months I have slowly been building a layout called Suzumedani (雀谷 - Sparrow Valley - yes I shamelessly stole the place name from uguisudani and just changed the bird). It's not really based off one specific area/region of Japan though it's meant to be a more rural-ish town. I didn't even keep the season that the layout is set in consistent. The main reason to build this was to try a lot of different scenery techniques as this is my first time building scenery, and I mainly just wanted a background that was something else than a wooden board. To be honest I didn't really plan the layout in much detail and the plans changed a lot. It is still a work in progress with different areas in different stages in progress.


I mainly enjoy running passenger trains with a fake timetable while listening to announcements on youtube usually related to the trains I am running, most commonly from this channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/YataTetsu (really good for nostalgia and/or immersing yourself in your train running). There is no freight or rolling stock depot but the main station has 7 platforms (2 bay) and I can run 3 trains continuously at one time. The inner line runs a slightly shorter loop which is meant to recreate something a bit more 'rural' (with trains able to pass at the main station) and then the outer 2 lines are more like a main line.




View of Suzumedani station




Suzumedanionsen station - rural station on a small line - thought it would be interesting (for scenery and for operating) to have one side be a terminus platform. This way it is like a rural line with dwindling passenger numbers that gets infrastructure reduced.


My lack of patience was a hindrance - primarily I get pissed off trying to attach really small things and give up or I sometimes didn't wait for glue to fully dry before doing the next layer of scenery (got better at the second one and I haven't been stupid enough to run the layout when things are still wet). I particularly found ballasting ******* awful - probably not helped by the fact I'm using unitrack, and I found dealing with the surface tension to be a pain as using sprays that spray a fine mist would cause some of the ballast I carefully laid to fly off.


Overall though it is fun and it's not as difficult to make something look half decent as it seems when you are first starting out (I think). Plus it feels good when you finish a scene and it comes out (mostly) how you imagined in your head.

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Here are some scenes:


Temple in Autumn:




Cow and Lavender field:




Central town:




Flooded Rice Paddies (need to add many details to this and not totally pleased with how this came out - I made the edges of the fields too high - plus I think it would look better if the water was coloured blue or brown):




Half-finished shrine on hill:




As I adapted the layout on the fly without a definite pre-plan I think I made the layout a bit "packed in" overall as I would see something cool on twitter and want to fit in - but it did give me a lot of practice with different types of scenery I think.


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