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Speed building for the 2023 Project Party


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Since I've got quite a number of projects already, I was thinking I should not try to aim for any prizes (or prices 😄) but instead make something quick, fun and easy for this event. But then, it's also because I want to show that it's possible to make things small, quick and easy, as an inspiration to others who have maybe not yet dared to get into building a layout or diorama. For the fun of it, I'm going to have a timer count down for me. When it beeps, I'm finished and it's good enough.


Planning however, is already well under way and not limited by a timer, but I think I've settled for a track plan now. 😉

I haven't decided when the actual build will take place. 


As for the plinthed rolling stock (there I learned a new word!), what I've chosen to go for, as far as my plans are at this point, might seem a bit underwhelming but it will at least be very visible from a long distance.

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4 hours ago, Martijn Meerts said:

Track plan? What scale are you using? 😄



I want to have a 310x200mm N-scale layout with lots of interesting operational potential with passenger and freight traffic, about 5 turnouts, a station, some industries, high and low density residential housing, a bit of a wooden area, a couple of street scenes, a shrine, a piece of pilthed rolling stock and a dog peeing on a utility pole. I'm not asking for too much in the available space, am I? 🤔


Maybe I need to cut out the dog.

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Martijn Meerts
3 hours ago, MeTheSwede said:


I want to have a 310x200mm N-scale layout with lots of interesting operational potential with passenger and freight traffic, about 5 turnouts, a station, some industries, high and low density residential housing, a bit of a wooden area, a couple of street scenes, a shrine, a piece of pilthed rolling stock and a dog peeing on a utility pole. I'm not asking for too much in the available space, am I? 🤔


Maybe I need to cut out the dog.


Just remember, I didn't set any limitations on height 🙂


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On 11/8/2023 at 10:09 PM, Martijn Meerts said:


Just remember, I didn't set any limitations on height 🙂



I've considered a multideck layout, but when doing som research I found that those often takes a long time to finish, and since I've only given myself 2 hours to complete the layout, I've decided to try to fit everything into a single level. If I'm just a bit creative I should be able to find room for the the dog anyway. 😉



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The construction has commenced...



and finished!

Did I manage to find space for the dog? Soon you will know. I'm currently sorting through photos taken during the construction.

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I started with creating some glorious organised chaos on my living room table by getting out every tool and raw material I might possibly want to have for my build.




I'm challenging myself to complete this build in two hours. My timer only goes up to 99:99, so once it beeps I have an extra 20:01 spare. I'm pausing the timer when taking photos (also allowing my the catch my breath). I'm putting myself under time preasure because I feel I tend to be too perfectionistic, which leads me to not competing projects. This way I have to make do with "good enough". Also I want to show newbies that railway modelling doesn't have to be complicated and take a long time.





When the maximum dimensions of 31x20cm was announced I was planning for a "Billy sized" shunting layout. Could it be shrunk to fit 31x20cm? Turns out it can (just barely). So this is the track I'm using; 2 Y-turnouts and 3 minirail turnouts. I'm a bit short on bumper tracks, so will use blue tack on the rails instead, which might be good because it saves space.


Let's go!





About a minute was required to measure and cut the baseboard. A good start. The edges of the baseboard got handpainted and the plastic top and undersides got treated with a spraypaint primer. While that dried, I started working on a Greenmax house kit.





The kit has three houses. I just need one.






8½ minutes. I had to stop myself when I found that I was sanding the parts I had cut out from the sprue.

It should be good enough! No perfectionism!




The track got assembeled. Then I started doing a but of everything.




To the left, trees waiting to get some spraypaint to improve their looks. On the right, I've begun a scratch build in styrene plastics.




The poles will hold up a fence made out of material from a mosquito net I found that someone had thrown away.




Then I printed some billboards and started cutting and attaching them to a building using blue tac.



To be continued...

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Constructing the layout: part 2.




Soon I'm at half time and A LOT left to do.





I decided that I will use this concrete imitation tapestry with a bit of brown paint added, for all paved areas on the layout.





Everything needs to get off the baseboard again as I use a roller to quickly pain everything brown. Why didn't I do this earlier so the paint would have been dry now?




I have a lot of loading docks I have to scratch build. It's not difficult, but it takes a bit of time.




I will have a little shrine with a stone wall around it. Here I'm about to glue cardstock stone onto a styrene wall frame.





The paint has finally dried and I can start taking measurements for the loading docks. I don't measure with a ruler, I cut pieces of paper into the right shape and use them as a templete when cutting the styrene.




My first 99:99 is running out and I decide to skip one of the planned loading docks to save time.




I reset the timer to 20:00 and the shrine, the loading docks and paved areas are getting into place.




6:49 left and the weeds along the track and some bushes and trees between the station and one of the warehouses/industries is in place. I'm starting to think it will be hard to find the time to place the dog.




Trees, utility poles and lamps are among the last things to come into place. But the people?

I decide that placing people, vehicles, trains and dogs doing what dogs do, aren't really part of "building a layout" but instead part of "playing with the layout".😆😅  Thus I use my last 59 seconds to install a train signal and then goes about populating the layout without any time preasure. 😇


Have you figured out yet where the pilthed rolling stock is? It was among the first things I put in place and it will be very visible in it's location...



Photos of the finished layout will be coming later.

I plan on doing a video with some trains being operated on the layout too.



Edited by MeTheSwede
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46 minutes ago, Martijn Meerts said:

Only thing I want to know is... How?! It takes me longer to just find a single piece of track 😄



The key is to clearly label your box with track pieces. 😁

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An attempt at a serious answer:

I think I must spend something like 90-95% of the time planing and procrastination about decisions, leaving little time to actually making things. This time I finished the planing in advance (including things like test shunting trains on track and testing how to place buildings to avoid them getting in the way) and made sure I would have no time for procrastination once I had actually started. The timer did away with all my inclinations of spending lots of time on little decisions and trying to make things too perfect. I could have spent many hours just getting the weeds "right", but kept it to under 5 minutes.


Also, there was little here I hadn't done before. Easy techniques and things I've tried before. Blue tacking down things rather then glueing kind of helps me too, as I know I can change things later if I mess up or don't like the way things turned out.

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It's time to begin posting some photos I took of the finished build. I will start with some pictures focusing on the actual railway.


Welcome to Mizonoi Station!





This is the kind of place that hasn't changed much in the past 60 years. I guess somehow local commuters and the few tourists that manage to find their way here has been enough to keep this little private railway going.






Did time stop here? Sato-san has to stop to check his armwatch.






Some shunting underway.




The guy with the forklift is waiting for something to arrive I presume.




I don't remember constructing the layout this big!




Tracks stretching to the horizon...






Even the rolling stock looks bigger than I remember it.



The pilthed rolling stock remains elusive and so does the dog.

I've heard that the bussterminal has been popular with dogs lately, so maybe should go look there for tomorrow's photo update.


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Let's see what people in the area are up to this morning.




Elementary schoolers are on their way to school...




and a girl is on her way to her part time work.




Look's like the little shrine has got a visitor. The steps up to the shrine looks a bit shabby I think. It's almost like if the builder was in a hurry.








Now cteno4, here's the centerpiece of the layout I know you've been waiting for. 😉





Bingo the dog is feeling really pleased with himself today. Other dogs don't understand this technique to get the pee really high on the pole in order to appear larger than all other dogs passing by this very strategically placed pole. Strangely enough Bingo's human doesn't appreciate Bingo's unique skills, but this time she's busy gazing at something on the other side of the street, so it doesn't matter.





Kids in Mizonoi also possess a skill that is rare for their kind. They will recognise a telephone boot when they see one.


The boy looks a bit startled, don't you think? Maybe he just spotted a piece of pilthed rolling stock in an unexpected place or something.





Nakagawa-san too is feeling pleased with himself today. After doing an all-nighter at the bank, he was sent home by one of his superiors to rest. After a couple of hours of sleep he should be able to be back in the office before lunch time and keep going to midnight. Surely the manager will soon notice his dedication to the company and forget about that mishap last week when Nakagawa mysteriously passed out during a meeting.


After this quick look into Japnese office life, I will now present the quickest way to get good interior lighting into a station building.




You remove the roof.


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Finally there was this little thing about pilthed rolling stock. Did you figure it out?







Tadano is Japan's main manufacturer of heavy duty lifting cranes, which came handy when someone had some high flying plans about how to promote the company.






A lucky guy is living in the building next door...




He gets to look at the pilthed rolling stock from his rooftop every day! 😊





A picture focusing on the top feature of the layout. (it's on the top!)

Apparently visitors can take a closer look at the old wagon by going through some roof hatch.







I've heard that chemical reactions caused by special attention from dogs are often a main cause of structural failure in utility poles.




Finally an overview of the layout.


This time it's probably me bumping into it when taking pictures, rather htan dogs, that are responsible for the pole leaning.


Edited by MeTheSwede
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If anyone wants to watch me playing with little trains. 😄


I've added some information to the video you already know, because I was planning to also post it elsewhere. Maybe I can trick some people to come to visit this place.

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Thinking I need a timer too!  However, I am sure a two hour timer won't work for me - maybe I can get a two month timer?  Better than the two year timeframe I seem to be on with my projects!


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On 11/22/2023 at 8:40 PM, Tony Galiani said:

Thinking I need a timer too!  However, I am sure a two hour timer won't work for me - maybe I can get a two month timer?


Sounds like the Project Party's 2 month deadline is perfect for you then. Go for it! 😊

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Thought about it though I have several projects in the mix right now and actually out of the US traveling at the moment.  Then back to an intense music schedule.  Ironically, Tony, aka Tony Grinch, is playing several Christmas shows!


Testing some things for my next Japan trip - like an eSim.  Need to start a travel thread for ideas on that.




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