Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Establishing Mountain Landscapes

Using Plaster to Create Mountains

Last time I finished using newspaper wads to built up some elevation for the mountain area of the landscape. To cover up all that newspaper wads, first up I tried using plaster cloth. At my local art shop, they sold plaster cloth which I believe is the medical version, which is the one you would use to create casts to immobilise body parts (for example to treat broken bones).

It was good and not messy. Simply cut small pieces, dip in water and position in place. However I finished up the whole roll after only covering less than a quarter of my landscape... not good since they are 8 dollars a roll. This is how much coverage I got:

So, on to plan B, off I went to the local hardware store and I bought a 3 kg bag of plaster of paris for just a little over 10 dollars. Also bought some paper towels.
Although this method is more economical (as in cheaper), it is also a lot more messy.
After mixing the plaster of paris with water (I used 1:1 ratio), I dipped pieces of papaer towel and they would drip everywhere. And also when I didn't get it properly saturated, the result wouldn't look good.

Because of the mess, I had to do it in the garage. Luckily it came out rather nice, see pics:

Posted by Andy at 9:15 PM , 6 comments  

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

DCC Decoder Instalation

First DCC Conversion

For my first N-Scale DCC conversion, I am installing a Hornby DCC decoder into the Modemo Enoshima light rail train NT83.

At the beginning I thought there will be plenty of space, however as I work on the install I was just beginning to appreciate how small it is ...

On to the photos...

Posted by Andy at 9:57 PM , 2 comments  

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Plan in 2D ...

and season's greeting, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

This will be my last post this year. I am off on holiday and I won't be able to work on my layout (nor do more blog updates) until the start of next year.

I have been working on a more detailed drawing to illustrate my plan. It has been a useful exercise, because:
1. It clears up how the plan will fit together, it has been rather fuzzy so far.
2. It brings up new ideas which I can explore on paper.

Note to my self: this plan is rather optimistic ambitious, but at least I have a goal which I will attempt to achieve ;)

So, here it is, the full 2D, full colour plan:

Edit: Fixed typos, and changed words. This is what happens when you try and write an entry whilst being half asleep :)

Posted by Andy at 12:21 AM , 2 comments  

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rolling Stock Update and Look, Mountains!

Perhaps "because it is there" is not sufficient reason for climbing a mountain ...

My order direct from Japan has arrived. I ordered the 4 car add-on set for the N700 from Kato. This makes my N700 an 8-car set train. That is already snaking long, imagine how long the full 16-car set will be!

I also ordered a light-rail train, the Enoshima Railway type 1000, by Modemo. This beauty will run on the 'tram' line which is currently a proposed point-to-point line running under the mainlines.

Now that I have a clearer picture (in my head) of how the sceneries will work, time to put it in place. Firstly, I use 3mm foam core for the side-board and back-board. The large window openings are there because that section will be a tunnel area.

Next I cover the tunnel using more foam core. Once all area are covered as required, time to scrunch those newspapers and pile them up to form mountains. Secure them with masking tape (lots of masking tape) so they pretty much stay put.

Notice that I actually took the left most section away so I can work on it. Got good advice from the jnsforum to keep the layout sections separate, and it pays out already.

Once all newspaper scrunches are secured, I took the layout back to the main tables and run a final check to make sure all trains can run clear of all those newspaper bits. That's the last pic, next post will be the plestering process using plester cloths .....

Posted by Andy at 10:47 PM , 2 comments  

Monday, December 08, 2008

Hhhmmm, your layout still looks the same

That's what my cats would say, if they can talk.

No pictures on this update, cause nothing has changed. Physically that is. However the picture of my layout in my head has fortunately have progressed.

I have the track layout planned, and it was inspired by the layout I mentioned in one of my earliest blogs. I wasn't going to follow the rest of the layout, like the buildings nor the scenery. The scale of things are all different in N scale, and of course it doesn't have a Japanese feel to it so it wouldn't have fit with the layout anyways.

However I haven't really thought about all the scenery whilst working on the track. Now that the track is complete, I needed time to process how the scenery will look out. Will it be urban/rural, where do the tunnels go, which parts are mountainous, how high are the hills, how deep the valleys ... well, you get the picture.

So I am just slowly letting it cook in my head. In the shower. On the treadmill. In the car. At work. On the way to work. At home, while watching my train going around the track.

It's a slow process, but I am starting to get a clearer picture of how the landscape will be. I will try to put it in a drawing. One of the main thing is a tram track, point-to-point, with the tracks going on and off the road. Maybe one or two Modemo trams, with an auto-reverse system. Now I just need a tram to test the radius and the incline...

Posted by Andy at 10:10 PM , 0 comments  

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Risers and Inclines

Using Risers to give the layout some depth.

The flat layout from previous post was good as an indication how large is the layout, and how much space there is for the sceneries. Now, it is time to go 3D and install risers and incliners.

First a quick test to make sure the N700 can go around the smaller radius curve and up the 4% incline. It was no problem. However I just had a thought this morning, that perhaps it is okay with only 4 cars, not sure what happens when I get more cars later. Have a look here.

Now that the incline test is complete, time to set the risers. The main track in the foreground is propped up using 2 inch-risers. The curves are 4% inclines, and provides a 2-inch incline, so the background track is 4 inches above table-level.

All risers and inclines are hold in place by sewing pins. The idea is to glue them on later once it's all set. The Woodland Scenics risers and incliners are easy to set using pins. Unfortunately they are expensive, so to save I also use a large 2 inches high foam. These ones need to be cut, and takes some time to get it to the required size.

After all foam is set, on comes the track and the train. Running trains on the flat layout before was fun, however it cannot be compared to running them after I installed the risers. I mean the sceneries are light-years from complete, but at least now it gives a real sense on how the trains will run on the actual terrain. Don't think the pictures really convey the feeling, but here it goes ...

Posted by Andy at 12:42 PM , 0 comments  

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Putting it together ...

for the first time.

After a month of patient wait, all the track pieces have finally arrived. Not wasting any time, I proceeded to put the track together according to the plan.

Okay, so the layout is still flat, however finally I can run my train around the layout.

O, and I almost forgot, while waiting for the track, I have also put a layer of cork board over the whole chipped boardl so the brown colored surface you see in the pictures below is actually cork.

Posted by Andy at 10:17 PM , 2 comments  

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