zondag 7 december 2008

Sigh...

My loop of rails arrived last week and of course I immediately started trying to run my train. My first impressions were really good; the train ran smoothly, even at quite low speeds!

But after a while, a problem started to appear. The powered cars started to push one of the end cars out of the rails. The cause appeared to be a bogie of the powered car, which can't rotate smoothly. I also noted that one of the bogies isn't mounted correctly, one set of wheels barely touches the rails. The cars also seem to have a lot of difficulties getting grip on the straight sections, there's a lot of wheel spinning. There also seems to be a difference in performance depending on the direction the train runs in.

After running the train for a while, cleaning the track and combining the cars in different ways, I could get a little improvement, but still the overall smoothness of performance doesn't seem to increase, which is a little disappointing.
I really hope the new generation of T gauge trains will perform a little better!

Meanwhile, I have given some thought to the design of my layout. It will probably be situated near a residential area at the outskirts of a big Japanese city, with a couple of apartment buildings in a green setting. A commuter train line loops around it to cope with the hilly landscape. A screenshot of a YouTube movie I posted earlier, to illustrate the atmosphere around the railway I would like to achieve:

woensdag 26 november 2008

Sugoi!

Great news reached the T-gauge community today! The guys at Eishindo are announcing to release their flextrack soon and they are working on a whole range of new products, like a KIHA40, a N700 Shinkanzen and a so-called 'street train'. Sugoi!

Check the Talking T Gauge forum for more on this.

dinsdag 25 november 2008

Building a building... first attempts

To find out exacty what method works for me to model a lot of buildings for my layout, I have been trying some different methods the past couple of days. The results of a day tinkering, with ca-glue all over my fingers, looks like this:


My goal was to make a convincing building out of transparant material and styrene strips, based on Pokara's paper design. Conclusion: someway I just can't make it work. The result looks to course and it takes far to much time (almost all day to make the big building).

Today, I tried to make an apartment building out of painted clear sheets of plastic leaving the windows out. The sides are made out of 1 mm styrene sheets and the roof out of 0.5 mm styrene with fine sandpaper glued on top.





This method looks better to me, though this building needs more detailing (and an entrance ;) ), and next time I will definately spray-paint the walls, instead of brushing.
But it just took a couple of hours, so it should be possible to create a whole block of houses using this method in just a couple of days.

Layout plans

I've been playing with some thoughts about what my T gauge layout should be looking like a lot recently.
  • First of all, I mostly want it to be small, because I don't have a lot of space in my 1-room appartment and I want to buid it in a box, to protect it against dust. Maximum size should be about 35x35 cm. The standard Eishindo rails don't offer a lot of possibilities in this space, so it will propably become a simple loop, perhaps a double or even a triple loop, to add some more complexity to the layout. Yesterday I ordered a first 120R loop of rails, so that's a start :)
  • Secondly, I want my railway to be situated in a modern Japanese city. I always had a fascination for the country and the culture and I'm very glad T gauge offers a way to do something with this. I love the atmosphere and vividness of Japanese cities and the way different types of buildings, old and new, are just build next to eachother. (Yes and indeed I really want to visit Japan some time :) ) The small size of my layout makes it possible to create a high density of buildings, without having to spend years of my life glueing all those buildings together. I haven't decided yet if it will be a downtown setting with narrow alleys and highrise buildings or a more suburban environment with more residential buildings.
  • I also would like to create some hight differences, which I think makes a layout more interesting to look at. This will probably result in some kind of hilly background the train will disappear behind a couple of seconds, before reappearing and an elevated track running through the city, with viaducts to overpass the different loops of track.
I think I will be building all buildings and scenery on the layout from scratch, because I like the challenge of it. This also allows me to build a lighting system in all buildings, which will probably be using this really nice Ikea led-lights set. I will keep you up to date when my loop of track has arrived and, having a grasp of the size of it, will begin making some concrete plans.

zaterdag 22 november 2008

Some T-trees

I experimented a little with making some 1:450 trees this afternoon. As other modellers have found out, it's surprisingly easy! I decided to give Ian Holmes' method a try.
I made the trunks out of some toothpicks, which I cut into shape. The middle tree also has a side-branch, which is also a piece of toothpick, superglued to the trunk. I washed them with some black Revell acrylic paint, thinned with water. The green stuff is Busch foliage, simply attached with white glue. The results look quite convincing to me :)


Next step: actually building a layout on which I can place them ;)

vrijdag 21 november 2008

Train in a package

Just 5 days after ordering from PlazaJapan, today I received a package which contained my first T-gauge item, a 4-car class 103 EMU in emerald green livery. Shipping was said to take about 7 to 10 days so I was really surprised to receive it this soon!

My first reaction? Wow this stuff is really really small but seriously cool! :) I'm really looking forward to building a T gauge layout. I'm playing with some thoughts of building a compact Japanese urban layout, about which I'll tell you more soon.

Some photos:



A detail of the small couplers and absolutely tiny pantographs:


In the 450x bigger world, these commuter trains operated on the Jyoban line and on the Narita line in Japan. A nice video on YouTube shows them not only operating on urban railways but also on single-track rural lines.