Sunday, September 26, 2010

Streets and Buildings

While I already had several completed Kato, Tomix, and Green Max buildings, I wanted to scratch build some key buildings that are close to the Musashi-Koyama station.

This is a photo that I took just outside the station in 2005.  I decided to focus on the block of buildings seen in this photo.  I  also found it helpful to use  Google Street View images to observe the placement and details of some of these buildings.
During the fall of 2009 I laid out all of the streets using .020 styrene and began placing some of the buildings that I already had and also began to scratch build a model resembling the block of buildings shown in the photo above. 

This is the model of that block of buildings as shown in January of 2010.  These buildings are actually all one assembly.  The taller buildings are scratch built and the 2 story buildings are made from Green Max modular kits.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wood, track, & Wiring

Between January and July of 2009 I built the 6ft module pair and leg system based upon a design used for lightweight modules in Peninsula Ntrak that have proven to be both durable and reasonably easy to handle over the past 15 years of use.  This design uses mostly 1/4 inch birch plywood.  I was able to purchase a pneumatic cabinet stapler and used this and yellow carpenters glue to assemble it.  The AsiaN Rail standard allows for any module depth so I made these 18 inches deep.

The track was laid out as a dual track line with crossovers at each end.  This will allow these modules to be used either as a dual track or single track with a passing siding.  The standard for AsiaN Rail is Peco code 55 and I used the concrete tie version with Micro Engineering code 55 turnouts for the crossovers.  Control of the turnouts is done with Tortoise motors mounted upside down on the surface of the modules and piano wire connecting rods running through Plastruct 1/8 inch square tubing to the turnouts.  The Tortoise motors will later be hidden by buildings.  Yes, there are going to be many buildings.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


How did an American guy like me get into modeling Japanese railroads and start building modules of Tokyo ?

I've always been interested in model railroads, have been in N scale since 1968, and active in Ntrak since 1992.   Nona, my wife is a native of Tokyo and on a visit to her native land in the 1990's she bought me a gift of several Japanese N scale model railroad cars.  

In 1999 I made my first trip to Japan and was so impressed with the system of railroads.  There were so many different trains all running on schedule.  On that first trip I started what became a habit of collecting models of the trains that we rode.  I had wanted to photograph the models in an appropriate scene and thought about building a station diorama.  Then I decided why not build a set of T-Trak modules for this purpose and have something of a Japanese layout that I could actually run these trains on.
As I did not know of anyone else in my area building T-Trak I knew I would need to build enough to have a complete layout by myself  This photo shows part of my one nearly completed T-Trak module.

Visiting the International Railfair in Roseville, CA in 2008 I saw a most impressive Asian themed modular layout called AsiaNrail.  I already knew the owner of most of the modules as he is a member of Peninsula Ntrak which I also belong to.  He invited me to build Japanese themed module(s) that could be used with the AsiaNrail layout at future shows.  This was a turning point and the T-Trak modules were abandoned.