Saturday, October 30, 2010

Continuing with station & platforms

With the station and its stairways and supporting structures finalized I turned my attention to the platforms.  I had already cut the platforms to the desired length and installed them on the modules prior to installing the station.  Now I needed to go back and customize the platforms for installation of the awnings as I was not placing them in the pre-drilled holes on the platforms.

The photo on the left shows the "asphalt" surface of the platform removed from the concrete platform structure.  Notice the screw showing near the right end of the platform.  These attach the platform to the module and is hidden by the surface piece.
Kato does not offer a tapered awning to match the end platforms so I had to make my own by modifying a standard awning.  After cutting the angle with a razor saw, I cut the edge off a scrap piece of awning and glued it to the cut edge of the angle part of the awning to give it a finished look. 

Some white styrene was cut to match the cut end of the awning. 
Here's a look from the other side.  On this side the stairway between the station and the platform goes through the awning.  I still need to complete the tapered awning on this end of the platform.
This is how the right end of the station platform looks right now.  Once all of the structures are just the way I want them, they will come off of the module and go to the spray booth for painting before being re-installed.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Building Protective Covers

When portable layout modules are not set up on the leg system for display or to be worked on, they need to be protected during storage and transport.  With my pair of Ntrak modules, I had solved this problem by arranging them in a way so that the sky board of each module was aligned with the front of the other module.  Then I added end boards with bolt holes and when everything was bolted together, all of the modeled areas were on the inside and protected.  That box is 48 inches x 24 inches x 18 inches in size and weights over 90 pounds and I am not able to handle those modules easily by myself anymore.

For the Musashi-Koyama modules I wanted to try something different.  Last Sunday was spent in the garage making sawdust.  After having had several near 100 degree days at the beginning of the month, last weekend the cooler weather took hold and I never got out of my sweatshirt while working in the garage.

My efforts got me a pair of covers made from 1/4 inch plywood that I found at Home Depot.  Each cover used most of  a 4 x 4 ft sheet plus some 1/2 x 3/4 inch strips that hold it all together

As this photo shows, the covers have a front, top, and ends.  What does not show are the holes in the end rails of the modules and on the ends of the cover so I have used Photo Shop to point them out.

The holes are to bolt the covers to the modules with 1/4-20 bolts.

This closeup shows how the bolts goes through the cover and into the end of the module.  I like to use Tee nuts where I can.

Here are the two Musashi-Koyama modules with their covers attached and with the leg system in it's folded up transport and storage state behind them.

Each of the modules weigh less than 25 pounds with the leg system weighing about 15 pounds.  I CAN easily handle these.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Starting the station

The most important structure on this module set will be the station itself.  At this point it would be good to take a look at a screenshot of a Google satellite photo.  The photo is a few years old because the station no longer there.

From the scale given on the photo it can be determined that the dimensions of the station building are about 60ft x 80ft and that the platform is about 450ft long.  Also the covers over the platform are a close match to the ones that come with the Kato platforms.

The Kato overhead station is a close match to many of the overhead stations in Japan that serve two tracks.  I had one left over from the T-Trak module and had started to modify it to more closely match the original Musashi-Koyama station but in the end decided to scratch build the station and support structures and use the stairways from the Kato station. Another thing that makes the model of this structure critical is that it sits on the seam between the two modules and will need to be removable.

This is how the model of the station structure looks right now.  The basic pieces are complete and I came up with a way of attaching the stairs and the structure to the module so that they can be removed.   It still needs an additional set of columns that will attach to the platform and of course paint and detailing.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Attaching Buildings II

It's a holiday weekend so I've had a little more time to get things done and also to create another post on the blog.  Here is another method I have been using to attach buildings.  Sometimes on a module, you need to hide things under a building.  In this case I have mounted two Tortise switch motors inverted on top of the module.

I used scraps from the module construction to make posts that will reach the roofs in two places.  Because the walls of a structure without a solid base tend to bow, I attach plastic angle to the module along where the inside of the wall will be to help maintain alignment.

Once everything seems to fit right, I drill a hole through the roofs and into the tops of the mounting posts.

A small wood or sheet metal screw is then used to secure the structure to the module.  These can be easily hidden from view with rooftop details.

Here is this structure secured to the module but easily removal if access is ever needed to the electrical and mechanical components inside.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Attaching Buildings

I have been working on attaching these buildings to the modules.

It's an advantage to attach as many structures as possible on a module so they don't have to be placed on the module when setting up.  I use a couple of different methods and here is one of them. 

On a structure with a solid base and that is being placed on a flat, solid module surface I drill and tap holes through the base of the structure before attaching the roof.  I then screw in long screws matching the size of the tapped holes.  In this case I used 4-40 screws.

When the holes are in the structure base but before the screws are installed, I place the structure in it's spot on the module and mark where the holes line up on the module base.  Then I drill holes through the module base slightly larger than the screws. 

Then the structure can be placed on the module base and secured with nuts.  I use threaded nylon spacers like these because they can be worked by hand, they grip and don't come loose, and they are light weight.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Quick buildings

While on the right end of the module set I am attempting to model several structures accurately enough to identify the scene, on the left end of the module set the plan is be more free-lanced and to use mostly ready made buildings and hopefully capture a typical Tokyo scene.

The Tomix model 4034 Condominium and the Kato 23-485 Office building are a couple of staples of Japanese model buildings and are very adaptable.    Also seen here is the Tomix 4038 Pachinko Hall.
These buildings have been attached to the modules for now in their stock condition.  They come with quite a few detail parts and stickers.  The way I attach them, they can be quickly removed for painting and detailing.