Friday, September 28, 2012

Tokyo Station celebration light show

On our past couple of trips to Japan we've noticed quite a bit of construction going on at Tokyo Station.  The other day Nona found this video on YouTube.

Seems that all the re-modeling is now done and this light show was part of the celebration.  Next year will be the 100th anniversary of the station.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Previously unnoticed track side detail

On this latest trip to Japan last November I had noticed what appeared to be a row of concrete tiles running alongside the tracks.  It took me awhile to realize that this is actually a duct for all the signal and communications cables on the railroads.  At a grade crossing or some other obstacle it appears that pipe carries the cables to the other side where the tiled duct starts again.

Here's a photo I took while waiting for a train at Odawara station that shows one of these communications ducts.  Notice how the cable for the sensor on the track nearest the platform goes to this.

I thought this would be a good thing to model and checked my catalogs and on the Internet for something but could not find anything.

This would be easy to scratch build something like this using Evergreen tiled sheet styrene sprayed a concrete color.

Then recently I noticed this Kato kit on ebay.  They refer to them as gutters and that would suggest that they are for drainage.  Either way, they make a nice and easy detail to add to a layout.

Here's a photo I found on the Internet showing part from Kato kit 23-227 in use on a layout.

I'll be adding this detail on both the Musashi-Koyama modules and the Hot Springs Junction module and using both this kit and some scratch built versions.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hot Springs Jct. Module track plan

While I've had a good idea of what I wanted to accomplish with this module, I had not drawn out much of a plan up to now so I thought it would be a good time to do that.

  • Ntrak module with 3 basic tracks plus optional mountain division track
  • Junction allowing AsiaNrail to interchange with Ntrak mountain division.
  • Scenery to be a mountainous, forested area of Japan.
  • Include small passenger station, hot spring hotel, river & streams.
  • Module will be lighter weight / easier to handle than original module.

First a quick review of some basic Ntrak specifications
  • Standard 48 inch x 24 inch module size.
  • 3 Required main lines at 17" (blue), 18.5" (yellow), and 20" (red) from sky board.
  • Optional mountain division line (green) at 4" from sky board and 3.125" above main lines.

For a more comprehensive look at Ntrak, check

So here is my track plan for this module including some of the scenic and operational features I plan to include.  It will be interesting to see how this develops.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Building a light weight sky board

The original sky board had been made from the same 1/2 inch cabinet grade plywood as the module frame and deck.  Building a new sky board from 1/4 inch plywood would take some weight out.  I added a second layer of 1/4 inch plywood around the top and sides to strengthen it.  

Here is a view of the rear of the sky board with some notes on it's construction.  For the front I plan to use a nice forest scene backdrop that was given to me and will fit in well with the modeled scene.

I also added a place to install a Digitrax UP5 panel and framed the spot with 3/4 inch wide strips of the same 1/4 inch plywood .  The frame will help protect the panel in storage and transport.  I did not use any nails on the sky board, just glued with Elmer's wood glue and clamped until it was set.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sealing the module bottom

After drilling the holes in the module deck to remove some of the weight, I put a coat paint on the bottom of the module to seal all of the hole edges and all the other scars left from the wiring and other things that had been installed there in it's previous life.

I used some left over pale yellow paint from a kitchen paint job a few years ago.  I have found that I like to use light colors in this application because it makes it easier to find things when trouble shooting a problem when the module is set up.

Notice in this photo some other holes besides the ones I mentioned in my last post.  The long narrow holes on the deck were where I had some uncoupling magnets installed on the old module setup.  And the ones on the back frame, in the bottom part of the photo are from the Digitrax UP3 panel I had also used in the old setup and another smaller one that I just added for a Digitrax UP5 panel that I will use in this time.